Basset Hound Ear Cleaning
Those Big Beautiful Basset Ears!
Basset Hound Ears are big, soft, and droopy which helps to make them so unique and lovable. But if not cleaned regularly they can become a major source of odor due to a buildup of earwax. This can cause irritation and can develop into ear infections, and a breeding ground for ear mites. This can all lead to damage to your dogs ears. This lens is all about Basset Hound ear cleaning so you can keep your Basset's ears healthy, and you and your dog happy!
Dog Ear Anatomy
Alright people! Everyone who loved biology in high school will enjoy this section! I could get more technical in this explanation but this is enough for what we are doing here.
To properly clean a Basset Hounds ears we need to know a little of the anatomy of a Basset ear. It is made up of the following parts, as in the diagram:
- the outer ear is the part that you see and is covered with hair. (obviously this is much larger on a Basset than shown in this diagram!)
- inside is the ear canal which is an L - shaped tube.
- this leads to the eardrum which separates the outer ear from the middle ear. It is very thin and easily damaged by excessive cleaning.
- beyond that is the inner ear which is involved in your dog's hearing and balance. It contains nerves which connect to the brain.
The Healthy Ear
Before we know how to clean a Bassets ear it is probably helpful to know what we are trying to accomplish. Here is a picture of a healthy dog's ear...
The inside of the ear should be a healthy pink colour. There may be some brownish colored wax seen deeper in the ear.
The degree of convolutions in your Basset's ear will depend on your dog and will determine how often they need cleaning.
One of our Bassets had smaller ears and the inside looked like a labyrinth from which nothing could escape. Her ears required constant attention.(ie: cleaning twice a week!) Our other Basset had much larger ears and the insides had relatively few twists and turns. Her ears therefore, did not accumulate nearly as much debris and only required cleaning every 4 weeks or so.
In healthy ears there should be little or no odour and no discharge of any kind.
So next time you are buying a Basset you might want to take a closer look at those mudflaps!
The Not So Healthy Basset Hound Ear
If you notice any of the following with your dog than it's probably long overdue for an ear cleaning...
- Odour from the ears.
- Any kind of discharge from the ears.
- excessive ear scratching.
- Shakes their head and/or rubs it on the floor.
The outside of the ear may have hair missing if there has been a lot of rubbing or scratching. It may also feel warm to the touch.
The inside of the ear may look red and irritated. You may see accumulation of a brownish-black substance possibly accompanied by some discharge.
Any of these may indicate that your dog is suffering from an ear infection and/or ear mites and requires immediate attention.
If you think that your Basset's ears are possibly infected it is probably best to take them to your Vet for a diagnosis and treatment.
The Cleaning Part - What Do I Need?
To do a good job of cleaning your Basset Hound's ears you will need a few supplies...
- An assistant is extremely helpful in holding your dog while you do the cleaning. You can do it yourself but it will depend on how cooperative your dog is. Most Bassets do not enjoy ear cleaning but will not put up too much of a fight either. Again it may depend on your particular dog. I would recommend two people as it is easier to do a good job and reduces the likelihood of hurting your Basset.
You will also need the following:
- A good quality ear cleaning solution. I recommend using Healthy Ears Ear Cleanser. It contains a combination of gentle ingredients that aid in the removal of dirt, wax and other unwanted matter from your dogs ears. It is veterinarian formulated, contains Aloe Vera and is designed to help prevent ear infections in your dog. If you are interested in this cleanser you can purchase it at the bottom of this page.
- Caution! Do not use "homemade ear cleaning recipes" on your dog. These can often be more harmful than helpful. If you insist on using something like that please consult with your Vet first, as your dog's ears are sensitive and could be damaged by the use of some of these substances.
- cotton balls to wipe the inside of the ear with. A soft washcloth moistened with ear cleanser is also helpful, but you may not want to keep it after the procedure!
- Cotton tipped sticks (ie: Q-Tips).
- Tweezers are handy for plucking out excessive hair around the start of the ear canal. This is not usually the case in Bassets, but yours may be an exception!
- Dog treats! A few treats offered during the cleaning will distract pretty much any Basset!
Ear Clean Gold is an oil formulated for cleaning dog and cat ears comfortably and naturally.
Use for regular maintenance and as treatment for ear mites.
Okay..I'm Ready! Let's Get Started!
We find that cleaning is easiest when done on the floor but you can also do it on a table. Make sure that the surfaces are easily cleanable and you are not wearing your Sunday best, as it can be messy at times!
- Restrain your pet- If you are doing this on your own, first get your dog to lay down. Position yourself on the opposite side of the ear you are going to clean. Hold the ear cleanser in your right hand and use your left arm to keep your dogs head restrained.
If you have help then your assistant can restrain your dog. If you think that your dog would bite during this procedure than a muzzle may be needed. However I have never met a Basset that would bite their owner under any circumstances!
This is probably a good time to start with those treats!
- Applying the ear cleanser- Once your dog is relatively still, lift the ear flap and gently put a few squirts of cleanser into the ear making sure to get some down into the ear canal.
DO NOT squirt forcefully down the ear canal as you could damage the eardrum!
At this point your dog may try to shake it's head. That's okay, it will help loosen the ear debris. But be warned, it could be messy!
- Massage- Put the ear flap back down and start massaging the cleanser into the ear especially at the base. Our Bassets seemed to like this part and would start making grunting sounds!
- Cotton balls- Lift the ear flap again and use the cotton balls to gently wipe out the debris that has been loosened by the cleanser. You can put some cleanser on the cotton ball to make it easier. Use as many as you need to get things looking pink again, but be gentle!
- Use Q-tips -When you think you've done all you can with the cotton balls you can now use the Q-tips.
-*CAUTION!*- DO NOT stick a Q-tip down into the ear canal as you can push wax into the canal or worse yet, damage the eardrum!
Use the Q-tip to clean the areas that you can see and reach easily inside the ear.
THAT'S IT! YOU'RE done!
Your Basset will probably shake their head for a little while afterwards which will help loosen any wax that was left behind. You may want to let them outside for that!
If your dog's ears seem pink and healthy in the days following the cleaning then it is just a matter of keeping up with a regular ear cleaning routine.
On the other hand if your Basset Hound is still having problems with shaking the head, scratching, inflammation, etc. Take your pet to the Veterinarian so they can determine if there is an infection or ear mites that require medication.