A Guide to Keeping Your Dog's Ears Clean and Healthy

Stop those pesky ear infections before they begin

CockerSpaniel.org Volunteer Staff

2/19/20242 min read

  1. Gather Your Supplies: Before you begin, gather all the necessary supplies. You'll need dog-specific ear cleaning solution (available at pet stores or from your veterinarian), cotton balls or pads, and treats to reward your dog for their cooperation.

  1. Choose the Right Time: Pick a quiet time when your dog is relaxed to clean their ears. Avoid doing it immediately after bath time or any other activity that may have made your dog anxious.

  1. Inspect the Ears: Before cleaning, inspect your dog's ears for any signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or odor. These could indicate an infection or ear mites, and you should consult your veterinarian if you notice any abnormalities.

  1. Prepare Your Dog: Gently reassure your dog and make them comfortable by offering treats and speaking to them in a soothing voice. If your dog is anxious about ear cleaning, consider enlisting the help of another family member to hold them steady or distract them with treats or toys.

  1. Apply the Ear Cleaning Solution: Hold your dog's head steady and gently lift one ear flap. Apply a few drops of the ear cleaning solution into the ear canal. Be careful not to insert the tip of the bottle too deeply into the ear to avoid causing discomfort or injury.

  1. Massage the Ear: Gently massage the base of your dog's ear for about 20-30 seconds. This helps the cleaning solution to loosen dirt, wax, and debris from the ear canal.

  1. Let Your Dog Shake: After massaging, allow your dog to shake their head. This action helps to dislodge loosened debris from the ear canal. Have a towel ready to catch any excess solution or debris.

  1. Wipe Away Debris: Use a cotton ball or pad to gently wipe away any visible debris, wax, or excess cleaning solution from the outer ear canal and ear flap. Avoid using cotton swabs (Q-tips) as they can push debris further into the ear canal and potentially cause injury.

  1. Repeat for the Other Ear: Repeat the cleaning process for the other ear, following the same steps.

  1. Reward and Reassure: Once you've finished cleaning your dog's ears, reward them with praise and treats for their cooperation. This positive reinforcement helps create a positive association with ear cleaning and makes future sessions easier.

  1. Establish a Regular Routine: Make ear cleaning a regular part of your dog's grooming routine, but be careful not to overdo it. Depending on your dog's breed and ear shape, you may need to clean their ears weekly, monthly, or as recommended by your veterinarian.

  1. Monitor for Changes: Keep an eye on your dog's ears between cleanings for any signs of irritation, redness, swelling, discharge, or odor. If you notice any abnormalities or your dog shows signs of discomfort, consult your veterinarian promptly.


By following these steps and maintaining a regular ear cleaning routine, you can help keep your dog's ears clean, healthy, and free from discomfort. Remember, if you're ever unsure about how to clean your dog's ears or if you notice any concerning symptoms, don't hesitate to seek advice from your veterinarian. Your dog's ear health is an important aspect of their overall well-being, and proper care can contribute to a long and happy life.


Dogs are cherished members of our families, and like any family member, they require regular care to stay healthy and happy. One often overlooked aspect of dog grooming is ear cleaning. Proper ear hygiene is essential for preventing infections and discomfort in your canine companion. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to clean your dog's ears safely and effectively.