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Ear Cleaning Guidelines for Dogs

Ear Cleaning Guidelines for Dogs

Regular ear cleanings are vital to the long-term management of chronic allergic-based otitis (inflammation). It is recommended that you evaluate the ears for odor, discharge, pain or redness. If any of these symptoms are present, you should schedule your pet for an exam. 
 
Cleaning your dog’s ears is also vital to managing ear infections. It is important to rinse and remove debris before treating the ears with medication.
 
In order to achieve an effective ear cleaning, you must have control of your pet. For some dogs, it will be necessary to have someone hold him/her to free both of your hands for the cleaning. For uncooperative pets, you may need to hold his/her head and muzzle gently but firmly. You may find that backing him/her up into a corner of the room is helpful.
 
We recommend that you pair each cleaning with something pleasant, like treats or playtime, so that the ear cleaning is not a dreaded chore for you or a fearful experience for your pet.
 
You will need to start with proper ear cleaning supplies. We recommend the use of Virbac EpiOtic Ear Cleanser or Sogeval Oti-Soothe Ear Cleansing Solution. These are non-abrasive, gentle cleaning solutions. We do not recommend the use of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean your pet's ears. These products can cause inflammation to the ear canal and further exacerbate infections. You will also need some 4-inch gauze squares or cotton balls. We do not recommend that pet owners use Q-tips to clean the ears.
  • Hold the earflap with one hand. Pour a generous amount of the recommended cleaning solution directly into the ear canal. Massage the base of the ear canal until you hear a sloshing noise. This means you have put in enough solution. You may allow the dog to shake his/her head, but use caution not to get fluid in your eyes. The dog will often shake out much of the debris.
  • Using the cotton balls or gauze squares, absorb the excess solution from the ear. Placing your index finger behind the absorbent material, you may wipe as deep as you can reach into the ear canal. This will not injure the ear.
  • Repeat the previous steps until the cotton balls or gauze squares come out clean.
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