Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

by Connie on March 29, 2012

Cleaning your dog’s ears is an important part of grooming, as well as maintaining overall health.  It is also essential for preventing ear infections, as wax, dirt, and other debris can easily accumulate in a the ear.  The best time to perform ear cleaning is before a dog bath.  This way after you’re finished, you can clean the residue left on the outside of the ear.

1. Remove Excess Hair

Most long-haired dogs have excess hair in their ears; this can cause infection, matts, and reduce your dog’s hearing greatly.  Ear cleaning that is performed without first clearing the area of hair only causes bacteria to multiply and leads to infection.  Although plucking hair from the inside of your dog’s ear may sound painful, most canines are not bothered by the procedure.  You can use special powder to make the plucking easier and less painful.  In addition to cleaning the ear’s interior, it is also important to shave or cut off extra hair around the outer part of the ear.  If left overgrown, this hair can trap debris and it will eventually become lodged inside the ear.

2. Apply Cleaning Solution

Once you’ve removed excess hair from your pet’s ear, you will need to apply an ear solution.  Personally, I prefer using a special ear wash for dogs, but other people make their own solutions.  A common homemade solution used includes 50% water and 50% vinegar.

Next you will need to gently squeeze enough of the solution into your dog’s ear.  After there is enough ear wash in your pet’s ear massage it gently for about one minute.  This helps break up wax that has built up inside the ear canal.  The majority of people hesitate doing this because they believe it causes more damage than good.  But unlike humans, dogs are able to easily get the solution out by shaking.

3. Clean and Re-Apply

Let your dog shake all of the solution out, and then begin cleaning.  For this, you will need gauze or cotton.  Gently twist the gauze or cotton into your dog’s ear (*make sure to not let go, as you will need to pull it out) so that the debris can be captured.  Repeat this until you no longer are getting wax on the gauze or cotton.    Re-apply the solution once more, massage, and let the dog shake.

4. Finish Cleaning

Follow step number 3 in order to get the inside of the ear fully cleaned again.  Also, use a semi-moist gauze or cotton ball to clean the inside of the ear flap.  If you need to get into the creases of the ear flap, you can also use a semi-moist cotton swab to do so.  Lastly, use a dry gauze or cotton ball to absorb the liquid that is left in the ear.

Like all procedures, if you are not comfortable cleaning your dog’s ears yourself, or if your dog is aggressive, it is recommended that get help from a professional.  Otherwise, you can clean your dog’s ears once a month (before a dog bath) or once a week if your dog suffers from chronic ear infections.  To make the experience positive, give your dog a healthy snack after each ear is cleansed.

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