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Many dogs need to have their ears cleaned as part of their whole grooming routine. This is especially true of certain breeds with floppy or low-hanging ears — like basset hounds and cocker spaniels — because they can be prone to ear infections.
If you take your dog to the groomer, ask if they offer ear cleaning with their grooming services. They may already be incorporating it into their grooming cost and process.
If you don’t take your dog to the groomer, you’ll likely need to learn how to clean dog ears at home. This guide will walk you through when to clean your dog’s ears and give you some tips to make it easier.
Most healthy and clean dog ears should look pink, dirt-free, odorless, and not inflamed.1 If this isn’t what you experience when you look in your dog’s ears, they may need to be cleaned. Checking your dog’s ears when you groom them once or twice a month is a good baseline to see if they need cleaning.
Some dogs may need very little ear cleaning throughout their life, but there are some times they may need it outside of your usual routine. This could be because of the breed or their lifestyle habits, or it could be due to an ear infection, fleas, ear mites, or allergies.1 However, cleaning them too often may cause irritation or even an ear infection. So how can you know when they need more cleaning versus when something is wrong? Let’s take a look.
You may need to clean your dog’s ears more often if:
You may need to get your dog’s ears checked by a veterinarian if:1
If your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with an ear infection, they may prescribe a topical medication. Sometimes you need to clean your dog’s ears before applying it. However, if they have an ear infection, be especially gentle while cleaning their ears. You don’t want to cause more irritation or pain.
Cleaning your dog’s ears can be a pretty straightforward process. First, gather your supplies: a towel, some cotton balls, treats, and a cleaning solution. You’ll want to use a veterinary-approved solution to clean dog ears, not hydrogen peroxide or soap. Some cleaners have antibacterial or antifungal properties that can help prevent ear infections. Ask your vet which cleaner is right for your dog before you begin.
Once you’ve got all of your supplies, here’s a step-by-step guide for how to clean dog’s ears:2
Your dog might love getting their ears cleaned. Since they can’t scratch the inside of their ears, it can provide great relief to them. However, some dogs may not like to sit still or even dislike the process. In this case, cleaning your dog’s ears may not be a pleasant experience for either of you. Here are a few things you can do to help the cleaning process go smoother:
Routinely cleaning your dog’s ears can help prevent ear infections, itchiness, keep their hearing sharp, and just keep their ears from getting too gunked up. However, ear cleaning is only part of your preventive care routine. It can be a good idea for your entire pet care routine to include grooming, routine vet appointments, vaccinations, and parasite prevention.
A dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet may help pet parents afford preventative and emergency care.3 Get your free quote today.
1 “How To Clean a Dog’s Ears,” American Kennel Club
2 “Instructions for Ear Cleaning and Administering Ear Medication in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals
3 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.
Coverage underwritten and issued by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 or Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations. Application is subject to underwriting review. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC for details. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator for this coverage. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).