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How to Clean a Dog's Ears

Updated on October 31, 2016

Pet Ear Care

Dog owners know when their pet is hungry, tired, or has bad breath but how does one know when a dog may have an ear problem?

Dogs depend on us to feed them, take them outside, and keep them clean and healthy. This means everything from bathing dog to trimming their nails. Hopefully you do these things on a regular basis.

When it comes to a dogs ears a problem can arise before we are even aware of it. There are several signs to watch for when it comes to ear diseases in a pet.

  • One of the first things to watch out for is an odor coming from the ear area.
  • Discharge from the ears
  • Rubbing the ears on the carpet or scratching constantly with their paws.
  • Redness or swelling inside the ear flap or ear canal
  • Shaking the head or tilting it to one side.
  • Pain or sensitivity around the ears
  • A dog may become irritable or less playful

Unfortunately this is more common in dogs and veterinarians treat these types of conditions on a regular basis.


Causes for Ear Diseases in Dogs

Some of the common reasons for ear diseases in a dog are:

Food allergies - A dog can have an allergy to something they ate, inhale, or touch. Check with the vet to find out what types of foods and things a pet may be allergic to.

Ear Mites - This is more common in cats than dogs but can still happen. A pet can be so sensitive to a mite that the itching becomes intense. Sometimes to the point where the ear is traumatized. Ear cleaning and medication is typically the route taken in these cases.

Bacteria and Yeast Infections - A number of bacteria and yeasts can cause infections. Sometimes ear cleaning alone does not resolve the problem and antibiotics may be required.

Something may be stuck in a ear such as grass or dirt.

Trauma can occur to the ear from to much scratching or rubbing of the head.

Hypothyroidism can also cause ear problems in a dog.

There are several reasons a dog can have ear problems. Floppy eared dogs seem to have more problems than short eared pups. I deal with my mother's cocker spaniel on a regular basis and discovered what causes his problems are his diet and keeping the ears cleaned and the hair removed from his ear area. The floppy eared dogs ears cut off some of the air to their ear canal which keeps the ears dry. When ears are moist and dark there is more of a chance of getting an ear infection.

How to Clean a Dogs Ears

A dog can become miserable from an ear infection and cleaning a dogs ears on a regular basis is one way to prevent this.

Cleaning a dogs ears is fairly easy and can be done about once a week depending on the dog. In certain cases a vet may suggest cleaning the ears every other day or 3 times a week depending on the situation.

Obtain a good cleaning solution from your vets office or a reliable source that sells dog products. The product should not sting a pets ears so be sure to read the ingredients before making a purchase. There are many products available from cleaning solutions to wipes for dogs.

How to clean the ears:

  • First make sure you dog is calm. Sometimes they are more relaxed after a walk.
  • Have a treat ready or someone to help you keep the dog in place.
  • Fill the dogs ears with a cleaner and massage for 20-30 seconds. (massaging helps loosen the dirt and wax in the ears.)
  • Wipe the ear clean with a cotton ball or wipe. I prefer the cotton squares, you may have to wipe the ears a few times before removing all of the debris.
  • Give the dog a treat or reward them with affection after the cleaning.

By keeping the hair inside your dogs ears clipped it will prevent infections and remain cleaner. Removing the hair will allow more air into the ear and keep the ear canal dry.


If food allergies become a problem with a dogs ears try changing their food. First you will have to identify what they are allergic to most likely with assistance from your vet. Do not neglect any ear problems as it could have a long term effect on a dog such as hearing loss. If you are uncomfortable with the ear cleaning process talk with your vet and seek out dog grooming places that can also assist with cleaning a dogs ears.


Most of the time regular cleaning will prevent a problem from occurring. Prevention is always the best step to eliminating a problem.


How to Clean Your Dogs Ears

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    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Voted up and useful...very good hub. You forgot to add a step to the ear-cleaning solution routine..."message for 20-30 seconds, then your dog will SHAKE HIS HEAD and splatter some of it on you" LOL! At least, that's what my labs do.

    • patdmania profile image

      patdmania 7 years ago from waterford, mi

      Good Hub! I think you just about covered it all. Thanks.

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