As pet parents, we know the importance of keeping our dog’s ears clean, as it helps prevent infection and damage to the ear or canal. We also know that it can be a daunting task getting in there... so we’re here to help you tackle the task!

Step 1: Gather The Supplies

  • Cotton ball/gauze/cotton pad
  • Ear cleaning solution (vet-approved, or learn to make your own here). Look for a product which contains no antibiotics, steroids, alcohol, or toxic materials of any kind.
  • Tweezers (if your dog has a lot of hair in their ears)
  • Towel (for potentially messes, especially when your dog shakes their head)
  • Treats (for rewards along the way, of course!)
  • Avoid Q-TIPS or any tool with a pointed tip for the inner ear portion as this can push dirt further into the ear.

Step 2: The ‘How-To’:

  1. Get your pup to sit, reward him with a treat and allow him to inspect the bottle of ear cleaner.
  2. If his ears aren't already erect, hold the ear flap upright and carefully fill the ear canal with the cleaning solution.
  3. Keeping the ear flap out of the way, gently massage the base of the ear with your fingers for about twenty seconds.
  4. Release the ear and allow your dog to shake his head if he desires. Hold a towel over his head to prevent solution from flying everywhere.
  5. Use a cotton ball or a cotton pad wrapped around your index finger to gently wipe the visible part of your dog's ear canal and outer ear. Use a cotton swab only if necessary and only on the visible portion of your dog's outer ear.
  6. Dry the ear by wiping any excess solution.
  7. Reward your pup with another treat and then repeat steps for the other ear.

Helpful Tips

  • Dogs’ ears are very sensitive so be gentle
  • Keep treats handy to make the experience more pleasant while you’re cleaning
  • Don’t overclean! That can lead to infection and irritation
  • Contact your vet if you suspect your pup has an infection

Keep In Mind

Some dogs naturally have healthy, clean ears and may not need to have them cleaned often. Breeds with long, hanging ears, such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, are among those with the highest risk of getting ear infections, but all breeds can develop them. The most important takeaway: keep your eyes on their ears! Do your best to regularly check in on any wax buildup.