How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears

You should clean your dog’s ears regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and possible ear infections. It’s not a difficult job when you use an ear cleaning product from your local pet store or simple household products found in your home.

If your dog has floppy ears, wax and oil will build up inside the ears. If the ears are not cleaned regularly, bacteria and yeast also accumulate, leading to ear infections. An ear infection can be painful for your dog. You’ll know when your dog’s ears are in need of cleaning because it will start rubbing its head on your rug or floor to relieve the itch or pain. A dog’s ears should be cleaned at least once a month or more frequently if your dog is prone to heavy ear secretions.

Never use peroxide or any household product meant for cleaning surfaces in your home as they can cause pain or damage to your dog’s ear.

The best way to clean your dog’s ears is to use cotton balls or Q-Tip swabs soaked in an ear cleaner purchased from the pet store. Wipe away the oil and waxy buildup in your pet’s ear, taking care not to clean in any area you can’t easily see so you don’t damage your dog’s ear drum. Let your dog shake off any excess moisture after cleaning. This helps prevent bacteria from growing in the damp areas of the ear canal.

Some dogs suffer from chronic ear infections and require a more thorough cleaning. To do this, pour a small amount of the ear cleaner in your dog’s ears, doing one ear at a time, then rub the base of each ear for 30 to 60 seconds. Your dog will then shake out the excess moisture and you can use a cotton ball or swab to clean the parts of the ear you can see.

If your dog doesn’t like to have its ears cleaned you should use treats as a reward for allowing you to clean its ears.

Ear cleaners purchased from a pet store are designed to be safe and gentle on your pet’s ears. If you want to save money or would feel more comfortable knowing exactly what you were putting in your dog’s ears, you can make your own ear cleaner. Use a mild soap and water or rubbing alcohol to clean the visible parts of your dog’s ears, being careful not to go deep into the ear canal.

Some dog owners use a homemade ear cleaner made by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in a squirt bottle. Another homemade cleaner can be made by combining 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons of boric acid and 1 tablespoon of glycerin. Regardless of which mixture you choose to make, be sure you shake the squirt bottle well to mix the ingredients.

Be very careful when pouring any fluid in the dog’s ears because you could damage its ear canals, leading to hearing problems or complete deafness if you are careless. To prevent the solution from getting into the ear canal, cup the dog’s ear at the base and rub well.

Cleaning your dog’s ears is an important part of a regular grooming routine. Doing this routinely will help keep your dog from developing any ear infections and you won’t have to put up with the unpleasant odor from smelly ears.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

It’s important to know how to clean your dog’s ears the right way.

If you observe your dog repeatedly shaking its head or rubbing its ears along the nearest available surface, or if you smell a foul odor coming from its ears, check the ears for a waxy build-up. In addition, the ears may be red and painfully inflamed.

All of these signs are symptoms of otitis externa, or more commonly referred to as ‘ear infections’. As I write this my own dog has decided to demonstrate it for me. He sat up abruptly, starting shaking his head furiously, then lay back down on the rug and began rubbing the side of his head back and forth on the rug.

Canine ear infections result from an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in the ear canal, causing redness, irritation and a heavy accumulation of wax. These conditions are usually skin reactions to inhaled allergens – like pollen, mold or dust mites. They can also be caused by food allergies and sensitivity to other external sources. If your dog has large ears like mine, it will be predisposed to ear infections.

We humans usually develop ear infections as a result of viral infections, usually when we’re babies or very young. The Eustachian tubes in our ears are very small and respiratory congestion can lead to blockage of these canals, resulting in a middle ear infection. Because the infection is internal, oral antibiotics are usually required to clear up the infection.

In contrast, dogs usually develop ear infections after they become adults, and the infection is almost always confined to the external portion of the ear. In most cases, the application of an effective ear wash made especially for dogs will clear up a mild infection and leave your dog’s ears clean again. I have used Ear Wash for Dogs from DogsHealth. This is an all-natural, proprietary blend of citrus oils with deionized water. It helps clear my dog’s ear canals of any accumulated debris and reduces wax buildup without alcohol, harsh chemicals or irritants that are common in other leading brands.

If you suspect your dog may be suffering from a serious ear infection that doesn’t respond to cleaning, you should check with your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. If necessary, your vet may prescribe a topical medicine and advise routine cleaning with a product like Ear Wash for Dogs.

Knowing when and how to clean your dog’s ears is an important part of the care and maintenance required of all dog owners.

Ear Problems in Dogs

A dog’s ears are important sense organs just like their noses are. But ear problems in dogs can cause them major distress and lead to deafness if not properly diagnosed and treated.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible:
* Stinky odor from the ears
* Discharge of fluid from the ears
* Scratching or rubbing ears and head on any available surface
* Redness or swelling of the ear canal
* Forceful, frequent shaking of the head
* Sudden irritability or depression

Ear disease is one of the most common conditions afflicting dogs and it is estimated that up to 20% of the dog population is affected by it. There are many causes of ear disease. Some of the most common are:
* Allergies
* Bacterial and yeast infections
* Tumors
* Ear mites

Dogs with food allergies or who develop an allergic reaction to something their skin came into contact with, often will develop ear problems. A problem with a dog’s ears may be the first symptom of an allergy. Allergies are commonly treated with regular ear cleaning with an ear cleaning solution such as Ear Wash, an all-natural, proprietary blend of citrus oils with deionized water. It helps clear the ear canal of debris and reduces wax buildup without alcohol, harsh chemicals or irritants that are common in other leading brands.

Allergies will change the environment in a dog’s ears and can result in bacterial or yeast infections. In cases like this the allergy must be treated as well as the infection. Bacteria and yeast could not ask for a better environment to live in than a warm, dark, moist ear canal. Dogs with big floppy ears such as Cocker Spaniels and Golden Retrievers may have ear problems due to the excess moisture and wax that builds up in their ears.

Many types of bacteria can also cause ear infections. A dog’s normal, healthy ears have a built-in defense system against these types of organisms, but if the condition of the dog’s ears change due to allergies, excessive wax buildup, or excess moisture, the bacteria and yeast can rapidly multiply and destroy those defenses. Yeast alone can cause severe ear problems. Make it a regular habit to clean your dog’s ears daily using Ear Wash, but if you suspect your dog may have a yeast infection in its ears, contact your vet.

Bacterial ear infections give off a terrible odor from a yellowish fluid. If the infection is severe, just cleaning the ear or ears will not take care of the problem and your vet will probably prescribe antibiotics. Infections of the ear canal, if severe, can spread to the middle and inner ear and cause irreversible deafness, so a prompt visit to the vet is highly recommended.

If you suspect your dog has developed a tumor in one of its ears, your veterinarian will use an otoscope to look inside the dog’s ear canal and determine if the ear drum is affected or if there are any foreign bodies or tumors that may be causing the problem.

Ear mites can cause a dry, dark, crumbly debris in the ear that resembles coffee grounds. A thorough ear cleaning with a product like Ear Wash, followed by an ear medication from your vet, will kill the mites and eliminate the problem, The treatment will need to be continued for several weeks depending upon the medication the vet uses.

Regardless of the cause of ear problems in your dog, it is mandatory that you keep its ear canals clean. Your dog’s ear canal is L-shaped and debris will collect at the corner of the L. To remove debris, use an ear cleaner like Ear Wash, an all-natural blend of citrus oils. Massage the base of your dog’s ears for 20-30 seconds to soften the debris. Wipe out the loose debris and excess fluid with a cotton ball. Repeat this procedure until you see no more debris. Let your dog shake his head to remove any excess fluid. When you’ve finished, gently wipe the dog’s ear flap and the area below the ear with a soft towel. Cotton applicator swabs can be used to clean the inside of the ear flap and only the part of the ear canal you can see, but should not be used farther down in the dog’s ear canal since that can pack debris in the ear canal and cause further problems.

The key to keeping your dog’s ears healthy is to keep them clean. Check its ears weekly. A slight amount of waxy buildup is usually present in normal ears. However, if your dog swims a lot or has a history of ear disease, routine cleaning one to two times a week is recommended.

Remember, if your dog is showing severe discomfort, a bad smell is coming from its ears, or the ear canals look abnormal, see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Ear problems can be serious for a dog and if not treated early enough can result in deafness. Take good care of your companion and you will be rewarded beyond your expectations.