How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

by Holly Nash, DVM, MS on May 9, 2012

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Dogs Ear

Get your puppy used to having his ears cleaned early in life, and before a painful infection could start. Your dog’s ear is more L-shaped than yours. Debris often collects at the corner of the L. Follow these steps to help clean the whole canal. Talk to him during the process, pausing to give him a treat if he is doing well.

  1. Fill your dog’s ear canal with a good ear cleaner.
  2. Massage the base of the ear for 20-30 seconds to soften and release the debris.
  3. Wipe out the loose debris and excess fluid with a cotton ball. Repeat until you see no more debris.
  4. After the ear is clean, let the dog shake his head and allow some time for the ears to dry. Then you can apply any ear medication that was prescribed.

Cotton applicator swabs can be used to clean the inside of the earflap and the part of the ear canal you can see. They should NOT be used farther down in the ear canal since that tends to pack debris in the ear canal, rather than removing it.

Here is a helpful “How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears” video demonstration:

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About the author: Dr. Holly Nash received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, and a Master's Degree in epidemiology (the study of the transmission, distribution, and control of disease) from the University of Wisconsin. She has worked in a primarily dairy practice, as a veterinary epidemiologist, and as a companion animal veterinarian. Dr. Nash has been with Drs. Foster and Smith since 1998. She has always been interested in the human-animal bond and the education of animal owners, and finds being Editor of PetEducation.com a perfect match. She enjoys and has had experience working with many species of animals, and is a member of the American and Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Associations. See more articles by Dr. Holly Nash.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

SHARON CRAWFORD May 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm

THANK U 4 REMINDING ME TO CLEAN MY BABY’S EARS (GIGI). SHE’S NINE YRS OLD & HAS CUSHINS DISEASE.

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