How to clean dog’s ears: 3 simple steps

Posted by Argos, 17 December 2015, last updated 19 December 2022.

It is recommended that you check your dog’s ears on a regular basis or at least once a week – this can help you spot any changes or health issues your dog might have, such as infections or mites. It also lets you identify when your dog’s ears may require cleaning.

How often should I clean my dog’s ears?

Just like humans, dogs also benefit from having their ears cleaned regularly, however, how often their ears need cleaning will depend on the type of breed your dog is and what they get up to on a daily basis. For example, if your dog swims frequently you may need to clean their ears more often.

It’s important to know that dogs have sensitive ears, so they tend to not enjoy having them cleaned. But if there’s no damage or sign of infection, cleaning dog’s ears is something you can do at home. We’ve made it easy for you and have put together our three simple ‘how-to’ steps for you to follow.

Cleaning your dogs ears is very important

Make it a positive experience

Try to clean your dog’s ears whilst they’re calm, most dogs will try to escape an ear-cleaning, so by keeping them calm you can make the process as stress-free as possible.

A good idea is to reward your dog with extra treats if he or she sits still, this will make them more likely to co-operate with you.

When you’re in a position to start, take a close look at the ear and make sure all you can see is just dirt or a build-up of earwax. Look out for any evidence of parasites. It may be possible to remove mites or ticks yourself but, if you’re struggling, always consult your vet.

If your dog has floppy ears, gently fold them back. You won’t be able to see all the way into the ear canal but you should be able to clean sufficiently.

Gently does it

A range of dog ear cleaner products are available for you to use, but in most cases, just using reasonably warm water can be enough to clean your dog’s ears and here is how:

  1. Use cotton wool balls – don’t be tempted to use Q-tips as these can damage a dog’s ear.
  2. Dip the cotton wool into the liquid/warm water and work your way from the outside of the ear inwards.
  3. Then move into the ear but only until you start to feel resistance, if you try to push the cotton wool in too far you may be at risk of damaging the ear.
  4. Change the cotton wool ball and replace the fluid as soon as it starts to get too dirty.
  5. Be sure to clean out the creases in the ears as this is where most of the dirt can build up.

Make sure you always check your dog's ears for dirt and clean them regularly


Shake it off

Now for the most enjoyable bit for your dog, once you’ve done both ears, reward them with another treat and let them shake their ears dry. Most dogs love doing this!

When they’ve had a good shake, have another gentle wipe around with the cotton wool ball to pick up any extra debris that has come loose.

Finally, get out your diary and pencil in another ear-cleaning date in a week or so.

Now you know how to keep your dog’s ears clean, remember to keep yourself protected from unexpected vet bills with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our dog insurance policies today.

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