How Often Should I Clean My Dog's Ears?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Some dogs have them long and droopy, others short and pointy – but whichever way they’re built, ears need to be cleaned! Of course, dog ears are much different than human ears, and they can accumulate dirt surprisingly fast, which is why it will be your job to keep them spotless at all times. Otherwise, the gunk and the dirt can lead to a whole range of problems that can be difficult to deal with – not to mention extremely painful for your pet.

There’s no doubt that you need to include ear cleaning in your pet’s “beauty routine”, but just how often do you have to do it? Here’s all that you need to know about dog ear issues and how frequently – and when – you should clean them. 

How Often Should I Clean My Dog's Ears?

Of course, the frequency with which you should clean your dog's ears depends on several major factors, including your dog's breed, ear shape, and any pre-existing ear conditions. In general, most dogs do not require any super frequent ear cleaning, and overcleaning can actually be harmful. The easiest way to go about this is “as needed”. One of the common reasons to clean a dog's ears is if they appear dirty or have a buildup of wax or debris. Check your dog's ears regularly for signs of dirt, discharge, redness, odor, or excessive wax. If you notice any of these issues, it's time to clean their ears. 

For dogs prone to ear issues, however, such as breeds with floppy ears ( Cocker SpanielBasset Hound, etc), frequent swimmers, or those with a history of ear infections, you may need to clean their ears more often. This could range from once a week to once a month, depending on their individual needs. Furthermore, if your dog loves to swim, make sure to dry their ears thoroughly after each swim session. Moisture in the ear can create a conducive environment for ear infections. Remember that all sorts of critters live in water, and can enter your dog’s ear. That is why good cleaning and a thorough wipe after each swim is important and helps keep their ears healthy and clean.

In addition to regular cleaning, you should be on the lookout for signs of ear problems in your dog, such as frequent shaking of the head, scratching at the ears, redness, swelling, foul odor, or discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian before attempting to clean the ears. Catching issues early can prevent them from becoming more severe, so it’s important to regularly check and clean your dog’s ears, no matter their age, size, or breed. 

Sometimes, of course, it's best to leave ear cleaning to the professionals. Your veterinarian or a groomer can clean your dog's ears safely and effectively, especially if your dog has a history of ear infections or if the ears are very dirty. If you are ever unsure of how to go about the cleaning process, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. They can provide specific recommendations based on your dog's health and breed. 

When cleaning your dog's ears, always use a gentle approach. Avoid using cotton swabs deep into the ear canal, as this can push debris further down and potentially cause injury. Instead, use a  dog-specific ear cleaner and cotton pads or wipes (such as these specialized  dog ear cleaning wipes) to clean the visible part of the ear canal. 

Remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It's essential to tailor your dog's ear care routine to their specific needs and consult with your veterinarian for guidance if you have any concerns about their ear health. 

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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