How to Clean Dog Ears with Confidence

How to Clean Dog Ears with Confidence

Earwax removalMost pet owners are a little apprehensive when it comes to cleaning ears. How do I do it? What if I hurt him? Do I need an ear cleaner? How do I know what is normal? Thankfully, knowing how to clean dog ears isn’t rocket science.

At Schertz Animal Hospital, we are confident that you can keep your pet’s ears pretty without any trouble.

Get Your Anatomy On

Half of the battle is knowing what’s what when it comes to your pet’s ears. Those furry flaps look a little different than our own ears, but we have all of the same parts.

The pinna – The outer ear flap, called the pinna, can come in many shapes and sizes. Its main jobs are to protect the ear canal and channel sounds in towards the eardrum.

The ear canal – The opening inside the pinna lead to a long, L-shaped tunnel known as the external ear canal. This tube leads to the eardrum.

The eardrum – The eardrum, also called the tympanic membrane, is made up of a thin flap of tissue. Sounds entering the ear canal vibrate against the eardrum and stimulate the bones in the middle ear.

The middle ear – This portion of the ear houses several tiny bones that sense sound vibrations, which are translated into electrical impulses that are sent to the inner ear. The middle ear also helps to equalize pressure by connecting the ear to the throat via the Eustachian tube.

The inner ear – The inner ear lies inside of the skull and contains fluid which aids in balance. The inner ear also receives the electrical impulses from the middle ear and translates them into the sound that the brain perceives.

How to Clean Dog Ears Safely

Regular ear cleanings can help you to familiarize yourself with your pet’s ears. They can also remove debris and irritating substances, decreasing the risk of problems occurring. There are a few important steps to take when it comes to knowing how to clean dog ears safely:

  1. Gather your supplies. You will need a pH balanced pet ear cleaner (we can help recommend one for your pet) and some cotton balls.  Make sure you don’t use alcohol-based products – this could cause your pet pain in cases of inflamation.
  2. Get help. Especially if you are not sure how your pet will react, you may want another set of hands.
  3. Work in a well-lit area that is easy to clean, as pet ear cleaning sessions can sometimes be messy. Likewise, wear clothes that can get a little dirty.
  4. Gently fill your pet’s ear canal with ear cleaning solution.
  5. Allow him or her to shake his or her head if desired.
  6. Use your cotton balls to wipe out any debris or wax that has loosened. You can safely insert your finger as far as it will go into the canal without hurting anything due to the L shape of the dog’s ear. Don’t, in any case, use Q-tips on your dog’s ears.
  7. Repeat if needed until the ear is clean.
  8. Do the other side!

Easy, right? It’s best to get puppies used to ear cleanings at a young age. You can always reward them with a treat or a good bout of cuddling to help reinforce the message and make ear cleaning a positive experience for your pet.

When There’s a Problem

We need our dog’s ears to stay healthy to promote good hearing and help him or her balance properly. Pet ear issues can cause major problems if not treated.

Be sure to have your pet’s ears should be examined regularly at his or her wellness visits. If you suspect there is a problem, however, please let us know right away. Signs that there might be an issue include:

  • Visible redness or swelling
  • Pet is painful when touched near ear
  • Increased discharge from one or both ears
  • Change in odor
  • Excessive head shaking or scratching

Most times when a pet has an ear problem, the issue is in the external ear (otitis externa), although middle and inner ear problems can occur.

Ear problems in pets are often painful, and they can be quite frustrating. If we can avoid them through routine ear cleaning, it is a win in everyone’s book. Now that you know how to clean dog ears properly, perhaps you might not encounter as many ear issues. Please let us know right away, though, if you think your pet might be having an ear problem so that we can help as soon as possible.

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!