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PetMeds Vet Blog with Dr. Dym Dr. Michael Dym
Holistic & Conventional Veterinarian
"Over 19 years of caring for the well-being of pets"
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How to Clean Your Dog's Ears


Dogs require regular ear care in order to prevent infections and maintain good health. Unfortunately, dogs are highly prone to ear infections caused by mites, bacteria, or yeast buildup. This is due to the curved shape of a dog's inner ear that can trap large amounts of debris and make removal difficult. Furthermore, allergies can make dogs even more vulnerable to ear problems. Fortunately, with patience and practice, it is not difficult to keep your dog's ears clean. The best time to clean your dog's ears is when he or she is calm, tired, resting, or after a walk. Don't attempt to clean your dog's ears when he or she is in a playful mood or before exercise. Below are several simple guidelines to help you through the process of cleaning your dog's ears.

Routine ear cleanings help prevent ear wax buildup and infections in your dog's ears.

Develop an Ear Cleaning Routine

Many dogs naturally dislike having their ears touched. By beginning the inspection and cleaning process at a very young age, your dog will soon become accustomed to the task. Schedule your dog's ear cleanings on a weekly basis. Regular check-ups help ensure problems are caught in the early stages. Routine cleanings also improve air circulation, which is especially important for dogs with large, floppy ears.


Clean Your Dog's Ears

To help make the ear cleaning process more comfortable for your dog, hold the bottle of ear cleaning solution between your hands for a couple of minutes to warm the solution. Shake well. Squeeze the solution into the ear canal, and gently massage the ear base using your thumb and forefinger. Continue this motion for 20 to 25 seconds.


Remove Wax and Debris

Any remaining debris can now be removed using a cotton ball. Remember not to stick the cotton ball too far down the canal, as this could lead to irritation or more severe infection. In addition, trimming your dog's ear hair can prevent future debris buildup.


Inspect Your Dog's Ears for Signs of Infection

For a better view of the ear canal, carefully pull the ear flap upward. This will help straighten out the canal and increase visibility. You should look for any ear discharge, swelling, redness, or any hair loss. These symptoms, as well as an strange odors, are all indications of an ear infection. Furthermore, if your dog has dark ear wax that resembles the look of coffee grounds, it's highly likely your dog has contracted ear mites.


Reward Your Dog

Reward your dog after each cleaning to help him or her associate the process with a positive experience. Your dog will be less resistant, which will make the cleaning routine less daunting. Don't practice ear care after nail clipping or bath times, as your dog may already be agitated from these activities. If you follow these tips and tricks, ear care for your dog should become easier.


Max's Tip: Most dogs develop ear infections after bathing or swimming. To reduce moisture, consider placing cotton balls inside your dog's ears before any water activities.  

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