Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

Written on August 27, 2015 by Dr. Lindsay Renzullo Hospital: Bulger Veterinary Hospital

Cleaning your dog’s ears at home might be a necessary treatment if your dog has an infection, or tends to get extra build-up in their ears. Talk to your veterinarian before starting any ear cleaning regiment to be sure that it is appropriate for your pet.

The following is an instructional video on how to perform an ear cleaning on your dog at home.

Some dogs are as tolerant as Ella for ear cleanings, but for some owners, ear cleanings are simply too difficult, in these cases, seek help from your veterinarian.


A dog’s ear has two main components: the vertical part and the horizontal part. A lot of debris and bacteria can get stuck in the horizontal part of the ear and without proper cleaning it can be hard to resolve the issue.


Gather all your supplies before starting the ear cleaning. You will need:

  • Ear cleaning solution formulated for dogs/cats
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs (Q-tips)


It will be much easier if you can find an assistant to hold your dog (watch how our Technician gently holds Ella in our video). There are a few techniques your assistant will want to follow:

  • Hug the dog close to your body
  • Keep one hand gently pressing their head toward your body
  • Be aware at all times, of your dog’s body language. If he or she is starting to become too stressed or agitated, release him or her, give a treat, and take a break. Safety first.


Once you are all set up and your helper is safely holding your dog, you can start to clean one ear at a time. Squirt a good amount into the ear canal, and then gently massage the base of the ear to move the liquid down into the horizontal part of the ear. You can then use cotton balls to grab any debris that came to the surface. Only use cotton swabs on the exterior folds on the ear. Pushing cotton swabs into the canal can push the bacteria further into the ear. Before letting go of the first ear, grab the second ear. This will stop your dog from shaking their head.

Once you are done cleaning both ears, you can let go of your dog’s ear. A natural reaction for your dog is to shake their head. This is good! Shaking their head can move more debris to the exterior of the ear.

Always remember your veterinarian is there to help. Feel free to contact us with questions or to make an ear cleaning demo appointment.


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