An Expert Step-by-Step Guide On Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

As pet-owners, grooming is one crucial factor in keeping your pets healthy, and one of the essential parts of their care is to make sure that they have clean ears. Pet dogs that are well-associated with having their ears cleaned regularly are lucky, but not all of our furry friends are used to having their ears cleaned. At the same time, there are some pet owners who are uncomfortable with doing the task as well.

Some dog breeds, such as Basset Hounds, require regular ear cleaning as their ears are susceptible to building up dirt, which can lead to ear infections. Hence, if you are one of those pet owners that are hands-on in grooming their pets, this vet-approved step-by-step guide can help you.

We also have included some related questions regarding cleaning a dog’s ears and other important factors that it implies.

A Vet-Approved Step By Step Guide

Not all fur parents are privileged enough to send their fur babies to a vet or a grooming salon. Others don’t have the time or liberty, while some are miles away from a vet and grooming salon, making it hard to secure an appointment. There are also others who simply want to enjoy being hands-on fur parents.

Hence, if you’re someone who wants to clean your dog’s ears yourself, here’s what you need to do. First things first, give your pet dog a good bath time. This will provide them comfort and make them sit at ease when you start to clean their ears. This is a must, especially if it’s their first time to get their ears cleaned.

After giving a bath, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. You can wear hand gloves as a good hygienic practice. Bare hands are still okay, but just make sure to wash them thoroughly before and after the ear cleaning.

Then, get your stuff ready, such as the dog ear cleaner, cotton wool, and a clean towel. After you’re done prepping yourself and your pet, make sure to ask someone to assist you, especially in holding your fur baby. Ask a friend or another person to be your assistant so that both your hands are free to work.

  • First Step: Slowly lift the dog’s ear flap. Do it gently, especially when it’s their first time.
  • Second Step: Use a cotton swab to clean the ear’s area. If you see a light-colored wax, that’s fine. (Take note of redness or bad smell at the same time. If this exists, your dog might require professional attention.)
  • Third Step: Pour the dog ear cleaner over their ears. Make sure that the nozzle’s tip doesn’t touch their ears.
  • Fourth Step: Massage the base of the ear to help the cleaner pass into the ear canal. You’ll hear a squishy noise when it’s done right.
  • Fifth Step: Let your dog shake his head. If they are not showing any sign of pain, continue and repeat the same process in the other ear.

Why Is it Important to Clean Your Dog’s Ears?

An ear infection is one of the most prevalent infections that a dog can experience. It’s a result of a poor grooming habit by the owners. Essentially, dogs have healthy and clean ears. Unfortunately, some dog breeds have a different situation from others, not to mention, every dog breed has a different type of ears. This somehow sets the difference apart.

Dogs with flat ears such as Beagles, Basset Hounds, and Poodles face a higher risk of developing ear infections, especially if they are not properly taken care of. But for those dog breeds that have ears that stick straight up, such as Chihuahuas, Huskies, and Terriers, they experience little to no ear infection. Not unless they are often exposed to outdoors and irregular cleaning habits.

What Should You Use In Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

You don’t need a lot of stuff to clean your dog’s ears as you can use ones that are already in your home. Also, you don’t necessarily have to visit a vet or a grooming salon to get their ears cleaned. However, if you suspect an ear infection, your dog will require a professional vet to check their ears.

Do not use cotton swabs in cleaning your dog’s ears, so use baby wipes instead. They are already wet, allowing you to easily clean the surrounding area. Over the counter ear cleaners are good options as well and can be bought online. However, double-check the label and make sure that you avoid buying products with components such as witch hazel, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide.

Is Over-Cleaning a Thing?

The frequency of cleaning your dog’s ears depends on your pet’s breed. That means their hair, age, type of activity, and ear wax production should be taken into consideration. As mentioned before, not all dogs develop ear wax, some may don’t have them, so cleaning is not required.

And yes, over-cleaning is a thing. Too much unnecessary ear cleaning can lead to a potential ear infection.

You will know when your pet dog requires an ear cleaning. But as per vet recommendation, most dogs should have their ears clean at least once a month, especially for home pets. If your dog likes swimming or playing outdoors, twice a month is needed. But all in all, you’ll know when is the right time to do it.

The best thing to take note of when cleaning is to never tend when their ears are red or if you notice a terrible and smelly discharge. This is the reason why examining their ears first is the best and most vital step when you’re about to clean their ears.

Read more: What You Need to Know About the German Shepherd Ear Yeast Infection


As others would like to say, dogs are man’s best friend. They keep us company- a guide and a friend all rolled into one. That’s why it’s the pet owner’s responsibility to make sure that they are properly taken care of. Dogs should be fed and groomed all the time, and this level of care means that they should not develop ear infections. This can only happen if the owners are responsible and make sure their pets get the best treatment they deserve.

Author’s Bio: Courtney John is a freelance writer for animal and pet care for over a decade now. She is also a volunteer dedicated to animal rescue and welfare, working for different organizations all over town. She lives with her two adopted cats and rescue dog.

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