How to clean dog ears at home

For dogs who suffer from frequent ear infections, cleaning their ears at home may help. If you have a lop-eared dog, especially one that loves water, you may have experienced ear mold or infection. Dogs with pricked ears can also suffer from bacterial, yeast, or ear mite infections.

The first step for an ear infection is to get a veterinary examination to determine the cause of the infection and treat it with the correct medication. But ear cleaning will be part of the treatment plan and preventive care for dogs prone to recurring ear infections.

What can I use at home to clean my dog’s ears?

It doesn’t take much to clean your dog’s ears:

  • Dog-safe ear cleaning solutions
  • Cotton ball
  • Optional: some gauze and/or cotton swabs
  • Optional: Premade dog ear wipes

Ear cleaning solution is the most important item. Even if your dog has a ruptured eardrum, these cleaners are safe and contain desiccants so your dog’s ears will dry out quickly after cleaning. You can buy ear cleaner at your veterinarian’s office or any pet supply store.

In a pinch, equal parts water and white or apple cider vinegar may work, but it’s not the best option for long-term care. Unlike ear cleaning solutions, this mixture does not dry quickly. Persistent moisture in your dog’s ears can lead to more infections because bacteria thrive in the warm, moist environment.

Cotton balls and gauze are great for wiping the ears. A cotton-tipped applicator can be used to remove dirt from the nooks and crannies of your ears, but only use it on areas you can see. Reaching too deep may accidentally rupture your dog’s eardrum.

How to Clean Dog Ears

  1. Apply ear cleaning solution to a cotton ball.
  2. Place a soaked cotton ball into your dog’s ear and squish it flat. Most dogs tolerate this better than spraying cleaner directly into their ears.
  3. Gently wipe the ears with cotton or gauze, using a new one each time, until they are clean. Note: If your dog’s ears start to bleed, stop cleaning. The organization is too sensitive.
  1. Use a cotton-tipped applicator to carefully remove debris from the nooks and crannies of your ears that you can easily see. Do not put your hands deep into your ears as you may accidentally rupture your eardrums.
  2. Repeat with the other ear.

Follow your veterinarian’s instructions on how often to clean your ears. In many cases, the infection is treated with cleanings a few times a week, followed by long-term care every week or every other week, but this regimen may vary.