Cleaning your dog’s ears is an essential part of their grooming routine. All dogs should have their ears cleaned occasionally although some dogs may require frequent, sometimes weekly, ear cleaning. The reason we clean dog’s ears is to remove excess ear wax and debris which can build up inside the ear and on the outer ear. Ear irritation, either from an allergy or wax and/or debris buildup, can lead to the ear canal becoming infected, which can cause pain and itching and will require veterinary treatment and medications.
It isn’t always easy to clean your dog’s ears and some dogs really don’t like it. It can also be a bit nerve racking to have to do it for the first time, especially if just aren’t quite sure how to go about it. So here are some helpful tips on how to clean your dog’s ears which will help make the process easier and less stressful for both you and your dog.
1. The best place to clean your dog’s ears is either outside or in the bathtub or the laundry sink as they are likely to shake their head which sometimes spreads ear cleaner everywhere – so stand back. It is best if you securely tie your dog up or have another person help you hold them so they don’t try to pull away.
2. Start by lifting the ear flap up, gently place the tip of the ear cleaner bottle in the ear and give the bottle a gentle squeeze releasing the cleaner into the ear canal.
3. Before your dog can shake it’s head, rub and massage the base of the ear for 5-10 seconds which helps to move the cleanser through the ear canal and loosens the wax and debris. Chances are that as soon as you stop rubbing their ears they will shake their head, so step back.
4. Use some cotton wool or gauze to wipe out the ear canal and external ear. Be sure to wipe the ridges well, dampening the cotton wool or gauze with ear cleaner will make removing excess debris and wax easier. You can gently insert your finger into the ear canal and wipe it clean. If you decide to use a cotton tipped bud to clean the ear be extremely careful and never put it into the ear canal any further than you can see as it can permanently damage the eardrum.
5. If the ears are particularly dirty you may need to repeat the steps and clean the ear again.
6. Wipe any excess debris and cleanser away from the ear and give them a little rub and dry away any excessive moisture.
7. Most importantly – don’t forget to praise your dog for being well behaved and give them a treat to make it a positive experience.
If you find cleaning your dog’s ears too difficult take them to your local veterinary clinic and they will be able to do it for you. Alternatively many dog groomers or dog bathers will be able to clean your dog’s ears as well.
If you notice any discharge, bleeding, bad smell, inflammation or pain when cleaning your dog’s ears you should consult a veterinarian for advice.
Originally published in My Pet Magazine Spring 2014
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