How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears: Step by Step Guide

Let’s review what NOT to do:

  • Do not allow water to get into the ear canal if possible.  It can lead the formation of bacteria and fungus.
  • Do not use a syringe as you may damage your dog’s ear.  Leave this tool to the professionals.
  • Do not go deeper than ½ inch into the ear canal – unless you’re trained it’s not worth getting overly ambitious and accidentally hurting your dog.

Do It Yourself Dog Ear Cleaning Supplies*

  • Hemostat (special scissors) sterilized before and after each procedure.
  • Commercial ear powder
  • Commercial ear cleaning solution or homemade mixture (see below)
  • Cotton (sterile medical grade preferred).

*Do not use Q-Tips or alcohol as a dog ear medication.

  1. Straighten the ear canal by gently pulling the tip of the ear flap upwards.
  2. Drip a dog ear cleaning solution (see below for recommendations) into your dog’s ear canal using a plastic or glass dropper.
  3. Gently massage the base of your dog’s ear with your thumb and forefinger for 30 seconds.  The ear canal will feel like a small hard tube between your fingers.  You will know that you’re doing it right if you hear a squishy sound.
  4. Tip your dog’s head to the side and let the dog ear cleaningsolution drip out onto a towel.  If this is your first time, don’t be surprised if a lot of material comes out!
  5. Allow your dog to shake out any excess dog ear wash.
  6. Being careful not to insert anything deeper into the ear canal than ½ inch, remove any excess wax or particles with a soft cloth, tissue or specially made dog earcleaning pad.
  7. Ventilate your dog’s ears by folding back their ears and allowing them to dry out for about five minutes.
  8. Wrap things up by administering a dog ear drying powder.

If you can see a build-up of oil or wax inside the ear, try using an Almond Oil dog ear cleaning solution:

Oak Tree Veterinary Hospital

  1. Pour a small amount of almond oil into a cup or glass
  2. Immerse cup or glass (do not let water overflow into cup) in a sink or bowl full of hot water
  3. Straighten ear canal by gently lifting the tip of the ear flap upwards
  4. Slowly drop about ½ teaspoon of almond oil into your dog’s ear canal using a plastic or glass dropper
  5. Allow the oil to run down ear canal for 5 seconds
  6. Gently massage the ear canal with your thumb and forefinger as mentioned above.  Again, if you hear a squishy sound you know you’re doing it right.
  7. Use a soft cloth, tissue or special ear cleaning pad to remove the excess oil.

For normal weekly cleaning (do not use on inflamed ears):

  1. Commercial Ear Cleaner – there are several good ones on the market, such as Halo’s Herbal Natural Ear Wash Solution.
  1. Vinegar Rinse – Create a mixture of 1/3 apple organic cider vinegar (2% to 2.5% acetic acid) and 2/3 water.  Using a dropper, gently flush the ear canal with between 1 and 5 ml of the solutions.

The above is also good to use after swimming.

South Building
Outpatient / Pharmacy and Pet Food Pickup / Saturday Appointments

1808 S Taylor Rd
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

North Building
Surgery and Hospital Admission / Imaging / Therapy Laser / Outpatient / Pharmacy and Pet Food Pickup after 5pm

1794 S Taylor Rd
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Phone: (216) 321-6040
Fax: (216) 321-1967

Business Hours
Monday - Thursday: 8:00am - 7:00pm
Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am - 1:00pm
Sunday: Closed

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