Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Hot Spots
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Weight Management
See All A-Z
Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Hot Spots
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Weight Management
See All A-Z
Breath Fresheners
Chews & Treats
Rinses & Water Additives
Toothpaste & Toothbrushes
Ear Cleansers
Ear Infection Remedies
Ear Mite Treatments
Antibiotic Anti-Infective
Artificial Tears & Lubricants
Eye Inflammation
Tear Stain Removers
Flea & Tick Prevention
Heartworm & Flea Control
Home & Yard Treatments
Immediate Relief
Oral Flea Treatments
Tick & Flea Collars
Canned Pet Food
Dry Pet Food
Raw Pet Food
Adult Pet Food
Glucose Balance
Digestive Health & Support
Grain Free
Joint Support
Kitten Food
Puppy Food
Senior Pet Food
Skin Support
Small Breed Dog Food
Weight Loss & Management
Pet Food Storage
Joint Pain
Joint Supplements
Lifting Harness
Orthopedic Beds
Steps & Ramps for Mobility
Allergy Relief
Compound Medications
Cough Relief
Digestive Health & Enzymes
High Blood Pressure
Hormonal Endocrine
Insulin & Glucose Balance
Motion Sickness & Nausea
Seizure Disorder
Urinary Tract & Kidneys
Bowls & Elevated Feeders
Car Seats & Pet Carriers
Cat Litter
Cesar Millan Training Aids
Crates & Kennels
Drinking Fountains
First Aid
Furniture Protectors
Grooming Tools
Leashes & Harnesses
Outdoor Cat Pens
Pet Cams & Monitoring Systems
Pet Food Storage
Stain Removers
Steps & Ramps
Training Aids
Wireless Dog Fences
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Fly Control
Grooming Tools
Hairball Remedies
Itch Relief
Ringworm Treatments
Shedding Control
Skin Care Supplements
Skin Medications
Digestive Enzymes
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Liver Support
Senior Support
Whole Food Supplements
Ear Health Info
Ear Health Blog Topics
PetMeds Vet Blog with Dr. Dym Dr. Michael Dym
Holistic & Conventional Veterinarian
"Over 19 years of caring for the well-being of pets"
Visit his Ask the Vet blog.
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Flushing Your Pet's Ears


Why Do Pets' Ears Need to Be Flushed?

The ear is meant to be self-cleaning, but in some pets this system is ineffective. It may be ineffective because your pet has more secreting apocrine glands than normal, or because infection has made your pet's sloughing or shedding mechanisms ineffective. The skin or epithelial cells inside the ear are like those on the rest of the body—they are replaced every couple of weeks. As the cells are sloughed inside the ear, they move outward toward the entrance of the canal carrying debris with them. If the canal is full of heavy debris, the sloughing cells can't move toward the outer canal. If the ear is narrowed because of chronic inflammation, the sloughing mechanism is also hampered.

Sometimes it is the size of the pets' ears and ear flaps. A heavy ear flap can make it hard for the pet's ear to breathe, keeping the canal damp and sometimes causing a yeasty effect and smell. Cocker Spaniels are a good example of this.

If your pet has excess cerumen (earwax) and debris in their ears, they may need your help to flush the ears clean. Flushing ear wax removes debris, allows medication to contact the skin, and allows visualization of the eardrum (tympanum).

Dog breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, and Basset Hounds are at an increased risk of developing ear infections. Routine ear cleaning can help decrease the occurrence of ear infections.

Dog Breeds Predisposed to Ear Problems

American Staffordshire Terrier Australian Cattle Dog
Basset Hound Bullmastiff
Canaan Dog Collie
Dachshund Fox Terrier
German Shepherd Great Dane
Italian Greyhound King Charles Spaniel
Pomeranian Puli
Samoyed Schipperke
Sheltie Siberian Husky
Vizsla Welsh Corgi

How to Flush Your Dog's or Cat's Ears

Ear flushing is not a whirlpool activity; flushing is gentle filling and emptying of the ear with a cleaning solution, and you should undertake it only with your veterinarian's approval. Use solutions that are at room temperature.

Using a Regular or Bulb Syringe

The syringe tip should not touch the skin.

Practice with the bulb syringe so that you squeeze so gently it does not whistle. That is the right amount of suction to use.

Which Medications to Use

Choosing a flushing or ear cleansing medication depends upon:

  • What you want to accomplish—inhibiting yeast, inhibiting bacteria or removing moisture
  • Whether the eardrum is intact

If the eardrum is not intact, your veterinarian will recommend products that contain: colloidal silver benzoic acid, malic acid, salicylic acid or povidone iodine because they do not damage the inner ear.

If your pet has Malassezia, a yeast infection, your veterinarian will recommend an antifungal. If the problem is with bacteria, the veterinarian will recommend an antibiotic that controls either gram-positive staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria, or an antibiotic that controls gram-negative bacteria, such as pseudomonas and E. coli.

For moist ear infections, an ear solution or suspension is preferable to an ointment, cream or powder. For a dry ear infection, use an ointment or cream.



How Often Should You Flush Your Pet's Ears?

Your veterinarian will tell you how often your pet's ears should be flushed. The usual veterinary recommendation is once daily for 7-10 days, then weekly. One clue that flush has been effective and the frequency can be reduced is that the material wiped from the canal decreases to nothing or a small amount that is fairly white.

Do Not Flush Your Pet's Ears Too Often

If your pet's ears are filling up so that they need to be flushed frequently, check with your veterinarian. Your pet may have allergies, and removing the offending allergen may be the best way to ease your pet's ear problems.

Flushing removes the helpful immunoglobulins, IgA, IgG, and IgM designed by nature to control bacteria and yeast. Use ear medications only as directed by your veterinarian.

Can Ear Flushing Lead to Deafness?

If flushing introduces fluids to the middle ear, your pet may be deaf for 7-10 days until the fluid is absorbed.

Gentle Approach to Ear Flushing

Rubbing or massaging the ear to distribute medication can damage the 7th and 8th cranial nerves; and your pet can become deaf, ataxic, and lose its balance. Handle gently.

Help / Customer Service
My Account
PetMeds® Sites
PetMeds® Programs
Our 100% Guarantee
About Us
Contact Us
PetMeds® Help
Privacy Policy
Printable Order Form
Site Map
Vet Directory
Request a Catalog

Email Preferences
Easy refill
Track my order
My Account Page
My pet has passed away
PetMeds® Blog
PetHealth 101®
PetMeds® Charitable Causes
1-800-PetMeds® Careers
PetMeds® Investor Relations
pet meds
Pet Meds Photos
Pet Meds News
Pet Health Articles
Affiliate Program
Shelter & Rescue Program
Join our Social Network
    PetMeds® on Facebook
    PetMeds® on Twitter
    PetMeds® on YouTube
    PetMeds® Google+
    PetMeds® LinkedIn
    PetMeds® on Instagram
Copyright © 2014 PetMed Express, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Vet-VIPPSVETERINARY-VERIFIED INTERNET PHARMACY PRACTICE SITES(CM) Online Veterinary Pharmacy Services has earned Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(CM) (Vet-VIPPS(CM)) accreditation through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®).
Verisign Secured Click for the BBB Business Review of this Pharmacies in Pompano Beach FL
Live Chat Share Website Feedback