How to Clean your Dog’s Ears in Three Easy Steps


Regular ear cleanings are essential for managing chronic, allergic-based inflammation known as otitis and keeping infections at bay. Before you start, though, be sure to evaluate your dog’s ears for odor, discharge, pain, or redness. If any of these symptoms are present, put down the cotton ball and contact us for an appointment instead.

In order to achieve an effective ear cleaning, you must have control of your pet. For some dogs, it will be necessary to have someone hold him to free both of your hands for the cleaning. If your pet is uncooperative, you may need to hold his head and muzzle gently but firmly. You may find that backing him up into a corner of the room is helpful.

We also recommend that you pair each cleaning with something pleasant, like treats or playtime, so that this is not a dreaded chore for you or a fearful experience for your pet.

You will need a gentle veterinary ear cleaning solution and gauze squares or cotton balls (no cotton swabs!). We do not recommend the use of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean your dog’s ears. These products can cause inflammation to the ear canal and further exacerbate infections. Your veterinarian can provide recommendations on the best products to use.

How to clean your dog's ears

Step 1

Hold the earflap with one hand. Pour a generous amount of the recommended cleaning solution directly into the ear canal. Massage the base of the ear canal until you hear a sloshing noise. This means you have put in enough solution. You may allow your dog to shake his head, but use caution not to get fluid in your eyes. Your dog will often shake out much of the debris.

Step 2

Using the cotton balls or gauze squares, absorb the excess solution from the ear. Placing your index finger behind the absorbent material, you may wipe as deep as you can reach into the ear canal. This will not injure the ear.

Step 3

Repeat the previous steps until the cotton balls or gauze squares come out clean.

Congrats—you’re done!

Have questions about cleaning your dog’s ears at home or prefer to have a professional handle it? Contact us or schedule an appointment anytime!

Attribution Link:

The Drake Center