Homemade Ear Wash Solutions for Cleaning a Dog’s Ears

Homemade Ear Wash Solutions for Cleaning a Dog’s Ears

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Cleaning ears is not the most glamorous part of natural dog grooming. Still, dirty ears can be cleaned so easily and effectively. Plus, the inside of a dog’s ear is an ideal environment for yeast overgrowth or problem infections. A little preventive attention can go a long way towards keeping a dog healthy and problem free.

Cleaning Dirty Ears

If a dog’s ears are generally healthy, but have dirty looking oil, wax, or debris, then cleaning the ear at home is possible. If something looks out of the ordinary or one of the signs below are present, it’s best to let a professional take care of the problem. Do not use an ear wash solution if the ear appears inflamed.

Signs of Ear Problems:

  • Inflammation, swelling, or red tint around the ear canal
  • Oily discharge
  • Strong odor or “cheesy” smell
  • Sensitivity or painful touch
  • Violent head shaking or dragging ears along the ground

A cleansing wash or solution helps to loosen up hardened deposits and flush out excess wax or debris. Some ear cleaning solutions alternatives are:

 

  • Natural oils—almond oil, calendula oil, aloe vera juice
  • Commercial ear wash such as, Vet’s Best Ear Relief Wash
  • Homemade ear wash (recipes below).

Choose only one of the ear wash solutions to use at a time. If the solution is warmed to body temperature, a dog is more likely to accept the fluid or drops. Be prepared for a mess if the dog shakes its head during the cleaning process.

Three Recipes for Homemade ear wash solution

Recipe 1: Mix half and half white vinegar and isopropryl alcohol (50/50) in a bottle. Shake well before applying.

Recipe 2: Mix 2 ounces of isopropryl alcohol (50/50), 1 Tablespoon of boric acid, and 1 teaspoon of glycerin in a bottle. Shake well before applying.

Recipe 3: Mix 4 ounces of isopropryl alcohol (50/50), 1 teaspoon of boric acid, 2 ounces of white vinegar, and 1/2 ounce of betadine solution in a bottle. Shake well before applying.

Steps to Cleaning out the Ear

  1. Lift the ear by pulling up and out to straighten the ear canal.
  2. Drip a warm dog ear wash solution into the ear.
  3. Massage the base of the ear and the tube-like ear canal from the outside, near the base of the ear.
  4. Tip the head to let the solution run out or allow the dog to shake the liquid free.
  5. Wipe the inside of the ear with a soft cloth, tissue, or cotton swab. Do not insert a Q-tip.

It’s easy to look into a dog’s ears and check regularly for problems. Touching the ears, lifting, and looking inside gets the dog used to handling before attempting the ear washes. Frequent ear cleaning is not necessary—no more than once a month. A quick swab of the ear with a cotton ball is often all that is needed. A dog may not like the cleaning, but most dogs like the attention. Cleaning the ears at home is an easy part of dog grooming the natural way.

How to Clean the Ears of a Dog: Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears Promotes Healthy, Disease-Free Ears

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Cleaning a dog’s ears need not be a frightening prospect. Learning how to clean your dog’s ears can be a rewarding task and is easily learned.

Basic Structure of the Dog’s Ear

The ears of a dog are shaped a bit differently than the human ear. In dogs, the ear consists of several different parts:

  • the ear pinna, or the flap of the ear
  • the ear canal
  • the tympanum, or ear drum
  • the inner ear

In the dog, the ear canal runs down the side of the head (the vertical ear canal) and then turns at a right angle and runs toward the center of the head (the horizontal ear canal). The vertical ear canal starts at the level of the opening of the ear canal just below the pinna. The vertical ear canal continues on to become the horizontal ear canal, which ends at the level of the tympanum.

Why Should a Dog’s Ears Need to be Cleaned?

In the event that your dog develops an infection in the ears, cleaning the ears will become a necessary part of treating the ear infection. However, even in dogs with healthy ears, the ears should be cleaned periodically.

As in people, many dogs have ears which secrete a waxy debris. This debris can accumulate within the ear canal and can start to cause irritation for the dog if not removed. Proper ear cleaning should be part of your dog’s regular grooming procedure.

 

Some dogs also have a large amount of hair which accumulates in the ear canal. If the hair is causing no problem and you are able to clean the ears properly with the hair still in the canals, it can be left. However, if the ears are irritated or inflamed, or if you are unable to properly clean your dog’s ears with the hair inside of the ear canal, the hair will need to be plucked from the ear canal.

How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

Cleaning the ears of a dog will require a cleaning solution which is instilled into the ear canal and then swabbed out again. Ear cleaning solutions can be purchased at any pet store or you can visit your veterinarian for a recommendation.

Start by filling the ear canal to the top with the ear cleaning solution. Then massage the ear cleaning solution into the ear canal by gently massaging the outside of the vertical ear canal.

After you are finished massaging the ear canal, you may release your dog for a moment or two if you prefer. Your dog will likely shake his head to remove a portion of the ear cleaning solution and debris. If you prefer not to allow your dog to shake his head at this stage, it is not necessary to do so.

Once you have filled the vertical ear canal with the ear cleaning solution and massaged the ear canal, you will have mechanically broken up a large part of the wax and debris which resides inside of your dog’s ear canal. At this point, you can use a cotton ball together with your pointer finger to enter the ear canal and swab out as much of the wax and debris as you can.

Do Not Use Cotton Swabs or Q-Tips to Clean a Dog’s Ears!

As long as you are using only cotton balls and your fingers, you can swab as far down inside of the ear canal as you are able and will not be able to do any damage. However, if you substitute a cotton swab or Q-tip for the cotton ball, it is possible to injure or even rupture your dog’s ear drum with the tip of the swab.

Repeat the procedure described above in your dog’s ear until you have removed all excess wax and debris from the ear canal and then move on to the second ear.

Give Your Dog a Summer Cut: Clip, Dip Dogs to Keep them Cool in the Summer Heat

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The furrier the dog the more they pant and drag in the summer heat. Yet many owners are reluctant to shave their handsome Great Pyrenees and other big, long-haired dogs. A shaved dog’s looks change drastically for the worse, and they often even seem embarrassed after a full body clip.

Even a Moderate Clip Helps Dogs Stay Cool

However, a middle way is possible. Clipping back the hair on a dog’s belly and feet can make a dramatic difference in their ability to tolerate summer heat. This allows their skin to come in direct contact with the cool of tile floors, damp earth, or water.

Also every effort should be made to remove the thick undercoat of double-coated dogs such as huskies and malamutes. This undercoat is difficult and tedious to remove but tools such as dematting combs can speed up the process.

Finally, purchasing an inexpensive children’s wading pool for your dog can do wonders to keep a dog cool in the heat of summer. After a vigorous walk around the neighborhood, most thick-coated dogs will appreciate a cool dip in the pool and some even tolerate being wetted down with the hose.

Keeping Dogs Cool in the Car

No one should ever, under any circumstances, lock a dog (or a child) in a closed car. The temperatures can be fatal in just a few minutes.

However, many professional dog handlers have learned tricks to keep their dogs cool in an open car under working conditions, such as search and rescue or sheepherding.

The first step is crate-training. Some owners resist crating their dogs but, while difficult for the first few days, having a safe den to retreat into is as natural to a dog as learning not to soil its own den. Plus, crate training takes much less time than house-breaking.

Once comfortable in a crate, dogs can be crated in the back of a car or SUV with all the windows and the back hatch open while a family bird-watches or picnics nearby. The crate can also be removed from the car and placed in a cool shady spot.

Never leave a dog crated in a car with the windows and doors closed. Leaving a dog crated in a car is only advisable when the handler or other responsible adults are close enough to observe the dog and react if it seems to be stressed.

Keeping a Crated Dog Cool in the Heat

Always leave a crated dog with plenty of fresh water, whether in the home or on a trip. Many companies offer a variety of water dishes to clip to the sides of crates. Check the water level regularly and bring an ample supply of water along on any trip.

Mats that contain a gel that can be frozen are also available. Placed on the floor of the crate, they keep a dog cool for long periods of time.

Battery-operated fans are also available that can be attached to the sides of a crate.

Walking a Dog in the Summer Heat

Even short walks in extremely hot temperatures can be stressful to a thick-coated dog. Carry water with you on long walks and let the dog cool off in streams along the way.

Watch the dog carefully for signs of distress, such as:

  • Heavy panting,
  • Bright red, lolling tongue,
  • Irregular gait,
  • Inattention.

These could be early symptoms of heat stroke, which can be fatal.