Cleaning Dog Ears

Cleaning a dog's ears is not as difficult as you think. This page shows you how to train your dog to get used to being handled for ear cleaning and for ear checking. It also shows you how to clean dog ears and looks at some natural ear cleaning solutions.

Dog with Long Ears Many dog parents are apprehensive of cleaning their dog's ears because they fear that they may inadvertently hurt the dog's ears. Also, some dogs do not like people handling their ears.

However, cleaning dog ears is one important thing that all dog parents should do regularly because it is an important way to prevent some common canine health problems.

Dogs' ears, especially those long and floppy ones, are the perfect hiding places for ear mites, as well as the breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. If your dog's ears are not cleaned regularly to get rid of these bugs and micro-organisms, serious infections can result.

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Training Your Dog

Training your dog to let you clean his ears without resistance is essential and is not as difficult as many people think. Start training your dog when he is just a puppy so that he can get used to the idea of ear cleaning and that will save you a lot of agony down the road.

When you are petting your pup, make a point of handling and touching his ears gently. Start off by lifting up his ear flap, take a quick look, rub and massage it gently, and quickly put it back down. Give your dog a lot of praise for letting you do that! Then to take a step further, gently rub inside each ear (not too deep though), as well as around the base of the ears. By handling your dog's ears regularly and gently, you are training your dog to let you actually clean his ears.

Information on Dog Ear Cleaning

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Checking for Ear Problems

Check your dog's ears regularly (once a week or so) for signs of infection, mites, or dirt and debris.

Lift up the ear flaps and check inside each ear. Healthy dog ears should be fleshy-pink, without any discharge or excessive wax buildup.

If your dog has an ear infection, he may show the following signs:

  • Excessive scratching of the affected ear
  • Head shaking
  • Painful, sensitive, sometimes swollen ear
  • Thick wax build-up
  • Smelly dog ears caused by brown or black discharge from ear
  • Whinning or crying when ear is touched

If you notice any of these signs, do not attempt to clean his ears. Instead, visit your veterinarian immediately for treatment.

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Cleaning The Dog's Ears

If your dog's ears are healthy but dirty-looking, you can clean them with a natural commercial dog ear wash.

Here's how:

  • Moisten a cotton ball with ear wash.
  • Lift the ear flap and put the cotton ball into the ear.
  • Close the ear flap, and very gently massage the ear.
  • Remove the cotton ball from the ear.
  • Use a clean cotton ball to wipe the visible part of the inner ear and the inside of the ear flap.
  • Check the cotton ball for signs of mites, for an unpleasant smell, or for discharge. If you see anything unusual, contact your veterinarian.
  • Repeat with the other ear.
  • Praise your dog and give him a yummy treat.

Note: Many people squirt the ear wash directly into the dog's ears, but most dogs hate that! In particular, if you have a difficult dog, don't do that. A cotton ball moistened with ear wash solution works just as well.

Cleaning Dog Ears - What NOT To Do

  • Do not massage your dog's ears too firmly
  • Do not rub the ears too vigorously
  • Do not use Q-tips to clean the inside of your dog's ears
  • Do not use alcohol to clean the inside of your dog's ears
  • Do not let your dog scratch or rub his ear too hard

Here is a video that shows you how to clean a dog's ears:

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Natural Ear Wash for Dogs

Getting a natural gentle ear wash for your dog is just as important as having his ears cleaned properly. Do not go for any commercial ear wash that contains ingredients that may be irritating to your dog's ears (e.g. harsh soap, alcohol).

Here are some natural dog ear wash solutions that are safe, gentle, yet effective:

Ark Naturals Ears All Right for Dogs and Cats

If your dog is prone to mite or yeast infections, this natural ear wash is beneficial. It contains anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and healing herbs such as aloe vera, calendula, rosemary, cinnamon leaf oil, and myrrh. It not only cleans and maintains healthy ears, but also heals sores, inflammations, and prevents/treats ear mite infestations.

Only Natural Pet Ear Care with Tea Tree Oil

This ear wash contains witch hazel, tea tree oil and echinacea. It is gentle yet powerful enough to dissolve ear wax, remove foreign debris, and protect the ears from bacteria and other microbes.

TrueBlue Super Easy Ear Wipes

These Ear Wipes are pre-moistened with an all-natural botanical blend (e.g. lemon, marigold, aloe vera, and green tea). Just use the wipes to clean your dog's ears regularly. Simple and easy!

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