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Caring for your dog’s ears is an important way to reduce the chance of them developing excess ear wax or contracting an ear infection. Routine cleaning and examinations are good ways to detect potential infections or any other ear issues early, ensuring they can be treated promptly.
If an ear problem is not treated, it may lead to serious issues for your dog such as hearing loss.
Before you begin cleaning your dog’s ears, any excess hair should be removed from around the ear flap. The easiest, safest way to do this is to gently trim it away with a pair of scissors.
Matted fur around the ear flap can reduce airflow to the ear canal, causing moisture to build up, leading to excess ear wax. Debris may also get trapped, leading to an ear infection.
For some breeds, excess hair may also need to be gently removed from inside the ear canal. It is essential that this is done carefully in order to avoid damaging the ear canal and also minimise any discomfort to your dog. Consider having your dog groomer or vet remove the hair if needed.
Once you have trimmed away any excess hair, you are ready to begin to clean your dog’s ear canal. Lift their ear flap and dribble a small amount of ear cleaning solution into the ear. You should use enough to fill the ear canal but not so much that it overflows.
As the solution drips into the ear canal, gently massage the base of your dog’s ear for ten to twenty seconds – you may hear the solution move around as you massage it into the inner ear. Repeat the process with your dog’s other ear. This step should not be painful for your dog. If they show any signs of discomfort, stop what you are doing and consult your vet.
When you are cleaning your dog’s ears, be gentle. Their ear canals and flaps are very sensitive, and overly aggressive cleaning may cause serious damage to the delicate structures of their inner ear.
After massaging cleaning solution into the ear canals, stand back and let your dog shake their head to bring the softened wax up out of the ear canals. Use clean cotton wool balls to gently wipe out and around the ear canal, removing any wax or cleaning solution you see. For small dogs, you may need to use cotton wool balls that have been torn in half.
Ideally, avoid using of cotton buds to clean your dog’s ears. Placed too deeply or forcefully into the ear, they can cause damage to the ear drum, pain and in severe cases, complete hearing loss.
How often you need to clean your dog’s ears depends on a number of factors, including:
Level of activity
Ear wax production
If they swim regularly
As a guide, most breeds should only need to have their ears cleaned once per month.
If you are not confident cleaning your dog’s ears yourself, just find your nearest Vetsure vet! Find out how you can tailor your pet insurance policy to include Preventative Care vouchers, alongside essential pet insurance cover.