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8 Steps to Cleaning Your Dog Ears Effectively

Dogs should have their ears inspected on a weekly basis as part of their health care routine. Regular inspection is a great way to keep familiar with the condition of your dog’s ears and to identify any mites or infections early on. For most dogs, cleaning is only necessary occasionally, but dogs with floppy ears, skin allergies, or dogs that swim will need more regular ear cleaning.

Ideally, your dog should be accustomed to having his ears cleaned from when he is a puppy. Make regular ear cleaning part of your routine. If you inspect and clean your dog’s ears on a weekly basis from when he is a puppy, it will become a routine. Ensure this is always a positive experience by being very gentle, using treats during and after the cleaning and choosing a time when the dog is relaxed. 

Steps to cleaning ears

 1.     Ensure all of your supplies are ready: ear cleaner, cotton wool balls, lukewarm water 

2.     Depending on how big the dog is, place him on a table or your lap. If he is too big, have him on the floor. It is easier if you have someone to help you, but if you must do it by yourself, place your dog's hindquarters against something so he cannot back away from you. 

3.     Hold the tip of the ear between your thumb and forefinger and gently fold it back so you can see the inner part of the ear. 

4.     Examine the ear for redness, or discharge. Light brown wax is normal but black or red discharge or pus indicates an infection. 

5.     Gently wipe the inside of the ear using a damp cotton wool ball or ear wipes  

6.     If the ear contains a lot of wax or debris, administer ear cleaner into the ear. Insert the applicator tip directly into the ear canal. They are specifically designed to be safe to use in this way as the ear canal in dogs is in a “L-shape”, so you are unlikely to damage the eardrum. Give the bottle a firm squeeze to release the liquid, and massage the base of the ear to help the cleaner disperse. Often this will be the most enjoyable part of the experience for your dog! 

7.     Wipe the inside of the ear with a cotton ball to remove excess ear cleaner. 

8.     If the ear is infected or if your dog is shaking his head, tilting his head or scratching at the ear, seek veterinary advice as your dog may have an ear infection or ear mites requiring medication. If you are prescribed medication, apply the medication as for step 6 above after cleaning the ear. 

Always seek advice from your veterinarian to confirm diagnosis and ensure you are using the most appropriate treatment for your dog. Remember that incorrect use of ear cleansing solutions or ear drops can permanently damage your dog’s hearing.