It’s time to learn how to clean your dog’s ears. Ideally, most dogs should have their ears cleaned every few weeks. This practice is important especially for breeds with hairy or long floppy ears because they block the airflow through the ear canal and tend to trap moisture inside, thus providing the perfect environment for bacterial or yeast growth.
Besides, dogs living in warm and humid environments such as Singapore also need more regular attention to their ears. The best thing to do is to make it a point to use a cotton ball to dry up any water and excess moisture that remains in the ears after every bath or swimming session.
Most dogs enjoy getting their ears massaged and cleaned and it is also a good bonding time between the owner and dog. Dog owners ought to regularly check for any unusual odor or dirty discharge (which could be the result of an ear infection) as well as for fleas, ticks and other unusual growths. A healthy ear canal is a whitish pink.
Note: If you see any sign of infection, do not clean the ears on your own as you could worsen the problem by pushing the debris further in and causing further pain for your pet. In such situation, it is best to make a trip to the veterinarian.
Below are useful steps and tips to cleaning your dog’s ears.
The most comfortable position for ear cleaning is to get the dog to lie on its side. This will enable the owner to look clearly into its ear while its head is resting on the floor or the owner’s lap.
Squirt a small amount of cleaning solution into the dog’s ears. The cleaning solution is specifically made for cleaning dog ears and can be found in the pet stores.
When squirting, be careful not to touch the insides of the ears with the tip of the bottle because as the cold solution goes into the ear, the dog might jump out of shock and so the tip may injure its insides.
After you have applied the solution, use the dog’s own ear to close its ear opening and massage the dog’s ears at its base so as to work the solution down the ear canals (see picture).
Apply enough pressure yet at the same time be careful not to hurt the dog’s ears. If your dog reacts by trying to move away from your hand, it most likely means you are rubbing too hard. Otherwise, continue to massage the ear in circular motion for about 30 seconds.
After the massage, let go of the ear and allow the dog to shake itself. This action will force any excess ear-wash out of its inner ears. It will also help to loosen the dirt and debris inside the ear.
Finally, holding the dog’s ear open with one hand, take a few pieces of cotton balls and wipe through the insides of the ear, removing any loosened gunk out. After you have done about 3-5 “wipings”, closely inspect the insides of the ear to ensure that you’ve removed the dirt. You can now release your dog and watch him go crazy. Well done! Give yourself a pat on the shoulders and give yr dog a treat to reward him for behaving well during the cleaning. This will help make the next ear cleaning session a little smoother.
Other important tips:
Never use the Q-tips (cotton swabs) meant for human ears. It is too refined and thin in its layer of cotton and so they may damage your dog’s eardrums. The best is still cotton balls as they are soft and gentle on the ears. Alternatively you can buy the big size type of Q-tips which has a thick layer of surrounding cotton.
Be very careful not to place the Q- tip down the ear canal. This will stimulate head shaking and can lead to ear trauma. It is safest to clean only the parts of the ear you can see. If there is significant wax just inside the ear canal, you can briefly place the tip of the Q-tip into the ear canal to remove the debris. However, it is very important that you should always be able to see the cotton tip of the Q-tip.
As for the cleaning solutions, warm water works just as well. But never use alcohol to clean your dog’s ears as it can dry out the sensitive skin lining the ears and cause painful allergic reactions.
Use a cotton ball and moistened it with water. Squeeze any excess water out of the cotton ball. The ideal is just to have a moist cotton ball to facilitate cleaning, not a wet dripping one.
Gently rub the large pieces of dirt, wax and debris off the ear lobe.
Proceed to clean the cartilage of the ear. After most of the debris has been removed with the moistened cotton ball, use a moistened Q-tip to gently remove the pieces of debris trapped within the cartilage of the ear.