How To Clean Dogs Ears (The Proper Way)

Dogs are a man’s best friend for so many reasons, but one of the most important is their unwavering loyalty. They’re also great at making us laugh and providing endless amounts of love.

But like with any other pet, dogs require care and attention to live long, healthy lives. One part of their care that often goes overlooked is cleaning their ears.

In this blog post, I’ll show you the proper way how to clean dogs’ ears.

From what supplies you need to when they need it, our step-by-step guide will have your puppy’s ears sparkling in no time!

When Your Dog’s Ears Need Cleaning?

How often you need to clean your dog’s ears will depend on a few factors, such as their breed, activity level, and whether they have any ear problems.

That being said, most dogs will need their ears cleaned at least once a month.

If you notice your dog shaking their head or scratching its ears more than usual, that’s a sign that its ears may need to be cleaned.

You may also notice a foul odor coming from their ears or see discharge in their ear canal. If you see any of these signs, it’s time to break out the dog ear cleaner!

What Supplies Can You Use To Clean Your Dog’s Ears?

The first step in cleaning your dog’s ears is to gather the necessary supplies. You’ll need:

  • A dog ear cleaner. You can find this at your local pet store or online. Make sure to get a cleaner that is specifically for dogs and not humans.
  • Cotton balls or gauze squares. Don’t use cotton swabs (Q-tips) as these can compact the wax and push it further into the ear canal.
  • A towel. This will come in handy if your pup shakes its head while you’re cleaning its ears.
  • Treats! This will help make the experience more positive for your pup.

How To Clean Dog’s Ears – Step-By-Step Guide

Now that you have all the supplies, it’s time to get started.

woman's hands cleaning pug's ear with a cotton pad

Step 1: Gather Your Cleaning Tools

Make sure you have everything you need before you start the cleaning process. This will make it go more smoothly and help avoid any accidents. Have whatever you need close by so you don’t have to stop in the middle of the process to go get something.

This will avoid any potential accidents.

Step 2: Groom Your Dog

If your dog has long hair, it’s a good idea to brush it out of the way before starting. This will help you avoid getting any hair in the ear cleaner and making a mess. It will also make it easier to see what you’re doing.

Also, be sure to remove any buildup of wax or dirt around the outside of the ear before starting.

Step 3: Restrain Your Dog But Make Sure It’s Comfortable

This is an important step, especially if your dog doesn’t like having its ears cleaned. You don’t want them to squirm around too much and make a mess or accidentally hurt themselves.

There are a few different ways you can restrain your dog. You can hold them in your lap or have someone else help you hold them steady. You can also use a grooming table or other piece of furniture to help keep them still.

If you’re restraining your dog yourself, be sure to do it in a way that is comfortable for both of you. Avoid using too much force and try to remain calm so as not to scare your pup.

Step 4: Apply The Cleaning Solution And Massage His Ears

Most dog ear cleaners will need to be diluted before using. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

applying ear drops on a dog's ear

Once you’ve diluted the solution, apply it to a cotton ball or gauze square. Gently insert it into your dog’s ear and massage the base of their ear for 30 seconds to a minute. This will help loosen any wax or debris that is stuck in the ear canal.

Step 5: Use A Cotton Pad To Wipe

After massaging your dog’s ear, use a clean cotton ball or gauze square to wipe out any wax or debris that has been loosened. Be sure to only go as far into the ear as you can see.

You should be able to see the cotton ball or gauze when you look into your dog’s ear. If you can’t, stop and seek professional help.

Step 6: Reward Your Pup With A Lot Of Treats

This is an important step! Be sure to give your pup lots of treats and praise after a successful ear cleaning. This will help make the experience more positive and make them more likely to cooperate next time. 

A positive association will make the whole process a lot easier and less stressful for both of you.

People Also Ask

What Can I Use To Clean My Dogs Ears At Home?

The best way to clean your dog’s ears at home is to use a dog ear cleaner that has been diluted with water. You can also use a cotton ball or gauze square soaked in the solution.

What Is The Brown Stuff In My Dog’s Ears?

The brown stuff in your dog’s ears is most likely ear wax. It’s a natural, protective substance that helps keep the ear canal clean and free of debris. You can wash it away with a dog ear cleaner.

Should I Clean Inside My Dog’s Ears?

You should only clean as far into the ear as you can see. If you can’t see the cotton ball or gauze when you look into your dog’s ear, stop and seek professional help. Cleaning any further could cause damage to the ear canal.


It is essential to clean your dog’s ears as part of their grooming routine. It helps keep their ears healthy and free of infection.

Using a dog ear cleaner diluted in water is the best way to clean your dog’s ears at home. You can also use a cotton ball or gauze square soaked in the solution.

How to clean a dog’s ears doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. With a little preparation, it can be quick and easy. Just be sure to use the proper supplies and take your time. And remember to give your pup lots of treats and praise when you’re done. It will make next time much easier!

How do you clean your dog’s ears?

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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