When and How to Carefully Clean Your Dog's Ears

by Patrick Fitzpatrick on October 05, 2021

When and How to Carefully Clean Your Dog's Ears


Many pet parents don't realize how important it is to clean their dog's ears regularly when it comes to pet hygiene. For some dogs, regular ear cleaning doesn't need to be done nearly as frequently as others. For instance, if you own a dog with floppy ears, you need to clean their ears more frequently to prevent a buildup of dirt and wax. For dogs with ears that stand up, this isn't a problem that needs to be dealt with quite as often.

Regardless, ear cleaning is still a necessary task for dog owners and should be taken seriously.

Why is Your Dog's Ear Health So Important?

The most obvious reason you need to clean your dog's ears is that it helps to keep your dog healthy. If you don't clean your dog's ears, then a buildup of dirt, wax, mites, and other irritants can lead to various problems for your dog. These include:

  • Ear infections
  • Pain
  • Allergies and skin irritations
  • Hearing loss

There are also several other secondary causes and symptoms of ear infections that your dog may develop. These include:

  • Headshaking
  • Scratching at the ears
  • Redness of the skin around the ears
  • Excessive ear odor

In addition to helping to keep your dog healthy, cleaning your dog's ears is also a good way to keep your dog comfortable and happy. This is especially the case for dogs that have long-haired ears. These dogs are more prone to infections and irritation, and keeping their ears clean helps reduce these problems.

5 Signs It's Time to Clean Your Dog's Ears

Yes – you should be cleaning your dog's ears regularly. However, depending on the dog and their individual needs, this can be a daily, weekly, or even monthly occurrence. If you're not sure how to tell whether or not your furry friend requires ear cleaning, then you'll want to watch out for some of the following instances:

1. Your Dog Scratches at Their Ears Frequently

If your dog is scratching at their ears a lot, this is usually a sign that something is wrong. If your dog is doing this, they're trying to tell you that there's something in there that is irritating their sensitive ears. This could be something as minor as a buildup of wax or dirt, or it could be a sign of an oncoming ear infection.

2. Your Dog Has Developed a Red or Swollen Ear Flap

Another sign that you should be on the lookout for is if your dog's ear flap is red or swollen. If your dog's ear flap is red, then this could be a sign that there's a buildup of dirt or wax in their ears. If the ear flap is swollen, then this could be a sign of an ear infection. Either way, you'll want to check their ears carefully, and if you think a simple cleaning won't help, then you'll want to schedule a checkup with their vet.

3. Your Dog Has an Excessive Amount of Ear Odor

Have you ever noticed that your dog's ears will randomly have a rather repulsing smell to them? That's usually the result of a buildup of dirt and wax. If your dog can shake loose the foreign bodies, then the smell goes away.

But what if it lingers and your dog starts to become increasingly more uncomfortable? Chances are that your dog is dealing with an overgrowth of yeast in the ear. In this situation, you'll want to clean your dog's ears as soon as possible, but you'll also want to consult with your veterinarian. If this is a common occurrence for your pet, then they may simply advise you to clean the ear daily until symptoms subside. Otherwise, they are likely to prescribe medication to help your pup find relief.

4. Your Dog Has Trouble Hearing

Just like humans, when there is an excessive buildup of dirt or wax, it can lead to a muffled hearing. While this isn't a true "hearing loss," it can be very frustrating for your dog to not be able to hear clearly. If your dog has trouble hearing and you've already cleaned their ears, then you should consult with your veterinarian.

5. The Ear Canals of Your Dog Have a Yellow or Brown Discharge

This is easier to tell with dogs who have ears that stick up, as you'll be able to see right away when their ear coloration seems a bit off. However, if your dog has floppy ears, then you'll want to check them regularly for any abnormal discharge or a change in what appears to be ear wax.

Like humans, dogs naturally have earwax that can be different colors, including off-white, yellow, or even tan/brown. However, if you're noticing that this wax is changing in color or that your dog has a discharge (not wax) that is yellow or brown, then you'll want to consult with your vet. This could be a sign of an oncoming or already present infection or that your dog's ears are starting to become plugged.

How to Carefully Clean Your Dog's Ears

Cleaning your dog's ears is a fairly simple task that can be done in a few minutes. However, it's essential to be cautious and to take your time. If you rush through it, you're more likely to cause your dog pain or irritate their ears.

  • Step 1: Make sure you have all the materials you need, including ear cleaning spray/solution, cotton balls, and a clean towel or two.

  • Step 2: Gather your dog and get them comfortable.

  • Step 3: Begin by gently massaging your dog's ear flap. This will help to loosen up any wax or dirt that may be in their ear.

  • Step 4: Next, hold your dog's ear flap down and use a cotton ball to gently wipe the inside of their ear. Be careful to not use too much pressure, or you could cause your dog pain.

  • Step 5: Once you've cleaned the flap, you'll need to clean the inner ear. To do this, simply tilt your dog's head so they are laying on their side and gently pour some of the ear cleaning spray/solutions into the ear.

  • Step 6: Gently massage the inner ear and use a cotton ball to wipe out any additional dirt or wax. Again, be careful not to use too much pressure.

  • Step 7: Once you've finished cleaning your dog's ears, you'll want to pat them dry with a clean towel. Be sure to check their ears for any remaining dirt or wax. If you see any, simply repeat steps 4-6. If not, then you can repeat those steps on the other ear.

Make Ear Cleaning Easy on Your Friend with Ear Cleaning Spray for Dogs

If the most stressful part of cleaning your dog's ears is finding the right solution, then fret not!

SENSES Natural Ear Mist – For Pets was designed by an American Board-Certified Practicing Otolaryngologist (ENT specialist). It's made with a non-steroidal coconut oil formula with inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, making it safe for use on your furry friends.

Do you have any questions about cleaning your dog’s ears? Then feel free to contact us to get them answered!