If you’ve ever looked into your dog’s ears and seen they are looking a little brown, or simply revolting, then they probably need a good clean! But what is the best way to do it? In this article, we’ll cover how to clean dog ears, and what methods are most suitable. You can buy products that will help with the cleaning process and many of these use natural products, or alternatively, you can use olive oil as a cheaper natural home method.

As dogs have large ears, they can easily become covered in debris, and usually the only way they can be kept clean is with a little bit of help from their owners. In an ideal world, a dog’s ears should be pink and not smell of anything. Many breeds can easily get infected ears, with some being more susceptible that others, this includes, Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Poodles (including any “oodles” breeds), and Shar-Pei’s.

How often should you clean dog’s ears?

It’s best to check your dog’s ears at least once per month, and you can do it quickly as you’re having a gentle ‘scratching and patting’ session. The easiest method for checking your dog’s ears is to simply lift them up and take a look. Try to make sure you don’t pull on their ears as they can be quite sensitive. If your dog has pointed ears, you can easily take a look whenever they’re at rest. Ideally a dog’s ears should be pink to white in colour, if there are a few dark spots it can be a sign they’re due for a clean. Take note of how bad their ears look and if you’re doing it regularly, you may need to increase checking on their ears to about once per week.

Other signs to look out for, and this may indicate a further problem, is if your dog is scratching at their ears excessively. Once or twice is okay, but if something is really annoying them, they’ll be trying to dislodge it any way they can, and this may include head shaking and rubbing their ears on the ground. If your dog is doing any of these then it may be best to book in for a professional ear cleaning at your local vet.

What can I clean dog’s ears with?

In many cases you can simply wipe out your dog’s ears with a clean cloth after you bathe them. Never place anything into their ear canal, but rather use this method to focus on the large flat areas of their ears. If you need a cleaning solution for the areas closer to their ear canal then it may be best to get these from your local specialty pet retailer.

When looking for a product to help you with cleaning out the dog’s ears you have a few different options. Finding one with a nozzle can get the liquid into the dog’s ear canal where it can help flush out any potential problems. The Gentle Ear Cleaner from PAW is a popular option for many pet owners. Some other products include a dropper and these can aid in only using the right amount of fluid per ear.  You’ll find that Ear Clear from Natural Animal Solutions is an excellent product. You’ll find different variations of these types of ear cleaners available in most pet stores and veterinarians.

Can you use olive oil to clean a dog’s ears?
Yes, if you’re looking for a good product to help clean your dog’s ears that is readily available (or possibly already in your pantry) then you can use olive oil. There are a few additional steps involved to make it suitable for cleaning ears:

Use a dropper bottle and fill it with the olive oil of your choice. Put the dropper bottle in a cup and fill the cup with boiling water, but only until the oil is warm. This should take about two minutes.
Use the dropper in the lid of the bottle and fill that with warmed oil. Test the oil to make sure it isn’t too hot by putting a couple of drops on your wrist. If it’s too hot leave it to rest for a few minutes. Take your pets ear and empty the contents of the dropper into it. Massage the ear and allow the oil to work its way down. This should help reduce any swelling and stave off any potential infection.
Use a cotton ball to soak up any excess oil, and then wipe it clean with a warm dry cloth.

How can I clean my dog’s ears naturally?

In addition to using olive oil to clean out your dog’s ears, you can use several other methods if you’re looking for a natural solution. These work in mostly the same way but with a few minor differences. For all of these, wait for the mixture to cool a little and use a dropper or a syringe to get it into the affected area. You can give these a try and see if they work out better for you:

  • Green Tea – make the tea as you normally would, but double the strength.
  • Vinegar and water – mix these together at a ratio of 1:1. For best results use dechlorinated water. You can warm this mixture in the microwave, or boil the water first.

When using these it is important to remember that they are more soothing rather than an antibacterial agent. If your dog has an ear infection, these will not help to make it better, but they may reduce the swelling temporarily.


How to clean dog ears?

At home it’s ideal that you only focus on the external ear canal. Most often you’ll notice a build-up of ear wax and other debris in this area. To maintain good ear hygiene a dog’s ear needs to have good ventilation, and this is why you’ll most likely have ear problems with dogs that have long floppy ears.

How often your dog needs its ears cleaned out can entirely be reliant on the individual dog. Some dogs have a lot of glands in their ears and these secrete copious amounts of oils into the ears. Other dogs will have fewer glands and not have as many issues. Ear cleaning should be a part of your regular grooming regime. Provided you’re gentle, it can be a safe and happy part of the overall grooming experience.

To start cleaning your dog’s ears, it is important that they’re comfortable with you touching them. Some dogs are quite sensitive about their ears and you need your dog to be comfortable otherwise it can be quite challenging to get them cleaned properly. If your dog won’t let you touch their ears, you can slowly and carefully get them used to it by gently stroking their ears and then giving them a treat shortly afterwards. With time they should associate having their ears touched with a positive experience. Once your dog is comfortable you can follow this step by step guide to cleaning their ears:

Place your dog in a comfortable spot. It is best if they either sit side on to you with their head in your lap. This should give you clear access to both of their ears.

  1. Get the ear cleaning solution ready. This is so you’re handling their ears for the least amount of time possible.
  2. Gently hold their ear so you can clearly see the inside. Use the applicator of your solution to apply it. Then massage the ear so it gets all over the ear and works its way into all the crevices.
  3. Wipe out the ear with a suitable cloth or a piece of cotton wool.
  4. Check that everything is clean, and repeat in necessary.
  5. Allow your dog to shake their head if they want to; this may assist in getting out any particles that are lodged in deeper.
  6. Give the entire ear a final wipe over and then gives your dog a few treats.
  7. If your dog is comfortable, repeat on the other ear.

After you have finished you should do something with your dog that they’ll enjoy. This might include going for a walk. Having a good play session, or some treats that you keep for special occasions! All this is to make your dog realise that ear cleaning is related to good experiences. If at any time during the cleaning process your dog seems uncomfortable, stop and leave it for another time. If you notice any redness or your dog is in pain, then take them to the vet for a thorough check over.

Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly is a great way to keep a minor problem from becoming a much larger one. It’s a part of keeping your dog happy and healthy. As a bonus it can be a great bonding experience for the both of you!