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How Often To Clean Dog Ears (10 Simple Step Guide)

Last updated on December 18th, 2023 at 02:37 am

Not cleaning your dog’s ears will lead to ear infections and negatively affect his overall health. Also, the odor of your dog’s ears makes you feel UGHH… This article will let you know how often to clean dog ears and provide a simple step-by-step guide to cleaning your dog’s ears at home like a professional. Read on to find out!

Why is cleaning dogs ears important?

Due to the shape of the dog’s ear canal, debris lodged deep within the horizontal canal is challenging to remove without the assistance of cleanings.

Dog’s ears are sensitive, and when wax and oils build inside them over time, they can cause infections. In addition, external factors like excessive moisture and allergies will increase the risk of itchiness and ear infection.

If you notice your dog has any “warning signals” of developing an ear infection below, schedule an appointment and have his ears cleaned with your veterinarian right away.

    • His ears have a foul smell.
    • Discharge from the ear
    • Excessive pawing or ear-scratching
    • The swollen or red ear canal

Now let’s move on to the next part!

How often to clean dog ears? 

How often to clean dog ears

The good news? You can avoid ear infections in your dog by regularly inspecting and cleaning their ears. And the frequency of ear inspection is quite different from ear cleaning.

With ear inspection, you should do this around once a week or every other week. Doing this regularly will not only allow you to identify possible issues before they become serious, but it will also help comfort your dog by touching their ears.

With ear cleaning, a good rule of thumb is that you do not need to clean your dog’s ears more than once every 1 to 2 months if his ears are healthy. Breeds with long, floppy ears or dogs who spend lots of time in the water may need to have their ears cleaned a little more.

Along with scheduled routine cleanings, it is a good idea to clean his ears after every bath or after engaging in water-related activities like swimming, playing by the lake, or going to the beach. This aids in cleaning out the ears in case excessive moisture enters the ear canal during the bath or playtime.

When to clean dog ears?

How to properly clean a dog’s ears

If you notice your dog’s ears have an odor or see him shaking his head more than usual, it’s time for cleaning. However, if his ears look red and inflamed, smell yeasty, or show signs of pain, call your vet.

These signs need to be handled by a veterinarian because they could be related to allergies, fleas, ear mites, or ear infections. Cleaning an infected ear often does more harm than good. Remember not to clean your dog’s ears too much as it can upset the natural balance and possibly lead to infection.

The best dog ear cleaning solution

Dog ear cleaning does not require any special equipment. You only need a few supplies to do it successfully: cotton balls or gauze, a good quality dog ear-cleaning solution, a towel, and some treats to reward your furry friend.

When to clean dog ears

Handy tips: 

  • A good-quality ear solution is a must. You should use an ear rinse that is safe for dogs and free of antibiotics, steroids, alcohol, and toxic materials (if in doubt, ask your veterinarian).
  • Do not use cotton-tipped swabs (Q-tips) due to the risk of causing trauma and pushing debris further into the ear canal.
  • Do not use cotton-tipped swabs (Q-tips) due to the risk of causing trauma and pushing debris further into the ear canal.
  • Dog ear cleaning recipes from home are easy to find online. However, a vet-approved ear solution is the safest option. Some homemade ear-cleaning solutions include toxic and irritating ingredients. Others simply don’t do well.

How to properly clean a dog’s ears?

A few things you need to know before starting the ear cleaning process:

    • Good hygiene is crucial! You should wash your hands thoroughly both before and after cleaning your dog’s ears. This will help you avoid introducing bugs to his ears or collecting bugs onto your fingernails while cleaning. You can wear gloves if you want.
    • Ear cleaning looks simple but can get messy if your dog shakes his head vigorously during this process. You may want to clean his ears in the bathroom or an easy-to-clean room.
    • Ear cleaning can be stressful for some dogs, so you better make it a positive experience. Only clean his ears when he is already in a calm state. And don’t be hesitant to sweeten the deal with treats.
When to clean dog ears

Best part: Step-by-step guide to cleaning dog ears at home:

Step 1: Prepare supplies in advance. Make sure you have all necessary supplies within arm’s reach: cotton balls or gauze, a good quality dog ear-cleaning solution, a towel, and some treats.

Step 2 (optional): Have support if you can’t do it alone. You might need assistance holding your dog while you clean his ears if your dog is not used to ear cleaning.

You can restrain him by gently wrapping your arm around his neck to prevent him from escaping and using the other hand to stabilize the head or back half of the body. Keep in mind not to squeeze too tightly.

Step 3: Carefully hold the outer soft or erect part of the dog’s ear with one hand to enable access to the ear canal. Hold the ear cleaning solution in your other hand.

When to clean dog ears

Step 4: Squeeze an approved ear cleaning solution into your dog’s ear. Make sure to fill both the horizontal and vertical ear canal.

Step 5: Continue holding the ear flap vertically up with one hand and use the other hand to massage for about 30 seconds. Start with the base of the ear below the ear opening and slowly move upward so that the entire ear canal is massaged.

As a result, the debris in the ear canal will be broken up by the cleaning solution. You can hear a squishing sound as the cleaning solution circulates in the horizontal part of the ear canal.

How to properly clean a dog’s ears

Step 6: At this point, your dog may want to shake his head. Just allow them to do it because it helps push out the ear solution and remaining debris from the ear canal to the outer opening of the ear. And a towel can help to avoid messes.

Step 7: When your dog has finished shaking, use a clean cotton ball to wipe out all the ear solution and remaining debris. Do not shove cotton balls into your dog’s ear to avoid injury or getting stuck.

Step 8Give your dog praise and treats.

Step 9Repeat the same cleaning process with the other ear.

Step 10 (optional)During the ear cleaning process, if your dog seems to be in pain, you should stop and call your veterinarian.


How often to clean dog ears

Knowing how to clean your dog’s ears is an essential part of his complete care routine. So how often to clean dog ears depends on your dog’s breed and lifestyle. A good rule of thumb is to clean their healthy ears once every 1 to 2 months. Follow the step-by-step guide above to clean your dog’s ears successfully. 

Last but not least…

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs


Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.

About us: Pet Chao is a community for Asian dog breed enthusiasts. Our goal is to keep you and your four-legged friend healthy and happy by providing valuable resources and fostering a like-minded community.

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