How to Care For Your Dogs Ears

How to care for your dogs ears
22 May 2023

How to Care For Your Dogs Ears

Your dog’s ears should be clean, odour-free, and pale pink in colour with a minimal amount of wax. This will help prevent ear mites or any infection caused by the build-up of wax and debris. Good canine ear health starts with clean ears, so read on to learn all about dog ear health and tips on keeping your pooch in top condition. 


Do I Need to Clean My Dog’s Ears? 

While it is not always necessary to clean your dog's ears, it is recommended that you do so at least once a month. While daily cleaning may cause irritation and even damage the ear canals, it is important that you are regularly checking your dog's ears for build-up, debris, and any irritation, as this can lead to more serious issues like infections.

If you have a dog with floppy ears and long fur, such as Spaniels, Poodles, and Basset Hounds, you will need to keep a closer eye on their ear health as they are more prone to things like matted fur in the ear canal and dirt collecting in and around the ear. With these breeds, you should check their ears weekly to check for any issues and see if additional cleaning is needed.

No matter the breed, as soon as you get your dog, you should start to train them to tolerate their ears being examined. This will help make both home examinations and veterinary appointments less stressful for animals and humans alike.


How to use dog ear cleaner at home

When it comes to keeping your dog's ears clean, there are lots of options for at-home cleaners. A specific ear cleaning solution is always the best choice as these are designed with your dog's needs and health in mind. Here is our step-by-step guide to using dog ear cleaner at home:

  1. Wear something you don’t mind getting splashed with ear drops or ear wax – it can be a messy business.
  2. Read the label instructions carefully and pop the top off the bottle.
  3. Make sure the bottle is at room temperature. Hold it in your hand, just so it isn’t cold, as this can be a shock.
  4. Gently restrain your dog.
  5. Apply a liberal amount of ear cleaner to the ear canal.
  6. Gently massage the ear canal thoroughly and gently for 15 seconds to help work the treatment in
  7. Remove excess fluid and discharge from the entrance to the ear canal using clean cotton wool and clean inside the ear flap.
  8. It may be tempting to fish out some gunk you can see but not reach by using a cotton bud. Do not do this. Never put anything solid down their ear. Any loose material will work its way out of the ear canal as the dog shakes its head. Then you can remove it with cotton wool.
  9. Repeat the process in the other ear.

 Vet cleaning dogs ears

What does dog ear wax look like?

Like humans, dog ear wax varies in colour and consistency. Depending on the breed and genetics, your dog may have more ear wax, darker ear wax, or very clear ears.

A healthy dog's ear should be light pink with no redness, swelling, or discharge. Generally, your dog's ears should have very little visible ear wax that is light yellow to dark brown, and there should be no noticeable odour. If there is excessive earwax, a strong or unpleasant odour, or a significant colour change, you should contact your vet for a checkup.

How to care for ear infections in dogs

If your dog is presenting more severe symptoms, such as constant scratching, inflammation, and dislike of being touched near their ears, then they may have an infection. Ear infections are common in dogs, especially breeds with long hair and floppy ears, but should be treated by a vet. 

Your vet will normally prescribe drops that contain both antibiotics for the bacteria and anti-fungal for the yeast. These will clear this manifestation, but your vet will also want to check for any underlying problems such as allergy, mites, genetic or breed-related problems (e.g narrow or hairy ear canals), or if a foreign body is stuck in the ear canal.


What are dog ear mites?

Dog ear mites are another common cause of ear problems. These parasites are highly contagious and will quickly spread from pet to pet in multi-pet households. The first sign is usually excessive ear scratching and some head shaking. If you spot this, pop their ear flap back and have a look for dark, crumbly coffee grounds-like detritus in the ear. Ear mites can also be easily treated with medicated drops, like the Otodex Cat & Dog Ear Cleaner,  and some spot-on flea treatments will also kill ear mites.


What is a dog ear haematoma?

A haematoma is a mass of blood which has collected under the skin because of burst blood vessels in that area. They are often caused by excessive shaking, usually a sign of an ear infection, or matted fur, which causes tension in a small area. You may notice swelling, discolouration, and aversion to touch in the area if your dog does have a haematoma.</p>

How do you treat a haematoma?

A haematoma is not a medical emergency but is very painful and can take a long time to heal on its own. It is also important that the underlying cause of the haematoma is addressed so that it doesn't happen again.

Depending on the size and location of the haematoma, your vet will probably drain the swelling and bandage the area so that it won't get irritated or licked by your pet. 


Regular ear cleaning is always advised once a pet has had ear disease, as by removing dog ear wax and debris and drying the ear, the conditions become less favourable to the growth of unwanted organisms. Some cleaners also have antimicrobial properties and can reduce the number of bacteria and yeasts in the ear and help maintain a normal environment.

Explore our dog ear cleaners and treatments for more options for your dog's ear health. If you would like more advice on caring for your dog's ears, get in touch with your veterinarian or contact our team for help with your purchases.

Browse our range of dog ear cleaning products

This post is an opinion and should only be used as a guide. You should discuss any change to your pet’s care or lifestyle thoroughly with your vet before starting any program or treatment.