Cleaning your dog’s ears is an imperative part of his grooming routine. While you might enlist professional dog grooming services to see to this on a regular basis, it’s important to know what to do and, if not using a dog groomer, do it yourself.
All dogs need to have their ears cleaned now and then, but some breeds require more intensive attention to their ears than others.
A dog’s ears are quite complex. There are a lot of places for parasites, bacteria, yeast, and dirt to hide and flourish. Those dogs most at risk have “floppy” ears – like Beagles, Poodles, Basset Hounds, and Cocker Spaniels.
Understanding a dog’s ear anatomy is important. The outside flap is called the pinna. The external ear canal starts at the side of the head inside the pinna, travels down and then horizontally. The canal is cartilage covered with skin, and there is ear wax produced. At the end of the external canal, the eardrum divides the external ear from the middle and inner ear.
Cleaning a dog’s ears is focused on the external ear canal. Regular grooming and care should include checking the ears. Wax and debris can build up and cause irritation, infection, and block air flow.
• The best time to clean the ears is just before Fido has his bath.
• Inspect the ears.
• Clean any dirt with a cotton ball that has been dampened with specific canine ear cleaning solution. You can also use a mixture of one part vinegar to two parts water. Be careful as the skin is very delicate.
• Never use eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, or similar.
• Never insert a cotton bud into your dog’s ear.
• Don’t clean ears so often or harshly that they become irritated or inflamed.
• Dogs with very hairy ear canals may need plucking. Check with your vet.
The best person to show you how to clean your dog’s ears for the first time is your vet or professional dog groomer.
Contact your vet promptly if you notice any of the following:
• Ear discharge
• Crusting of the skin
• Hair loss
• A foul odour
• Brown or black ear wax that looks like coffee grounds or bark (this is ear mites).