How to Clean a Dog's Ears

This may be best done outdoors, so you can make a mess without worrying. The next best place is the bathroom, where walls and floors are washable or wipe-able.

1. Gently pull your dog’s ear straight up and hold it with one hand.

2. Fill the ear canal with cleaning solution (don’t use water!), holding the ear up long enough for the cleanser to get into the horizontal part of the canal. Be generous! Fill it right up. This usually takes at least a teaspoon and up to a tablespoon, depending on the dog’s size.

3. Massage the ear canal between your thumb and fingers. There should be a squishing sound, like a wet sneaker. Some of the cleaner will probably leak out. This is why you are outside on the lawn, and not on the Persian carpet your granny left you.

4. Release the ear, stand back,  and let your dog shake his head. Debris will be loosened and shaken out. Again, this is why you are outdoors.

5. Gently wipe the outside of the ear and the canal that you can easily reach with a piece of synthetic cotton (real cotton can be irritating). You don’t need to jam your finger into the ear. You are counting on the volume of liquid, your ear canal massage, and the head shaking to bring the  debris up out of the horizontal part of the canal that you can’t reach anyway. Do not use Q-tips! Do not stick anything in the ear! You will either scratch the inside of the ear, or cram the debris farther into the canal.

6. Wait 30-60 minutes for the ear canals to dry out before applying medication.

7. Use the cleanser once a day for 7 days for inflamed ears. To help prevent future infections, clean the ear once or twice weekly.

Medicating the Ear

1. Gently pull the ear straight up and hold with one hand.

2. Apply the prescribed amount of the prescribed medication into the vertical part of the canal while continuing to keep the ear flap elevated. Hold this position long enough for the medication to run down into the horizontal canal.

3. Massage the ear canal between thumb and fingers as you did for the cleanser.

4. Release the ear; it is OK if your dog shakes his head.

5. Do not wipe the medication out of the ear.

Use the medication as directed by your veterinarian.