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3 Tips for Making Ear Cleanings More Enjoyable for Your Dog

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on July 11, 2023

Regular ear cleanings are essential to keeping your dog’s ear health in tip-top shape. Ear infections are relatively common among dogs, and although they are caused by a variety of reasons, veterinarians insist that regular at-home cleanings can keep infections away. Just like nail trimmings, though, many dogs are uncooperative when it comes to having their ears washed.

So, how can you make things more enjoyable for both of you? Check out these tips.

#1 – Treats – Lots of ‘Em!

Just like you’d teach a dog to do anything, using treats can make the experience of ear cleaning much more pleasant for your dog. Pick your pup’s favorite snacks and start from the very basics. Instead of just dumping cleaner in and rubbing away, begin by teaching your dog to feel comfortable with you just holding and moving his or her ears around. If you’re able to do this, practice softly sticking a cotton ball or ear wipe into the ear. Next, you’ll be able to add any cleaner you’d like to use. Take it step by step and offer treats for everything your dog does well. If they put up too much of a fight, you’ll want to take some steps back and start gradually offering treats for the times they’re calm.

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#2 – Patience

Patience goes hand in hand with the treats since you’re using your patience to train your dog to let you clean his or her ears. Remember to take everything one step at a time. You might not be able to go through an entire ear cleaning in one session. You might not even be able to get through one ear! But be patient. Accepting little victories will help your dog feel more comfortable throughout the process. Don’t get frustrated or upset because your dog will sense this and become even more stressed. Practice a little bit every day until your dog is comfortable having their ears thoroughly cleaned.

#3 – Don’t Overdo It

Cleaning ears too often is possible, so don’t think that you need to clean your dog’s ears out every day or even every week. Most veterinarians recommend cleaning ears regularly, especially when you notice they are becoming visibly dirty. Irritation from too much cleaning will become uncomfortable for your dog and even promote infections. This is a great way to make the ear-cleaning process painful and very unpleasant for your pup. Even the most patient dog will start to dread something that causes pain, and we don’t want a routine procedure to be so uncomfortable. If anything, we want to be able to turn ear cleanings into a fun, treat-filled event that your pup gets excited about!

Remember that too much of anything gets monotonous, so practice until it becomes relatively easy for you to clean your dog’s ears and then only again on occasion.

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