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
- Lift the ear by pulling up and out to straighten the ear canal.
- Drip a warm dog ear wash solution into the ear.
- Massage the base of the ear and the tube-like ear canal from the outside, near the base of the ear.
- Tip the head to let the solution run out or allow the dog to shake the liquid free.
- 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.