Dog Ear Cleaning - How to Clean Your Pet's Ear

Dr. Cierra Tabony
Central Providence Veterinary Hospital

Hi, I'm Dr. Tabony from the Central Providence Veterinary Hospital. I just wanted to make a short video with some tips and tricks on cleaning your pets' ears. It is the same for dogs and cats, but we have a dog today named Nico who will help us with our video. You simply need your pet and an ear cleaner. My favorite is EpiKlean because it really grabs the wax well and smells nice, but most commercial air cleaners do just fine. And then you need some cotton or cotton balls. I like the roll cotton you get at the pharmacy like this, which you can tease apart and wrap around your finger to get down in the ear canal.

One little anatomical tip before we get started about the dog's or cat's ear is that it is an L shape, so it's very long. When you put your finger in to clean, you are not going any deeper than this. The reason we use the cleaning solution is to loosen up everything that's part of the canal that you can't reach. The other good tip about that is you can't hurt them. The eardrum is down here. You cannot get your finger here and then around a 90-degree corner to hurt the eardrum. The only way we could potentially hurt our pets is by using irritating or abrading things like alcohol or putting too much pressure on the canal by using Q-tips. So we do want to use gentle cleaners, as well as cotton.

When we look at the ear and the process of cleaning, we would start to hold the ear open to the sky and see the little hole that starts to develop that goes down. You'll fill that with your cleaning solution. We'll turn the cleaning solution over and fill it until you see a little lake of fluid. Then you pinch the ear in half. I'm just pinching that fluid gently inside the ear between my pinch and his skull. Then I squeeze, and I haven't put any solution in his ear, so you can't hear a sound, but if you're doing it correctly, usually there's a nice squishy sound. You're loosening up everything you can't reach. Let go of your pinch. He's not going to do it now because there's nothing in there, but at home, your pet will vigorously shake, which is exactly what we want because they're shaking up what you loosened deep down in this canal up higher, where you then can wipe it out. So you've had a good shake. You might want to do this outside if you have a pet with big ear canals because it's going to go everywhere. Then you wrap your with cotton, and you get right down in there. You can use your pinky for something smaller. There are lots of little crevices, so you can try to get in the little crevices and around the hairy toughs of the ear. When you clean your pet's ear, you might see just a little bit of a golden wax on this. If you don't see anything, it was still time well spent because you dried them out, and moisture is a really big factor for ear infections in pets, particularly in a high humidity environment. If you see a pet that really rubs and kind of does this R sound when you're doing the massage, if you see a lot of wax on here, and, obviously, if you see blood, those are all indications of an infection. Then, we want you to schedule an appointment to bring them in. If you have questions, don't hesitate to let us know, and thank you for all the excellent maintenance care you provide for your pets.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 844-8387, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.