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How To Clean Your Dog's Ears At Home?

by Lana Paws on March 22, 2022

How To clean your dog's ears at home Lana Paws Blog

Everything needs cleaning, whether it is your furball’s paws, hairs, snout, nails, or ears. You cannot just take them for a grooming session every week for every other reason. There are a few things you can do on your own, such as cleaning their ears at home. Yes, you may not have an excellent experience of doing it, and taking them to the vet may seem like the easiest option, but it isn’t. 

This exclusive guide will help you understand how to clean your dog’s ears at home, how to use the different cleaners, and the tools required.

How To Know If Your Dog’s Ears Need Cleaning?

how to clean your dog's ears at home - Lana Paws blog

You cannot choose a day and start cleaning your dog’s ears. You must ensure that they need cleaning. But how to know if your dog’s ears are dirty? Here are certain ways.

  • If your dog has big floppy ears, lift them and smell. Are they stinky or yeasty? If yes, then they need cleaning.
  • Look inside the ear and see if there is any wax. You can see the light brown wax coated on the lower area of the ears.
  • Check if your dog’s ears are pink or not. If they are excessively red, then your dog needs ear cleaning. 
  • If your dog is a swimmer and spends a lot of time in the water, they need regular cleaning. You must keep their ears dry. 
  • If your dog is shaking its head excessively, it is also a sign. 
  • If your dog’s ears are inflamed, and he does not allow you to touch it or whines when you do so, they may have an ear infection.

If your dog has any of these symptoms, he needs cleaning.

How Many Times Should You Clean Your Dogs’ Ears? 

tips to clean dog ears at home Lana Paws blog

Some dogs need a weekly ear-cleaning routine, while others can go for a fortnight without any smell or wax accumulation. It all depends on their ear sizes. While breeds such as, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Dachshund, Basset Hound etc., need regular cleaning because of their floppy ears, Indies, Chow-chow, Pug, Husky, sheepdog, Brittany Spaniel, Pomeranian, etc., do not require much cleaning as they have small ears. 

So, if you own a dog with floppy ears, make a weekly cleaning routine. For dogs with small ears, use the tips mentioned above to ascertain whether your dog needs ear cleaning or not. 

How To Clean A Dog’s Large Ears?

how to clean floppy dog ear breeds like beagles, cocker spaniels and Dachshunds

For dogs with floppy ears, you must exercise extra precautions. You love their bouncing ears when they run towards you. They look adorable but check out their large flaps to keep your adorable pup happy and healthy. Since large dogs have so many hairs inside their ears, too, they are more susceptible to flea bites and infections. When you bathe them or go swimming, their ears may remain moist and cause infections. Also, their floppy ear flaps cover the passage of the ear, i.e., less air circulation, which can cause redness, moisture, and odor.

Here is the step-by-step process of cleaning the large ears of dogs.

  • First, arrange all the equipment. It should include a towel, a mild ear cleanser, cotton balls, and treats for your dog
  • Take water in a bowl and clean the inner flaps of the ear, i.e., the hairy area
  • If you suspect that your dog has fleas or critters, look closely. It is critters' feces if you see a poppy seed-like substance among the hair. Mix the flea-resistant solution in the water and clean the flap gently. Fleas can be allergic to humans, and their bites are very itchy. So, carry out this task first
  • Your dog should be in a comfortable position now. Pour the cleanser in his ears. Keep the lid away from the surface and pour it in
  • Put in the cotton balls after the solution. Don’t push them inside the ear too much, or you might damage the eardrum. 
  • Now, massage your dog’s ears near the base of the ear. The wax and dirt will break up. Once you are satisfied, remove the cotton ball, and you will see that it is full of dirt and wax
  • Put another cotton ball and massage again. Repeat until the cotton balls are clean
  • Apply the astringent and give your dog a treat
  • Repeat with another ear

When you are done with both ears, you will see the difference. To keep away fleas and mites, clean your dog’s ears while bathing too.

Be gentle while cleaning your dog’s ears to not cause any damage or inflammation.  If you’re unsure about the process, it’s best to take an expert’s help that you trust i.e. your dog’s certified groomer or the vet.

How To Clean A Dog’s Small Ears?

how to clean dog ears l Lana Paws blog post

Chow-chow, Indies, Pomeranian, Great Dans, Alsatian, etc., have ears standing upright and small. They are not floppy and can be seen easily if they need cleaning. All you have to do is say the name of their favorite thing, their ears will stand upright, and you can see inside the ear. 

Since dogs with small ears don’t need frequent cleaning, ignoring it altogether is not advisable either. 

To clean your dog’s small ears, follow the below steps.

  • Calm down your dog and make them lay down on the floor or bed
  • Spread a towel below their head. Now, ensure that your dog doesn’t move
  • Carefully clean their outer ear with a towel. Some dog breeds with small ears don’t have much hair on the inside, so fleas are not a problem. If you see red dots, which are flea bites, then apply the mild dog ear cleanser  
  • Now, pour the cleanser into the ear. If your dog shakes his head, let him. It will shake the excess cleanser
  • Put the cotton ball inside and massage the ear for about 30 seconds. Now, remove the cotton ball and replace it with another
  • Clean until the cotton ball is no more dirty. 
  • Repeat the process with another ear and pat dry the ears

Prerequisites For Ear Cleaning Of Dogs

It is not a good idea to just read this article, get the solutions and start cleaning your four-year-old pet’s ears when you have never done it before. There are certain prerequisites of dog ear cleaning

  • Your dog must know what ear cleaning is. They must be trained from childhood. They are easy to handle at this age as they are still learning. So, use positive training to teach them from the start. Reward them with a treat when they behave and do not push them too far
  • A relaxed dog is a boon when performing ear cleaning. Talk to him, massage his head and ears and calm him down. If your dog sleeps in your lap, make him do it, and when they are relaxed, get on with the treatment
  • Specify a place for ear cleaning. It will be easier for you to clean the place afterwards, and your dog will also understand that yes, I am being taken there, so it is time for some cleaning. Make it outdoors, like your porch, balcony or backyard, where there is enough light
  • If you suspect an infection, a bad case of inflammation or if your dog whines as you put in cleanser or massage the base, don’t carry on and take him to the vet
  • Always be gentle and extra careful while cleaning your dog’s ears

Equipment To Clean Your Dog’s Ears

At any cost, do not start with cotton earbuds that you use. First, they are not healthy for you as they might push the wax in. Also, you cannot feel your dog’s ears as you clean them. You might damage their eardrum, which is close between the inner and outer ear. So, what you will need is-

  • A mild and safe ear-cleaning solution meant for dogs
  • Cotton balls, rounds, or wipes. You can also use tissues

If you are cleaning your dog’s ears for the first time, consult your vet and let them prescribe an ear-cleaning solution. You can also go to the medicine shop and buy an over-the-counter solution. Generally, shop owners can also help you choose the best product based on first-hand customer experiences. Use a 2-in-1 solution that also dries up the ear canal from the inside. If any moisture is left, it may cause infection

Also, never use hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or witch hazel to clean your dog’s ears. You might find people who tell you so, but it is not right for your dog’s health and can severely damage their ears.


Most people argue that the street dogs don’t get their ears cleaned and still they look healthy. But your dog is a pet and has adapted to the lifestyle of a home. As a pet parent it is your responsibility to keep their general health and hygiene in check and not just when there’s an emergency. Whether it’s their paws, nails, teeth, or hair, they are dependent on you for keeping them clean and well groomed. 

Ear cleaning is a general hygiene for both humans and dogs. So, consult your vet, talk to them about ear-cleaning products, train your dog and clean their ears regularly. Also, keep checking them for infection, learn about healthy-looking ears, wash them during the bath ensuring the soap/shampoo and/or the water doesn’t go inside their ears.

If your dog is not ready to get his ears cleaned, it’s always a good idea to take them to a grooming parlor or vet and get it done professionally. 


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