October 3, 2016 | Erin | 8 Comments Today’s well-groomed dog has ears that are cleaned on a regular basis. A visual inspection can help assess the health of your dog’s ears and spot any possible infections that may be brewing. Wiping clean the external ear is just one part of a thorough ear cleaning. It is important that the ear cleaning solution that you choose to use is allowed to fill the ear canal to safely clean the areas you cannot reach. Keep in mind that just like our ears, our dog’s ears are fragile and need to be treated with a gentle touch. Be prepared for a mess when cleaning your dog’s ears. It is instinctual for a dog to shake their head to remove the solution from their ears. So wear appropriate clothing and tackle the job in an area of your home that can easily be cleaned up afterwards. The key to good cleaning is the massage that you apply when the cleaning solution is inside the ear. This encourages the solution to go deeper into the ear canal to ensure that the complete ear gets clean. Dogs that have low hanging ear flaps or dogs that have a lot of hair around their ears may be more of a challenge in keeping the ears clean and infection free. It may take more than one application of the cleaning solution for the dog with long flaps and you may find it beneficial to trim the hair around the ears of hairy dogs to make it easier to clean. Lastly, you never want to use safety swabs, or “Q-tips” on your dog’s ears. Puncturing the eardrum and causing permanent damage or hearing loss is a risk that you do not want to take. While it is safe to use a Q-tips on the folds of the outer ear, for safety’s sake, it is best not to get in the habit of using them at all. How To Clean a Dog’s Ears Cleaning your dog’s ears is not a difficult task if you keep in mind that your dog will probably not want you anywhere nears his ears. This is especially true if your dog’s ears are itchy, red or have not been cleaned in a while. Have treats available to encourage your dog’s cooperation and to reward him for a job well done. Ear Cleaning Steps Holding onto the dog’s ear flap with one hand, fill the ear canal with cleaning solution with your other hand Hold the ear flap over the opening of the ear while massaging the base of the ear to allow the solution to work – the longer that you do this the better Stand back and let your dog shake his head back and forth Use a clean cotton ball to wipe out all the folds of the outer ear. Another simple way to clean the ear is to soak a cotton ball in the ear cleaning solution and place the cotton ball in the dog’s ear. Hold the ear closed by holding down the ear flap and massage the base of the ear with the cotton ball inside. When done, remove the cotton ball and let the dog shake its head. You can then clean the exterior part of the ear with a clean cotton ball moistened with solution. There are many good commercial products available to use to clean your dog’s ears. You may wish to consult with your veterinarian for a product that is suitable for your dog. You may also purchase products at any of the pet warehouses or from Amazon. There are perfectly good cleaners that you may make at home that are safe and effective. I have included the recipes for a few of these. Homemade Solutions Before I share some simple recipes to make your own ear cleaning solution, I would like to mention my favorite, coconut oil. If you read my previous post, https://safeforyourpet.com/is-coconut-oil-good-for-dogs-what-you-dont-know-may-surprise-you, you know that I am a big fan of coconut oil. It is a favorite in my home and I buy it in gallon containers. Using an eyedropper, place a few drops of oil that have melted to a liquid form in your dog’s ears a few times a day. It is sure to ward off any infection that may be brewing, it is very soothing for your dog and the ears have that wonderful coconut smell. Solution # 1 1 tsp Olive Oi 1 cup Distilled Water 5 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil Mix in a spray bottle and shake before use. Just spray in the dog’s ears and wipe clean Solution # 2 2/3 part warm water to 1 part vinegar or 1/2 cup warm water to 1/3 cup vinegar This is a good solution to use with the method of saturating the cotton balls and leaving them in the ear while you massage your dog. Dip cotton balls into the solution and apply to outer ear and wipe clean Solution # 3 1 part vinegar with 1 part rubbing alcohol Mix and pour into dogs ear. Cover the ear opening while massaging the base of the ear and let the dog shake it’s head when done. This recipe works well on floppy eared dogs that are prone to ear infections. Solution # 4 1 part white vinegar 1 part rubbing alcohol 1 part water Apply with an eye dropper and massage. Use cotton balls to wipe and dry the ear. This recipe is also good for dogs prone to infections.