Cleaning Your Dogs Ears


Did you know that it’s recommended to check your dog’s ears at least once a week as part of their health care routine?

By doing this you’ll easily identify if there are any problems for example; infection or ear mites that may require ear cleaning. For the majority of dogs, having their ears cleaned is only done occasionally. However, for dogs who have floppy ears, dogs who like to swim or dogs with on-going skin allergies this may become a frequent task.

If you’ve been advised by your vet to clean your dog’s ears, would you know what to do? Ideally, your dog should be used to having their ears cleaned from being a puppy, however this isn’t always the case so to help give you some tips, here’s a quick guide on how to clean your dogs’ ears:

Be prepared...

  • The first thing to do is ensure you have all that you need to clean your dogs’ ears. This includes; damp cotton wool and ear cleaner, and possibly ear drops prescribed by your vet.
  • If you have a large dog then it’ll be easier to clean their ears on the floor, and for a small dog it may be easier to clean them on your lap. In some cases it’s better to have a second pair of hands to help keep your dog still whilst you clean their ears.

How to...

  • Lift up your dogs’ ear with one hand and hold it with your thumb and forefinger so you can see the inner part of the ear.
  • If you haven’t seen a vet yet, then you’ll need to examine the ear for any redness, discharge or odour. Light brown wax can be normal, however if the discharge is red, pus coloured or black it may indicate an infection which will need veterinary attention.
  • To start, you’ll need to gently wipe the ear with a piece of damp cotton wool to remove any dirt or wax on the ear pinna and the entrance of the ear canal.
  • Administer the ear cleaner by inserting the applicator tip in to the ear canal. These are designed specifically for dogs ears so you’re unlikely to cause trauma to the ear drum, although it’s important not to insert the tip too far in to the ear.
  • Squeeze the bottle to release the ear cleaner, and then massage the base of the ear as this will disperse the cleaner in to the ear. Please note that although dogs tend to like the massage, they also tend to shake their heads so remember to keep your mouth closed whilst doing this part as there may be excess cleaner flying around!
  • If there’s any excess ear cleaner still in the canal then wipe it away with a piece of damp cotton wool.
  • If you’ve seen your vet and need to administer ear drops, then apply them as per instructions on the medication after you’ve finished cleaning. This is to ensure that the drops get in to the ear instead of sitting in the outer aspect of the ear canal.
  • Follow the same procedure for the second ear.

Things to take a note of...

  • Don’t use cotton buds as there is a risk of putting them too far in to the ear canal thus causing damage.
  • If you notice any unusual discharge as stated above, then ensure you see your vet as there may be more than just ear wax.
  • If your dog isn’t happy with you cleaning their ears then don’t struggle as you can cause harm to both yourselves and your dog. There are always qualified nurses in practices that are willing and able to help you clean your dogs’ ears.

If you need any assistance should you be concerned about your dog or need help cleaning your dog’s ears then always contact your veterinary practice and make an appointment. Vet and nurses are there to help.