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Dog Ear Cleaning Guide
Dog Ear Cleaning Guide

Dog Ear Cleaning Guide

Good canine hygiene is the foundation of a happy and healthy life for any dog. Canine hygiene is not just about bathing and brushing, there are many other things pet parents should consider.


Ear care for dogs is one of the most important hygiene practices when it comes to canine health. Poor ear care can lead to unwanted infections that can take long to heal. Since dog ears are furry, ear infections are common but can be prevented by prompt ear care. Keep reading to know how you can take care of your dog’s ears and pay attention to common signs of disease that can go unnoticed. 

Signs that your dog’s ears need cleaning

There are hundreds of different dog breeds. Therefore, there are different types of dog ears. Some dog breeds have ears that stick up from the base of their head while some breeds have ears that lay flat on the head or droop. While all types of dog ears bear the risk of infections, droopy or flat ears have a higher chance of developing infections. Since droopy or flat ears don’t receive natural airflow, they tend to accumulate debris, moisture, dirt, and dust which can lead to the build-up of harmful bacteria. 

Dog ears will also have a certain amount of hair and fur growing inside and different breeds will have different types of hair and fur on their body. Breeds with long hair are prone to developing infections easily since the hair growing out of their ears can keep dust, dirt, and grime trapped in the ear canals. Pet parents must get their floof’s ears checked for infections if they spot any of these signs:

  • Odor: Foul odor often accompanied by an unusual colored discharge.
  • Appearance: Red and inflamed ears that are sensitive to touch. Clumps that look like coffee grounds, or black and red/brown clumps can also be a sign of infection. 
  • Behavior: Abnormal shaking of the head is also a sign of infection-driven discomfort. If you notice your dog shaking its head too much or trying to scratch its ears, take it to the vet.

A step-by-step guide to cleaning your dog’s ears

If you’re struggling to clean your dog’s dirty ears at home, especially if it’s your first time, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do so: 

  1. Gather supplies

    Always keep everything handy so the process is quick and easy. Here’s everything that you will need to clean your dog’s ears:

    • Damp cotton wool
    • Ear cleaners (ask your vet to suggest ear cleaners that are designed especially for canine grooming. Do not use products designed for human ears) 
    • Clean towels
    • Your dog’s favorite treats
  2. Comfort your dog

    Cuddle with your dog and make sure that it feels safe and secure. Gently lift its ears or turn its head to get a good look inside its ears. You should also get a friend or family member to help you if your dog does not take grooming sessions well. 

  3. Get rid of excess hair

    If you have a furry dog, make sure to remove any long hair from its ear canal. You can ask your vet how to do so if you have not done this before. Many pet stores have ear-plucking powder and clippers that can help you achieve the desired results.

  4. Check its ears

    Check its ears for any abnormalities. Some ear wax is normal but if you notice severe inflammation, redness, a big amount of ear wax, pus, or bad odor, it’s a sign that you will need professional help. 

  5. Clean the entrance of the ear

    Use damp cotton wool to clean the entrance of your dog’s ear and remove any dirt or wax. 

  6. Use ear wash solution

    If you are using an ear wash solution, pour the solution is your dog’s ears as prescribed. If you are using a bottle, make sure that the tip of the bottle does not touch your dog’s ear. If your floof does not like the solution being poured in, you can soak a cotton ball in the solution and gently apply it to your dog’s ear canal. Once done, massage your floof’s ears and wipe any excess dirt or ear solution.

  7. Reward with treats

    Now that the ear-cleaning process is over and your dog has been such a good sport, reward it with its favorite treats! 

    If handling your dog while ear cleaning is a difficult task for you, take it to a vet or groomer. Regular grooming sessions and vet checkups are anyway recommended to prevent medical problems. 


  • Can you flush a dog’s ear with water?

    Flushing your dog’s dirty ears with water is not advised since it can cause yeast infections. This condition can cause severe itching and discomfort in your dog’s ears. 

  • What is the best natural cleaner to keep your dog’s ears clean?

    Apple cider vinegar is considered to be the best natural cleanser for a dog’s ears, thanks to its natural antifungal and antibacterial properties. However, make sure to consult a vet before turning towards home remedies to clean your dog’s ears.

  • How do you clean an infected dog’s ear?

    If your dog’s ears are infected, it is best to take it to a veterinarian who can treat the infection in the best way possible. 

  • What can I use to clean my dog’s dirty ears at home?

    Use damp wool cotton to clean your dog’s ears at home. You can also use rubbing alcohol to dry its ears followed by a veterinarian-prescribed ear wash solution. 

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