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Your Guide to Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

Have you ever tried to clean your dog’s ears? Did you know you need to? Your dog’s ears need to be kept clean in order to reduce the risk of ear infections, fungal infections, hot spots, and more. Although it might sound challenging to clean a dog’s ears, it’s not as hard as you might think.

In this article, we’ll show you the basics you need to know about cleaning your dog’s ears. Read through this information to prepare yourself for the process and increase your confidence at the same time. If you have any questions, call Lakeland Animal Clinic at (863) 688-3338.

dog ear cleaning in lakeland, fl

Use the Right Cleaner

Take the time to choose the right cleaner for your dog’s ear cleaning. Various dog-safe ear cleansing solutions are available for purchase over the counter at most pet stores. You don’t need to worry about using a medicated one unless your veterinarian tells you otherwise.

Choose a cleanser that doesn’t contain too many harsh chemicals or strange substances. Simpler is better when it comes to ear cleaners for dogs. Look for cleaners that are available in drop or spray bottles to make them easier to administer to your dog, and read the labeling carefully before you buy.

Clean the Outside Too

Although cleaning the inside of your dog’s ears is extremely important and is most likely to take up the most time, you should also clean the outside of their ears. To do this, just use warm water and a little bit of mild dish soap to clean the fur on the shell of the ear.

Do not allow water or dish soap to get into your dog’s ear at all. Use a soft cloth to wipe up any excess liquid or soap that might be close to dripping into the dog’s ear canal, and work slowly for best results.

Trim as Needed

The fur in and around your dog’s ears may sometimes need to be trimmed. If this is the case, you’ll need to use blunt, rounded scissors to carefully trim back the fur without cutting your dog’s ears or head. This process may be scary to them, but if you work slowly and have some assistance from another adult, you should be able to complete it easily.

Trimming your dog’s ear fur is not always required, depending on the type of dog you have. However, if the inside of their ears is very furry, you’ll need to keep this trimmed to reduce the risk of ear infections and other ear health problems.

Use Cotton Balls and Soft Cloths

Make sure you use cotton balls when cleaning out the inside of your dog’s ears, and don’t push them too far down into their ears either. Don’t use q-tips on a dog, as they could go too deep into the ear and cause damage.

Soft cloths are also an important addition to your dog’s ear cleaning routine. An old washcloth that is soft and gentle is the perfect way to wipe out your dog’s ears after a cleaning.

Distract Your Dog

If your dog is frightened or uncomfortable during the ear cleaning experience, the best thing you can do is distract them. You may need the help of another adult if you want to do this, but you can sometimes distract your dog easily yourself by putting a little peanut butter directly onto the floor and letting them lick it up.

You might also consider freezing some wet food or peanut butter into a chew toy and giving this to your dog to work on while you clean their ears. The more delicious the distraction, the more likely it will be to work!

Lots of Treats

Finally, make sure you give your dog lots of treats before, during, and after the experience. You want them to know that they aren’t being punished or harmed on purpose, and that they’re being good by patiently letting you take care of their ear cleaning needs for them.

Treats also make it easier for dogs to relax in a situation like this one. Your dog will be happy to receive treats, and this will make them more comfortable and less likely to panic and try to get away during their ear cleaning.


As you can see, it’s not too tricky to clean your dog’s ears, but it does require a little planning and organization before you begin. By taking the time to gather the materials and equipment you need before you begin, you can make the experience smoother and safer for you and your dog both.

If you have any trouble cleaning your dog’s ears, you can speak to your veterinarian for assistance. The vet can also handle ear cleaning during a regular office visit, or you can take your dog to a groomer to have their ears cleaned. Call us at (863) 688-3338 if we can help.  We are here to help you be your pet’s hero.

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Family is family, whether it has two legs or four. At Lakeland Animal Clinic, we've spent the last 40 years healing and caring for your pets. As a family-operated practice, we know that family is about more than simply being related. Animals give us the ability to develop strong bonds and feel great compassion for a fellow living creature.