How to Clean Stinky Puppy Ears

2 - 5 Minutes
2 Weeks


So you've just gotten a new puppy! You're totally obsessed, and who wouldn't be? He's so soft! His little paws are just so small! His little nose is just so boopable! His ears are so...wait, what's that smell? His ears are pretty smelly right now, actually...

Smelly puppy ears are usually a sign that your pup's ears have become a breeding ground for bacteria or yeast, or are at the very least dirty and should be cleaned.

Don't despair! This can be normal when a dog's ears are floppy or very hairy. Luckily, cleaning your puppy's ears is simple, and you are at the perfect stage in his life to make this grooming ritual fun and rewarding, rather than stressful or scary.

Dog's Perspective

To your puppy, ear cleaning might seem scary at first. But puppies are at the perfect age to be exposed to new things. They don't have routines or established fears yet, and should be encouraged to see, smell, hear and get used to as many novel things as possible during this impressionable time of their lives - including having their ears touched, held and cleaned.

If ear cleaning is made out to be an exciting or rewarding activity - through tone of voice, praise and treats - a puppy can quickly become used to and even look forward to it. And because regular ear cleaning is an important part of overall dog grooming health, that will make a world of difference for you as he grows up.

Alternatively, to a puppy, everything new and novel can seem like a game. Therefore being sat down for an ear cleaning can elicit movement and energy, a desire to play or squirm rather than stay still. This isn't your pup's fault - just something to keep in mind when preparing for his first ear cleaning session.

Caution & Considerations

  • There are a few things to be especially careful of when cleaning your dog's ears: 
  • Do NOT use anything except an ear cleaner specifically made for use on dogs, or another solution recommended by a veterinary professional 
  • If your pup's ears continue to smell after cleaning, or become red, itchy or painful, you should bring your dog to the vet to rule out infection, or allergy - regular cleaning will not resolve those problems 
  • As with human ears, it is of the utmost importance to not push too deeply into the ear or clean too roughly, lest you cause damage to the eardrum. Stop if you feel any resistance or if your dog reacts painfully 
  • Do not over-clean your puppy's ears, as this can cause more irritation and skin sensitivity - depending on the level of debris present in your dog's ears, cleanings once every two-to-four weeks should be sufficient


If your puppy's ears are getting smelly, odds are that they need to be cleaned, and that cleaning them regularly will be required in order to keep them healthy and smelling new-puppy fresh from here on out! But this is the perfect time to get the newest addition to your family used to this important aspect of regular, healthy grooming. As long as you make the job fun and rewarding, you can set your puppy up for a lifetime of easy-peasy, stress-free ear cleanings. Your groomer, your vet, your dog and your nose will thank you!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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