When it comes to the overall health and wellbeing of our dogs, their ears seem like only a tiny part. However, although they may be small, they’re still extremely important! Ear cleaning should be a regular part of your dog grooming routine as it is a great way to keep them clear and healthy to prevent any potential problems and issues. But what if you’re finding yourself asking ‘how to clean dog ears’? Here is all you need to know about keeping your dog’s ears spick and span.
Why do I need to clean my dog’s ears?
Have you ever had an issue with your hearing as a result of dirty or blocked ears? Well, this can also happen to your dog! Dog ear wax can build up in the same way as with people, in addition to other substances that can block the ear canal such as dirt and debris. Unlike humans, however, dogs like to roll around outside and stick their head into all sorts of things. While this is just their natural curiosity and way to play, it can result in their ears getting pretty dirty! Additionally, depending on the breed, many dogs have ‘floppy’ ears where lots of fur can grow. If there is too much hair building up inside the ear, it can cause infections and other issues, so keeping their ears well groomed and clean is paramount.
Checking your dog’s ears
The first, and a very important, step to ear cleaning is to check them! This may seem obvious but it can tell a lot about the health of their ears and also what sort of cleaning they require. Begin by looking at the outsides of their ears for things like dirt, scratches, cuts and bald patches. Sometimes issues on the outside of the ear, such as a scratch, can heal itself and isn’t much to worry about, however, an issue such as bleeding could mean something more serious and require more than just ear cleaning. In addition, if you find parasites, such as ear mites, then you can’t just clean them away and will need a specific pest killer.
After checking the outsides, carefully look at the inside of their ear. Try not to poke around too much as this may cause damage, but simply take a look. Dog ear wax will be common, but if there seems to be an excessive amount or you see swelling then there could be a further issue. Also give them a quick sniff as a foul odour suggests a yeast infection. Dog itchy ears are also a big telltale sign of an issue such as an infection. If you notice any sort of issue rather than them just being a bit dirty or messy then you should consult a vet instead of simply just cleaning.
How to clean dog ears
If you don’t see any serious issues except maybe some dog ear wax, then you can start cleaning! Begin by making sure you have everything you need to hand - once you start you don’t want to have to stop to go and get something! This will include cotton wool, warm water, tissues and treats. You’ll also need your ally in cleaning - a natural dog ear cleaner! Once you’re then ready, you can begin cleaning their ears:
- Make sure your dog is feeling happy, calm and relaxed and that they are in a comfortable position where they won’t move around too much.
- If there is any dirt on the outside of their ear or on the fur surrounding it, gently wipe it away using warm water and a cotton ball.
- To clean the inside of their ears, place the number of drops as instructed by your dog ear cleaner into their ear. Gently massage the base of the ear to dislodge dirt and wax.
- Remove any excess ear cleaning solution as well as dirt with some damp cotton wool. Your dog may want to shake their head to get rid of anything left.
- Don’t forget to finish on a positive note by rewarding them with strokes, praise and some yummy treats!
Why use a dog ear cleaner?
When it comes to looking after the health and wellbeing of your pooch’s ears, a dog ear cleaner can be your saviour product! If you’re one of the people that think they’re not needed and that water is fine, then you need to change your tune! Firstly water can’t always dissolve any stubborn dog ear wax, plus after use, it just sits in their ear canal. This creates the ideal conditions for unwanted yeast to grow, leading to an infection. Specific
dog ear cleaners, on the other hand, are specially formulated to wash out wax and dirt in their ears and then dry to leave the ears clear. So now you know why you should use one, how do you choose?
The key thing to look out for when choosing your dog ear cleaner is the ingredients. Avoid chemical-ridden products at all cost as these can dry out the skin and cause irritation. Instead, go for one that is natural as well as non-toxic and non-irritating in order to give your pooch the best. When looking at natural dog ear cleaners, be selective with the ingredients. You want it to include ingredients such as witch hazel and tea tree oil that can help protect from bacteria and fungus, like echinacea that can help their natural immunity and finally like aloe vera that is naturally soothing and gentle on the delicate skin in the ears. In addition to checking the ingredients, make sure you only use a cleaner that is specifically for dogs. There are ear drops around that are for humans, but these have different formulations that may not be suitable for your four-legged friend.
Can I clean my puppy’s ears?
Of course you can! Whilst puppy ears can be more delicate, they can still get dirty and need a clean. Compared to an adult dog, cleaning a puppy’s ears may require more patience and attention but can still be a vital part of their grooming routine. It is also a good idea to start adding ear cleaning into their routine from a young age so that they can get used to the process and the smell of the dog ear cleaner to find it easier as they get older.
How often should I clean my dog’s ears?
The same as with your grooming routine, you should be checking your dog’s ears regularly. Ideally, you should check them on a weekly basis for any abnormalities or issues. Actually cleaning their ears, however, will depend on what you see when checking as well as your dog themselves. For some breeds, especially those with long hair, they may require cleaning more often, but for others just as and when needed. In general, it is beneficial to clean their ears regularly as a preventative measure to reduce the build-up of stubborn dog ear wax and keep their ears clear and healthy to reduce the risk of bacterial infections and other ear problems.
Dog ear cleaning tips
Becoming a pro at cleaning your dog’s ears simply takes time and practice and developing the right method that works for you and your pooch. If you’re a first-timer or would like some advice on how to get even better, here are some additional handy tips to help you get the best out of cleaning your dog’s ears and make it as easy and straightforward as possible for the both of you:
Does your dog not like staying still when you’re trying to clean their ears? Try wrapping a blanket around them and getting them in a comfortable position. Just make sure it’s not wrapped too tight and that they’re not feeling distressed as a result!
Get some help
If the blanket technique wouldn’t work for your dog, a second person could be extremely helpful. They can carefully hold them so that you can focus on getting the dog ear cleaner solution into their ear instead of all over your hands!
Never use a cotton bud
If you feel tempted to use a cotton bud or stick to get wax out of their ears - don’t! These can end up pushing the wax further into their ear canal where it’s not meant to be and cause unseen damage.
Keep lots of treats on hand at all times. This is especially useful for those pooches that need a bit of encouragement to keep still and get them motivated to be good!
Patience is pawfect
Have patience! Dog’s don’t understand what you are doing and that you are just trying to help, so as a result won’t want to sit there and wait. Use soothing words, give them treats and be as gentle and concise as you can to make it as easy an experience as possible for both you and your dog!