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How to Clean your Dog’s or Cat’s ears

cleaning-pet-earsWhether you are simply trying to remove a little dirt and excess wax or are cleaning ears to treat an infection, using the right technique is important.  Follow these easy steps to effectively and safely clean your pet’s ears.

  1. Make sure you are either outside or in a part of the house where you can wipe up a mess easily.  Protect your clothing or wear something that can handle getting grubby.
  2. If your dog is large, straddle him so that one leg is on either side of his chest and the two of you are facing the same direction.  This allows you to control his body but leaves both hands free.  Smaller pets can sit on a table.  If you have someone to help you keep your pet still, so much the better.
  3. Use a mild ear cleaner for general cleaning or the one prescribed by your veterinarian if you are treating an infection.  Some medicated ear cleaners can cause deafness if your dog has a ruptured ear drum so talk to your veterinarian if you are unsure of your pet’s condition.
  4. Hold up the ear flap with one hand and squirt the ear cleaner directly into the canal.  Use enough to fill the canal.
  5. Press the ear flap over the opening to the canal and rub gently but vigorously.  You should hear the cleaner “squishing” around.
  6. Release your pets head and wait until he shakes it vigorously.  This can be messy but is essential for moving debris from deep inside the canal to the outside where you can wipe it away.
  7. Use a paper towel or napkin wrapped around your finger to remove debris from the ear.  Never stick anything like a Q-tip® down your pet’s ear canal.  You may rupture his eardrum.
  8. Repeat as necessary until your wipes come away clean.
  9. Move on to the other ear.
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