Some dogs require regular ear cleaning to maintain general hygiene, others need it only when they have ear infections. Your local veterinarian or vet nurse team may also be able to show you how to clean their ears.
Your dog may not appreciate ear cleaning at the beginning, so here are some tips to accustom your dog before you start.
- Have your ear cleaner bottle with you when you are sitting and playing with your dog. Simply have it present, without even touching it at first.
- After a few days of this, start to touch the bottle during your play time, and move it around the both of you during your interaction with your dog. Don’t draw attention to it, again simply touch and move the bottle.
- Finally, you can start to hold the bottle against your dog’s head and ears, still playing all the while. Allow treats when he allows this, to reinforce positivity around the ear cleaner being present.
Now when you instill ear cleaner into the ear, your dog will now be accustomed to most of the process.
- Try to have someone assist holding your dog, with the other person on the other side to you. For smaller dogs, lift them onto a table or couch, or with larger dogs both crouch down to your dog’s level, so no-one is towering over them. Use treats to positively reinforce good behavior and never forcibly restrain them.
- Gently lift the ear flap and using your free fingers on this hand scratch the dog positively somewhere else, such as behind the ear, or on the head or shoulder. Your assistant may be able to do this for you. This distracts the dog and takes the focus off the sensation of the ear cleaner.
- While still holding the ear flap and scratching with one hand, use your other hand to insert the tip of the ear cleaner into the ear and gently squeeze the solution in, until you can see it welling up, or dribbling out of the ear.
- Once your dog’s ear is full of cleaning solution, massage the cartilage at the base of the ear. Most dogs like this part of the process! Now let your dog shake – most of the solution will spray everywhere so stand back! Using a clean dry cloth, mop up any excess liquid and wipe the outside of the ear clean.
- Repeat the process with the other ear.
Always reward your dog at the end for co-operating with the ear cleaning.
You may eventually be able to do this on your own with your dog, once they become familiar with the process.
Not all dogs can have their ears cleaned due to being sore or other damage to the ear canal. Always seek veterinary advice from your local Greencross Vets team if you are unsure.