Your dog’s ears are arguably one of his or her cutest features. Whether droopy or folded, lop-eared or alert, your dog’s ears are a window into an entire world we cannot fathom. Did you know that a dog can hear at a much wider range of frequencies (up to 67-45,000 Hz) as compared to a human (64-23,000 Hz)?

A dog’s ears are also incredibly delicate, which is why an injury to them can be critical to their ability to perceive. Despite how special they are, a dog’s ears still get dirty, though, especially outdoors. It’s important to know how to correctly clean your dog’s ears. It is just as important to know when not to clean your dog’s ears.

The Shoulds of Ear Grooming

Under normal circumstances, your dog’s ears should be cleaned regularly. The buildup of wax and debris can contribute to an infection or other problems when left unattended. Ear cleaning is often done by your groomer but you can also safely clean them yourself using the correct process. Watch our video first or follow these steps:

  1. Gather your dog specific ear cleanser (nothing containing alcohol), some cotton balls, and a towel.
  2. Gently lift your dog’s ear and fill the ear canal with the solution.
  3. Use your thumb to massage the base of the ear while the cleanser is eliminating debris. Your dog will likely shake his head, so have the towels ready.
  4. Use your cotton balls to clean around the ear canal and outer ears. Ensure that your dog’s ears are dry to the touch.
  5. Reward time! Use treats or playtime to reward your pet for a job well done.

Dogs who frequently swim or have bushy ears will need to have their ears cleaned more often. Never use a Q-tip in your dog’s ear canals as this can cause injury.

When You Shouldn’t Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Dogs can be prone to a number of ear problems from ear mites to ear infection. Some dogs succumb to chronic yeast infection or other infections of the ear. It may be tempting to clean your dog’s ears if you notice a smell or if they are producing dark wax. The problem is that those could signal an infection, injury, foreign object in the ear, or other concerns.

Signs That a Veterinarian Should Examine Your Dog’s Ears

  • Scratching at ears
  • Shaking head excessively
  • Whining when you touch the ear
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Inflammation
  • Disorientation in gait
  • Foul odor

These symptoms should be addressed by a veterinarian as they can lead to chronic pain or permanent hearing loss if left untreated. If you clean your dog’s ears, you could be causing more harm than good, so consult with your veterinarian first.

Union Lake Pet Services for Your Pet’s Grooming Needs

If you feel uncomfortable cleaning your pup’s ears, or simply have a question related to your pet, we are here for you. Knowing the proper way to safely clean your dog’s ears can avoid injury and keep them clean and healthy. Knowing when not to clean them (and ask for help), can avoid permanent damage. Please call us for instruction or to schedule an appointment.