How to clean a dog

Canine Care

How to clean a dog's ears: a handy 5-step guide

We all love our four-legged friends and want to make sure they are totally healthy, from the tips of their wet noses to the ends of their waggy tails. And that includes an area that can easily be overlooked – their ears! Dogs can hear twice as many frequencies as humans and from nearly four times as far away, so we’ve got to keep these important tools in check.

We've written this blog in partnership with Beaphar to offer up tips on how to clean your dog's ears and keep them in tip-top condition! Want to know about your dog’s other senses? Find out what the world looks like through your dog’s eyes.

If you and your pup are ready for a holiday, why not browse our pet-friendly cottage collection? Or read on to discover the best way to clean your dog’s ears and keep your pup happy and healthy.

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Some FAQs before you begin... 

A black dog on a lead with its owner

It can stop them from getting infected! Cleaning your dog’s ears at home is a great way to prevent infection before it takes hold – and it is especially important in breeds prone to ear problems.

Some dog breeds are likely to have naturally healthy ears and can go their entire life without ever needing a clean. However, breeds with long, droopy ears do need regular checks.

Floppy-eared dogs are the most likely to get an infection as there’s less airflow inside the ear canal, making it easier for dirt to build up and bacteria to thrive. Once an ear infection takes hold, you’ll need to head to the vet to get proper medication and advice. But regular checks and cleaning are a great way to keep on top of your dog’s ear health. 

  • Spaniels – cocker spaniels, springer spaniels and King Charles spaniels
  • Poodles – cockapoos, cavapoos and labradoodles
  • Hounds – basset hounds, beagles and bloodhounds
  • Retrievers – golden retrievers and labrador retrievers

Dogs that love to swim may also need regular attention as the extra moisture just adds to the likelihood of infection.

  • Check your dog’s ears regularly – every day if possible 
  • Clean your dog’s ears at least twice a week to keep on top of wax and debris
  • Don’t clean your dog’s ears more often than this – it can cause irritation and ear problems, exactly what you’re trying to avoid!
  • Contact your vet if you’re concerned about anything or suspect your dog has an ear infection as you usually need medication to get rid of it

What to use to clean a dog’s ears

An image of Beaphar ear cleaner and a brown dog with its ear raised

  • Ear cleaner – never use human products, they must be specifically for dogs. We recommend our wonderful partner brand’s product: Beaphar Ear Cleaner.

“Beaphar Ear Cleaner is specially formulated to aid the removal of wax and other debris from the ear canal of dogs (and cats). It is gentle in action and does not irritate the ear. Since clean ears are less attractive to ear mites, its regular use will make it unlikely that your pet will get ear mite problems. Beaphar Ear Cleaner should be used twice weekly to prevent the build-up of wax and other debris in the ear canal.” Beaphar 

  • Cotton pad
  • Dog treats
  • An extra pair of hands may help!

How to clean your dog's ears

An owner inspecting their dog's ears

Step 1

Get your products ready and make sure your dog is settled either standing or sitting next to you or on your lap.

Step 2

Lift up the ear flap so you can see the ear canal and check it for any redness, discharge or bad smell. After you’ve done this a few times, you’ll be able to recognise any anomalies. If there is any cause for concern, contact your vet immediately.

Step 3

You should be able to see a small amount of light brown wax. To remove the ear wax from your dog’s ear, follow the instructions on your chosen dog ear cleaner. If you are using Beaphar Ear Cleaner, prime the pipette and squeeze 6–8 drops at the entrance to the ear canal. Gently massage the ear from the outside to help the cleaning process. 

Please avoid putting anything down the ear canal as this can damage the ear lining and eardrum. Only wipe the areas you can see.

Step 4

Repeat this process for the other ear.

Step 5

Once you are done, be sure to give your dog a treat and lots of fuss! Keep checking your dog’s ears every day and you’ll soon become familiar with what your pup needs.

Ear mites in dogs

An image of Beaphar Ear Drops for ear mites in dogs and a happy dog in the woods

Ear mites can cause irritation and be very uncomfortable for your pup. These parasites feed on ear wax and skin oils in your dog’s ear canals.

Ear mites cannot hop or jump but can crawl from host to host and are most commonly found in dogs and cats, but are difficult to spot. As you clean the ear, you may see them – they resemble tiny white dots.

If left untreated, ear mites can cause secondary ear infections and lead to a host of problems for your family pet.

What are the signs of ear mites?

  • Scratching, itching and rubbing of the ears
  • A smelly odour coming from the ear canal
  • Skin irritation and inflammation around the ears
  • Skin problems around the ears including scabs and dermatitis
  • Black or brown discharge
  • Dark debris in the ear canal
  • Head shaking
  • Fur loss around the ears

“Should your dog get ear mites, Beaphar Ear Drops are a licensed veterinary medicine, based on pyrethrum, a natural insecticide grown in Kenya, which kills ear mites. It also softens wax, soothes irritation, and assists healing. It can also be used on cats.”Beaphar

Keeping your dog’s ears clean

A person walking their dog in the countryside

Prevention is always better than the cure, so keep your dog’s ears clean to ensure every part of your pup is in tip-top health!

It’s worth beginning ear cleaning when your dog is young, as your pup will then be used to it when they get older. If your four-pawed pal is unfamiliar with ear cleaning, get them ready by touching their ears, playing with them and giving them treats so that they learn to associate ear cleaning with positive things.

And don’t forget, regular checks are important! The more familiar you get with the inside of your dog’s ear, the sooner you’ll recognise if something is wrong.

Treat your pup to a UK holiday!

An aerial image of the coast in the UK

After all that kerfuffle, we think you and your dog need a holiday! Browse our pet-friendly cottages and find a property to suit you.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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