How to Clean a Dog’s Ears: A Pet Owner Guide - The Trupanion Blog
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How to Clean a Dog’s Ears: A Pet Owner Guide

Read on to learn more about how to clean a dog's ears with this pet owner guide.

Grooming your dog is an important part of their overall wellness. Proper pet grooming may include everything from bathing your pet to cleaning your dog’s ears or trimming their nails. While it’s important to try to maintain cleanliness for your best friend, you may not know where to start. You may find yourself wondering, “How do I know if my dog’s ears are dirty?” and for that reason, we created this how-to guide. In fact, a number of factors may affect your dog’s ears from an ear infection to seasonal allergies. We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to learn more about how to clean a dog’s ears and tips to health keep their ears clean year-round.

What you need to know about how to clean your dog’s ears

Discover what you need to know about how to clean a dog's ears.

Whether you’re a new dog owner or have a multi-dog household, something like cleaning your dog’s ears may feel overwhelming. Also, your dog’s ears may be sensitive and over-cleaning may do more harm than good.

For example, “not all dogs need to have their ears cleaned, but all dog’s ears should be monitored. I recommend consulting with your veterinarian regarding whether your dog’s ears need to be cleaned and how often. I would also recommend purchasing any ear cleaner through your veterinarian to make sure it is a safe cleaning product and meets your dog’s specific needs,” states Wilde.

Further, your veterinarian can help determine if something more is going on with your best friend’s ears. Wilde points out the following steps to help clean your pet’s ears.

Steps on how to clean a dog’s ears

  1. Saturate a cotton ball with an ear cleaning solution.
  2. Clean the inside of your dog’s ear with the cotton ball.  
  3. Gently wipe away any debris.
  4. Do not ever squirt anything into your dog’s ears unless advised to do so by your veterinarian.

The importance of maintaining ear cleanliness

Dog breeds may have different needs when it comes to grooming. Whether your dog has floppy ears, short ears, tall ears, or pointy ears, they may require different daily regimes when it comes to keeping their ears clean.

For instance, just checking your dog’s ears can make quite an impact on their health. Skin and ear infections can pop up with little to no warning in your furry friend. Wilde breaks down the importance of checking on your furry friend’s ears daily.

“It’s important to check your dogs’ ears regularly. A regular examination can help you determine what is normal for your dog, and any deviation from normal can signal infection. Some mild wax can be normal, but excessive discharge, redness, bleeding, or an odor can be signs of infection. Also, it’s really important not to over clean or clean too often. Cleaning their ear’s too frequently can cause irritation and inflammation and predispose them to infection. When a dog has an ear infection, your veterinarian may recommend cleaning as part of the treatment plan. Recurrent ear infections are a common sign of underlying environmental or food allergies. Consult with your veterinarian if your dog has recurrent ear infections or if it seems like the ears need to be cleaned more frequently.”

Tips to keep your dog’s ears clean

Naturally, the last thing you want is your dog to have irritated, infected, or dirty ears. This experience may be uncomfortable for them and be stressful for you.

Consider the following:

  • Use dog ear-cleaning products recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Do not put anything into your dog’s ears other than what’s recommended.
  • Use cotton balls for cleaning.
  • Have patience and take your time.
  • Stay on track with your dog’s scheduled treatment if there is an infection.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about any dog breed concerns.

Every dog is different and may have a different reaction to their ear’s being touched, cleaned, or medication administrated. Consider your dog’s needs and adjust accordingly. It may take your pet time to become comfortable with the process.

It may take time to learn how to clean your dog's ears. Have patience as your dog has to become accustomed to it.

Cleaning your dog’s ears may help their overall health

Grooming is important for your dog’s health and this includes your furry friend’s ears. But by checking your dog’s ears and listening to your veterinarian’s recommendations your best friend will have healthy ears in no time at all.

What steps did you take to clean your dog’s ears?

To learn more about dog care, read How to Get Rid of Fleas: A Pet Owner Guide

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