Ear infection in dogs is one of the most frustrating things dog owners have to deal with.
Not only are they quite common, but they also tend to always come back, again and again, and it’s really annoying.
The fact that dog ear infections are common is not something you can change, but the reality of them coming back may have something to do with you. More specifically, with how you choose to treat these infections.
Antibiotics work, of course, but, unfortunately, they only work on the short term, while what your dog needs is something that will work on the long term.
So, learning how to clean a dog’s ears in the most effective way becomes one of your duties as a dog parent, but don’t worry, we can help you with that.
Don’t forget to also learn about the Easiest way for Trimming your Dog’s nails – after you finish reading this one, of course.
Dog Ear Infection Symptoms
You should take a look at your dog’s ears once every week at least to look for signs of dirt, parasites, infections, and irritations. It will only take you a minute or two but these at-home examinations can help you identify any small issues before they turn into large and painful health problems.
What should you do? Simply look inside each of your dog’s ears and look for any signs of:
- Waxy build up
If you see any of these, your dog’s ears need to be cleaned. However, if you notice any of the following, then your dog, most likely, has an ear infection:
- Swelling or Inflammation – the dog’s ears are hot to the touch
- Bad Odor
- The dog is noticeably in pain when you touch their ears
- Off-color discharge
Let me be very clear here; if your dog’s ears are infected, then you should definitely take them to the vet. A dog’s ear infection can be very painful for the dog, and they can even lead to permanent damage if they’re not treated properly.
Preparing to Clean your Dog’s Ears
Before you actually jump right into it, we need to agree on a few things and you need to make a few preparations. Let’s start by answering a couple of important questions.
Where should you clean your dog’s ears?
The best place to clean your dog’s ears is in the tub or outside the house. If you are going to do it in the tub, it’s preferable to do it right before you give them a bath.
However, you should be careful because it is likely your dog will want to shake their head, and if they do, this debris and dirt will fly away and land on you and your surroundings.
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How to inspect your dog’s ears?
Before you start cleaning your dog’s ears, life their ears and check for excess hair, dirt, or debris.
What do if there’s extra hair in the dog’s ears?
If there’s extra hair in your dog’s ear canal, you may want to pluck them. You can use tweezers or your fingers to do that. You can also find special ear powder that gives you a grip on the hair.
If you’re worried about plucking your dog’s ears and think it might hurt them, then don’t. Causing pain to your dog is not something you should risk.
What will I need to clean my pooch’s ears?
You will need some or all of the following items:
- Dog Ear Cleaning Solution
- A clean dry towel (or two)
- Cotton balls, pads, or gauze squares
- Cotton-tipped applicators
- Tweezers or hemostats for dogs with too much hair in their ear canal
How to Clean a Dog's Ears in 7 Steps
Add the ear cleaner
Start by holding up the flap and squirt a few drops of the ear cleaner on the inside of the flap and near the ear opening, then gently place the tip of the bottle into the ear, but be careful to not put it too deeply. As a rule of thumb here, you should place the tip somewhere no further than you can see.
Then gently squeeze the bottle. Don’t squeeze it too much.
Massage their ear
Once you add the ear cleaner, your dog will fear weird and will want to shake their head. What you should do instead is to begin massaging the base of their ear. The base of their ear is the bottom p[art near their jaw where you can feel the cartilage.
While massaging, you should hear a smacking sound.
Why do you massage the ear? To help the cleaner fill in the ridges in the canal, and by doing so it loosens the debris.
Massage their ears for a few seconds and then let go. Your dog will shake their head, that’s alright, just make sure to either turn away or hold up a towel for this part, unless you want to be covered in whatever is in their ear.
Wipe the ear Canal
Once your dog has shaken their head, moisten cotton or gauze lightly with the ear cleaner and use it with your fingers to wipe out the ear canal.
When you put your finger in the ear canal, you can put it as far as it will go without you feeling like you’re forcing it. Needless to say, you should stop immediately if your dog shows any visible signs of pain.
- Important Note: NEVER put the cotton-tipped applicators into the ear any further than you can see, you might damage their eardrum.
Repeat if the ear is still dirty
If your dog’s ear still seems dirty, you can repeat the process. Be careful not to repeat it too many times otherwise your dog’s ears may begin to bleed.
Clean the Other ear
Congratulations, you are done with the first ear. Now, it’s time to move on to the next one. Repeat all the steps in the same way.
Wipe away any debris
Once done, you may see some visible debris, wipe those away as well.
Treats, of course
Once done drying your dog’s head off, offer them treats as rewards for being awesome during the process. Also, give them plenty of praise, you’re probably going to give them a bath or continue grooming them anyway, so why not keep them happy during the whole thing.
As you can see, cleaning your dog’s ears is not that hard, and you can do it at home easily.
As a dog owner, it’s crucial to know what do in case of emergencies, so why don’t you take a minute to learn what to do if your dog’s nails are bleeding to treat the broken dog nails the right way.
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Well, that’s it! Now you know how to clean your dog’s ears. You go off now and be the awesome pet parent you were meant to be, and I will go play with my pooch outside, probably.