It doesn’t matter if your puppy was blessed with long, floppy ears or the short and pointy variety—ear hygiene should be a part of any dog’s grooming regimen. Dog ears are fine-tuned to hone in on a variety of sounds undectable by humans, which makes hearing one of their most important senses. Keep your puppy's ears in good working order by cleaning them regularly.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears
1. Gather the necessary supplies: cotton balls, a flashlight, and ear cleaning solution designed for pet use only.
2. Choose a comfy spot for you and your puppy. If she is unfamiliar with the ear cleaning process, have an assistant on hand to help as needed.
3. Hold your puppy’s ear flap in one hand and squirt approximately one teaspoon of solution into the ear canal. Be sure to follow all instructions listed on the solution packaging. Once the solution has made its way into the ear, release the flap and massage the base of the ear for a few seconds. Doing so will help to distribute the solution and loosen any waxy buildup. Repeat the process with the second ear.
4. Wipe the loose wax from each ear with a cotton ball and make sure you also remove any debris from the ear’s creases.
Note: The ear canal is an extremely sensitive and vulnerable area for a dog. If an object is inserted into a dog’s ear canal, it has the potential to cause severe damage to the ear drum. For this reason, responsible pet owners should keep all objects out of the puppy’s ear canal and consult a veterinarian before attempting to address any inner-ear issues the dog may be experiencing.
5. Sometimes there will be hair inside a dog’s ear that needs to be plucked. Consult a veterinarian or professional groomer before trying to pluck the hair yourself.
Warning Signs to Watch Out For
The shape of a dog’s ear canal makes it prone to infection. The inside of the dog’s ear should possess a healthy, fleshy-pink color while remaining completely free of waxy build up. The ears are a perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to grow in, which can lead to serious infections. Your dog’s ears should be checked at least once a week for any signs of infection, parasites, or debris. Cleaning should begin during puppyhood and continue each week of the dog’s life.
The following are signs of a possible ear infection:
- Inflammation or swelling in or around the ear canal
- Any type of “dirty” discharge
- Strong, foul odor
- Ears sensitive to touch
If your puppy is suffering from an ear infection, she may also frequently shake her head, rub her ears along the ground, or scratch at them. If any of these symptoms are present, do not attempt to clean your puppy’s ears! Contact your veterinarian immediately for proper treatment.