How to Clean Your Dog's Ears Safely and Effectively

How to Clean Your Dog's Ears Safely and Effectively

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Dog's Ears

Materials Needed:

  • Dog-specific ear cleaner
  • Cotton balls or gauze
  • Tweezers (if your dog has very hairy ears)
  • Treats for rewards


  1. Prepare Your Dog:

    • Choose a calm, comfortable spot to do the cleaning.
    • Have treats on hand to make the experience positive for your dog.

  2. Check for Signs of Infection:

    • Before cleaning, examine the ear for any odor, redness, swelling, or discharge. If these symptoms are present, consult your vet before cleaning.

  3. Apply Ear Cleaner:

    • Gently hold your dog’s ear flap upright and fill the ear canal with the dog-specific ear cleaner.
    • Avoid touching the applicator tip to the ear or any other surface to prevent contamination.

  4. Massage the Base of the Ear:

    • After applying the cleaner, massage the base of the ear gently for about 20-30 seconds. You should hear a squishing sound as the cleaner dislodges debris and buildup.

  5. Allow Your Dog to Shake:

    • Step back and let your dog shake its head. This helps bring softened wax and debris up to the outer part of the ear canal.

  6. Wipe Away Debris:

    • Using a cotton ball or gauze, gently wipe out the ear canal, removing any debris or excess cleaner. Only clean areas you can see; do not insert anything deep into the ear canal.

  7. Remove Excess Hair:

    • If your dog has a lot of hair growing in the ear canal, gently pluck out excess hair with tweezers. This step is best performed by those experienced with the process or by a professional.

  8. Reward Your Dog:

    • Always end the session with a treat and some affection to help your dog associate ear cleaning with a positive experience.


  • Frequency: The frequency of ear cleaning depends on your dog’s breed, coat, activity level, and ear wax production. Check with your vet for a recommended routine.
  • Safety: Never use cotton swabs in your dog’s ears as they can push debris further into the ear canal or damage the ear.


Cleaning your dog's ears is a crucial part of their grooming routine that helps prevent ear infections and maintains their overall ear health. If you notice any signs of ear discomfort or infection during routine cleanings, consult your veterinarian promptly.