How To Wash A Dogs Ears

A crucial aspect of your dog’s grooming requirements is ear cleaning. Different canines require ear cleaning more frequently than others. Ear cleanings should be done more frequently on dogs who are prone to ear infections.

Why is it important?

Due to the shape of the dog’s ear canal, debris lodged deep within the horizontal canal is challenging to remove without the aid of cleanings. If left in the ears, this substance can cause itching and ear infections.

Do I need to use an ear cleaner?

It is strongly advised that you use a high-quality ear cleaning. Cleaning solutions containing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide may irritate the ear canal, especially if the canal is irritated or ulcerated. To assist prevent ear infections, some ear cleaners contain antibacterial or antifungal chemicals. Additionally, some cleansers work better at removing wax buildup. Which ear cleaning solution is best for your pet can be determined with assistance from your veterinarian.

What do I need to clean my dog’s ears?

There is no specific equipment required to clean your dog’s ears. All you need is some cotton balls or gauze, an effective ear cleaning solution, and some dog treats to encourage good behavior. Avoid using cotton tip applicators (Q-tips) due to the possibility of damaging the ear canal or perforating the eardrum. Furthermore, using cotton tip applicators may force dirt deeper into the ear canal.

Do all dogs need to have their ears cleaned?

No special tools are needed to clean your dog’s ears. All you need is a high-quality ear cleaning solution, some cotton balls or gauze, and some dog treats to encourage good behavior. Avoid using cotton tip applicators (Q-tips) since they run the risk of damaging your ear canal or puncturing your eardrum. Additionally, using cotton tip applicators may cause particles to enter the ear canal more deeply.

Step-by-Step Guide for Ear Cleaning

  • Put your legs together and your dog should sit in front of you with his back between them. If you have a huge breed dog, sit him with his back against the wall and one side against the corner of the room. Move to his other side.
  • Grab one ear and raise the pinna (ear flap) vertically to reveal and straighten the ear canal.
  • Hold the ear cleaning solution in your other hand while gripping your dog’s ear flap firmly yet gently with one hand.
  • Fill your dog’s ear with ear cleaning solution. Fill the ear canal with enough cleanser to cover it fully. If some of the cleaner leaks into the ear canal, that is acceptable. Never insert the bottle’s tip into an ear. To stop the spread of bacteria or yeast, wipe the bottle’s tip with a clean cotton ball dipped in alcohol if it contacts your dog’s ear.
  • Hold the ear flap vertically in place for a further 30 seconds while using the other hand to gently massage the base of the ear below the ear entrance. As a result, the debris in the ear canal can be broken up by the cleaning agent. As the cleaning solution flows around in the horizontal portion of the ear canal, you should hear a squishing sound.
  • Use a cotton ball or piece of gauze to clean the inside portion of the ear flap and the upper ear canal while still holding up the ear flap.
  • Your dog is free to shake his head. This enables the leftover ear cleaning solution and ear canal debris to exit the canal and reach the outer ear opening.
  • Holding the ear flap up once again, use a cotton ball or piece of gauze to remove the loose debris and cleaning solution from the outer aperture of the ear canal.
  • Use a cotton ball or piece of gauze to clear out the ear canal of any debris and leftover cleaning solution. Only insert your finger as far as the ear canal will allow. Never remove a solution from an ear canal using a cotton-tipped applicator (Q-tip). By doing so, you run the risk of damaging your ear canal, ear drum, or advancing ear canal debris.
  • Give your dog snacks and compliments.
  • With the opposite ear, carry out the same procedure.
  • During the cleaning process, if your dog seems to be in pain, stop and call your veterinarian. As often as your veterinarian recommends, repeat the cleaning process. If your dog needs medication to be applied to the ears because of an ear infection, clean the ears first and then use the medication.

Step-by-Step Guide for Medication Application

After cleaning your dog’s ears, you can frequently provide medication right away. More details on how often the medication should be administered and how many drops are required will be given by your veterinarian.

  • Grab the ear tip firmly but gently, and raise the ear flap straight up to reveal and straighten out the ear canal.
  • Apply the prescribed number of drops of medication as directed by your veterinarian. Never insert the bottle’s tip into an ear. To stop the spread of bacteria or yeast, wipe the bottle’s tip with a clean cotton ball dipped in alcohol if it contacts your dog’s ear.
  • For about 30 seconds, keep the ear flap vertically raised while giving a gentle massage to the area beneath the ear entrance. This enables the drug to completely coat the ear canal. As the drug coats the horizontal portion of the ear canal, you should once more experience a squishing sound in the ear.
  • Put the recommended dose of medication on the infected part of the ear flap if the inner section of the ear flap is affected by the infection. By distributing the drug using your finger (preferably while wearing a glove).
  • If necessary, repeat this procedure on the other ear.
  • The flap portion of the ear can be cleaned with a cotton ball dipped in ear cleaning solution if debris or medication builds up there.

How are a dog’s ears cleaned?

As dog owners, we are aware of how crucial it is to regularly clean our dogs’ ears. However, if our dogs aren’t trained to accept ear cleaning or if we don’t feel comfortable doing it, cleaning those ears can be difficult.

While some dogs naturally have clean, healthy ears and may hardly ever need to have them cleaned, other dogs need to have their ears cleaned frequently to avoid the buildup of dirt that can cause ear infections. All dog breeds are susceptible to ear infections, but those with long hanging ears, like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, are among the ones at the most risk.

You should frequently examine your dog’s ears to make sure they are healthy. If your dog pulls away from you, it could be because his ears are hurting even though he could prefer having them stroked when they’re healthy. Therefore, by gently stroking your dog’s ears, you may start evaluating their condition.

How to Tell When a Dog’s Ears Need Cleaning

Verify that your dog genuinely requires ear cleaning before pulling out the dog ear cleaner. Learn what a healthy, clean ear looks like (pink, odorless, and not dirty or inflamed) and smells like (not yeasty or stinky), and only clean your dog’s ears when you detect a change. Over-cleaning your dog’s ears can cause infection and irritation.

While some dogs only need their ears cleaned occasionally, others, including those who are prone to ear infections or those who spend a lot of time in the water, might. The Merck Veterinary Manual advises preventing water from entering the ear canals during bathing and applying topical astringents on dogs who frequently swim to keep the ear canals dry and well-ventilated.

It’s probably time for a cleaning if you smell a faint odor or see your dog moving his head more frequently than usual. Contact your veterinarian if your dog’s ear seems red and inflamed, smells funky, or if he shows signs of pain. These signs, which call for medical treatment, could point to allergies, fleas, ear mites, or ear infections. Frequently, cleaning an infected ear does more harm than good.

Ear-Cleaning Supplies

To successfully clean your dog’s ears, you just need a few tools: a cotton ball or piece of gauze, dog ear cleaning solution, and a towel. Avoid using anything with a pointed tip, including cotton-tipped swabs (Q-tips). These instruments may force dirt and other material deeper into your dog’s ears, increasing the risk of infection and even causing damage to the ear’s internal structures.

A word of caution: While easy, ear cleaning can be unpleasant. If your dog moves his head a lot while you’re cleaning his ears, you might want to do it in a restroom or another easily cleaned area.

Dog Ear-Cleaning Solutions

There are numerous homemade dog ear cleaning products available online. The safest option is to use ear cleaning products that have been recommended by veterinarians. Some homemade ear-cleaning remedies include poisonous or irritant substances. Others merely don’t do well.

Most veterinary clinics stock dog ear cleanser. As some products may be more advantageous for your dog’s unique needs than others, you can also consult your veterinarian for their recommendations.

How to Clean Dog Ears in 3 Easy Steps

  • Bring your dog and your supplies together. It will be simpler to clean your dog’s ears if you wait until he is calm. Don’t be hesitant to entice them with sweets.
  • Fill your dog’s ear canal with an ear cleaning solution that has been recommended by a veterinarian, then gently massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds. As the product removes buildup and debris, you will hear a squishing sound. As touching your dog’s ear with the applicator tip could introduce bacteria, avoid doing so.
  • Give your dog a headshake. This is where the towel comes in; you may use it to clean his face and shield yourself from the spray. Once your dog has stopped shaking, carefully wipe out the ear canal with a cotton ball or piece of gauze, only going as deep as one knuckle. During the cleaning process, if your dog seems to be in pain, stop and call your veterinarian.

Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Dog Ears?

No. On your dog, avoid using hydrogen peroxide. In fact, this ubiquitous home item might irritate healthy skin cells. Hydrogen peroxide use over an extended period of time may eventually cause harm to the ear itself because ears contain very sensitive tissue. Use only cleaning products that have been recommended by veterinarians.

How to Clean Dog Ears: A Summary

Now that you understand how to clean dog ears, let’s review the fundamentals:

  • Understand the appearance and smell of a clean, healthy ear.
  • Following a bath, regularly check your dog’s ears.
  • Overly frequent ear cleaning can result in severe inflammation.
  • Use a dog ear cleaning product that has been approved by a veterinarian.
  • If you think your dog may have an ear infection, consult your veterinarian.

Maintaining your dog’s ears helps keep them free from infections. Regular ear checks will also help your dog become less sensitive to handling his ears and catch any further issues, like ear mites, before they worsen.

Can I use water to clean my dog’s ears?

There are certain considerations to make before learning how to clean your dog’s ears. Observe these suggestions for “dos” and “don’ts”:


  • Use ear cleaning made specifically for canines.
  • Regularly give your dog treats throughout and after cleaning. It could take some time for some dogs to grow comfortable to having their ears cleaned. Like a day at the spa, we want your dog to have a great experience.
  • Cleaning the ears should be done gently. Ear infections and dirt can occasionally cause significant pain. The eardrum itself can be weak.
  • How often should you clean your dog’s ears? Ask your veterinarian. Depending on the dog’s lifestyle, ear conformation, breed, and prior ear issues, the answer can differ from dog to dog.


  • Never use an alcohol- or hydrogen peroxide-based ear cleaning (or use straight alcohol or peroxide). These fluids may be too abrasive for the ears, which would result in further discomfort.
  • Don’t clean your dog’s ears with Q-tips or other cotton-tipped implements. If placed too deeply, Q-tips might harm the ear drum. Q-tips may sometimes work against you by pushing debris further into the ear. Q-tips may be used by your veterinarian or veterinary nurse in some circumstances, but only because they are trained to do it safely.
  • Never wash your dog’s ears with water. This doesn’t break down wax like a proper ear cleaning product does, which can potentially lead to more dirt becoming stuck.
  • A dog’s ear hair should not be removed. Sometimes, plucking can hurt and even do more harm to the ear than good. On rare occasions, the vet might have to trim some hair from inside the ear canal. But it’s advisable to defer to his or her expert opinion in this case.

Please ask your veterinarian for guidance if you are ever unsure about what you should or shouldn’t do when cleaning your dog’s ears. He or she can advise you on the best course of action for your dog’s circumstances.

Can you clean dog ears with baby wipes?

To clean your dog’s ears at home, you don’t need many instruments. Many of the items—such as cotton balls, tissues, or baby wipes—are grooming supplies for people. Your veterinarian can assist you in choosing the best ear cleaning for your dog.

Ear cleaners sold over-the-counter: Your veterinarian and the internet both carry a wide selection of ear cleaners. While being soft on the ear, ear cleaners contain a variety of substances that help to break up waxy build-up, dry out the ear canals, and help kill bacteria and yeast. Collins suggests using saline or Virbac’s Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for routine cleansing. It is not advisable to use items like hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or witch hazel. Consult your veterinarian if you are uncertain.

Your veterinarian may recommend the following ear drops: You can ask your vet for recommendations for ear cleaners including Cerumene, MalAcetic Otic, Douxo Micellar, Otoclean, Triz EDTA, T8, Triz Plus, TrizUltra+Keto, Zymox Ear Cleanser, and Douxo Micellar Solution, which are frequently sold at their clinic. If the integrity of the tympanic membrane is unknown, caution should be exercised while using disinfecting solutions that contain chlorhexidine.

Use cotton rounds or cotton balls to clean dirt out of your dog’s outer ears.