How To Clean Dog Ears?

As fur parents, we want to keep our dog’s physical well-being strong and healthy. One of the ways to do that is to clean their ears, however, some of us might find it a bit of a challenge because the ear is one of the most sensitive parts of the body and we wouldn’t want to damage our dog’s ears.

Dogs aren’t capable of cleaning their ears by themselves, so it is one of our responsibilities as an owner. If we don’t clean our dog’s ears, this can lead to ear infections, especially if you have a dog with floppy ears which are the most prone to ear infections.

So to prevent our dogs from having ear infections, we must regularly check our dog’s ears for wax buildup. You can learn how to do it on your own or you can consult with a professional.

Want to learn more? Stick around as we determine how to clean dog ears step-by-step.

Contents

How Often Should We Clean Dog Ears

Generally, dog ears should be cleaned at least once a month. However, you should clean your dog’s ears whenever you see fit, cleaning it too much may damage the ear canal and can cause ear infections.

Studies show that dog breeds with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections than dog breeds with short, erect ears. This means that dogs with floppy ears require more attention and cleaning, you can have their ears cleaned once at least every 2 weeks. 

If you are unsure of when to clean your dog’s ears, you can always consult with a vet so they will determine if your dog has ear infections or how often you should clean your dog’s ears. 

Some dogs may like having their ears cleaned, some may not. So it is important to make ear cleaning a positive experience for your dog by setting a calm environment for your dog and having treats ready throughout the process.

How To Clean Dog Ears At Home

Proper hygiene for our dogs is not only knowing the best shampoo for dogs or knowing the best brush for dogs, it is also knowing how to properly execute the cleaning process despite the product that is used.

It is important to know how to do it properly and what tools to use, such as ear cleaners, so we can prevent damaging our dog’s ears. Studies show that dogs with ear infections that are treated with ear-cleansers were infection-free in 2 weeks.

 A Q tip isn’t one of the tools to clean your dog’s ear and it should never be an option. It can potentially damage the ear canal and eardrum and it also might push any debris further down the ear canal.

What You’ll Need

Here is what you’ll need to clean your dog’s ear:

  • Cotton ball or gauze
  • Towel
  • Ear-cleaning solution for dogs
  • Treats (as positive reinforcement throughout the process)

1. Have Your Supplies Ready

Before cleaning your dog’s ears, it is important to have everything you need ready and at arm’s reach. At the same time, you can help ease your dog into the process by giving them treats when they behave.

2. Use Ear-Cleaning Solution For Dogs

Never use homemade ear-cleaning solutions as they might contain harmful chemicals that you didn’t know beforehand. Consult with a veterinarian and ask for an ear-cleaning solution for dogs with their prescription. 

3. Fill Your Dog’s Ears With The Prescribed Ear-Cleaning Solution

The ear-cleaning solution will break up any wax buildup and any stuck debris in your dog’s ear. Fill your dog’s ear with enough solution to fill the ear canal. Hold the ear vertically and massage the base of the ear. When you hear a squishing sound, indicating that the solution has broken up any wax buildup and debris.

4. Wipe Away Debris On The Inner Flap And Outer Ear Canal

While still holding your dog’s ear, wipe away any debris on the inner flap and the outer canal using a cotton ball or cotton swabs.

5. Let Your Dog Shake Its Head

This will move the solution outside your dog’s ear canal along with the broken-up wax buildup and debris.

6. Remove Any Excess Solution And Debris

Wipe off using a cotton ball any remaining solution and debris. Wrap your finger with the cotton ball and reach down your dog’s ear canal for thorough cleaning. Be careful not to reach too far down as you might damage the eardrum.

How To Clean Dog Ear With Hydrogen Peroxide

Even though we, humans, use hydrogen peroxide to prevent infection on minor wounds such as cuts and scrapes, it should never be used to clean a dog’s ear. Hydrogen peroxide can potentially irritate your dog’s ear.

So, it should never be used to clean your dog’s ear. Instead, use the veterinarian-prescribed ear-cleaning solution for dogs.

How To Clean Dog Ears With Vinegar

You can use apple cider vinegar to clean your dog’s ear. However, it should be mixed with water because its acidity could irritate your dog’s ears if they are inflamed or bruised, so it is highly advisable to stick to ear-cleaning solutions for dogs.

If you still insist on using apple cider vinegar, the good thing is you only need a few things to prepare.

What You’ll Need

Here are the things you’ll need to clean your dog’s ear using vinegar:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Water
  • Cup
  • Cotton ball or gauze
  • Treats (as positive reinforcement throughout the process)

1. Mix Apple Cider Vinegar And Water

Mixing apple cider vinegar with water will decrease the vinegar’s acidity. Add half a cup of vinegar to half a cup of water.

2. Fill Your Dog’s Ear With The Mixture

Much like the ear-cleaning solution procedure, fill your dog’s ear canal with the mixture and wait for about 30 seconds for it to break up any wax buildup and debris. Massage the base of the ears.

3. Clean The Inner Flap And Outer Ear Canal

Clean the inner flap and the outer ear canal with a cotton ball, while still holding the ear flap upright and letting the mixture do its work.

4. Let Your Dog Shake Its Head

Shaking its head will move the mixture out of its ear along with the wax and debris. Repeat the process if there wasn’t any gunk removed. Clean the ears using a cotton ball and remove any excess mixture.

How To Clean Dog Ears With Wipes

If you want to clean your dog’s ears using baby wipes, make sure that it is alcohol-free to not irritate your dog’s ears if it has an infection or bruises. It also does not require a lot of preparation as you only need a few things.

What You’ll Need

Here are a few things that you’ll need if you clean your dog’s ears with wipes:

  • Baby wipes
  • Cotton ball
  • Ear-cleaning solution for dogs
  • Treats (as positive reinforcement throughout the process)

1. Use The Wipes To Clean The Flaps

During the process of using the ear-cleaning solution, you can use the baby wipes to clean the outer and inner sides of the ear flap while holding it upright.

How To Clean Dog Ears With Mites

It is important to determine if your dog has ear mites as early as possible because they are highly contagious to your other pets. A sign that your dog may have mites is that they are constantly scratching his ears or shaking his head, if so, check their ears for mites. You can consult with a veterinarian on what you should do. You can also do home remedies for ear mites on your dog.

What You’ll Need

Here are a few things you’ll need to clean your dog’s ears with mites:

  • Ear-cleaning solution for dogs
  • Ear mite treating solution

1. Determine If Your Dog Has Ear Mites

If your dog is displaying symptoms of having ear mites, check his ears and apply the necessary remedy solutions.

2. Use Vet-Prescribed Imidacloprid/Moxidectin

Imidacloprid/moxidectin is an ear mite treating solution for dogs to treat mites and other parasites. Squeeze the contents into the ear and make sure that your dog doesn’t lick the solution. This process is similar to the ear-cleaning solution process, however, the eat mite treatment solution might take at least 30 minutes.

How To Clean Dog Ears With Water

It is recommended that you use vet-prescribed ear-cleaning solutions. But if you want simple home remedies, then warm water can be enough to clean your dog’s ears, though not as efficient as using ear-cleaning solutions.

What You’ll Need

Here are a few things that you’ll need to clean your dog’s ears using water:

  • Warm water
  • Cotton Balls
  • Clean cloth
  • Treats (as positive reinforcement throughout the process)

1. Dip Cotton Balls In Warm Water To Clean Your Dog’s Ears

After cleaning the outside and inner side of the ear flap, wrap your finger with the cotton ball and dip it in the warm water. Afterward, reach down the ear canal and wipe off any wax buildup and debris.

2. Repeat the process

Once the cotton ball gets too dirty, replace it with clean cotton and repeat the process.

How To Clean Dog Ears Infection

This process is much similar to cleaning your dog’s ears with an ear-cleaning solution. Using ear-cleaning solutions will prevent the buildup of wax that can lead to infections. You can determine if your dog’s ear needs cleaning by smelling its ears because a healthy and clean ear doesn’t have any odor. If so, clean your dog’s ears.

What You’ll Need

Here are a few things you’ll need to clean your dog’s ears with an infection:

  • Cotton balls
  • Ear-cleaning solution
  • Treats (as positive reinforcement throughout the process)

1. Apply The Ear-Cleaning Solution

The ear-cleaning solution will break up any wax buildup and remove debris, this process will help with the healing process of the infection. 

2. Clean Outside and Inner Side Of Ear Flap

As you hold the ear flap upright during the ear-cleaning solution process, clean the outside and inner sides of the ear flap using a cotton ball.

3. Remove Excess Solution

After your dog has shaken the solution out of its ear along with the broken-up wax and debris, clean your dog’s ear for any excess solution.

How To Clean Dog Ear Wax

Ear-cleaning solutions break up wax buildup within the ear canal. This process is quick and easy to prepare for.

What You’ll Need

Here are a few things you’ll need to clean dog ear wax:

  • Cotton balls
  • Ear-cleaning solution
  • Treats (as positive reinforcement throughout the process)

1. Apply Ear-Cleaning Solution 

The ear-cleaning solution will break up the wax buildup and remove debris stuck along the walls of the ear canal. Fill your dog’s ear canal with the solution and let it sit for 30 seconds. Once you hear squishing sounds, that is a sign that the wax buildup has broken up.

2. Remove Excess Solutions And Debris

After the ear-cleaning solution process, wipe off the excess solution, wax, and debris using a cotton ball.

How To Clean Dog Ears With Yeast Infection

If your dog loves to take a bath or a swim, any trapped water or debris in the ear can lead to yeast infection. Symptoms include waxy residue and scabbing around the ear. Even though yeast infections can be the cause of underlying health conditions, simple yeast infections are easy to handle.

What You’ll Need

Here are a few things that you’ll need to clean dog ears with a yeast infection:

  • Antifungal ointment

1. NEVER Do Anything Without A Consultation With Your Vet

Yeast infections require a few tests to determine their root cause. The remedy may vary as to what caused the yeast infection. Certain parts of the ear that are infected may require surgery and injections and may be out of your expertise. Unless you are given a prescription antifungal ointment or cream, it is best to leave the remedies to the professionals.

How To Clean Dog Ears With Olive Oil

Olive oil can be used in replacement for ear-cleaning solutions because it can loosen wax buildup and debris within your dog’s ear canal. The process is very much similar to the ear-cleaning solution process.

What You’ll Need

Here is what you’ll need to clean your dog’s ear using olive oil:

  • Olive oil
  • Cotton balls
  • Treats (as positive reinforcement throughout the process)

1. Apply Olive Oil 

Execute the ear-cleaning solution process, but instead of a solution, use olive oil. After initial cleaning of the ear, fill your dog’s ear canal with olive oil and massage the base of their ear. A squishing sound is an indication that the olive oil loosened the wax build-up.

2. Remove Excess Oil And Dirt

After your dog has shaken the olive oil out of its ears, wipe the excess oil and wax on the outside of the ear using a cotton ball. Wrap your finger with clean cotton and reach down your dog’s ear to clean the ear canal.

How To Clean Dog Ears That Stink

Smelly dog ears are an indication that it is dirty, or might have an infection and that it needs cleaning. The process of cleaning a stinky ear is similar to the process of using an ear-cleaning solution for dogs.

What You’ll Need

Here are a few things that you’ll need to clean stinky dog ears:

  • Cotton balls
  • Ear-cleaning solution
  • Treats (as positive reinforcement throughout the process)

1. Apply Ear-Cleaning Solution

After initial cleaning of the ear, apply the vet-prescribed ear-cleaning solution and fill your dog’s ear canal while holding the ear upright. Massage the base of the ear. A squishing sound is an indication that the solution has broken up wax buildup and loosened debris.

2.  Wipe Off Excess Solution and Debris

After cleaning the inside of the ear flap, let your dog shake out the solution along with the wax and debris. Wipe off any excess solution and debris using a cotton ball. Wrap your finger with clean cotton and reach down the ear canal to remove any debris that’s left.

What To Do After Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears?

1. Reward Your Dog With Treats

It is important to make your dog see ear-cleaning as a positive experience. Rewarding them with treats after the procedure every time will help you with that.

2. Monitor Your Dog For Any Signs Of Pain

If your dog shows pain during or after the procedure, make sure to contact your vet immediately. 

3. Repeat the process 

Clean your dog’s ears with the ear-cleaning procedure as often as your vet prescribes you to do.

When To Get Your Dog’s Ear Checked By A Vet?

When your dog is displaying any sign of discomfort after or during cleaning their ears, it could be a sign of infection, which if left untreated can lead to severe health illnesses and might lead to dog deafness. If your dog has any persistent symptoms, have your dog checked by the vet immediately.

FAQ’s About How To Clean Dog Ears

What Can I Use To Clean Dog Ears At Home?

There are only a few household items that can be used to clean your dog’s ear as most homemade ear-cleaning solutions might have chemicals that can be toxic to our dogs, which is why sticking to the vet-prescribed ear-cleaning solutions is the best option for you and your dog’s safety. 

What Is The Brown Stuff In My Dog’s Ears?

The brown stuff that you might be referring to can be wax discharge, which can be a sign of an ear infection in your dog. This can occur for multiple reasons, each reason requires a different remedy. So if you see waxy discharge, it is best to contact your vet immediately.

Can I Clean My Ears With Baby Wipes?

Yes, you can clean your ears with baby wipes. Generally, baby wipes are alcohol-free, which makes them safe to use for cleaning your and your pet’s ears. Alcohol in most wet wipes can cause skin irritation in the ear if it has cuts or bruises. 

Can I Use A QTIP To Clean My Dog’s Ear?

No, cleaning your dog’s ear with a Qtip is not advisable. If you use Qtips, you might overreach within your dog’s ear canal and you might damage the eardrum or push wax buildup and debris further down the ear canal. It is best to use cotton balls and ear-cleaning solutions to get rid of wax and debris.

How Do You Get Brown Gunk Out Of A Dog’s Ear?

The brown gunk in your dog’s ear might be a sign of an ear infection. Your vet can prescribe you an antifungal ointment or cream, however, certain parts of the ear may need injections or in severe cases, surgery. So it is best to leave the remedies to the professionals.

Why Is My Dog’s Ear Full Of Black Gunk?

The black gunk you see in your dog’s ear might be mite discharge. That means that your dog has an ear mite infection. This can be remedied with a vet-prescribed ear mite solution to remove the mites out of your dog’s ear. This process is much like the ear-cleaning solution process.

Conclusion

Learning how to clean your dog’s ear can decrease the chances of you damaging their ear canals and eardrums. You will also be knowledgeable of not using random household objects to clean your dog’s ears and instead stick to the vet-prescribed ear-cleaning solution.
Doggos Daily offers different dog tutorials that you may need or not know, such as how to bathe your dog properly or how to make a dog poop quickly. Whatever it may be, visit Doggos Daily for information and tips!

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by Nicole Barnett

Nicole has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. She has three dogs, two of which she rescued from the streets. When not furiously typing away at her computer, you’d either find her chasing after her adorable dogs and kids, or volunteering at a local shelter.

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