Learn How to Clean Dog Ears at Home

Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly is an important part of the grooming process. Not only does wax and oil build cause your dog’s ears to stink, it can also cause infections and hearing issues down the line. Luckily, learning how to clean dog ears is a simple process and is something you can do yourself at home.

How Do I Know if They Need to be Cleaned?

How do you know if a dog’s ears need to be cleaned? If you get your dog groomed, chances are your groomer is already cleaning your dog’s ears.

But if they’re stinky or smell like yeast, chances are it’s time for a cleaning. If your dog is also shaking his head a lot, this may be another sign.

However, if your dog’s ears are red or inflamed, or they seem to be itchy, do not clean their ears and contact your vet instead. These can be signs of an ear mite infestation, and that is something you need medication for. 

All dogs are different and some need more regular cleanings than others. Dogs with shorter hair and ears will probably need cleanings less often.

Dogs with large floppy ears like basset hounds and cocker spaniels will need a cleaning at least every other week. I only need to clean my pitbull’s ears every 2 months or so. 

how to clean dog ears cleaning solution

What You’ll Need

In order to clean your dog’s ears at home, you’ll need the following tools: 

*Though I’m all for natural remedies, for this process I recommend getting a vet-approved ear cleaning solution to use on your dog.

I use and recommend Mighty Petz’s Vet Formulated 4-1 Ear Cleaner and have been using it since I got Cali 5 years ago. Not only does it clean her ears super well, it leaves a nice cucumber sent behind instead of a chemical smell.

Some home remedies can irritate your dog’s ears and may even cause infections, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals for this one. 

Step 1

Assemble your supplies and grab your pooch. You’re going to want to do this project in the bathroom or outside since your dog will be shaking his head and getting solution everywhere.

Make your dog sit and let them inspect the bottle so they feel more comfortable. Reward their calm behavior with treats and praise. 

Step 2

If your dog has long hair that’s clogging their ear canal, gently remove it with the tweezer. (Only remove loose hair. Do not tweeze the hair still attached in your dog’s ears.)

If your dog’s ears don’t stand up on their own, hold them up gently with your hand and gently fill your dog’s ear canal with the vet approved solution.

A dog’s ear canals are deeper than we can see, so be generous with the cleaning solution to make sure it gets into all of those hard to reach places.

Step 3

While you’re waiting for the cleaning solution to work its magic, massage the base of your dog’s ear with your fingers for about 20-30 seconds.

After that, let go of your dog’s ear and let them shake their head to get rid of the solution. Hold a towel over their head to minimize the mess. 

Step 4

Take a cotton ball and gently wipe the visible part of your dog’s ear canal and the skin on their outer ear.

Do not stick the cotton swab into the part of the ear canal that you cannot see. This can cause serious infection or even permanent hearing loss for your dog.

Once they’re done shaking off, reward them with lots of praise and treats for doing a good job!

how to clean dog ears flappy ears


I hope that this article gave you some peace of mind on this part of the grooming process for your furry bestie.

If you’re still not comfortable with cleaning your dog’s ears, you can always take them to the groomer or your vet for a relatively inexpensive cost. However I’ve been cleaning my dog’s ears for years now and have never had any problems.

How often do you clean your dog’s ears? Let me know in the comments!

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