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Cleaning your Dog’s Ears


  • Only use ear treatments that have been recommended by the veterinarian.
  • Use cotton to clean the ears.  Do not use any tissue or other paper to clean the ear or flap as these are irritants to the skin.
  • Never insert cotton swabs/Q-tips into the ear canal.  They can push ear debris deeper into the canal and can rupture the eardrum.  Only use Q-tips on the ear flap, not in the canal.
  • Human ear solutions are not designed for pets, and solutions with alcohol may be irritating. 
  • Do not put medications in the ears unless a veterinarian has examined the ears first.  Some medications should be avoided if the ear drum is ruptured.
  • If your pet’s ears are painful, a muzzle can help calm your pet allowing you to safely handle them at home.

Cleaning The Ear:

Debris in the ear canal is often irritating and can prevent medication from reaching the infection site.

  1. Excessive hair in the ear canal may also collect debris and obstruct the flow of medication. 
  2. Extend the ear flap over the head. Gently instill cleanser into the ear canal.
  3. To loosen debris deep in the ear, massage the external ear canal from the base to the external opening.
  4. Allow the pet to shake out any excess solution and debris.
  5. Continue wiping with cotton balls until the ear is clean and dry.

**Ear cleanings may irritate already inflamed ears, causing minor bleeding.  This is not cause for panic, but it does indicate that the ear needs a break.  If you see blood, stop cleaning the ears for the day and resume on the next scheduled day as directed by your veterinarian.

Applying Ear Medications:

  • If you need to medicate the ears after cleaning, wait 30 minutes after flushing before applying ear medication.  This allows the ear to dry and prevents dilution of the medication.
  • Pull the ear flap over the head, and gently instill medication into the lowest opening of the ear.
  • To help the medication disperse throughout the ear, gently massage the external ear canal.

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