A Complete Guide to Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears: Techniques and Products

washing a dog and cleaning its ears

Keeping your dog’s ears clean is essential for maintaining their overall health and preventing issues like infections or ear mites. However, many dog owners feel unsure about how to clean their dog’s ears properly and safely. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of cleaning your dog’s ears and recommend some products to help you keep those floppy ears healthy and fresh!

See also: washing a dog >>

1. Recognize the Signs of Dirty Ears

Before you dive into cleaning your dog’s ears, it’s important to know the signs of dirty or unhealthy ears. Look out for these symptoms:

  • Unpleasant odor
  • Redness or swelling
  • Excessive wax or discharge
  • Scratching or head shaking

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to clean your dog’s ears. However, if the symptoms are severe or persist after cleaning, consult your veterinarian for advice.

2. Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin, make sure you have the following items on hand:

  • Dog ear cleaner (preferably alcohol-free and specifically designed for dogs)
  • Cotton balls or gauze
  • Tweezers (for plucking hair, if necessary)
  • Treats (to reward your dog)

3. Prepare Your Dog

examining a dog's ears

Choose a quiet, comfortable area for the ear cleaning session. Start by gently petting your dog’s head and ears to help them relax. Offer a treat as a reward for their cooperation.

4. Apply the Ear Cleaner

Hold your dog’s ear flap up to expose the ear canal. Pour the ear cleaner directly into the ear canal until it’s filled. Avoid inserting the nozzle too deeply, as this can cause injury.

5. Massage the Ear

Once the cleaner is in, gently massage the base of your dog’s ear for about 30 seconds. This will help break up any debris and distribute the cleaner throughout the ear canal.

6. Let Your Dog Shake It Off

After massaging, allow your dog to shake their head. This will help remove the cleaner and any dislodged debris from the ear canal.

7. Wipe Away Debris

Using a cotton ball or gauze, gently wipe away any visible debris or wax from the outer part of your dog’s ear canal. Avoid using cotton swabs, as they can push debris further into the ear or cause injury.

8. Pluck Hair If Necessary

If your dog has excessive hair in their ear canal, it may need to be plucked to promote air circulation and prevent wax buildup. Use tweezers or your fingers to gently pluck the hair. If you’re unsure about this step, consult a professional groomer or your veterinarian.

9. Monitor Your Dog’s Ears

Regularly inspect your dog’s ears for signs of dirt, wax, or infection. The frequency of ear cleaning will depend on your dog’s breed, lifestyle, and individual needs. Some dogs may require weekly cleanings, while others may only need it once a month. Consult your veterinarian for personalized recommendations.

Recommended Ear Cleaning Products

Here are some popular and effective ear cleaning products to consider:

  1. Zymox Ear Cleanser: A non-toxic, gentle formula that effectively cleans and soothes irritated ears.
  2. Vet’s Best Ear Relief Wash: An all-natural, alcohol-free ear wash that helps prevent ear odor, itching, and wax buildup.
  3. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner: A mild, alcohol-free ear cleaner that removes debris and dries the ear canal to prevent infections.
  4. Burt’s Bees Ear Cleaner for Dogs: A natural, pH-balanced ear cleaner made with witch hazel and peppermint oil to clean and deodorize.
  5. TropiClean Ear Wash: A gentle, alcohol-free ear wash that reduces ear odor, wax, and debris.


a happy and clean dog

Cleaning your dog’s ears may seem daunting at first, but with the right techniques and products, it’s a simple and essential part of your dog’s grooming routine. By regularly checking and cleaning your dog’s ears, you can help prevent common ear problems and keep your furry friend happy and healthy.

As always, if you have concerns about your dog’s ear health or are unsure about any aspect of the ear cleaning process, consult with your veterinarian for guidance and support.

Related Grooming Topics:
+ Cleaning your dog’s teeth
+ Trimming your dog’s nails
+ Dog grooming