Cleaning Dogs Ears

Cleaning dogs ears is part of the overall grooming procedure. It should be done once a week, as needed. It only takes a few minutes and is simple enough for anyone.


Cleaning Dogs Ears

Most people never clean a dog’s ears. I have to admit, before I got by Basset Hound Olivia, I didn’t clean my dog’s ears either. Whether or not this is affected my dogs is beside the point. If you have a dog with big ears, like any type of hound, then regular cleaning is a necessary part of the dog’s grooming.

Before You Clean the Dogs Ears

While cleaning dogs ears is a good thing, cleaning an infected dogs ears is a whole other story. Your vet will want to swap some of the “dirt” to check for mites and other infections. Therefore, you should never clean an ear you suspect has an infection or mites.


How Can You Spot an Infection?

If you are not supposed to clean up an infection, how can you tell the difference between a dirty ear and an infected ear? Believe it or not, it is quite simple.

  • If your dog’s ear(s) have an offensive odor, then it is more than likely infected.
  • If your dog is constantly pawing or scratching the ear, it is probably infected.
  • If your dog’s ear seems sensitive to touch, then it is infected.

This last sign is a good indicator. I have a dog, Halogen, like most dogs that LOVES her ears scratched. One day, I went to pet her ear and she pulled away! This was a big indicator my dog had an ear infection. Although unusual in Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrieves (she is a mixed service animal), Halogen had an ear infection.


How Vets Recommend on Cleaning Dog Ears

Vets recommend you using either a professional ear wash for dogs or making your own ear wash solution. I do not use them, but I have heard great things. Of course, if I did, maybe Olivia would not get her yearly ear infection.

  1. Get all the tools together before you start
  2. Ear Wash
  3. Cotton
  4. Treats
  5. Put a generous amount of ear wash in the dog’s ear
  6. Massage the ear wash in for about 30 seconds by rubbing the outside of the ear
  7. Allow the dog to shake out ear wash (this could be messy)
  8. Use the cotton to wipe out additional fluid and remove excess dirt

My Method to Clean Dog Ears

I have to admit, I never used the above method. Instead, I used the method I learned at Guide Dogs for the Blind. There, they taught me to simply use a Kleenex. You wipe the Kleenex around your finger and gently swap the ear. When it gets dirty, you find a clean piece and continue cleaning.


I advanced to using baby wipes on my dogs. While some people do not recommend the method, I have found it works great and my dogs actually like the process. I have never had a problem with using baby wipes.

Cleaning Dogs Ears Don’ts

  • Don’t Clean Ears that are Infected
  • Don’t Use Cotton Swabs in the Ears
  • Don’t Leave Solution in the Ears
  • Don’t Use Pure Alcohol
  • Don’t Use Pure Water

Homemade Do It Yourself Dog Ear Cleaner

While there are several recipes on homemade ear cleaners for dogs online, these two are simple and easy to follow. If you do not want to purchase a professional ear cleaner solution, then this will work for your dog.

Alcohol and Vinegar Ear Cleaner

Mix one part white vinegar with one part rubbing alcohol (50/50 mixture) in a squirt bottle and shake well.

Alcohol, Boric Acid and Glycerin

Mix 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons of boric acid, and 1 tablespoon of glycerin. Shake well.

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