How to Clean Dog’s Ears
While some breeds are more prone to ear problems than others, all dogs should have their ears cleaned.
Also, there are a lot of things that can cause ear infections, like debris and moisture, not to mention allergies and those pesky parasites that can sometimes populate your dog’s ears.
Dogs with drop ears (ears that hang down), like Labradors, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniel, etc, are more prone to ear infections than those breeds whose ears stand upright.
Likewise, dogs with hair that grow inside the ear canal (like Poodles and Bichon Frisé) are also more likely to develop ear infections.
This happens because ears that don’t get a lot of airflows tend to trap the aforementioned debris, moisture, and parasites inside.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Ears?
A perfect balance needs to be established between cleaning the ears often enough to keep infection at bay but not too much so you don’t irritate the ears.
This balance depends on the dog.
Your vet will probably help you determine that, or you can try for yourself.
Begin by cleaning your dog’s ears once a month. If you notice his ears getting dirty or that he begins to scratch them after a while, try doing it every other week.
If that isn’t enough, try weekly. If at any time you notice the ears getting red and irritated, then you’ll know it’s too much.
If your dog happens to develop an infection, you’ll need to clean his ears every time you medicate him, because it’s the only way the drops or ointment will be properly absorbed by the skin.
How to Spot An Infection
Even if your dog has never had an infection (yay!), you still want to clean his ears every time you see dirt in them or if they smell funny (foul smell or a bread/yeast smell means infection).
If you notice the ears are red and inflamed, head shaking or scratching of the ears, you need to look for an infection.
Other red flags are ear discharge or pain when you touch your dog’s ears.
Without getting that close to your dog, the mere fact that he’s tilting his head or that one ear is floppier than the other may be a sign of an infection.
Much like for humans, ear infections are extremely painful for dogs and the longer it goes untreated the worse it will get and the harder and longer it will take to heal.
So, if your dog has an infection that is at a stage that’s causing him any kind of pain, you need to take him to the vet immediately.
How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears At Home
While it may sound daunting, using the right supplies and the right techniques will make cleaning your dog’s ears pretty easy.
Plus, it will save you the trouble (and cost) of going to the vet.
Okay, let’s get started!
Step 1 – Choose the Right Setting
Get your dog somewhere he’s comfortable but also somewhere that will be easy enough to clean.
Personally, we like to do it in the bathroom, ideally after their bath, but even if you’re not giving your dog a bath, the bathroom is a good idea, because he will shake his head and spread the content of his ears (dirt, wax, cleaner, etc) all over.
You can try and put a towel around his head but for us, it doesn’t really work, it’s just something else for them to stress about.
Step 2 – Bring On the Distractions
You’ll want to take your time cleaning your dog’s ears so the last thing you need is having him move around, trying to escape.
So, basically, we bribe our dogs!