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Pet Peeves: My Dog Has Dirty Ears

Q: I have an English Cocker Spaniel at home, and, as this breed is notorious for ear problems, I was hoping you had some tips about how to clean the dog's ears safely and effectively. I usually take her to the groomers, but I was not very pleased with her grooming last time. Help!

A: Cleaning ears is extra important for dogs like spaniels, hounds, or other breeds with long, floppy ears. Buy an ear cleansing solution from your local pet store (like Veterinarian's Best Ear Relief Wash & Dry). For droopy-eared pooches, first hold the ear up and back. Either soak a cotton swab with the liquid or squirt the solution into your pet's ear (per the instructions on the bottle). After cleansing, massage the dog's head directly under his ears for about 30 seconds to allow the solution to penetrate.

Allow the dog to shake out the excess liquid. Be careful not to let go of your pup's head before you massage it in so he doesn't shake it out before it can work! If your pup's ears have wax or debris, next use a soft cloth to wipe them out. Never insert a cloth down the ear canal! Finally, hold your pet's ears back to allow them to dry and consider applying an ear drying cream or powder to speed the process. Remember, talk in a soothing voice to your pet during this time and, if during any part, he seems troubled, schedule an appointment with a vet or groomer. This way, you can get an expert tutorial.


Join The Conversation
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
I've gotten pretty good at cleaning ears. My Sasha constantly gets yeast infections in her ears and I have to put meds in them and clean them alot. It's yucky though, lol. She's come to love getting her ears treated because she knows it will make her feel better ... but Thor runs and hides.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
My sister's basset hound Chief has to have his ears cleaned about 2x a week since they drag along the ground all the time. He hates it but he's become a good sport about it. They do get pretty icky though :-(
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
First of all- LOVE the basset picture :) Second, Brando is a basset and, of course, needs his ears well taken care of. I clean them every other night- it's amazing how much wax accumulates there over the course of two days. It's great to see these tips on here, even though the vet walked me through the ear cleaning routine on his first visit. I work hard to keep my pup's ears clean, but I know that many pet owners are pretty lax about it. It's very important to stay on top of- especially for the long eared breeds!
BShax BShax 9 years
Lulus ears get yeasty and itchy because of her allergies and because she's an old lady. You have to treat the ears (no matter how hard they resist) but you can also control the allergies with supplements to help them not get so bad. We use Hokamix and some other stuff and it makes them a lot less itchy.
acemonkey acemonkey 9 years
I'm glad to hear about this stuff because my dog's ears get dirty and they STINK! I clean them out about once a week. I'm going to see if I can find this solution at Petsmart. Thanks for the tips guys!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
QUESTION: What about kitties? Do you have to clean their ears?
warau warau 9 years
I work at a veterinary clinic as a vet assistant and part of my job is cleaning the ears. I know, fun.. right? haha But I can't tell you how many times a pet comes in with DISGUSTING ears. It is such a shame because it is really so easy to clean the ears on your own. Vet Solutions a great ear wash. All you have to do is spray of of it down in the ear, put in a cotton ball and then rub the cotton ball around and pull it out. Yes, your pet might loathe this process but it is necessary! Otherwise be sure to schedule regular ear cleanings at the vet. Groomers are not allowed to go deep in the ear like someone at a veterinary clinic would be able to.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
I had this ear cleaning solution that smelled like apples. Anyways the dogs HATED it. Anytime they even saw the bottle they would take off and I could never catch them. I never even got a chance to use the stuff. Eventually I bought a different one and used it to clean the easier parts of their ears. The vet and groomers were left to cleaner the deeper stuff
MamaD MamaD 9 years
My dog Maya has black ear wax which gets a little itchy because of her allergies! I'm very gentle and calm with her and always reward her cooperation!!! After a year of this she now sits at my feet every morning for her ear cleaning time!!!!! She doesn't need it every day but it's nice to see she really doesn't mind it!
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