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How to Clean My Dog’s Ears at Home

Cleaning your dog’s ears is often new territory for pet parents, and the thought of it can seem fairly overwhelming. The world of dog ears is hardly a simple one, and not something that you should jump into without any prior knowledge. But fear not, today we’re going to discuss whether you need to clean your dog’s ears, and how to do it safely and effectively. Let’s get started. 

Do You Need to Clean Your Dog’s Ears?

Before we start talking about cleaning products and safety measures, it’s important to get one thing straight. Not all dogs need their ears cleaned. Breeds with droopy ears such as Beagles, Basset Hounds and Spaniels will need their ears cleaning more. This is due to the shape of their ears, which causes debris and moisture to become trapped and more dirt to accumulate. 

Some dogs may also have more hair in their ears than others, which can also be a factor in whether they need their ears cleaning. Before you start, it’s vital to check whether your specific type of dog needs ear cleaning. 

Your dog’s lifestyle can also have an impact on whether their ears need cleaning. For instance, if your dog likes to swim or splash about in water quite often, their ears may be more prone to infection. This means they will need to be cleaned more often than a dog who spends its time on dry land. 

Of course, medical conditions may also warrant cleaning your dog’s ears a little more. But the best thing to do is to simply ask your vet whether your dog should have their ears cleaned. It may be a breed standard thing to do, but every dog is different. 

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears at Home

Cleaning your dog’s ears at home may seem quite a difficult and daunting task, although this isn’t the case. Typically, you won’t need many tools, and you’ll likely be reaching for common household objects such as cotton pads and tissue alongside your chosen cleaning product. As always, talking to your vet will help to make sure you are using an ear cleaner that is suitable for your dog. 

Over-the-counter ear cleaners for your dog:

There are a vast range of ear cleaners available across the pet market, whether it be in store or online. Most ear cleaners are similar in their ingredients, all of which help to dry out the ear canals, kill bacteria and yeast, and break up the build-up of wax in your dog’s ear canal. Although when choosing a suitable over-the-counter ear cleaner, make sure to avoid products such as witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol as these ingredients are not gentle on your dog’s ear and skin, and may cause irritation!

Virbac’s Epi-Otic advanced ear cleaner is recommended by Collins.

Vet prescribed ear cleaners for your dog:

If your vet feels it necessary, they may prescribe or otherwise recommend ear cleaners that they often sell at their clinic. In cases such as this, your vet will ensure they are choosing the most suitable option to avoid any irritation to your dog and will also instruct you on how to apply and use these ear cleaners. 

Alongside this, if your dog has sensitive ears caused by pain and tends to resist at-home ear cleanings, your vet may advise to do the ear-cleaning at their clinic so they can administer a sedative to keep your dog calm. Contrarily, many dogs are okay with their owners cleaning their ears between vet visits, especially if they don’t have any issues such as infection. As with all things related to dog grooming, it entirely depends on your pet.

How Often Should I Clean My Dog’s Ears?

This entirely depends on your dog. Their lifestyle, breed and other factors can determine how often you should clean your dog’s ears. Always make sure you check their ears as often as you can, or whenever you bathe them. If the outer ear flap (called the pinna) looks dirty, it may be worth a quick wipe with an approved cleaning solution. However, we recommend lifting the pinna to determine whether the inner ear also needs a clean. Essentially, as long you check regularly, there are no specific rules on when your dog’s ears should be cleaned. 

Final Notes

You may now find that ear cleaning does not actually seem as daunting as you initially thought. We hope so! Keeping your dog’s ears healthy and clean can just become a part of your at-home bath routine between grooms. 

At-home cleanings are a great way to support your dog’s ear health, although if there is any sign of infection, make sure you consult your vet. They are better placed than we are to examine your dog’s ears and decide the best course of action for your dog.

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