Reasons you need to clean your dog's ears, and how to do it

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I feel like this is one of the most overlooked parts of a grooming routine that owners easily forget about or choose not to do.

A dog’s ears are like warm and damp traps just begging for bacteria and debris to find them. If you don’t keep your pet’s ears clean, they can quickly get infections and have oily, foul smelling ears that you won't want to pet or stand to be near.  

How-to clean your dog’s ears

I promise this is very simple!

  1. I prefer to use a cleaning solution that has alcohol in the formula so it will dry on its own and not add any moisture to the already damp ear.

  2. Wet a cotton ball with whatever solution you choose and gently rub the entire ear area - this includes; the inner flap, opening of the ear, and base of the ear canal. Do not push your finger or the cotton ball too far into the canal or you can do more harm than good, the next step will take care of the inner canal.

  3. Then, pour a couple drops of the solution straight into the canal and gently rub the ear and head area (as if you are petting them) to push the solution deeper.

  4. And you are done! Give your dog a treat for the torture they just endured. I suggest cleaning their ears at least once per week, minimum once per month (especially for breeds with floppy ears). If your dog goes swimming or has spent time rolling in a big mud puddle, clean them immediately afterwards!

How to get your dog to let you clean their ears

This simple grooming task can become so difficult for owners if the dog does not like their ears being touched. Fortunately, my dogs do not mind and don’t put up too much of a fight. But, I’ve seen dogs run away in fear as soon the owners bring out the ear solution!

If your dog is afraid, try touching and rubbing your their ears in several places with just your hands and give them lots of treats and praise. Do this several times per day so they associate you touching their ears with treats and positive attention. Make sure to be extra gentle when cleaning their ears from this point forward, you could have been too aggressive in the past and caused them pain.

If this doesn’t work and your dog has extreme or aggressive behavior when having their ears touched, take them to your vet and have a technician help hold or muzzle them to get them cleaned. Do not let months or years go by without cleaning their ears just because they do not like them touched. Do whatever you need to (within reason), to make sure their ears stay healthy. It’s your responsibility as a good dog owner!