How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

Dog ownership is a rewarding yet demanding task that goes beyond feeding and walking. An essential part of care includes grooming, and within grooming lies the often overlooked task of ear cleaning. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you tackle this task with ease.

Why Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears is Important

Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly is crucial for their health. Ears can be a breeding ground for bacteria, yeast, and mites if not properly maintained. It’s also an opportunity for you to check for any abnormalities like redness, swelling, or unpleasant odors. Ignoring these signs may lead to infections or other health issues. The saying, “Prevention is better than cure,” couldn’t be more accurate in this context.

When to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Most dogs don’t need their ears cleaned constantly. However, the frequency can depend on several factors:

  • Breed: Dogs with long, droopy ears like Basset Hounds may need more frequent cleanings than breeds with upright ears.
  • Activity Level: Dogs that swim often or are outdoor explorers may also need more frequent cleanings.
  • Health: Dogs with a history of ear infections may require more regular cleanings as advised by the vet.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you clean your dog’s ears:

  1. Prepare Your Supplies: You’ll need a good quality dog ear cleaner, cotton balls or gauze, and treats for rewarding your patient pup afterwards.
  2. Calm Your Dog: Make sure your dog is relaxed. This can be a strange experience for them, so it’s essential to keep the environment calm and soothing.
  3. Apply the Cleaner: Hold your dog’s ear flap up and fill the ear canal with the cleaner. Don’t let the applicator touch the ear to avoid contamination.
  4. Massage the Base of the Ear: Gently massage the base of your dog’s ear for about 30 seconds. You should hear a squishing sound, which means the cleaner is being worked in properly.
  5. Let Your Dog Shake It Off: Your dog will likely shake their head after the massage. This helps to dislodge debris within the ear canal.
  6. Wipe Away Debris: Use your cotton balls or gauze to gently wipe away any debris and excess cleaner.

Common Issues and How to Address Them

Issue Solution
Resistance to ear cleaning Make the experience positive with treats and praises.
Signs of infection (redness, odor, swelling) Visit your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Frequent ear infections Consult your vet about potential underlying issues.


Q: How often should I clean my dog’s ears?
A: It depends on your dog’s breed, activity level, and health condition. Generally, once a month is sufficient for most dogs.

Q: Can I use human ear cleaners for my dog?
A: No. Human ear cleaners might be too harsh for your dog’s ears. Always use a cleaner designed for dogs.

Q: What if my dog has a lot of earwax?
A: A small amount of earwax is normal. However, if you notice an excessive amount, it’s best to consult with your vet.

Q: My dog seems to be in pain when I try to clean their ears, what should I do?
A: If your dog shows signs of discomfort or pain, stop cleaning and consult your vet immediately.

Remember, ear cleaning should not be a stressful experience for you or your dog. With patience, consistency, and the right technique, it can even become a bonding experience that contributes to your beloved pet’s overall health.