Avoid dog ear infections by practicing preventive care. That means regularly examine and clean your dog’s ears. Cleaning your dog’s ears is important for good grooming and overall health. This is especially true for canines with pendulous ears, lots of hair in their ears, allergies or other medical problems that render them susceptible to ear infections.
Keeping the dog’s ears clean is important because a damp environment creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, often leading to painful sensitivity, redness, swelling and infection.
Some guardians never check their dog’s ears unless the dog is shaking or scratching its ears.
That’s unfortunate because, by that time, there is usually an ear health problem requiring veterinary intervention to determine if the dog is infected, infested or needs treatment.
Before cleaning the dog’s ears, inspect for potential problems. Take note of any matter in and around the ear canal, particularly excess wax. A dark wax may be a sign of ear mites.
Do not use water when cleaning your dog’s ears.
A weekly ear cleaning with an approved cleansing solution, or a mixture described at the bottom of the page that you can prepare at home, minimizes or prevents dog ear infections.
If ear problems are discovered, soak a cotton ball thoroughly in the ear wash. Squeeze out excess and gently clean dirt, wax and other matter from the exterior area of the ear, and consult your veterinarian. Hold the ear flap up so the ear is tilted up; fill the ear with cleanser until it runs out. Do this while holding a towel to catch overflow from head shaking.
Gently massage the base of the dog’s ears so you hear a squishing sound. If your dog attempts to move around the ear may be infected or you may be massaging too vigorously to free the discharge, so be very gentle. Aggressive pressure is not required.
Unless the ear is infected, the dog will probably enjoy this part of the cleaning.
If you don’t hear the squishing sound, you may not have enough cleaning solution in the ear or you are not creating enough movement. The cleaning will start at the part that protrudes from the side of the head or flops over, and also the external part of the ear that is gnarled, fleshy and, in some breeds, hairy around the entrance to the ear canal.
From the external opening, the L-shaped ear canal descends vertically before taking a 90-degree bend for a horizontal jaunt to the ear drum. You should clean up to the external ear canal and no further — the vertical part before the 90-degree bend!
Use your finger as a gauge to a safe access area to clean into the external ear canal — as far as you can see with a flashlight — and gently clean with a cotton-tipped swab only if you have been instructed by your veterinarian.
Otherwise, use cotton balls or soft cotton cloths around the entrance to the ear canal, with a gentle, veterinary-approved cleaner. Be careful not to rub too hard as you can do more harm than good by rubbing the ears raw, leaving a nesting ground for bacteria and ultimately infection.
Hydrogen peroxide is sometimes recommended but should be avoided because it leaves excess moisture and that can lead to the very difficulties you are trying to prevent. Finally, use an ear drying powder or cream and fold ear flaps back for about five minutes to dry canals.
You’ll be surprised at the amount of debris you can remove.
If you would prefer to make your own dog ear cleaner, here are three good recipes your veterinarian will approve of. Choose one or the other, don’t use them all at the same time, and never use them to treat an ear infection.
Recipe #1: Mix one part white vinegar with one part rubbing alcohol (50/50 mixture) in a squirt bottle and shake well.
Recipe #2: Mix 50/50 vinegar and water, massage it in the ear for 60 seconds, clean the dog’s ear with cotton balls (not Q-tips). If your pet requires medication, apply it afterwards.
Recipe #3: For cleaning and to get rid of ear mites, soak a few crushed garlic cloves in oil (mineral oil, olive oil, or almond oil) overnight. Garlic helps kill the bacteria that can lead to ear infections. Put 3-5 drops of oil in the ear canal after thoroughly cleaning your dog’s ears. Do this once a day for at least a month. Oil will smother and starve the mites.
Use dog ear cleaning recipes only as indicated above. Site owners or their agents will not be responsible for any injuries resulting in the use or misuse of the recipes. Use with your own discretion.
We have existed as a company since 1985, but it was a love of dogs, the dogs that have been a part of our life, and the passing of one dog in particular, Rusty, that inspired the creation of http://www.callofthedog.com and http://www.callofthedogshop.com –created to provide the things your dogs and pets need.
The two sites are dedicated to the dogs we have loved so deeply, and who have given us so much love in return. Purebreds and mixed breeds, but mostly rescues in need of a home. We educated them, but each one has had something to teach us in exchange.