How to Safely and Effectively Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Most people know that they need to bathe their dogs every now and then. However, most people also forget about cleaning their dog’s ears. Even those who do remember often tend to clean their dog’s ears in a way that isn’t very effective and could even be harmful. 


Keep reading to learn how to clean a dog's ears in a way that is safe and effective.

When Do Your Dog’s Ears Need to Be Cleaned?

You need to clean your dog’s ears every once in a while. However, you should avoid cleaning them too often. This has the potential to cause an infection or irritate your dog’s ears. So, the best way to determine if you should clean your dog's ears or not is to know what signs to look for that will tell you when they need to be cleaned. 


You can do this by examining your dog’s ears regularly. Start out by looking at them when you know their ears are healthy, like after an appointment with the vet. This will give you an idea of what their ears look like normally. They should be pink, free from dirt, and they shouldn’t smell. Pay attention to how their ears look at this point, as any deviation from this normal status is a sign that something is wrong. 


Every now and then, take a look at your dog’s ears. Be on the lookout for the appearance of dirt, debris, and discoloration. In addition, watch out if their ears start to smell odd, particularly if they start to smell like yeast. All of these are signs that their ears are getting dirty and need to be cleaned. These issues are more common if your dog spends a lot of time in the water or gets their ears wet in general. 


You should also be on the lookout for redness or inflammation. These are signs that their ears are beyond dirty and something more serious is happening. They could have an ear infection or be dealing with a flea infestation. In these cases, you will have to take more serious steps or call a veterinarian for help. 


Related: 6 Signs That Your Pet is in Discomfort

How to Clean A Dog’s Ears

To clean your dog’s ears, you will want to follow a process. This starts with getting things ready, continues with the cleaning, and ends with packing things up. 

Get Yourself and Your Dog Ready

You will likely want to start by gathering the supplies you need to clean your dog’s ears. You can reach out to your veterinarian to find out what they recommend. This will be the best advice because they have a better understanding of your dog’s specific situation. 


However, you can also get products from pet stores and online. These include products specifically designed to clean ears, which are great for deep cleaning. They also include pet wipes, which are great for providing your pet with a quick cleaning on the go. 


Once you have all of your supplies, you should get your dog ready. Make sure they are calm so that the experience goes well. You can calm them down by encouraging them to relax in their favorite bed for a while or by giving them a treat. You just don’t want them to be agitated, or it will make the rest of the process more difficult. 

A small brown dog getting his ears brushed

Start Cleaning Their Ears

Now that you’re ready, you can start cleaning your dog’s ears. If you are using an ear-cleaning solution, you will place the solution directly into your dog’s ear. Then, massage the area around and at the base of their ear. Do this for about 30 seconds. As you do so, the solution will start to work away at breaking down any dirt and other debris inside. 


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Clean Up

Now that the cleaner has had a chance to work its magic, you can clean up the cleaning solution. Your dog will start this process on their own. Simply move away from their head for a moment or two, and they will start shaking it. This will send the solution in their ear flying, so cover yourself up if you want to avoid getting it all over yourself. You can also conduct this process outside so that you don’t end up with solution all over your home. 


Once they are done, you can use a towel to clean up any remaining solution. There will likely be some dripping down below their ears, and there could be some on their coat as well. Clean all this up with the towel or follow up with a full bath using other cleansing products.  


You should also make sure that you get everything out of their ear canal. Use a cotton ball to dab the opening of their ear. Make sure not to go too deep, as this could hurt them. 


Related: Mastering the Art of Cleaning: How to Wash a Dog Bed Properly

Other Methods of Cleaning

If you don’t have or don’t want to use professional ear-cleaning solutions, you can try other approaches. 


The best of these is to use a wipe. You can use ear-cleaning wipes or even a damp towel to provide some minor cleaning. Simply use these to wipe slightly in and around their ear. This won’t provide the in-depth cleaning that an ear-cleaning product will, but it is still a way to address some issues. 


Don’t forget about your pet’s skin. Soothe your pup’s paws, nose, and elbows with the Relief Healing Pet Balm. They’ll feel much better after the burst of hydration.

A dog getting his ears brushed

Mistakes to Avoid

While cleaning your dog’s ears, make sure you avoid a few common mistakes. 

  • Don’t use hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide can damage your dog’s ears
  • Don’t clean too deep: Going too deep into your dog’s ears is dangerous. Keep to the outside and the area around it when cleaning. 
  • Don’t use cotton tip applicators: Many people use products like Q-tips to clean dog ears and their own ears. However, this is dangerous in both instances because it can push harmful materials deeper into the ear canal. 

Cleaning Dog Ears

You shouldn't forget about cleaning your dog’s ears. Doing so and doing it properly can prevent your dog from developing infections or otherwise being irritated. Following the process listed above is a great way to go about this. 


Related: 4 Ways to Eliminate Pet Odors

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