Do I need to clean my dog’s ears?
Yes! It is important to clean and care for your dog’s ears to help reduce the chance of ear infections and the build-up of excess wax. It also allows you to monitor your dog’s ears and allow more prompt identification of ear disease or infection. Prompt treatment of such conditions allow a better prognosis and can reduce the likelihood of your dog having chronic ear disease. Your dog may also find comfort or relief from ear discomfort after cleaning.
What are the signs of ear disease or infection?
- Discharge from the ear
- Excessive scratching/pawing at the ear or ears
- Redness of the ear
- Sensitivity or pain around the ears
- Swelling or masses around the ears.
How should I clean my dog’s ears?
Remove any excess dirt, wax or matted hair from around the ears using cotton wool moistened with ear cleaner. Wipe carefully as the underside of the ear flap may be inflamed and sore. Fig 1 (please note that if removing hair from inside the ears, this must be done very carefully or by your veterinary surgeon to prevent pain to your dog)
Lift up the ear flap and administer cleaning solution into the ear canal. It is important to use a specialised ear cleaning solution designed to remove wax and discourage the growth of bacteria. This can be purchased from the practice. The ear canal should be full but not overflowing with solution. Fig 2
Massage the base of your dog’s ear for between 20 to 30 seconds – there is often a distinctive ‘squishing’ sound. Fig 3
Place a ball of cotton wool at the top of the ear canal and massage the canal upwards to work the waxy debris onto the cotton wool. Fig 4 Wipe away any solution (which may include discharge and/or wax) from the entrance to the ear. Do not push any cotton buds or cotton wool down into the ear canal as this may cause damage to the delicate canals lining.
Repeat steps 2 – 4 up to 3 times until a small amount of wax only is visible on the cotton wool.
If your dog displays any sign of pain or discomfort, then please seek advice from your veterinary surgeon.
Your dog’s ears should be cleaned at least once monthly, but this will depend on each individual breed, lifestyle eg swimming, and ear wax production. If your dog is particularly prone to ear disease or has suffered from a previous ear infection then more regular cleaning may be necessary. Please ask us for advice.