How To Clean Dog Ears The Easy Way


It’s a common misconception that only dogs with floppy ears need cleaning since they’re highly susceptible to ear infections.

Cleaning the ears is a standard part of every grooming routine, and it does not exclude dog breeds.

No matter if you own a floppy-eared Basset or your best pal is a pointy-eared Husky, their ears still need to be cleaned. 

Clean ears will bring your dog one step closer to being healthy. It’s not a cosmetic procedure – it’s a way to prevent severe infections. 

Sadly, many dog owners seem to skip this step just because they believe their dogs don’t need to have their ears cleaned.

Now, I know it’s an unpleasant grooming step for some dogs, but there are ways to make it comfortable. 

After all, they will get used to it eventually, once you do it a couple of dozen times.

To make this process easier for both you and your pooch, there’s a simple 5-step routine you should implement today!

Here’s What You’ll Need

a woman cleans a labrador's ear

Before we go any further, you should first gather your cleaning supplies. A dry cloth just won’t do it. You need something more efficient that would make dirt and debris go away.

Cotton cloths, cotton pads, and an old towel will come in handy. 

Before you start mixing your own cleaning solutions at home, or reach for hydrogen peroxide, let me tell you something:

Don’t do it!

Homemade solutions, especially hydrogen peroxide, could cause severe skin irritations. Don’t experiment with your dog’s health. Ear cleaning solutions from specialized pet stores aren’t expensive at all. 

Just buy any solution suitable for dogs or ask your vet to recommend some.

Your dog will be fine, and your budget will be, too… don’t worry.

Step #1 Do It When Your Dog Is Calm

One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is they force their dogs into doing something they don’t want to do. 

I know what you’re going to ask: is there any time when ear cleaning is something dogs want to do?

Not really, but you can try to clean them while your dog is calm and relaxed. It’s a good idea to do it after playtime and exercise, so your dog doesn’t have lots of energy to go crazy about you cleaning his ears.

If you believe they would help, use treats, too. Treats are lifesavers and will help your dog associate the cleaning process with something pleasant. 

Step #2 Squeeze In The Solution

Lift the floppy part of the ear or spread the hair so you can have a direct shot. 

Squeeze in the special ear cleaning solution, and make sure you actually squirt it inside your dog’s ear canal. Don’t let the bottle touch the ear or the entire bottle might get contaminated. 

Make sure you get the recommended amount of the cleaning solution inside the ear canal – not all over the coat.

Step #3 Massage And Wait

a woman massages a dog's ear

Once you’ve applied the solution to one ear, hold the ear at its base, where it’s connected to the head.

Massage that part of your dog’s body for about 30 seconds, then move on.

It’s time for the other ear, so repeat the process and wait.

Your dog should shake its head as if he’s trying to get rid of it. That’s okay. That’s good – the shaking actually allows the solution to penetrate deeper into the canal and thoroughly clean it. 

Step #4 Clean Up The Mess

This is where that old towel comes to help. 

Wipe any extra solution that has come out of your dog’s ears. Make sure you clean everything extra so it doesn’t make your dog’s coat dirty.

Now, it’s time to clean the ear canal and wipe off all that dirt and debris. Use either a cotton cloth or a towel to wipe the ear clean. It’s a dirty process, and not pleasant to look at at all, but it has to be done. 

When it comes to cleaning the ear canal, it’s important not to go in too deep. The depth of one of your knuckles is all that is supposed to fit inside your dog’s ear. Anything more than that could hurt your dog. 

Step #5 Happy Ending

a cute dog on its hind legs is waiting for a treat

Now that your dog’s ears are clean, it’s time to reward him for being such a good boy! 

Use treats, cuddles, and praises to reward your dog and help him learn that the ear cleaning process is nothing to be worried about. 

It can be a pleasant experience if you approach it the right way.


Keep in mind that this cleaning procedure is only for dogs that have no current problems with ear infections. If your dog is in pain, or having foul odor coming from his ears, as well as yellowish or greenish gunk, you should immediately consult the veterinarian.

Dog ear infections should only be treated by professionals to prevent further complications.