Health & Nutrition

How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

You’ve seen your dog shaking his head and scratching at his ear. When you look at your dog’s ear you see just a bit of gunk. So, you decide to clean your dog’s ear before it gets worse. But how?

How To Clean Your Dog’s Ear

First, never use a cotton swab to clean your dog’s ears. The cottony part is fine, but the stick part may cause damage to your dog’s ear. So, no cotton swabs.

You can use a commercial ear cleaning solution or make your own using half raw apple cider vinegar and half purified water. You can also use a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel to reduce inflammation in the ear.

Before you begin to be sure to assemble all of the things you will need. You will need a cotton ball or soft cloth, your ear cleaning solution, and some super high-value treats. The treats are really important. No one likes getting stuff in their ears so we need to make the experience positive. Otherwise when you go to assemble your ear cleaning stuff next time your dog will run for the hills!

With your dog facing away from you (you can use a treat to lure your dog into this position) use one hand to lift up the ear. Then you can choose to squirt the solution into your dog’s ear. Instead, you could soak a cotton ball or soft cloth with your ear cleaning solution and use that to gently clean the ear. If you choose the squirt method, after squirting the solution in, simply massage the ear.

After you squirt in the solution in or clean the ear with a cloth, that is when you whip out the high-value treat. This should help your dog to have a more positive association with ear cleaning. If he has a positive association then he won’t mind getting his ears cleaned next time.

How To Know If Your Dog Needs An Ear Cleaning

It is important to know whether or not your dog needs his ears cleaned. This is because over cleaning the ears can cause ear infections and other ear problems. So you don’t want to clean your dog’s ears every day. You only want to do it when necessary.

So, if you notice that your dog is shaking his head quite a bit, then you should check his ears. There are many signs to look for in his ears. Check to see what color the ear is, depending on the breed, the ear should look pink on the inside. If the ear is red there is some inflammation happening.

Also, check to see if you notice any dirt or discharge. A little wax is normal. You defiantly don’t want to see lots of wax.


Another thing you can test is the smell of your dog’s ear. Just take a little whiff. If the ear smells awful, then you know something is up.

It is a good idea to clean your dog’s ear if he has gone swimming or may have gotten water in his ear.


Cleaning your dog’s ear can be an important part of your dog’s care routine. But don’t clean the ear too much. If your dog has issues with his ear often consult with your vet to find the underlying cause.