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How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears – Everything You Need to Know About Dog Ear Cleaning Solutions and Routines

dog ear cleaning solution featured image

Veterinarians and experienced dog owners know how important it is to keep a dog’s ears clean. Unfortunately, a dog’s ear is very susceptible to infections. This is even more of an issue for breeds that have long, floppy ears, like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, as their hanging ears tend to trap dirt and debris, and they receive very little airflow. However, all breeds can develop painful ear infections, so it is important to make sure your dog’s ear is clean and healthy.

While cleaning your dog’s ears should become a part of the overall care routine you provide, it can be somewhat challenging, especially if the dog is not conditioned to having his or her ears touched.

How Can We Help?

To make it easier for you to keep your dog’s ears healthy, we are going to explain everything you need to know about ear cleaning solutions and cleaning routines.

By understanding why it is important to clean your dog’s ears in the first place and learning which dog ear cleaner you should use, you will be much more prepared to keep your furry friend’s ears clean and healthy.

We will also explain how you should use your favorite dog ear cleaner and go over what the products’ active ingredients actually do for maintaining ear health and preventing a potential ear problem.

Why Should You Clean Your Dog’s Ears?

owner cleaning his dog ears with cotton pad

The natural structure of a dog’s ear canal makes it very easy for dirt and debris to become trapped within. When this occurs and the material is not removed, it can result in itchiness, inner ear pain, and even ear infections.

As mentioned above, certain dog breeds have longer ears, which only heightens the risk that debris, unhealthy bacteria, and even an ear mite can become lodged inside the ears. While it is true that these long-eared breeds are at a greater risk of developing ear infections, all breeds are susceptible, which is why a healthy ear cleaning routine that includes effective and safe products is so important.

Certain behaviors also increase the need for more frequent ear cleanings. For example, dogs that spend time in the water on a regular basis usually require more frequent cleanings, as water and harmful bacteria can become lodged in the ears, which can cause an ear infection.

What Should You Use? – Safe Dog Ear Cleaning Solutions and Products

Unfortunately, there are plenty of recipes floating around for unsafe, homemade dog ear cleaning solutions. While these may sound tempting, you are always better off going with a vet-approved commercial dog ear cleaner, as they have gone through extensive safety trials, and most will clearly state their ingredients on the label.

Some of the homemade dog ear cleaning solutions are actually quite harmful and can irritate and damage the delicate skin inside your dog’s ears. Plus, other homemade ear cleaning solutions are just ineffective.

Given that they are actually quite affordable, you are much better off purchasing a proper dog ear cleaner.

woman cleaning his dogs ears

Choose Liquid Cleaners, Rather Than Wipes

Liquid dog ear cleaning solutions tend to be far more effective than wipes, as a dog’s ear canals are quite narrow and long, which makes reaching the debris and bacteria with a wipe rather difficult.

Active Ingredients to Look Out for and What They Do

Commercial dog ear cleaning solutions contain unique mixtures of ingredients, but there are certain active ingredients that you should look out for. These active ingredients actually help clean the ears while simultaneously preventing itchiness and helping the solution dry properly.

  • Salicylic acid and lactic acid are used for their antimicrobial properties, which means they help fight yeast and mild bacterial infections from growing inside the ear.
  • Hydrocortisone acts as an anti-itch agent, which helps prevent the chronic scratching that can occur when a dog’s inner ear becomes itchy and irritated.
  • Ketoconazole and miconazole are used as antifungal agents, which can help prevent fungal infections that can spread inside dog ears.
  • Boric acid and salicylic acid are also used as effective drying agents, as dog ears can trap moisture and large volumes of liquid, which often leads to an infection. Dogs that have longer, floppy ears are even more susceptible to moisture-related infections, as the shape of their outer ear traps liquid and prevents proper airflow.

How Do You Use Dog Ear Cleaning Solutions?

For most liquid dog ear cleaning solutions, the process is actually quite straightforward. Simply drop the appropriate amount of dog ear cleaner while the dog is laying on its side. Then, massage the base of the ear for roughly 30 seconds, which will help the solution break down and dislodge the excess ear wax, trapped debris, and harmful bacteria.

Once the ear cleaning solution has fully entered the ear, you can allow your dog to sit up and shake its head. Not only will this help remove some of the unwanted material, but it will also shake the cleaning solution out and help the ear dry properly. You can also use a clean towel to wipe away any gunk and excess cleaning solution that have surfaced.

If you are still uncomfortable performing an ear cleaning on your own, you should schedule an online vet appointment with a Hello Ralphie virtual veterinarian. Our online vets will walk you through the ear cleaning process and answer any questions you may have.

Condition Your Dog for Ear Cleanings

One of the best ways to make sure ear cleanings go well is to train your dog to tolerate them. If you have a puppy, play with the ears regularly, as this will get the dog used to the sensation of having its ears touched.

With older dogs, you can use rewards and positive reinforcement when they allow you to touch their ears. Start without using a dog ear cleaning solution and work your way up to it.

Final Words

Maintaining healthy ears is important for your furry friend’s overall health and happiness. Adopting a regular ear cleaning routine that uses vet-approved dog ear cleaning solutions will help prevent painful infections and ensure much cleaner and healthier ears.

Keep an eye on your dog’s ears and look out for unpleasant smells, visual signs of irritation, and irregular ear-related behavior, like excess scratching. If you suspect your dog is suffering from an ear infection, book an appointment with a Hello Ralphie online vet. Seeing a virtual vet is also a great way to have any of your ear-related questions answered.

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