How do I clean my dog’s ears?

Most dogs need to have their ears cleaned on an occasional basis, and dogs who suffer from chronic ear infections need theirs cleaned regularly, usually twice a week when no infection is present.

If your dog does not have problematic ears, clean them with a soft tissue or gauze sponge. Simply wipe away any debris you can reach with the tissue or gauze wrapped around the end of your finger. Use a cotton swab to clean out the crevices, but do not push the swab down into your dog’s ear canal, where it may lodge debris against her eardrum.

If you cannot easily remove the debris in your dog’s ear, or if the procedure seems to make her uncomfortable, see your veterinarian. If your dog has ever suffered from an ear infection, ask your veterinarian how to properly clean her ears, how often it should be done, and what cleaning solution to use.

In general, an acidic drying solution used twice a week prevents bacterial and yeast infections. This twice-a-week cleaning also helps you to monitor the ears for any signs of infection. You should also clean your dog’s ears whenever you bathe her or after she goes swimming because any water remaining in the ears can cause softening of the skin and lead to inflammation and infection.