Welcome to our instructions on how to clean dog ears at home.

Stop! Sit! Stay! Has your dog been ignoring your commands recently? They might not be able to hear you. A buildup of earwax or debris can make your dog’s hearing muffled or lead to acquired deafness. But you can avoid this by learning how to clean a dog’s ears. 

It’s not as hard as you might think!

Keep reading below to learn everything you need to know about the process. 

When You Should and Shouldn’t Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Because of the shape and structure of your dog’s ear, different types of material can get trapped deep inside the canal. This can lead to itchiness, irritation, and ear infections. 

Cleaning your dog’s ears can remove this material and keep them healthy. But there are a few times you should keep that cleaning solution away from your dog’s ears. 

Here’s a quick guide to help you should clean your dog’s ears or leave them be. 

It’s Time to Clean

Some dogs with healthy ear canals can live their entire lives without needing ear cleaning. 

Because of this, you should only clean your dog’s ears if you notice any type of discharge or a smelly odor coming from inside. If you aren’t sure when or how often to clean your dog’s ears, you can talk to your vet. They’ll let you know if your dog’s ears need some help.  

Stay Away from Those Ears 

Cleaning your dog’s ears too often can lead to irritation or even cause an infection. So don’t clean your dog’s ears unless you have to. 

You should also skip the ear cleaning if your dog’s ears are red, irritated, or inflamed. These symptoms might be signs of an ear infection or a ruptured eardrum. 

Take your pup to the vet instead. 

What You Need

You don’t need any special tools to clean your dog’s ears. In fact, you probably already have most of the things you need lying around the house. 

Here’s a quick list of supplies you should have ready before you start the process:

how to clean a dogs ears

If you don’t already have an ear cleaning solution, you can find one at many pet stores. While towels are optional, they can help catch any spills or messes. 

How to Clean Dog Ears: Step by Step

Now that you have everything you need to get started, we’ll walk you through how to clean your dog’s ears.

Here’s what you’ll need to do. 

Step 1

Tell your dog to sit down in the right position, and reward them with a treat. 

  • If you have a small or medium-sized dog, sit on the floor yourself and have them sit in front of you on the floor with their backside between your legs.
  • If you have a large dog, have them sit with their backside in a corner and one side against the wall. Stand on their other side to keep them in place. 

This will make it easier to keep your dog in the right spot during the process. 

Step 2

Grab one ear and (if necessary) hold the ear flap up straight with one hand. This will straighten out the ear canal. 

Hold your ear cleaning solution in the other hand. 

How to Clean Dog Ears

Step 3

Pour some of the ear cleaning solution into your dog’s ear. 

Make sure the solution fills up the entire ear canal. It’s okay if some of the solution spills out (which is why you might want to have a few towels handy). 

Don’t let the bottle of solution touch your dog’s ear. If it does, clean it off with a cotton ball and alcohol. This will prevent any bacteria from spreading onto the bottle. 

Step 4

Continue to hold the ear up straight with one hand and, with your other hand, very gently massage the base of your dog’s ear for about 30 seconds. This will help the cleaning solution break up any material or debris inside the ear canal. 

You might hear a squishing sound as this happens. But don’t be concerned. This sound is normal. 

Step 5

After you finish massaging the base of the ear, use a cotton ball to wipe away any debris in or around the upper ear canal. If your dog has an ear flap, you should check the inside of their ear flap for debris as well. 

Step 6

At this point, it’s okay to let your dog shake their head. This will help the rest of the cleaning solution to work its way through your dog’s ear. 

Step 7

Hold the ear up straight again, and use a cotton ball to clean away any debris or cleaning solution your dog shook out of their ear.

Never use a Q-tip on your dog’s ear. This can push any debris back inside the ear and damage the ear canal. Stick with a cotton ball instead. 

Step 8

how to clean dog's ears at home

Reward your dog with a treat. (You can give them treats throughout the process as well if you need to). 

Step 9

You’re done with the first ear! Reposition your dog if you need to and repeat this process on the second ear. 

Be Aware! The First Step to Learning How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

If your dog ever seems like they’re in pain during the ear cleaning, you should stop what you’re doing right away. Call your vet and ask them if you should keep going or not. 

Learning how to clean a dog’s ears isn’t a complicated process. A quality ear cleaning solution will do most of the work for you. If you want to know how to clean a dog ear infection or more severe blockage go and see your vet.

Just remember to give your dog plenty of treats. This will help them stay calm and (maybe!) enjoy the process. 

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