Many pet owners overlook ear cleaning, yet it is an important part of your dog’s grooming needs. The ears play a vital role in helping your pet navigate the world, and they are a highly sensitive and complex organ. Cleaning your dog’s ears may not sound like a fun time, but it is actually quite quick and easy to accomplish.

Your friends at Union Lake Pet Services are here with step-by-step instructions on how to safely clean your dog’s ears as well as our video showing you how. 

All About Dog Ears

For dogs as well as humans, hearing is a necessary sense we use to get through life. A dog’s hearing is surprisingly four times more sensitive than our hearing and dogs, as you know, have an amazing ability to pick up on sounds that are unrecognizable to us. 

Keeping your dog’s ears clean and tidy go a long way in maintaining health for your furry one. The outer ears are the part you are most familiar with (and your dog just loves those ear scratches). This ear flap is referred to as the pinna. The external ear canal is straight and then angles horizontally to become the inner canal. The eardrum, which is instrumental in hearing, is in the middle portion of the ear canal as are the middle ear bones.

Why Should I Clean My Dog’s Ears?

You may wonder why we even need to clean a dog’s ears since wild canids clearly don’t have someone cleaning their ears. Some dog breeds’ ears get dirtier than others and can trap debris because of excessive fur or the fact that their ear flaps cover the ear canal. Even dogs with upright ears still need the occasional ear cleaning.

When dirt and other substances get into the ear canal, they can lodge in the middle and inner ear and bring about an infection. Fungal and bacterial ear infections are common and can lead to permanent damage to the ear if left untreated.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

Before you begin, you will need to have a dog ear cleanser as recommended by your veterinarian. There are a few good options at most big pet supply stores, too. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol as these products can trigger irritation and injury to the ear. 

You will also need a towel and cotton gauze or cotton balls on hand. It’s always great to have a few treats with you to reinforce the idea that ear cleaning comes with delicious rewards.

  1. Have your dog seated in front of you and add a few squirts of the cleanser into your dog’s ear canal.
  2. Gently rub the base of the outer ear and ear flap, massaging the cleanser into the ear. You will likely hear a squeaking noise.
  3. Grab your towel and let your dog shake out the extra cleanser from the ear if they want. 
  4. Using your cotton balls, clean up the cleanser and debris from around the ear and as far as your finger goes into the ear canal. Don’t worry; your finger won’t fit all the way down to the eardrum. 
  5. Repeat on the other side and then reward your four-legged friend with a well deserved treat.

Some pet owners ask if they can use a Q-tip, but we recommend that you don’t. This can seriously injure the ear and cause pain. Opt for cotton balls, instead, which do a great job in cleaning up the discharge.

Take note of any abnormal signs when cleaning your dog’s ears, such as odor, dark debris, excessive ear wax, and itchiness or inflammation. Call us for more information, if so.

Let us know if you have any other questions about cleaning your dog’s ears, or would like to schedule an appointment. We are all ears to hear about your experience in keeping your dog’s ears healthy and clean.