How to Clean Dog Ears: The Ultimate Guide
Cleaning your dog’s ears is an essential aspect of dog care which every puppy parent must endeavor to complete regularly in order to keep their pooch’s ears clean and healthy. While there are a number of reasons why this is aspect of grooming is so important, it can easily be overlooked or its importance can be misunderstood. Just like all aspects of dog care, this little bit of care can be hugely beneficial for your dog’s overall health and can prevent future illnesses or health conditions from appearing. In this article we’ll cover why cleaning your dog’s ears is such a crucial aspect of dog grooming and the best way to clean dog ears properly and efficiently. Let’s begin!
Why Should You Clean Your Dog’s Ears?
While this might seem like an obvious question to answer, it’s surprising how many puppy parents overlook this crucial step in dog grooming. While some parents overlook ear cleaning deliberately because it’s covered in their dog’s grooming package, this is almost never a reasonable excuse as a pup’s ears should typically be cleaned regularly. If you clean your dog’s ears frequently then you’re likely to notice any abnormal changes in appearance which may indicate your dog has a medical problem. For this reason, it’s essential to clean your dog’s ears regularly to notice any abnormalities and to report these to your vet immediately if they are a cause for concern. As dogs are naturally curious and adventurous animals, they’re prone to having food, water and dirt particles lodged in and around their ears during everyday activities. This dirt can also increase the risk of infection if left uncleaned.
According to research by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), ear infections are the most common reason for dogs to visit the vet. This is because dogs’ ears are sensitive and, when left unmonitored and uncleaned can cause many problems such as earache, inflammation, ear mites and even partial or complete deafness. This proves how important it is to clean your dog’s ears regularly and to monitor their appearance. Noticing symptoms at an early stage and reporting these to the vet provides your dog with the best chance of diagnosis and treatment and hugely minimizes risk. Furthermore, by minimizing risk and looking after your dog’s ears carefully, you’re likely to significantly reduce emergency vet costs or fees.
How to Clean Dog Ears
It’s essential to learn the cleaning process properly before getting started as dogs’ ears are extremely sensitive so you’ll want to be careful and sure of what you’re doing. Following the steps below and taking caution are essential for safely and effectively cleaning your pooch’s ears.
To start, you’ll want to make sure you have clear and easy access to your dog’s ears by ensuring the hair is short enough around the area, it’s brushed and not matted, and that the hair in the ear canal isn’t too long or unruly. If the latter presents a problem, you should seek professional help as trimming your dog’s ear hair without training is dangerous and may cause more significant problems at a later stage. If your dog regularly receives grooming or vet visits then this would be a great to time to check the length of the ear hair.
When the area looks clear and ready to begin, take a moment to look in and around your dog’s ears. While you do this, gently feel your dog’s ears and the area immediately surrounding them, checking for lumps, swelling, soreness/tenderness or discharge of any kind. If you notice anything unusual, speak to the vet immediately and don’t continue cleaning as this may worsen any damage which has already occurred.
If you’ve had no problems so far and your dog’s ears look and feel healthy, you’re ready to continue. To start, you’ll need a dog-friendly ear cleaning solution which you can find in most pet stores or from the vet. There are many different types of ear cleaning solutions so it’s important to choose one which is right for your pup. If you’re unsure what to choose, speak to the vet for their recommendations.
Start by tilting you dog’s head to one side, then pour a few drops into the ear canal, just enough to fill it but no more. Your dog will immediately want to move to remove to solution so you’ll need to hold their head in place. While restraining their head, gently massage the base of the ear in circular motions to ensure the solution cleans the ear canal and effectively breaks down any wax build-up. After massaging for roughly 30 seconds, let your dog loose to shake their head as this will remove the dislodged wax and remove the excess solution. After a moment, wipe away the dislodged wax using a cotton pad or soft cloth. Don’t worry about drying the area as this will happen naturally. Repeat this process with the other ear and that’s it. Well done!
Choosing how often to clean your dog’s ears can be tricky as every breed is different and some dogs will need cleaning more often than others. After cleaning your dog’s ears for the first time, check them once or twice per week to see if they need cleaned again. Repeat this process regularly and clean when necessary. Some dogs’ ears need cleaned twice weekly while others might need cleaned once per month. This process simply takes some trial and error and time to figure out. If in doubt, seek advice from your vet and they’ll keep you right.
Things to Remember
This process isn’t the most pleasant or comfortable so take care and be gentle yet firm when handling your dog while cleaning their ears. While it isn’t very enjoyable for them, dogs become used to the process after a while so be persistent when cleaning and offer them a treat to keep them happy.
Most importantly, never use cotton swabs/earbuds to clean a dog’s ears. These are notoriously bad for causing ear problems by lodging wax further in the ear or damaging the ear canal so it’s best to avoid them.
After reading this article you now know how to clean dog ears safely and effectively and why this process is important for your dog’s overall health. If you do this regularly, as recommended, it might even cut down on costly visits to the vet too!
- Top 10 Dog and Cat Medical Conditions – Nationwide