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A woman smiling broadly holds a fluffy, curly-haired dog that appears to be yawning with its eyes closed and tongue out. The background is blurred, focusing on the joyful interaction between the woman and her dog.
Pet Blog

How to Clean Dog’s Ears

Just like brushing their teeth or trimming their nails, cleaning your dog’s ears is a necessary evil that will keep them happy, healthy, and smelling fresh. You should regularly check the state of your dog’s ears to determine how often they need to be cleaned.

Why do I need to clean my dog's ears?

When dirt builds up in your dog’s ears, it can cause an ear infection. Some dogs naturally have healthy, clean ears and may never need to have their ears cleaned, while other dogs require regular ear cleaning to prevent the buildup of dirt that can lead to ear infections. Dog breeds whose ears hang low and wobble to and fro, like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, have the highest risk of getting ear infections, but any breed can develop them. Regular cleaning will also help you avoid stinky dog ears. If their ears are sparkling clean and your doggo still gets ear infections, you can check in with your vet to see if allergies might be the cause of their discomfort..

Why do dog ears smell?

Healthy dog ears do not have an odor, so if your dog’s ears smell funky, it could be a sign of an issue. Bacterial infections, yeast infections, and earwax buildup can all cause noticeable odor in your dog’s ears.

How often should I clean my dog's ears?

The best way to determine how often you should clean your dog’s ears is to pay attention to their health. If your pup is lucky, you may never need to clean their ears. Some dogs have naturally healthy, clean ears, while others are prone to ear gunk. Over-cleaning your dog’s ears can lead to infection and irritation, so familiarize yourself with what a healthy ear looks like (which is pink and clean) and smells like (odorless), and clean it only when you notice a change. If you notice a mild odor or see that your dog is shaking their head often, it’s probably time for a cleaning. If your dog’s ear looks inflamed and red, smells yeasty, or they seem to be in pain, contact your vet. These symptoms could indicate an ear infection, fleas, allergies, or ear mites, and may require medical attention. You should never attempt to clean an infected ear at home.

How to clean a dog's ears?

Never use Q-tips or anything with a pointed end to clean your dog’s ears. Objects like this will simply push dirt deeper into the ear canal. To effectively clean your dog’s ears, you only need cotton balls, ear cleaning solution, and a towel. We recommend doing this in a room that’s easy to clean, like the bathroom, in case things get messy! Follow these simple steps to clean your dog’s ears.

  1. Try to clean your dog’s ears when they are calm, as this will help make the experience more pleasant for you both. Treats are always a good idea.
  2. Only use vet-approved ear cleaning solutions. Squeeze enough solution to fill your dog’s ear canal and massage gently at the base of the ear for about 30 seconds. You may hear a squishing sound as the product helps to dislodge debris and buildup. To avoid bringing bacteria into their ear, don’t let the tip of the solution applicator touch your dog’s ear.
  3. Allow your dog to shake their head. Use your towel to protect yourself from the spray and wipe down your doggo’s face and the fur near their ears. Once your dog has finished shakin’ it like a polaroid picture, take the cotton ball or gauze and gently wipe out the ear canal, going no deeper than the depth of one knuckle. If your dog appears to be in pain during the cleaning process, stop and consult your veterinarian.
  4. After your fur baby’s ears are squeaky clean, make sure their teeth are just as fresh by treating them to one of these fresh breath bones.

Never use hydrogen peroxide to clean your dog’s ears, as this can cause irritation.