The 10 Most Frequently Asked Dog Questions: How Do I Clean My Dog’s Ears?

January 31st, 2017

If you’re wondering ‘how do I clean my dog’s ears?’ there are some things you need to keep in mind before you begin cleaning them.

  1. Your dog’s ears a hothouse for bacteria, so they need regular cleaning to prevent infections.
  2. Your dog does not want to have his ears cleaned, so you’ll need some patience (and treats, and maybe another set of hands).
  3. You have to be careful when you clean your dog’s ears, otherwise you can do some expensive damage.

So how exactly do you go about cleaning your dog’s ears to keep him or her healthy?


  • Ear cleaner
  • Cotton balls
  • Treats


You’ll need a high quality ear cleaner. You can find a bunch of highly rated ones here. Never use plain water, olive oil, vinegar, shampoo, or baby powder. Also, just like humans, skip the q-tips as tempting as they may be to use. You’ll just shove wax and dirt deeper in your dog’s ear canal.


Start off by bringing your dog into a room or onto a floor you don’t mind getting a little messy. This is not the job you want to do in your favorite rug.

  1. Show your dog the ear cleaner and give her a treat.
  2. Put your dog’s head, then pull the flap of her ear over so you can pour some ear cleaner into her ear canal.
  3. Place your hand where her ear meets her head and start to massage the base of the ear. That’ll mix around the ear cleaner. You’re doing it right if you get a squooshy noise.
  4. Do this for about 20 seconds, then let go. Your dog should shake her head. That’s what you want!
  5. Grab your cotton balls and wipe down the inner ear folds.
  6. Give your dog a treat and repeat with the other ear.

Be liberal with the amount of ear cleaner you use. Your dog’s ear canal is long, so you need to use quite a bit. It’ll drip down the ear canal and break up the caked on goo and dirt. In time, with your dog shaking her head, she’ll shake out all the excess liquid.

The one caveat to this process is this: if your dog’s ear is super red, smelly, or painful to the touch, go to your vet and don’t clean your dog’s ears. These are signs of an ear infection and cleaning them could make it worse.