Your dog’s ears are one of the areas of his body that needs the most care. Do you know why? Because they house a very sensitive system that allows him to register sounds whose frequency is not possible to capture with the human ear. But, in addition, they are areas through which many infections enter and can cause otitis in dogs. For all these reasons, it is essential that you know how to care for and clean a dog’s ears.
Although it is not a complicated task, cleaning a dog’s ears does require some special care that we at Las Almenas are going to reveal in this article.
Why is it important to clean a dog’s ears?
Between the outer ear and the eardrum there is an ear canal that has small structures on its walls that secrete wax. This wax serves to protect the ear canal. But this wax should also be removed so that it does not become a reservoir of bacteria and germs.
Depending on the breed, the morphology of dogs’ ears varies greatly. There are big, small, droopy, pointed, long, short ears… but, whatever they are, it is always necessary to clean a dog’s ears periodically.
Keep in mind that a dog’s ear canal is moist and warm, making it a very favorable environment for the growth of fungi and bacteria.
This situation is even more favored if the dog has droopy ears or if there is a lot of fur in the ear, as the entrance to the ear canal becomes clogged. When clogged, the humidity and heat in the ear canal increases and this makes it even easier for bacteria or fungi to create an infection, with the consequent inflammation or otitis that causes so much pain in dogs.
Therefore, cleaning a dog’s ears is something you should not overlook in their regular hygiene.
How to clean a dog’s ears in 5 steps
Cleaning a dog’s ears is not complicated, but you have to take into account a number of issues, since, as we have mentioned, it is a particularly sensitive area and it is also an essential organ for the welfare of your dog, his hearing and balance.
From Las Almenas we want to give you the 5 essential steps to clean a dog’s ears effectively, but do not forget that above all you must do it very delicately and gently:
1-Remove the hair from the ears.
Before cleaning a dog’s ears, you will have to remove everything that hinders you from reaching the ear. If your dog has a lot of hair, which gets inside the ears, you will have to remove those little hairs. You can do this simply with your fingers or with a blunt-tipped tweezers, pulling gently. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt him because these hairs have no nerve endings or roots.
If you have any doubts, you can take him to the groomer and watch how he removes the hair, so that next time you will know how to do it yourself.
If the ears have become red and a little irritated after removing the hairs, you can wait a few more days to clean the ears so that the ear cleaner does not cause more irritation.
2-Clean the outside of the ear.
This is the easiest part to clean.
To clean the outside of the ear you can use a towel or gauze moistened with a specific solution for cleaning a dog’s ears.
In specialized stores you can find this type of products, but if you have any doubts, it is best to consult your veterinarian so that he can tell you which is the most suitable product for your dog, according to its clinical history and morphology.
With the towel or the impregnated gauze you should lift the ear and clean it gently in circles. Repeat the same process on the other ear changing the gauze or towel to avoid a possible contagion. Keep in mind that otitis is very contagious from one ear to another and between dogs.
3-Clean the middle ear
To clean the inside of the ears, you can drop a few drops of ear cleaner to dissolve the earwax and make it easier to remove with a clean gauze with which you can wrap your finger for cleaning.
This internal area should be cleaned very carefully and if you notice any resistance, it is best to stop, as you could damage their hearing.
4-Remove foreign objects
It is very common for foreign objects to get into the dog’s ear, such as seeds and ticks that can cause itching in the dog.
If the dog scratches forcefully, it can create wounds that, when infected, could lead to otitis. Therefore, remove any foreign objects from the ear canal. But watch what you do! Remember that you are risking your dog’s health, so if it is not easy to remove these objects, the best thing to do is to take him to the vet so that he can remove any foreign body without harm or discomfort.
To finish, gently massage the ear and the beginning of the ear with the help of a gauze with special liquid. When you are finished, check well that no gauze remains inside the ear.
Tips for cleaning a dog’s ears properly
There are a number of things to keep in mind when cleaning a dog’s ears:
Once a week
Depending on the breed and the shape of the ears, your dog may need more care. But as a general rule we recommend cleaning a dog’s ears at least once a week.
Don’t use cotton swabs
We know that it is difficult to overcome the temptation to clean with swabs because it is very convenient, but it is also dangerous because you can damage the inner ear.
Do not use alcohol
To clean a dog’s ears, do not use alcohol, vinegar or any solvent that can irritate and inflame the ear tissues. It is possible that hydrogen peroxide mixed with water can get you out of trouble, but this can also cause irritation. This is why we recommend that you always use specific products to clean a dog’s ears.
Use a gauze for each ear
If there is an onset of otitis and you have not noticed it, when cleaning with the same gauze you could transfer those bacteria to the other ear. So for hygiene and precaution, use a clean gauze for each ear.
Beware of baths
If you think that it is in the bathtub where the ears are best cleaned, you are wrong. It is best to clean a dog’s ears with appropriate products specifically designed for this purpose, and not with soaps.
When you get out of the bath do not forget to dry the ears very well so that they do not remain wet.
Check the ears
Check from time to time that there are no foreign objects, wounds or ulcers inside the ear canal. If you find these problems, consult your veterinarian.
Watch out for signs of otitis
Otitis is an infection of the ear canal, caused by bacteria or fungi. It is a very common disease, but it can be very dangerous if not treated in time, so you should be aware of the most common symptoms of otitis:
- The dog scratches its ears a lot.
- The dog shakes his head vigorously.
- The ear canal smells bad
- The ear canal is swollen, red, with wounds.
- The wax is very dark in color, possibly due to mixing with blood.
- You notice that your dog’s hearing is worse and hearing is affected.
Again, going to the veterinarian as soon as possible is the best option, since otitis must be treated before it spreads to the inner ear and generates greater problems.
Prevention from day one
One last tip we want to give you from Las Almenas is to start cleaning a dog’s ears when they are puppies. Do it little by little so that they get used to it and do not get scared. If they allow themselves to be handled and are very quiet, you should reinforce this attitude with a reward or treat for dogs.
In Las Almenas, as a kennel of toy and mini dogs, we care about establishing this type of routines in all our puppies, especially in those of poodle breed, because of their hairy ears; and shit tzu, because they have a very narrow auditory canal. In this way, in Las Almenas we take care of the socialization and education of all our puppies so that they know how to behave when they arrive to their new home and they have to clean their teeth, ears, etc.
And you, do you already know how to clean a dog’s ears? If you have any tricks or tips, you can tell us about them in our comment box below or, if you prefer, you can share your experience on our profiles on Facebook, Instagram and on our Las Almenas YouTube channel. As always, we are happy to read and advise you!