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Deep Ear Cleaning For Dogs

Dogs often enjoy getting their ears rubbed, but if their ears are unusually sensitive, it could indicate that they need to be cleaned. Our veterinarians in Lebanon provide tips on properly cleaning your dog's ears.

How Do You Tell If Your Dog's Ears Need Cleaning?

If your dog's ears are healthy, they will probably enjoy getting their ears rubbed. However, if they are tender due to an infection, they may pull away from you and not want to have their ears touched.

Therefore, gently massaging your dog's ears is a great way to check their condition. If you notice that your dog is sensitive about having their ears touched, it's time to take a closer look and probably clean them.

If you notice any of the following signs of infection, such as foul odor, redness, swelling, discharge, or excessive scratching, contact your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Redness in the ear canal
  • Swelling
  • Foul odor
  • Excessive dark brown, yellow-green and/or bloody discharge
  • Scratching the ears or face
  • Pain on contact
  • Head shaking

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog's Ears?

There is no simple answer to this question. Different ear types make certain dogs more susceptible to ear infections than others, requiring more frequent cleaning. 

Dogs with large, floppy ears are more likely to get moisture or debris trapped in their ears, which can lead to more irritation and infections. Other breeds are prone to excessive hair in their ear canals, increased ear wax production, underlying allergic disease and/or very narrow ear canals—all of which can require more frequent cleanings. Dogs without any of these issues can usually get by with a cleaning every one to two months.

Some dogs may never need to have their ears cleaned. If the dog's ear is clean and healthy, introducing cleaner into the canal could actually cause more harm than good. Dog ears are a tiny ecosystem, and if there are no concerns, it's best to leave it alone.

What You Need To Clean Your Dogs Ears

If your dog's ears are in need of. A good scrub, here are the "tools" you'll need to have on hand to get the most out of your cleaning:

  • Dog Ear Cleaning Solution
  • Cotton Gauze, Cotton Balls or Squares
  • High-Value Treats
  • Dog Ear Wipes or Pads (Optional)

How To Clean Your Dogs Ears

When planning to clean your dog's ears, it is important to select a time when they are calm, relaxed, and have already spent most of their energy through play. It is recommended to start slowly with the process and not force your dog to participate as many dogs may feel uncomfortable or even scared, especially if their ear is bothering them.

You should work through the steps gradually, offering your dog plenty of treats and praise along the way, and perform only the steps your dog will tolerate. If necessary, you can build up to a full cleaning over time. The key is to ensure that your dog has a positive experience and feels comfortable throughout the process.

1. Place a cotton ball or piece of gauze in the outer ear canal

If you have ever used ear drops, you know that liquid in your ear canal can be unpleasant. The same discomfort applies to dogs. However, there is a technique that can help. To clean your dog's ears, place a piece of cotton just inside the entrance of the ear canal.

The cotton shouldn't go further than that, so it stays in place without you holding it there. This makes it easy for you to remove the cotton once the cleaning is over.

2. Fill the ear canal with cleaning solution

After placing the cotton into your dog's ear, the next step will be more comfortable for your dog. Place the tip of the cleaning container on top of the gauze, right next to the opening of the ear canal.

Allow the cleaning solution to saturate the cotton and flow into the ear canal. You may hear a crackling or squishing sound as the cleaning solution works to remove the wax. Don't forget to give your dog lots of treats to keep them happy and calm. 

Remember to clean the tip of the ear-cleaning solution container thoroughly after every use to prevent the accumulation of bacteria, yeast, and other debris. Otherwise, these can introduce infections the next time you clean your dog's ear.

3. Massage the ear canal

To clean your dog's ears, apply an ear-cleaning solution to break down wax and debris. However, to make sure the ear is completely clean, it is recommended to massage the ear canal.

Start massaging while the gauze or cotton is still inside your dog's ear, then remove it and continue massaging for about 30 seconds using gentle pressure in a circular motion to the area where your dog's ears attach to their head.

This will help remove any remaining wax or debris and ensure your dog's ears are clean and healthy.

4. Let your dog shake their head

It is natural for dogs to shake their heads to remove fluid and leftover gunk from their ears. After massaging the ears, it is okay to allow them to shake their head. It is recommended to keep a towel nearby to avoid getting wet from any liquid that might fly out.

5. Wipe away the rest of the debris

After your dog shakes, use cotton balls or ear wipes to clean out visible ear wax and debris.

6. Treat time!

Now that the hard part is over, reward your dog for being patient with this uncomfortable process by giving them lots of high-value treats.

If your dog is experiencing frequent ear infections or constantly has dirty ears, contact our Lebanon vets today for professional advice.

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Cumberland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Lebanon companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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