Cleaning your dog's ears

Author: Sam Mason   Date Posted:13 April 2016 

Although dog ears come in all different shapes and sizes; pointy, floppy and curly or folded in half, they all have one thing in common; they need to be cleaned and cared for.

We have come up with a few helpful tips and tricks for every dog owner out there to better understand how to clean their pooch’s ears.

But first! Why do we even need to clean their ears?!?

Just like use humans, dogs get a build-up of ear wax and debris. The inside of your dog’s ear consists of multiple ridges and areas that this natural bi product can get caught causing irritation and infection. Not only this but some dogs also have an excessive amount of glands in their ear canals and this can produce too much secretion.

There are some dogs out there that are genetically predisposed to have ear issues and infections like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds. Typically dogs that are regularly getting ear infections have an excessive amount of yeast or bacteria in their ears.  Not treating these issues/infections can lead to middle/inner ear infections, hearing and balance loss, and will be very painful and irritating for the dog to manage.

How do I know if my dog has an ear infection?

Generally one of the first signs on your dog experiencing discomfort is a shaking of the head. This violent shaking of the head although it looks innocent enough can be quite dangerous and can be doing more damage then you may think.  It can rupture blood vessels or damage the cartilage of the ear.  Other signs to look out for are an odour from the ears, secretions or discharge, excessive scratching at the ears and redness inside the ear. If you notice blood or anything physically blocking the ear please take the dog to the vet immediately.

Step one: Be Prepared!

A good starting point is to have a little bag or box with the following items inside.

  • Ear cleansing solution (use a quality cleanser, there are several out there. Australia’s no.1 cleanser is epi-otic)
  • Cotton balls, cotton pods or gauze squares.
  • Cotton or bamboo tipped applicators.
  • Tweezers
  • A towel or two

Getting started with ear cleaning

The best place to clean the dog’s ears is in the bath tub or outside. Doing this just before your bath your little friend is optimal as when he shakes his head after putting cleanser the gunk and product needs to go somewhere… We say to keep 1 or 2 towels handy as you may want to keep both yourself and your dog dry during this process.

Before cleaning the ears its best to inspect them, you can get an idea then of how dirty they are and also check for excess hair.

If you notice that your dog has an excessive amount of hair coming from the inside of the canal you may need to pluck some of these hairs out first.  Easiest way to do this is with tweezers or your fingers.

How to clean the ears:

Begin by holding the ear flap up and squirt a few drops of ear cleaner on the inside of the flap near the ear opening.  Next grab your bottle of ear cleaner, and gently place the tip of the bottle inside the ear and give a gentle squeeze.  Using excessive pressure can damage the ear.

Before they get a chance to shake their head, massage the base of the ear (this is the bottom part near where the jaw cartilage can be felt). You should be able to hear a “smacking sound”.  By doing this you are helping the cleanser to fill the ridges in the canal and loosen ear debris.

After massaging for a few seconds (a little longer for really dirty ears), you can let go and at this point they are able to shake their head. You may want to turn away, close your eyes and mouth or get a towel to hold up in front of you. This part will get messy!  

Once they have had a good shake, use your cotton or bamboo tipped applicators and your finger to wipe out the ear canal. You can put your finger inside the ear to clean further, just do not force it. Stubborn debris will require the use of the tipped applicators. IMPORTANT! Never put the tipped applicators into the ear any further then you can see, doing this can cause serious damage!

If the ear still seems dirty then repeat this process...




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