How to Clean Dog Ear Infections: A Guide to Healthy Ears
Health and Wellness for Your Four-Legged Friend

How to Clean Dog Ear Infections: A Guide to Healthy Ears

Dec 21, 2023

As a dog owner, we understand the importance of keeping their ears clean and healthy. Not only does it prevent painful infections, but it also ensures your pup's happiness and comfort. This guide will help you learn effective cleaning and protection methods. Read on to learn everything about cleaning your pup's ears!

Recognizing Dog Ear Infections

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from ear infections. But unlike us, they can't tell us when something's wrong. That's why it's so crucial for us, as loving pet parents, to be able to recognize the signs of an ear infection in our furry friends.

Common symptoms of ear infections in dogs include: 

  • Frequent shaking or tilting of their head
  • Scratching or pawing at their ears
  • Redness and swelling of the ear canal
  • Unusual odor or discharge from the ear
  • Visible discomfort or sensitivity around their ears

Your dog might display one or more of these symptoms. If you notice any of these signs, it's time to consult your veterinarian. While mild ear infections can sometimes be managed at home, a veterinarian should always evaluate severe or recurring infections. 

Ear infections in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, bacteria, yeast, or even ear mites. Your vet will be able to diagnose the cause of the infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

How to Clean Dog Ear Wax?

Regular ear cleaning is vital in maintaining your dog's health and happiness. It keeps their ears free from wax build-up, prevents potential infections, and gives you a chance to spot any issues early on.

Here's a simple, step-by-step guide to safely clean your dog’s ears: 

  1. Gather Your Supplies: You'll need a vet-approved ear cleaning solution (better be made from natural ingredients if your dog has sensitive ears), cotton balls or gauze, and treats for rewarding your dog afterward.
  2. Create a Calm Environment: Cleaning can be a new experience for your dog. Ensure they're calm and comfortable before you start.
  3. Apply the Cleaning Solution: Moisten a cotton ball (use a full cotton ball for big dogs and tear it in half for small dogs) with ear cleaning solution and clean any earwax you can see in your dog’s ears. You can squeeze a few drops of ear cleaning solution into the ear to clean deep wax buildup.
  4. Massage the Base of the Ear: Gently massage the base of your dog's ear for about 30 seconds. This helps the solution break down the wax.
  5. Let Your Dog Shake: Allow your dog to shake their head. This helps bring the dissolved wax and cleaning solution to the outer part of the ear.
  6. Wipe Away the Debris: Using a cotton ball or gauze, gently wipe the outer part of the ear. Never use cotton swabs, as they can push debris further into the ear and potentially damage the ear canal.
  7. Reward Your Dog: After cleaning each ear, reward your dog with their favorite treat. This makes the experience positive and easier over time.

How to Clean Dog Ear Infection Without Vet?

Sometimes, we want to provide care to our four-legged family members at home for minor health issues more than ear wax, such as mild ear infections. Here's how you can help your dog.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Dilute apple cider vinegar with equal parts water. Use a cotton ball or gauze to apply the solution to the outer part of your dog's ear, avoiding the inner ear canal. Apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties that can help with yeast infections.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide can help kill bacteria and yeast in your dog's ears. However, it should be used with caution and only on advice from a vet, as it can cause irritation if the ear is inflamed or has open wounds.
  • Coconut Oil: Its natural antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties make coconut oil a good choice for mild infections. Warm up a bit of oil, let it cool, then gently apply it to your dog's ear.

Practices to Refrain from When Cleaning Dog's Ears

Understanding what to avoid is just as important as knowing what to do. Let's discuss some practices you should avoid for your furry friend's health and comfort.

  • Using Cotton Swabs: Cotton swabs might seem like a convenient tool for cleaning, but they can push wax and debris further into your dog's ear canal, potentially causing damage or leading to an infection.
  • Overcleaning: While cleanliness is important, overdoing it can disrupt the natural balance in your dog's ears, leading to dryness and irritation. Do it as instructed by your vet. Also, be aware to only clean the parts you can see clearly. Trying to clean too deep into your dog’s ears may injure its ear canal.
  • Ignoring Signs of Discomfort: Frequent head shaking, scratching at the ears, or unusual discharge are signs that your dog might be experiencing discomfort. Ignoring these signs can lead to worsening conditions. Always consult your vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
  • Using Harsh Substances: Alcohol, undiluted vinegar, and heavy oils might seem effective, but they can actually irritate your dog's ears or exacerbate existing issues. It's best to use products specifically designed for dogs or those your vet recommends.
Cleaning a dog's ear infection requires careful attention to detail and a soft touch. Remember to avoid harmful substances, refrain from overcleaning, and always consult a vet at the first sign of discomfort. Your furry friend's ear health is paramount, and your mindful care can make all the difference.