How To Clean Your Pet’s Ears

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25 Responses

  1. Cascadian Nomads says:

    Vets always compliment how clean my dogs and cats ears are yet I have never cleaned them. I suppose I won’t always be so lucky as to have such ear wax free pets so I’ll bookmark this one for when that day comes. Thanks!

  2. Ali Isaac says:

    This is a great post, Rachele! I have just inspected my dog Indi’s ears, and feel I now know what to look for , what is normal, what a healthy ear is supposed to look like. His ears are fine and clear, I am happy to report, I know I tend to be a bit paranoid about them since he had an allergy resulting from the food he was eating, which manifested its symptoms in hot swollen inner ears. I will get some cleaner though and use it once a month as you suggest, just to keep them that way. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Emmadog says:

    Having long floppys I’m prone to ear issues, and then to top it off my ear channels are about 50% of the normal size and I have thick hair all the way down! For around 3 years I had chronic ear infections. We tried all kinds of ear cleaners from cheap to prescription and they all made things worse. Finally in a group discussion we found the recipe for Blue Ear Cleaner. Mom made up a batch and I have been infection free for almost 3 years. I also have my groomer pluck out that deep down junk out every couple months. It has been a life changer for this GBGV!

  4. Hi Emma. I am glad that you found an ear cleaner that you feel works for you. However, I do not recommend Blue Ear Cleaner (also known as “Blue Miracle”) homemade ear wash. The ingredients are isopropyl alcohol, boric acid, and gentian violet. Gentian violet is known to be quite ototoxic (toxic to the ears). In a scientific study of commonly used topical antimycotic (antifungal) agents using guinea pigs, the researchers found that “of the first four animals treated with gentian violet, three developed pronounced behavioral signs of vestibular damage and three demonstrated extensive middle ear inflammation.” They concluded that “gentian violet has the potential for severe damage.” Here is a link to the article entitled “Ototoxicity of Common Topical Antimycotic Preparations:” Disadvantages of isopropyl alcohol include pain and irritation, especially in inflamed or ulcerated ears. As I mentioned in my blog post, I recommend a high quality ear cleaner made for dogs and cats. I recommend Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner or Douxo Micellar Solution as good ear cleaners for regular use.

  5. valsilver says:

    My dog has a lot of hair growing out of his ears. Should I leave that hair or remove it? If it needs to be removed, what’s the best way to do that?

  6. Hi Val. If there is a lot of hair in your dog’s ear canals, it is best to remove it. The excess hair prevents air from getting into the ear canals to dry them out and also holds onto wax and debris. In the veterinary hospital, we use curved tip hemostats to pluck the ear hairs. They have serrated teeth which hold onto the hairs well and a lock on the handle. I just checked to see if you could buy curved tip hemostats online and I found them on so you can probably find them in other places, too. I like to sprinkle a little Neo-Predef with Tetracaine powder on the area of the ears around the ear hairs prior to plucking as the tetracaine is a topical anesthetic and helps to numb the area before plucking. I noticed that also sells Neo-Predef powder so you should be able to obtain it either through an online/retail store or your veterinarian.

  7. My dog Lilah cleans everyone else’s ears–cats and dogs–so I don’t have to do much except clean her ears.

  8. MyDogLikes says:

    Great tips! Our Golden boys need to get their ears cleaned regularly!!

  9. Janet Siano says:

    Great article, I never really knew how to clean my dogs’ ears. Now I do. Thanks.

  10. Great post! I am constantly checking the dogs ears. I find it funny that usually only one ear is dirty and the other pristine?! Weird!

  11. Thank you, Miley! My dog Savanna has been having the same thing lately. One ear is really clean and the other ear is constantly producing brown waxy debris. It is not uncommon in my practice to find dogs with only one ear infected and their other ear is fine. This is confirmed by ear cytology, of course.

  12. Hawk aka BrownDog says:

    Hi Y’all!

    Vets should show our humans how to properly clean our ears and tell them how often. Turns out my Human, over the years, learned by watching vets do her dogs ears. I have bad allergies and take shots, so she has to do my ears weekly to every two weeks. Lucky for me, she’s been doing it right.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  13. Hi Hawk. Thanks for your comments. I agree – it is very important that we as veterinarians teach our clients how to properly clean their dog’s ears – both for regular maintenance and as part of the treatment plan, if indicated, for ear infections.

  14. Talent Hounds says:

    Great tips! You’ve got to clean their ears regularly!

  15. Because the Goldendoodle has those large floppy ears I must keep up with cleaning them regularly (Every Friday) to avoid ear infections. Between the groomer and his vet, I’ve got a good handle on the correct way to clean them. Your post was “spot-on” with great instructions. Nicely done my friend!

  16. Thank you very much Groovy Goldendoodles!

  17. I use a mixture of white vinegar, witch hazel and water. My dogs don’t love having their ears cleaned, but sometimes I see them scratch their ears and whimper a little, so I know it has to be done.

  18. Hi Kari. As I said in my blog post, I recommend using high quality, commercially prepared ear cleaners such as Epi-Otic Advanced or Douxo Micellar rather than homemade ear cleaners. I know that some people like homemade remedies, but I cannot recommend a mixture of tap water and vinegar in place of a properly formulated, quality controlled, ear cleaning solution.

    High quality, commercially prepared ear cleansers have ingredients such as ceruminolytics to soften and dissolve cerumen and dried debris in the ear canal, surfactants to emulsify debris and keep it in solution, astringents to help prevent maceration of the skin lining the ear canals by drying the surface of the ear canal, and antimicrobials to kill bacteria and yeast in the ear canals.

  19. FleaByte says:

    We’ve been very fortunate with our dogs. They’re litter mates and have always cleaned each others’ ears. The vet marvels at how clean they are. I check my wee Affen mutt’s ears pretty regularly and they’re a pretty pink. Paws crossed!

  20. Jodi says:

    LOL As soon as I stick that stuff in my dogs’ ears they shake their heads!