How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
If the thought of cleaning your dog’s ears makes you nervous, taking him to the vet or groomer is always an option. You could also ask a veterinary technician for an ear cleaning demonstration to help you feel more comfortable but cleaning your dog’s ears at home is easy to do if you have the right supplies and techniques.
Exactly how often you clean the ears depends on your dog. We recommend a light cleaning every 1 to 2 weeks or after swimming/bathing.
- To get started, you will need cotton balls or gauze and a vet-approved ear cleaner. You can buy ear cleaners from your vet, at pet-supply stores or online. Just be sure to check with your veterinarian before using any product to ensure it’s gentle and safe for your pet.
- To clean the ears, squeeze a little bit of ear cleaner into the ear and let it drip down into the ear canal. Gently massage the base of the ear to suds up the cleaner. This helps break down wax and debris. Let your dog shake his head (you can lightly drape his head with a towel to keep the cleaner and debris from flying all over).
- Gently wipe the outer ear flap and inside the ear with a cotton ball or soft cloth. Do not clean ears more than one-half inch into the ear canal. You can use Q-tip to clean the area around the ear flap but DO NOT use Q-tips down in the ear canal! Repeat the cotton ball wiping until your cotton balls come back clean. A quality pet ear cleaner will contain drying agents, so any small amount of cleaner left inside the ear will dry on its own.
- Observe the condition of your dog’s ear beyond the cleaning limit and report any potential problem or concerns. It’s entirely possible to find a foreign matter, discharge, heavy wax buildup, Hematoma (swelling of ear flap) or even a melanoma (tumor). Discontinue further cleaning if you uncover any serious ear problem, and seek veterinary care.