While most dogs don’t need their ears cleaned frequently, not cleaning altogether can lead to ear infections and diseases. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of all dogs have some form of ear disease, and infections are especially common in dogs with floppy ears or ear hair.
Why Clean My Dog’s Ears?
There are many benefits of cleaning your dog’s ears. Some reasons for cleaning your dog’s ears are:
· Improved hearing
Excess wax and dirt build up inside the ear canal interfere with hearing by acting as a kind of block for sound waves. Cleaning the ear canal to remove excess wax can significantly improve your dog's hearing, depending on the severity of the block.
· Prevent infection
Ear infection in dogs is a common condition and most often affects breeds with floppy ears. It is extremely painful and caused by excess dirt and wax, creating a feeding ground for yeast and infection-causing bacteria. Regular cleaning prevents excessive wax buildup, consequently going a long way in preventing ear infections.
· Flush out mites
A special type of mite known as an ear mite is known to live in pet ears. It feeds upon ear wax and oil and is contagious and almost invisible to the naked human eye. To check for dog ear mites, spread some of your dog’s ear wax on a piece of paper. If you see any small white specks, clean your dog’s ears more frequently to get rid of the mites.
· Avoid water trapping
Dogs are particularly prone to water getting trapped in their ear canals, and this trapped water can dramatically increase the risk of infection. Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly can help get any trapped water out and keeps your dog’s ears dry and clean.
· Remove debris
Dirt, small twigs, and weeds can get trapped in your dog's ears after it plays outside. It is important to remove this debris as soon as possible to prevent serious health risks, and cleaning your dog's ears regularly is the best way to do so.
· Maintain hygiene
Another reason for regularly cleaning your dog's ears is to maintain hygiene and keep your dog neat and clean. However, you should avoid cleaning too frequently to not kill the good bacteria that live in your dog's ears and help it combat yeast and harmful bacteria.
What Do You Need?
To clean your dog’s ears at home, you will need the following supplies:
- Ear cleaning solution
Commercially available dog ear cleaning solutions are a safe and effective way to clean your dog’s ears. To buy the best dog ear cleaning solution for your dog, look for one that is vet-approved and suited to your dog’s needs. You should also go through the ingredients list to avoid anything your dog could have a reaction to.
- Cotton balls or gauze
Before trying to clean your dog's ears, you should have some cotton balls or gauze ready to clean any loosened debris and excess solution. You should also use a cotton ball soaked in alcohol to clean anything that touches your dog's ear to prevent the spread of yeast or bacteria.
- Dog ear wipes
Dog ear wipes are specially formulated wipes designed to quickly dissolve built-up earwax. While not a substitute for proper ear cleaning with a solution, they are an excellent way to prevent infections in dogs that refuse to get their ears cleaned and a recommended purchase when looking to clean your dog’s ears for the first time.
It’s a good idea to have a soft towel ready nearby to dry your dog up once you're done. And you can also lay out some towels on the floor if not working outside or in a bathroom to protect the floor or carpet from getting dirty. Click Here to urge a broad range of washable cleaning supplies for your dogs!
Step-by-Step Guide for Ear Cleaning
Wondering how to clean dog's ears? Follow the step-by-step guide below.
1. Have your dog sit
First, have your dog sit in a comfortable position. Then maneuver yourself behind it, so its rear end is between your legs. In case of a larger dog, have it sit with its rear end in a room corner and one side against the wall, standing on the other side.
2. Hold the ear
Hold one of your dog's ears and move the ear flap or pinna up in the vertical direction, so the ear canal straightens and becomes visible. Do this gently but firmly while taking care not to hurt your dog.
3. Apply the ear cleaning solution
While still holding your dog’s ear, grab the ear cleaning solution with your other hand. Squirt some into your dog’s ear canal, using the pinna to channel the fluid into the opening. Continue squeezing until the ear canal fills completely and some fluid starts leaking out. Do not let the bottle touch the ear or use too much cleaner.
4. Massage base of the ear
Once you have filled the ear canal with cleaner, massage below the ear opening at the base of the ear for about 30 seconds to break up the wax and debris. Continue holding up the ear flap throughout this process, and don’t be concerned if you hear a ‘squishing’ sound as the solution moves in the horizontal part of the ear canal.
5. Wipe away debris
Use a cotton ball or gauze square to wipe away any loosened debris from the upper ear canal and inner part of the ear flap while continuing to hold the ear flap up. Don’t use Q-tips to do this as they are likely to push the debris further in and can damage the ear canal or ear drum.
6. Let dog shake head
Your dog will most likely want to shake its head to remove the remaining cleaner and debris. Allow it to shake its head vigorously but be sure to do it in an easy to clean area like a bathroom or outside, as this step can get quite messy.
7. Wipe again
Hold the ear up and wipe the outer ear canal and inner part of the ear flap with a cotton ball or gauze to remove the loosened debris and ear cleaner collected near the opening as a result of all the shaking. Also, clean the inside of the ear canal with a cotton ball or gauze, going only as far as your finger can reach.
8. Treat and repeat
Treat your dog for being cooperative and move to the other ear to repeat the same process. Stop immediately if you notice your dog is feeling pain or discomfort, and consult your vet in case of an ear infection.
Frequently Asked Questions
1.When to Clean Your Dog’s Ears?
You should clean your dog’s ears if you notice frequent head shaking, ear scratching, head tilting, ear flap inflammation, swelling, or mild discharge from the ears.
2.How Often to Clean Dog Ears?
Dogs don’t need their ears cleaned too frequently. Once a month is completely fine for most dogs, but some dogs tend to be more prone to ear problems and need to have their ears cleaned more frequently (as much as once every week).
3.What Can I Use at Home to Clean My Dog's Ears?
It is best to use a vet-approved ear cleaner for your dog, but you can make a natural dog ear cleaner at home by mixing equal parts white vinegar and distilled water. You can also use normal saline solution as an ear cleaner or put a couple of drops of olive oil into your dog’s ear canal to help loosen and remove excess ear wax.
4.What is the Brown Stuff in My Dog's Ears?
The brown stuff in your dog’s ears is most likely the ear wax. Normal dog ear wax ranges in color from pale yellow to light brown but can also be a darker brown in case of dirt in the ears. It is semi-soft in consistency and shouldn't smell much in normal circumstances.
5.Can I Clean My Dog's Ears with Water?
Yes, you can. To use water to clean a dog’s ears, dip some cotton balls in warm water and use them to gently clean the ear flap and the outer part of the ear canal. Change the water and cotton balls frequently.
6.How to Clean Dog’s Ears with Infection?
While you should definitely take your dog to the vet if you suspect an ear infection, cleaning with apple cider vinegar can also help. All you need to do is mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and distilled water and introduce it into the ear using a syringe, long tip bottle, or cotton balls. Let the solution sit for a couple of minutes before letting your dog shake it out and wipe clean.
Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly can go a long way in preventing diseases and maintaining hygiene. Follow the guide above to easily and effectively clean your dog’s ears to keep it happy and infection-free.
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