Our ears are not the only ones that get a little dirty and need some cleansing every now and then – so do our canine best friend’s ears. In fact, dogs’ ears tend to have much longer ear canals than us humans, usually ranging anywhere from 5 to 10 cm in length. Not only are they longer, but theirs bend to a right horizontal curve, meaning that even when foreign cleansing objects go in, it is sometimes difficult to get them out.
So why is it important to clean their ears anyway? Well, dogs’ ear canals are long, dark and moist places that make them the perfect environment for bacteria to settle in. Once bacteria settles in, it could lead to painful ear infections for your pets to endure. In certain circumstances, such as a dog who loves to swim regularly, it is even more imperative to regularly clean out their ears in order to prevent such infections.
The ideal and recommended time to clean their ears should be once a month, or two times per week if your dog tends to swim a lot or have many skin-related infections. However, it is never recommended to clean them out on a weekly or daily basis, as their ears are sensitive areas that could be damaged after much handling.
Before beginning the cleaning process, it is important to take note of your dogs’ ears. Flaky, dry and significantly red ears could be an indication that your dog already has an infection, in which case it would be best to seek professional help. If they seem okay, proceed with the following steps:
1) Find a comfortable area for the cleaning process as it could become messy. Sit your dog down and give him a treat or praise him while showing him the cleaning tools (this may reduce any anxiety or nervousness).
2) Gently hold your dogs’ ear flap upright and fill in the ear canal with a safe, animal-focused ear cleaner while tilting the bottle downwards to ensure the canal is filled up with the solution.
Note: Never try to use shampoo, oil, or vinegar to clean dogs’ ears. Invest in a quality pet ear cleaner to ensure no damage is done.
3) Keep holding your dogs’ ear and place your hand firmly where the ear meets the head, as an attempt to hold down the product and for it to make its’ way all the way down.
4) Gently begin massaging the ear with your hand where the head meets. Most often than not, you will hear a squeaking noise; don’t panic, this is only the liquid solution’s noise as it is being massaged.
5) Keep massaging the ear for about 20 seconds and then let go of your dog’s ear. After this, your dog will most likely begin shaking his head.
6) Grab some clean cotton wool and cleanse the outer parts of the ear (where the folds on the inside of the ear are) until it looks relatively clean.
7)Praise your dog with words or give him a treat and repeat the same steps with the other ear.
While you are massaging your dog’s ear, the liquid ear solution will mix in with whatever bacteria is inside, after which it will be discharged from your dog’s body as he shakes his head. Remember, if your dog’s ears seem red and dried out, it is in their best interest to seek a veterinarian’s help before trying to clean them yourself.