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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Pet Ear Cleaning: How To Do It, And Why You Should

A white dog sitting against a blue background looks quizzically at the camera.

A regular grooming regimen is a must for pets. Besides keeping them looking and feeling their best, grooming gets you up close and personal with your pet’s skin  and fur, allowing you to easily spot lumps, bumps, parasites, or anything else out of the ordinary.

Along with brushing, bathing, nail trimming, and (hopefully) tooth brushing, pet ear cleaning is an essential part of any grooming regimen. Messing with your pet’s ears may sound daunting, but with a little practice it will become like second nature.

In general, cats typically don’t benefit from having their ears cleaned – instead, check their ears for dirt and debris, and remove any by wiping with a damp cloth.

The Once Over

Before you begin, take a moment to inspect your dog’s ears for signs of trouble. Give us a call if you notice any of the following:

  • A strong odor
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Discharge
  • Scabs
  • Excess wax or debris
  • Hair loss
  • Persistent scratching, head shaking, or head tilt

Expert Tips

Collect your supplies ahead of time. You’ll need a good quality pet ear cleaner and some cotton pads or balls. Never use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol based cleaners on pets, as these can dry out the ear canal. Likewise, stay away from cotton swabs or Q-tips.

Some dogs don’t mind having their ears cleaned, but for others, it sends them running for the hills. If your dog falls into the second category, ask another adult to help hold your dog still while you clean their ears. Patience is also important, as it may take time for your pet to be accepting of this new routine.

Pet Ear Cleaning

Follow these steps for simple, safe, and easy pet ear cleaning:

  1. Position your dog with their backside facing you. Lift and gently pull up on the ear flap and fill the canal with ear cleaning solution (never stick the applicator into the canal).
  2. Gently massage the base of the ear to help the solution work its way in. When you hear a sloshing noise, you’ll know you’ve used enough solution.
  3. Allow your dog to shake their head to expel excess solution (you may want to back up first).
  4. Use your cotton pad or ball to absorb the remaining solution from the outer portion of the ear canal.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until the pad or ball comes out clean.

Not all dogs need their ears cleaned, and for some dogs it can cause irritation and other problems with the ear canal. Your veterinarian can help you come up with an ear cleaning schedule that works for your pet.

Don’t hesitate to give the team at Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic a call with your questions about pet ear cleaning. We are happy to help!