Routine cleaning of your pet's ears is a simple way to help prevent painful and costly ear infections.

Many dogs have ears that require regular cleaning. With this simple process cleaning your dog’s ears is easy enough to do at home provided you have the right equipment.

What do I need?

  • Ear cleaner
  • Cotton balls
  • Treats
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Exam Gloves (optional)

What sort of ear cleaner?

There are various types of ear cleaners, but the most important thing is that you only use a good quality dog ear cleaner. Never put olive oil, vinegar, shampoo, or any other substance in a dog’s ear. Also, avoid poking around with cotton buds in the ear, you will only work any wax and debris further in and potentially damage the eardrum.

How to clean your dog or cat's ears

Step-by-Step Process

Firstly if your dog has very red, itchy, inflamed, and painful ears, see your Vet before you start cleaning. It is quite likely your dog has an ear infection, so ear cleaning will not do much good at this point. If your dog has an infection severe enough to damage the eardrum, some ear cleaners can damage the ear further.

Ear cleaning can be a messy job, so find somewhere in the house that is easy to clean and avoid wearing your best Prada for an ear clean.

  1. Give your pet a treat for sitting and show him the ear cleaner.
  2. Gently hold the flap of the ear upright and fill the ear canal with ear cleaner. Direct the tube vertically downwards.
  3. Keep a hold of the ear and move your hand down to where the ear meets the head.
  4. Massage at the base of the ear, aiming to mix the ear cleaner around within the ear canal. You should get a squishing noise if you are doing this correctly.
  5. After you have massaged the ear for 20 seconds, stand back and let go of the ear.
  6. Your dog should now vigorously shake his head.
  7. Use the cotton balls to wipe out the ear canal as well as possible, to remove the debris that is present.
  8. Grab some cotton swabs and use them to swab out the folds at the opening of the ear canal until it looks pretty clean.
  9. Give your dog a treat and repeat with the other ear.

The key with ear cleaning is to use a large amount of ear cleaner. As the ear canals are quite long, the wiping step is not to get all the ear discharge out. The idea is that when you massage, you will be breaking up the discharge lining the inside of the ear canal so that it forms a solution with the ear cleaner. Your pet can then shake the liquid out.

Remember if you see lots of redness, the ears are particularly smelly or they are painful, see your Vet. Your pet most likely has an ear infection and ear cleaning may be too painful and damaging to perform.

Most dogs will come to like ear cleaning, so long as their ears are comfortable. This is the one place that dogs can’t scratch themselves, so most will absolutely love it. With lots of treats and encouragement, ear cleaning can become a part of your regular hygiene routine.