Alert and upright like a Great Dane’s, long and floppy like a Basset Hound’s, or folded in half like a Jack Russell’s; dog ears come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they need regular cleaning.

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Step one: Ensure you have all these essentials

Be sure to get all these things in place before calling your dog over:

  • Ear wipes or cotton balls – don’t use cotton tips as they can damage the ear canal
  • Gentle cleaning solution – choose a product specifically formulated to dissolve wax and debris, and remove odours from pets’ ears
  • Treats – have your pet’s favourite reward within arms reach, and
  • Another pair of hands – your dog will probably find ear cleaning uncomfortable at first. You may need a second person to gently hold them in place and offer encouraging words while you work.

Step two: Inspect your pet’s ears

It’s best to clean your dog’s ears when your dog is calm. Sit your dog in front of you for a quick ear inspection. If you see what looks like brown coffee grounds at the opening of your pet’s ear canal, it may mean your dog has mites. In this case, it’s best to abandon the cleaning process and visit your local Greencross Vets. Similarly, if you notice a bad odour, swelling, or signs of pain when you touch your dog’s ears, see the vet.


Step three: It’s time to clean

  • Reassure your pet with a pat and some soothing words
  • Pick up one of their ear flaps and dribble the recommended amount of cleaning solution into the ear canal.
  • Gently massage the area where the ear meets the head for about 20 seconds. You should hear a squelching sound as the solution moves around the ear canal and breaks up any build up
  • Your pet will want to shake its head. Let them. This helps bring softened wax and debris out of the ear canal
  • With an ear wipe or cotton ball very gently clean the ear flap and the opening of the ear canal
  • Repeat this process on the other ear
  • Reward your pet with praise and a generous treat.


Step four: Regularly repeat this process

How often you need to clean your dog’s ears depends on its breed, coat, age and wax production. Twice a month should be fine for normal dogs because a certain amount of natural build up is good for ear health. Make sure to care around the eardrum. Dog ear canals are not straight like humans. Pets with floppy ears or those that swim often may need more frequent cleaning.

On a cleaning frenzy? Find out how to brush your dog’s teeth here.