How to Clean a Dog's Ears

Medium
10 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

"Wait, you mean I have to clean my dog's ears?" 

Yes, not only is it necessary for you to clean your dog's ears, but is an important part of what should be your dog's routine grooming. While not all dog breeds need to have their ears cleaned constantly, some require cleaning more than others. Especially those breeds that are prone to ear infections. Bear in mind, your focus should be on the external ear canal. This is where the bulk of any earwax and debris is likely to build up, which in turn can lead to serious ear infections. 

Dog's Perspective

Even if your pup likes to have the inside and outside of his ears scratched and rubbed, there is a good chance he is not going to like it when you start trying to clean them out. As you are cleaning his ears, be on the lookout for foul odors, discharge, redness, excessive scratching, swelling, masses, or pain in the area. These are all possible indications of an ear infection that may require treatment by your pup's vet.

Caution & Considerations

  • Remember your pup's ears are very sensitive, regular cleaning will help prevent infections.
  • Your dog does not want you to clean his ears, this is going to take time and patience.
  • Be sure you know what you are doing, it is very easy to cause serious pain and injury.
  • Be sure to make the whole experience fun for both of you and use lots of treats.
  • If there is any sign of infection, stop what you are doing and consult your vet.
  • You should be cleaning your pup's ears once a month to help avoid ear infections.

Conclusion

Cleaning your dog's ears should be a part of his monthly grooming. If you don't stay on top of this task, he could end up with serious damage or hearing loss. If you are not comfortable doing this, take your pup to see his vet and he should be able to teach you how to clean the ears without hurting your pup. Just take your time, pay attention to what you are doing, and, most of all, be gentle. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Question
Floppy
miniature poodle
4 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Floppy
miniature poodle
4 Years

My poodle has very thick hair inside his ears and he has a history of getting ear infections because of it. I have tried plucking the hairs with ear powder, but he hates it and sometimes would snap at me or bite me (he’s a rescue). I’ve also tried using a hemostat and it has the same effect. Sometimes he gets so sensitive he would be so on edge and be very afraid of me and avoiding me afterward. How can I make it as painless as possible? Is shaving the hair an option? I don’t want to stick any sharp tools like scissors in his ear for obvious reasons.

Paige Thompson
Paige Thompson
Dog Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hi Iana, I'm sorry to hear about your troubles with plucking Floppy's ear hair. Ear powder is the best way to get a grip on the hair and pluck it out as painlessly as possible. Unfortunately, shaving in the ear canal is not an option. What I would suggest is plucking very small amounts of hair at a time, a little every night. Try giving him treats if he is motivated by them. Once Floppy decides you're done, don't push it. You can try more the next day. If you are unable to get anything accomplished. Your groomer or vet should be able to preform this task for you for a fee. Best wishes, Paige

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Question
Paisley
Shar Pei
7 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Paisley
Shar Pei
7 Years

As my dog has very small ears they are difficult to clean because she becomes sensitive and wriggles around the vet is not an option as she needs them cleaned fortnightly to control buildup as recommended by my vet how can I get her to stay still while I clean her ears

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hello Audrey, Paisley looks like a fun and loving dog! The most important thing when teaching her to hold still for her ear cleaning is to make the procedure a positive thing. Sometimes our pets will act in a negative way and when we stop cleaning the ears because of it, they learn that bad manners or aggression gets us to stop. First, make sure that she has had a thorough cleaning by the vet. Then, over the two week period between cleanings, handle her ears when cuddling and make touching her ears often part of her regular grooming routine. Start with short cleaning sessions, making them longer each time. (Don't wait the two weeks - use your cotton ball to rub inside her ears in between cleanings so that she gets used to the sensation.) I hope this helps! Until Paisley becomes a pro, visit the vet or groomer for a cleaning once a month.

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