Cleaning your Dog’s Ears

Cleaning your Dog’s Ears

Updated on 10/6/15, Originally posted on 4/28/12

Ear canal free of hair after photo

Photo of a dog after the hair was removed from the ear canal

Weekly Bible Verse: Genesis 2:19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

It’s important to check your dog’s ears regularly and clean them when they become dirty.  There are a lot of dog ear cleaning products available in stores (most of them are liquids).  Before using an ear cleaner, read the label to see how much to use.  After the product is in your dog’s ear canal gently massage the ear.  Next, allow your dog to shake its head because this will cause the discharge in the dog’s ear canal to loosen and come out.  You will need to wipe the dirt from the ear.  Be careful when wiping the dog’s ear; do not wipe too deep into the ear.  If your dog’s ears have a lot of build-up you should take him/her to the vet.  This could be an indication of an infection.  If you try cleaning a very dirty ear and wipe too deeply, you will actually pack the muck into the ear canal making the infection worse (not to mention causing more pain to the dog).  You should NOT use Q-tips in your dog’s ears because it can easily injure them or pack the discharge in deeper.

Floppy Ears & Ears Standing Erect


Floppy Ears: Air circulation is also important to keep your dogs ears healthy.  Dogs with floppy ears, often have the most ear problems because they don’t get as much air circulation.  It’s especially important to pluck out any hair inside a dog’s ear canal.  The Poodle, Bichon Frise, and a few other breeds grow hair inside their ears; dogs mixed with these breeds will often have hair in their ears as well. Pluck the hair using dog ear powder, you can find this at most pet stores. The ear powder will help your fingers grip the hair.  Only professional groomers and the vet should use hemostats to pluck the hair (hemostats can easily injure a dog by going too far in the ear and or pinching the dog’s ear).  Removing the hair inside your dog’s ears will allow for better air circulation.  Also having your groomer remove the hair in front of a dogs ear a 1/2 inch to 1 inch, using clippers, will allow for even more air flow.  You do not attempt to use clippers on your dog as you can very easily accidentally cut the dog severely with the slights wrong move (leave the clipping to a professional).

Erect Ears: Dogs with ears that stand erect get plenty of air circulation but they also have their own problems.  Straight standing ears often collect dirt and sometimes other debris when it is windy outside or if the dog is running through tall weeds.  If it’s very windy outside make sure your dog has shelter and you may want to bring them inside.  If your dog is out walking though tall weeds check the ears right away after the dog is out of the weeds.

Ear canal full of hair before photo Ear canal free of hair after photo

Whether your dog has straight or floppy ears never get water into the ears.  Moisture can cause an ear infections in dirty ears.  A dark, damp, dirty place is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria!  After a dog has a bath, an ear cleaner should be used.  Some ear cleaners will help to not only clean the ear, but will also help dry up the ear canal in case any water did get into the ears.  If your dog’s ears have a lot of build-up and or smell you should take him/her to the vet.   A healthy ear should look clean and smooth with little or no ear wax build-up or dirt, and it should NOT have any bad odor.  Checking your dog’s ears weekly will help you monitor the ears and you will be able to catch problems early on.  Seeking a vet’s help early, with ear problems, will help your dog recover faster and suffer less.  Also if your dog should ever get a fox tail in the ear canal, seeking help sooner rather than later can mean the difference of an expensive surgery, or just a quick visit at the vet’s to have them pull it out.  You may not be able to see if your dog has a fox tail in the ear, only a vet can help you.  Anytime your dog is shaking their head, if the ear is dirty, if the ear is red, or if the ear smells, take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.  Remember check your dog’s ears often, keep them clean and it will save you time and money later.

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