How to Clean a Dog's Smelly Ears

10 - 15 Minutes
1 Month


Have you ever been minding your business, getting your chores done around the house when a foul odor suddenly reaches your senses? It’s not the dirty dishes and it’s not the trash can. So what is it? It’s not until your dog walks by that you realize the source. It’s not his fur or his breath that stinks… it’s his ears!

As dog owners, we’re usually used to some interesting smells from our furry friends, but ear odor is not something that is normal. A healthy dog’s ears should give off no odor at all, so it’s important to break out the grooming supplies when you first notice a strange smell.

Dog's Perspective

Your dog may not always enjoy having his ears touched. You can get him used to having his ears handled and cleaned by offering him treats while you pet and run your fingers over them. If he is distracted, he is less likely to have much of an issue with it.

Caution & Considerations

  • Smelly ears may be just an inclination of dirt and grime, but can also be a sign of a growing infection. If there is significant redness or yellow buildup in the ear, or the smell is strong, take your pooch to the veterinarian to get him checked out and to get treatment if necessary. 
  • An infection can be painful and may make it more difficult to clean your dog’s ears, so having your vet do the job may be a better option. Make sure to give your vet a heads up if your pup is nervous or stressed and they can take the necessary precautions to avoid being bitten
  • Normal ear cleaning can be done anywhere at home, but particularly nervous dogs will require some patience and some training so you can handle ears safely. 
  • Dogs with long, floppy ears or dogs that go swimming often may need their ears cleaned more frequently. 
  • Be careful about cleaning too often, as over-cleaning your dog’s ears may wipe away essential bacteria or oils that your dog needs to keep his ears healthy.


Cleaning your dog’s ears should be a part of your monthly routine, no matter what kind of dog you have! Whether it’s a German shepherd with those long upright ears or a Basset hound with floppy, drag-on-the-ground ears, each dog’s “ear biology” can be different. Take some time to determine the best routine for your pup to keep him happy and healthy.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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