Dogs seem to really love having their ears rubbed but if their ears are abnormally sensitive it could be a sign that they need to be cleaned. Our Liberty Lake vets give you tips to give your dog a proper ear cleaning.
How To Tell If Your Dogs Ears Need a Deep Cleaning
If your dog's ears are in good condition, he or she will probably enjoy having their ears rubbed. If they are tender from an infection, they will likely pull away from you and refuse to be touched. So gently massaging your dog's ears is an excellent first step toward determining their condition. If your dog is sensitive to having their ears touched, it's time to take a closer look and, most likely, clean them.
Contact your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment if you notice any of the following signs of infection:
- Redness in the ear canal
- Foul odor
- Excessive dark brown, yellow-green, and/or bloody discharge
- Scratching the ears or face
- Pain on contact
- Head shaking
How often should you clean your dog’s ears?
There is no simple answer to this question. Different ear types make certain dogs more susceptible to ear infections than others and therefore require more frequent cleaning.
If your dog's ears are healthy, he or she will most likely enjoy having their ears rubbed. If they are infected, they will most likely pull away from you and refuse to be touched. Gently massaging your dog's ears is an excellent way to determine their condition. If your dog's ears are sensitive to being touched, it's time to take a closer look and, most likely, clean them.
Some dogs may never need to have their ears cleaned. In fact, if the dog’s ear is clean and healthy, introducing cleaner into the canal could actually cause more harm than good. Dog ears are a tiny ecosystem, and if there are no concerns, it's best to leave them alone.
What You Need To Clean Your Dogs Ears
If your dog's ears are in need of. a good scrub, here are the "tools" you'll need to have on hand to get the most out of your cleaning:
- Dog Ear Cleaning Solution
- Cotton Gauze, Cotton Balls, or Squares
- High-Value Treats
- Dog Ear Wipes or Pads (Optional)
How To Clean Your Dogs Ears
When deciding when to clean your dog's ears, make sure they are calm, and relaxed, and have expended the majority of their energy through play. Begin slowly and never force your dog to participate, as many dogs can become uncomfortable and even fearful if their ear is bothering them.
Work through the steps below, offering plenty of treats and praise along the way, and perform only the steps your dog will tolerate. If necessary, you can work up to a full cleaning over time. The key is to keep the experience as positive as possible.
1. Place a cotton ball or piece of gauze in the outer ear canal
If you’ve ever used ear drops in your own ears, you know that liquid in your ear canal can be uncomfortable. It’s the same for dogs—but here’s a technique that can help.
Place a piece of cotton at the ear's entrance. The cotton should go no further than the opening to the ear canal so that it stays in place without you holding it there, but is easy to remove once the cleaning is finished.
2. Fill the ear canal with a cleaning solution
Now that you've placed the cotton into your dog's ear this next step will be much more comfortable for your dog.
Place the cleaning container tip on top of the gauze, right next to the ear canal opening. Allow the cleaning solution to soak the cotton and enter the ear canal. As the cleaning solution works to remove the wax, you may hear a crackling or squishing sound. Remember to continue rewarding your dog with treats.
Be sure to clean the tip of the ear-cleaning solution container thoroughly after every use. Otherwise, bacteria, yeast, and other debris can accumulate on the tip and introduce infections the next time you clean.
3. Massage the ear canal
The ear-cleaning solution will begin to break down wax and debris on its own, but you should massage the ear canal to ensure that the ear is completely clean. Spend about 30 seconds gently massaging the area where your dog's ears are attached to its head in a circular motion.
Start massaging while the gauze or cotton is still inside your dog’s ear, then remove the cotton and continue massaging.
4. Let your dog shake their head
It's natural for your dog to want to shake the fluid and gunk out of his or her ears. Allow them to shake their heads once you've finished massaging them. Keep a towel handy to shield yourself from any flying liquid.
5. Wipe away the rest of the debris
When your dog is done shaking, use cotton balls or dog ear wipes to wipe away any visible wax or debris.
6. Treat time!
Now that the hard part is over, reward your dog for being so patient with this uncomfortable process by giving them lots of high-value treats.