How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

The Steps Required to Clean a Dog's EarsOwning a pet comes with major responsibilities. While people say a dog is a man’s best friend, many pet owners forget essential care like cleaning their dog’s ears. Ear cleaning is a critical aspect of taking care of a dog that cannot be overlooked. While your dog will get their ears cleaned if you take them to a groomer, those groomer bills can add up quickly. It’s a lot more cost-effective to do it at home. And fortunately, it’s also simple. Here is how to clean a dog’s ears.

The Supplies Involved

The first step of cleaning your dog’s ears is to gather the right supplies. Here is what you need.

Ear Cleanser

A dog ear cleaner is the most important item to remember. There are lots of ear cleansers to choose from, so if you aren’t sure which one to use, ask your vet. Stay away from cleaners that might have alcohol or hydrogen peroxide in them, as this can irritate your dog’s ears. If you aren’t sure of which cleaner to go with, ask your vet for their recommendation.

Cotton Swabs

Don’t forget to grab a few cotton balls or pads, or you can also use Q-tips if you like. While Q-tips aren’t recommended for humans because we could damage our ear drums, a dog’s ear canal curves in a way where it is impossible for the Q-tip to make contact with the eardrum. Just be careful not to push dirt into the ear if you go this route. Whichever choice you go with, make sure you have enough on hand—they’ll get dirty quickly, especially if the dog hasn’t had their ears cleaned recently.


You may or may not want to have tweezers with you. They can be used for grabbing large pieces of debris that have fallen down into your dog’s ear, but you may not have any use for them. It can be handy to have them nearby, but they aren’t always necessary.


Remember to have a towel handy. Most dogs will have a hard time holding still throughout the entire process. They’ll want to shake their heads, and when they do, it can be messy. Have the towel on hand to wipe up any messes.


Lastly, good pet owners should also have a steady supply of treats on hand. When you’re done cleaning their ears, give them treats and praise. This helps them associate getting their ears cleaned with getting treats, and it can make them more willing to have their ears cleaned in the future.

The Cleaning Process

With the right equipment ready to go, it is time to begin the cleaning process. Follow these steps to clean your dog’s ears.

  1. Have your dog sit in front of you. Try to do this process when they’re calm to help it go as smoothly as possible.
  2. Flip the ear to expose the canal.
  3. Fill the canal with the ear cleaning solution.
  4. Massage the base of the ear for a few seconds. This will encourage the cleaning solution to fill the canal.
  5. Release the ear. The dog is likely going to shake his or her head. During this time, use the towel to keep the solution contained.
  6. Once this is done, grab a cotton ball or pad. Wipe the visible part of the dog’s ear canal, as well as the outer ear.
  7. Repeat these steps for the other ear, and reward your dog for being so good.

Clean the Ears Regularly

It is important for pet owners to clean their dogs’ ears on a regular basis. This will not only keep the dog healthy but also get them used to the cleaning process. Take good care of man’s best friend by focusing on preventative medicine such as ear cleaning!