Cleaning dogs ears - Mothering Forums
Pets > Cleaning dogs ears
KalamazooMom's Avatar KalamazooMom 11:25 AM 08-09-2010
Up until now I've never cleaned my dog's ears. Do other people do this on a regular basis? I took my dog into the vet for his checkup and they said one ear was slightly infected. They cleaned out his ears and got A LOT of crud out. I have some ear wash and some drops I am supposed to use. Is there some trick to getting this done?? He HATES it! It's really an ordeal to hold on to him and hold his head still so I can get the drops in. Anyone have any tips for that?

Ola_'s Avatar Ola_ 01:03 PM 08-09-2010
I think it depends on the ears. My floppy dog's ears need to be cleaned more often than the sticky-uppy ears that my other dog has. I find that as long as I do it regularly, every few weeks in the case of our floppy dog, it's enough to wet a cotton ball and wipe out the inside of the ear (not too deep). I only do the "squirt and massage" with the cleaner if I'm seeing a large amount of gunk of suspect an issue.

Now during allergy season even my pointy eared dog needs her ears cleaned more frequently, but that is just due to the eye allergies and her eyes have extra discharge at that time too. I usually do it once a week then if I remember, just because there is so much gunk that an infection is likely if it builds up.

Normally I clean with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution unless we're having any issues that require a special cleaner or medication. For stuff that you're actually squirting in the ear (cleaner or drops) I've heard that it's less unpleasant if you warm the liquid first, say by letting the bottle sit in a glass of warm water for a while. But most dogs aren't really a fan of it - I just have DH help me hold them still or do it myself, get it done as fast as I can, and give a treat afterwards.
Mom2M's Avatar Mom2M 01:31 AM 08-11-2010
Our dogs have floppy ears and we have to clean them periodically. I got the bottle of ear cleaner from the vet a couple years ago and we still have a lot in there!
Anyway, I have them lie down and I wet a cotton ball with the cleaner and wipe around inside the ear.
If there is a lot of gunk, I squirt the cleaner in, hold his ear closed and after a minute, clean the gunk out with a tissue. It usually comes out easily this way. I just have to hold him down to do it but he has gotten much better after doing it for a long time. I give them treats afterward.
da-tamsta's Avatar da-tamsta 01:49 AM 08-11-2010
I use a vinegar/alcohol/betadine mixture (half and half and a squirt of betadine) that I found on the internet. My doggie has chronic ear infections so I do it every day/every other day, but once a week after you go thru the stuff from the vet will do. as far as a method, I hold her down and squirt it in and rub it around and then cotton ball it out. she is little so I can hold her down, but you might need help. None of my dogs have ever enjoyed ear cleaning, but it is a necessary evil. I do bribe her with special treats that she gets only after ear cleaning. You could do the holding a treat with one hand and cleaning out with the other. I noticed that I just put my leg over her now and she doesn't move much...seems she is used to it. But we do it every night so she has had it done hundreds of times. Experiment and remember positive reinforcement does wonders!
Oubliette8's Avatar Oubliette8 04:06 AM 08-11-2010
I think it depends on the dog. Our basset needed her ears cleaned at least once a week or they'd get infected. My lab needed hers done every time she went swimming to prevent infection, but not as often otherwise. My current dog, I clean them maybe once every few months? I know others of her breed that need regular cleanings, but hers seem fine without much. I always use ear cleaner after a bath as it helps dry any water that might have gotten in there, and its just a good routine to make sure it gets done. What sort of dog is he? i'd probably clear up the infection and then sort of wait and see, I mean, examine the ears regularly, but if they seem ok, your probably good.

As far as ear drops, I'd offer lots of treats. Really high value treats. Something he'd do ANYTHING for, not like biscuits, but like cheese or chicken bits. Offer them both for the drops, and then sometimes just play with his ears and treat, no drops. I'd start out doing ALOT of handling of his ears and treating without the drops, so more times than not, there's nothing unpleasant. I'd guess you need to give them once or twice a day? So make an effort to handle his ears without the drops and lots of treats maybe 4 or 5 times the first few days, so 5 times will be no drops, and only once or twice will be drops.
KalamazooMom's Avatar KalamazooMom 12:07 PM 08-11-2010
Thanks all for the info. Things have been getting better with the drops. He still doesn't like it but is more cooperative now and knows a yummy treat will follow. Once we get this cleared up we'll try to clean the ears every couple weeks to avoid it happening again.
swd12422's Avatar swd12422 08:01 PM 08-11-2010
Glad it's going a little easier now! Our dog's ears were nasty when we got him, and the vet said it was no big deal, that dogs don't need their ears cleaned (at least our breed). I read online to clean with mineral oil, so I started doing that (although if he prone to infection I agree with vinegar solution -- I just didn't know about that at the time). I cleaned them every day for awhile, and then went to once a week.

I'm thinking now (years later) that it was an infection or something, b/c the awful gunk kept coming back, but after a few years it was finally gone. So I check him regularly to make sure they're clean, but I haven't CLEANED them in at least a year. I'd clean every day til there's nothing left to clean, then go to weekly, monthly, etc.
Copper's Avatar Copper 08:49 PM 08-11-2010
I have 3 dogs right now and 2 of them I clean weekly....I have a Chihuahua mix...her ears never seem to get big boy is 88 pounds, has floppy ears and needs them done WEEKLY. My little pug seems to need his done/they get dirty weekly as well.

I use "ear wipes". I swear my dogs come running when they seem me grab the bottle out of the cabinet. They are wet wipes and I can get the "stuff" out easily with them. They love it. Took the pug puppy a time or two to grow to love it but he does now. My Bassett and American Bully had the worst ears and HATED the stuff I was told years ago to squirt in their ears...I started cleaning them with a strong paper towel and baby oil and that got it out too.

I am not above using a small flashlight to look and make sure they are clean......and I have not had to drop $$ on ear infections in a few years.

My dogs are so used to being handled with nails, ears and grooming that they love it especially the ears. Go figure.
Catherine12's Avatar Catherine12 12:06 PM 08-13-2010
One of our pugs needs hers cleaned a few times a year. You can tell when she needs a cleaning by looking in the ear - if there are dark flecks, she needs a cleaning. Our other two pugs never needs their ears cleaned.

Unlike humans, dogs have L-shaped ear canals, so you can't puncture their ear drums during cleaning (or at least it would be a lot harder). I squirt in some ear cleaner and use a long q-tip type thing to get the gunk out, then put in some antibiotics if I think that's necessary (if the ear was significantly dirty or if I've seen her scratching at it).

The ear antibiotic is also available in ointment form - my dog seems to like this better than liquid drops.