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5 Things to Remember When Cleaning Dog Ears

Written by: Renee Moen
| Published on March 3, 2014

dog hairy earsThey come in all shapes and sizes. Long, short, floppy or cropped; a dog’s ears only need a quick clean every so often. Too much cleaning on normally healthy ears will lead to irritation and may bring on infection because there is no healthy bacteria to fight off the bad bacteria. If there are signs of infection (Acute scratching of the head or ear, foul smell, discharge) consult a vet.

Less is More

The way the canine ear is designed with its bending infrastructure, may become a hot bed for parasites, bacteria and yeast. Cleaning the ears regularly isn’t necessary for most dogs. Using a cotton ball saturated with a fifty/fifty mix of vinegar and water, a simple swipe on the inside of the ear where there is buildup is all that is needed to wipe away the gunk. Vinegar is a natural antiseptic that washes away bacteria without using harsh detergents. Remember not to dig into a dog’s ear, wipe where it is visible.

Gentle Clean

If there is a buildup inside the ear canal itself, then a more thorough cleaning is needed. It is best to do the ear cleaning at bath time, it does get a bit messy. Using a ear cleaning solution (Ask the vet for a recommendation) squirt a small amount into the ear canal, give a quick massage (five to ten seconds to the area below the ear, above the jaw) then hold a towel up to ward off the fluid being shaken out of the dogs ears.

Smelly Ears

If there is a foul smell coming from the ears, then an infection is most likely. When there is a chronic infection of the ears (More than once a year) there may be an underlying factor such as allergies. The most common allergy culprit is diet. Commercial dog foods are made with varying levels of grain. Dogs are designed to be carnivores. Some dogs don’t digest the grain very well, which manifests itself in chronic ear infections. Switching to a no grain diet should eliminate the infections. It takes about six weeks to see a marked difference.


Erratic sprouting of ear hair could be a nuisance. Trimming the hair around the ear to keep it neat and clean is necessary. Inner ear hair may be plucked gently with a pair of tweezers to prevent matting and tangles.

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