How to Care for Your Dog’s Ears

Should you clean your dog’s ears on a regular basis? This is a question that vets commonly receive from dog owners, and the answer is a resounding “yes!” Keeping your pup’s ears clean and cared for is an essential part of their overall health and wellbeing.

Why Is Dog Ear Care Important?
Dogs’ ears are sensitive, and as wax and oils build up inside the ear over time, they can become increasingly prone to infections. External factors like excess moisture or allergies can further elevate the risk of infections.

Signs that your dog may have developed an ear infection include:

  • Foul odor around or in the ear
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Swelling or redness of the ear canal
  • Excess pawing or scratching of the ears

If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment for an exam and ear cleaning with your vet right away.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears at Home
The good news? Regular cleaning and care can help prevent ear infections in the first place. Get into the habit of inspecting your dog’s ears regularly; around once per week or every other week. Not only will this help you detect potential problems early, but it will also get your pup comfortable with having his or her ears touched.

To clean your dog’s ears at home, you’ll need to select a gentle, pet-formulated, ear cleanser. Hold your dog’s ear flap upright, and dribble a small amount of the cleansing solution into the ear canal. As the cleanser seeps down into the canal, use your fingers to massage the base of the ear for around 15-20 seconds.

Your dog may want to shake their head after this part of the cleaning process is over; a towel can help to avoid messes. Use a clean cotton ball or pad (but not a cotton swab, which could damage your pup’s ears) to wipe out the excess solution and any loosened earwax.

Helpful Dog Ear Care Tips
Wondering how often your dog’s ears need to be cleaned? In general, once per month is a good rule of thumb. Breeds with long, floppy ears or dogs who swim frequently may need to have their ears cleaned every other week, or even weekly. After bathing or swimming, be sure to properly dry your pup’s ears.

Good general grooming – such as keeping the hair around the ear flap clean, neatly trimmed and free from matts – will make cleaning your dog’s ears easier. Above all, be as gentle as you possibly can, and never insert objects directly into the canal. Doing so could irreversibly damage your pup’s hearing.

Ear cleaning can be stressful for dogs, so it.s important to make it a positive experience. Only clean your dog’s ears when they are already in a calm state, and reward them with plenty of treats during and after the process.

Knowing how to care for your dog’s ears is an essential part of their complete care routine. With occasional ear cleanings at home, regular professional groomings, and staying up to date with vet check-ups, you can help ensure your pup’s ears stay healthy for life.