How to Clean Dog Ears


Ears are a very sensitive area to deal with when it comes to dogs for a number of reasons. So this is one job that you might prefer leaving to a groomer.

If your dog suffers, as often evidenced by scratching at his/her ear or the hair around it, then please consult your veterinarian for a possible underlying cause. This is one area in particular where you, as a dog owner, will find it tricky to get a good visual.

Video: How to Clean a Dog’s Ears in 3 Easy Steps

If your dog just has a build up of grime, or simply has long ears that dangle in the food bowl, then you can do some superficial cleansing yourself along the lines of what is demonstrated in the video below.

The video also provides a very good guide for professional groomers looking for some help on how to go about a more thorough cleansing of canine ears.

The footage provides an excellent close-up view of how to go about it with a bulldog client. Of course this procedure can be used for any dog breed.

Dog Ear Problems

Problems frequently observed by dog owners include the following:

  • Infections – an odor is often indicative of an infection that requires your vet’s attention
  • Irritations – Long haired dogs frequently exhibit irritations around or inside ears
  • Grime build up
  • Secretions – as evidenced by discoloration of the hair 
  • Matting of hair – on the outside of the ears
  • Build up of excess hair in the ear canal
  • Allergies – lots of wax can be an indication here

Tools Used to Clean Dog Ears

It’s a good idea to have a collection of appropriate tools before you begin, This wards off the temptation, in the heat of the moment,  to grab any old tool within reach.

Ideally you could have the following:

  • A professional ear cleaner
  • Gauze
  • Applicators
  • Treats for rewards

Ear Cleaning Steps

These steps are demonstrated in the video above.

  1. Collect your tools in one spot so that you don’t have to leave your dog stranded while you go off to fetch a cloth or an applicator.
  2. Apply the ear cleaning solution
  3. Work the solution in by massaging – this can serve to loosen any build up of wax of dirt
  4. Allow the dog to shake his/her head – this step will come naturally to your pooch once you take your hands away from the ears. If it doesn’t try a gentle blowing in the face. 
  5. Wipe or soak up excess solution by using the gauze just inside the ear. This might not be a pretty sight.
  6. The applicator is the next step in the video but I would be very very careful when using anything like this. You definitely don’t want to insert anything too deep inside the ear. If uncomfortable, let your groomer or vet do this one. If you are in fact a groomer then this video has an excellent demonstration of what,  as well as what not, to do.
  7. Reward you dog, You want your dog to be left with a positive memory so that there will be a minimum of resistance next time. 

Excess Hair in Ears

I would recommend that you let your groomer tackle this one. One of my dogs in particular was always very resistant to being touched around the ears. So teasing out of hair was definitely not one of his favorite sit-still activities.

So if your dog is very sensitive in this area or has any skin irritations at all then I would leave the hair thinning out to your groomer or vet. 

You don’t want to do anything that could make an infection worse.

This is a problem that will often appear in Poodle, Maltese & ShihTzu breeds.

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