How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears Safely is something every pet family should know.
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If you know anything about dogs, you’ll know that their hearing is usually excellent! That annoying bark every time a car drives by? You swear that they’d heard a person cross the street in town, even though you live in the country? That’s their fantastic hearing doing the work for them.
Dogs’ ears, though, just like human ears, can become plugged with earwax, though this is uncommon, as their ears have a good internal cleaning system that is self-cleaning, so you hopefully won’t have to intervene.
However, if you notice any irritation or redness around your dog’s ears, or that they are frequently scratching their ears, or favoring one side when they tilt their head, then it might be worth a trip to the vets, or giving their ears a quick visual inspection yourself.
If a visual reveals a clear build-up of impacted wax and you decide that you don’t want to go to the vets and you’d like to try cleaning your dog’s ears yourself, you need to follow these steps very carefully.
Given that your dog’s ears are one of the most sensitive organs in their body, you have to be very careful not to do any damage to their eardrums. We’ve blogged recently about how to clean your dog’s teeth, now here are the steps on how to clean your dog’s ears safely.
Buy good-quality ear cleaner
Pet parents don’t want to skimp on their dog’s health. In fact, Americans spent about $75.38 billion on their pets in 2019. It’s important therefore that you buy the best quality ear cleaner. Forget cleaners that contain hydrogen peroxide, as these can cause irritation and damage to the ear canal, particularly if the canal is already inflamed or irritated due to an infection. They even have an organic option.
Do not use Q-tips
We cannot emphasize this enough, do NOT use Q-tips to clean your dog’s ears. This may cause damage or irritation to the ear canal and push any impacted wax deeper into the canal, causing your dog further problems. As your dog’s equilibrium is affected by changes to its ears, it is really important that you not mess around with your dog’s ears unless you’re confident. If you’re not confident, leave it up to your veterinarian or your dog groomer.
Make sure your dog doesn’t move
Most dogs hate having their ears messed with, due to their sensitivity. But it’s important that you approach cleaning your dog’s ears with gentleness and plenty of reassurance. If you have a small breed of dog, such as a type of French Bulldog or Corgi, sit your dog down between your legs with its rear end facing you and gently lift up the dog’s ear flap until you can see into the ear canal.
For larger breed dogs, it is usually advised to have them sit up against a wall or other solid object to perform the cleaning, as that is less difficult and awkward for both parties.
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Carefully apply cleaning solution
Once you have your dog positioned, you can carefully apply your ear cleaning solution to your dog’s ear canal. Be careful never to touch the canal or drum with the dropper for the solution, as this could pass along bacteria. As you proceed with the cleaning, you may notice debris begin to shift and come up out of the canal as it fills with the solution and any impacted wax is removed. Be sure to wipe away any debris with a tissue as it comes up.
Massage under ear
The next step is to continue holding your dog’s ear flap up with one hand and then gently massage under the ear with your free hand. This will allow the cleaning solution to move around the ear and clear more debris. Again, be sure to wipe away any debris with tissues or cotton gauze.
Allow your dog to shake it out
Your dog will almost certainly shake off after the first cleaning of the first ear is complete. This is to be expected and will help remove any excess debris and solution from the dog’s ear canal.
Rinse and repeat
Once you are satisfied that you’ve completed these steps, you should do them again for the other ear.
If you are not confident in your ability to clean your dog’s ear, then you should consult your veterinarian. Visit your dog groomer immediately to avoid potentially injuring your dog.
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