By Amy Tokic

My dog, Oscar, has the cutest floppy ears. But while they add to the adorable aesthetic, those floppy ears tend to cause a flurry of issues for him. Ever since he was a puppy, Oscar has had to deal with ear infections at least once a year. Caused by seasonal allergies and dirt and bacteria build up, I was never sure when they would flair up. What helps keep them at bay are frequent ear cleaning and preventive care. Here’s what I do to make sure Oscar’s ears are clean and infection-free.

Why Is Dog Ear Care Important?

Not only are a dog’s ears sensitive, but just like with us, they also get wax and oil build up.  This means your dog’s ears can be prone to infections. Add to that excess moisture or allergies, and you’ve got a recipe for ear infection.

Dog Ear Infection Symptoms:

  • Foul odor coming from the ear(s)
  • Discharge from the ear(s)
  • Swelling or redness in your dog’s ear canal
  • Pawing or scratching of the ear(s)

Keep an eye out for these symptoms, and if you do notice any of them, call your vet for an appointment and ear cleaning.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears at Home

Keep ear infections at bay by regularly cleaning your dog’s ears. An easy way to keep on top of this is to inspect your dog’s ears while you’re grooming him (at least once a week). This will help you combat potential problems early, plus it acclimatizes your pooch to having his ears touched.

Here’s how to clean your dog’s ears at home:

  1. Before you start, you’ll need a pet-formulated ear cleanser.
  2. If your dog has floppy ears, hold the ear flap upright. Dribble a few drops of the ear cleanser into the ear canal.
  3. For about 15 to 20 seconds, use your fingers to massage the base of the ear (it’s normal for your dog to shake his head after this part – a towel will help avoid a mess).
  4. Using a cotton ball or pad (not a Q-tip) to wipe away any excess solution and loosened ear wax.

Other Ear Care Products for Dogs

Keep on top of keeping your dog’s ears clean with these wipes:

earthbath Ear Wipes: Great for everyday use, earthbath ear wipes are plant-based and made with FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified fibers. We also love that they’re cruelty free, vegan, gluten free, and non-GMO. These ear wipes contain aloe vera, which helps treat dry sensitive skin and restore skin moisture; witch hazel, a natural astringent with the potential to ease irritation and inflammation; sunflower seed oil used as a skin conditioning agent and carrier for extracts; and vitamin E, an essential nutrient that contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Silver Honey Rapid Ear Care: These convenient ear wipes remove debris and wax to maintain ear health and prevent bacteria from entering the ear. Containing Manuka honey and MicroSilver BG®, which are powerful and natural antimicrobials.  Honey is refined from the Manuka flower of New Zealand, known for its potent healing and antimicrobial properties. When applied, it kills bacteria, maintains moisture and helps shed dead tissue. MicroSilver BG® is a pure micro-particle silver that boosts the antibacterial properties of the element to fight germs and strengthen the skin’s natural defenses.

Dog Ear Care Tips

How often do your dog’s ears need to be cleaned? Aim for giving them a good clean once a month. If your dog has floppy ears or likes to swim frequently, you’ll need to clean those bad boys every other week.  And always make sure to properly dry your pooch’s ears after bathing or swimming.

As well, you need to keep the hair around the ear flap clean and trimmed – this will make cleaning your dog’s ears much easier. And remember to be gentle and never insert cleaning tools directly into the ear canal (such as Q-tips), as this could damage your pup’s hearing.

Make ear cleaning a positive experience as to not stress out your pup. Ear cleaning should only be done when your dog is calm and be sure to reward your pooch with treats during and after a cleaning.

An essential part of a complete care routine, cleaning your dog’s ears will help keep him healthy and happy. Keeping up with ear cleanings at home, regular grooming, and the occasional vet check-up, you can help ensure your pup’s ears are in tip-top condition.

Pet Expert Amy Tokic is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin.  In her free time, Amy  loves pursuing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon ( a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).