You may forget to clean your dog's ears until they develop a funny smell or your dog gets an ear infection. You may not even realize that you should be cleaning Fido's ears on a regular basis. DIY dog ear cleaning isn't difficult, and the supplies you'll need are cheap.
You can purchase dog ear cleaning solution at any pet store, or you can save yourself some money by making your own. Cleaning the ears on a regular basis will prevent the harmful buildup of wax, help you notice any issues in the ear before they become serious, and save you money on vet bills.
Canine ear disease is the third most common health problem in veterinary hospitals. This is because unbeknownst to many pet owners, dogs actually have very sensitive ears that are prone to a variety of health issues. Early detection and prompt treatment can reduce the risk of hearing loss and will relieve discomfort for your dog.
It takes about 30 seconds to check your dog's ears; to clean dog ears, it takes only a few minutes. I can clean and inspect my dog's ears in less than 10 minutes. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about DUY dog ear cleaning.
DIY Dog Ear Cleaning: How To Do It
The first step in DIY dog ear cleaning is to prepare the ear area. Make sure it's completely dry and that any matted or tangled hair around your dog's ear is properly cared for. You don't want to cause your pet any discomfort or he won't be so willing to let you clean his ears next time.
If there is excessive hair in his ear canal, it will need to be removed. You can CAREFULLY use scissors or clippers to trim the hair. The noise of clippers will frighten most dogs, so I recommend using grooming scissors to trim away the hair. Go slow and pay very close attention. You don't want to do any damage to your dog's ear.
2. Inspect the Ear
Inspecting the ear is a very quick process, but also the most important step before you begin cleaning. If there are any cuts, redness or swollen areas inside the ear, the cleaning process could make things worse.
Start by feeling the ear flap and the area around the ear. You should be looking for lumps, lesions, swelling, redness, discharge of any kind or anything else that doesn't look quite right.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary, you need to make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. I explain the importance of this in my video, as many dog owners think that a thorough ear cleaning in dogs will benefit health problems. As I mentioned, cleaning a dog's ear when there is already an issue could actually make the problem worse.
If you don't spot anything out of the ordinary, you can start the cleaning process.
3. DIY Dog Ear Cleaning
You'll need to use a quality dog ear cleaner that is specifically made for use on canines. You will also need cotton balls, cotton rounds or a clean cloth. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you NEVER use cotton swabs (like Q-tips) to clean your dog's ear.
Note: The reason why q-tips are not good to clean dog ears is that it's very easy to push them too deeply into the ear. Unlike cleaning your own ears, you won't feel when you push it too far, and you could cause irreversible damage.
1. Fill the ear with cleaning solution
To begin, tip your dog onto his side. Pour a small amount of dog ear cleaning solution (just enough to fill the ear canal) into your pet's ear. Your dog will immediately want to shake his head, so be sure to brace for it.
2. Massage the ear
Close the ear flap and begin rubbing the base of the ear in a circular motion, gently and slowly. This will help the solution break up any waxy build up. Massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds. After you've finished, allow your dog sit up and shake his head.
3. Wipe the inside clean
When he shakes his head, a lot of the wax will break apart and wash out of the ear canal. Open the ear flap and gently wipe the inside of the ear clean with a cotton round. You're not trying to completely dry the ear, and you don't need to worry about getting every little nook and cranny.
Just wipe gently until you've gotten the bulk of the debris and wax out. You don't need to dry the ear. The cleaner will continue to work until it dries naturally.
4. How Often to Clean Dog Ears?
The answer to this question depends on many factors. It can be anywhere from once a week to every two months.
Your dog's breed, age, activity level, coat type and level of earwax production will all determine how often you'll to perform DIY dog ear cleaning. Generally, at least inspecting your dog's ears should be done every few days to make sure there's nothing abnormal.
On average, most dogs should have their ears cleaned at least once per month, but your dog may need it more frequently or less frequently. If your dog is a regular swimmer, it could be as often as once a week. Talk to your veterinarian to decide on the best schedule for your Fido.