Cleaning Your Pet’s Ears
Keeping up with your pet’s hygiene is like keeping up with house cleaning.
While your house or pet may look clean, bacteria and odors are lurking all around in places you can’t see. You should do a little routine cleaning every once in a while instead of one giant session every year.
Case in point: have you ever seen your pet fussing or scratching at his ears?
Signs like this are a good indication that some housecleaning is in order.
Regular cleaning of your pet’s ears will not only get rid of the smell and scratching, but will help avoid ear infections, too.
Here’s how to keep your pet’s ears clean.
Well, not as much as shape does. Whether your dog has upright ears or long droopy ones, each need clean ear maintenance specific to their shape.
Basset Hound puppy
(photo by Anderson Nascimento)
Dogs with hanging ears such as Basset Hounds and Dachshunds do not have the benefit of good air circulation. Their folded down ears practically seal in heat, moisture, and other icky things. Dogs with this type of ear shape may require more frequent ear maintenance.
How Often to Clean
Some of us clean our own ears with a cotton swab on a daily basis. How often do you clean your pet’s ears?
Daily cleaning is probably unnecessary unless your pet suffers from chronic ear infections.
If you feel like casually looking at your pet’s ears several times a week while they’re on your lap, there’s no harm in that. But if you’re chasing your cat under the table several times a week, you’re overdoing it.
Once a week cleaning is all that’s really needed for preventative maintenance.
How to Clean Your Pet’s Ears
Find somewhere to get comfortably seated with your pet, perhaps on the couch or bed.
What To Have Handy:
Using the flashlight, and a soothing voice, look deep into your pet’s ears. Long hanging ears fold back into a natural place that reveals little nooks and crannies in the external ear.
The ear should be as soft pink as the inside of a seashell. It shouldn’t look dark, inflamed, or have discharge.
Some odor is normal, but it shouldn’t be offensive. If you haven’t cleaned the ears in awhile, the old accumulation may have an odor. The waxy discharge may have aged to a dark brown, too.
Use your cotton balls or gauze to wipe as far into the ear canal as possible. Keep using new cotton balls until they come out clean. Place the used cotton in your plastic bag.
Don’t be tempted to use a cotton swab inside your pet’s ear; you may push wax down into the ear canal and cause an impact, or puncture an eardrum. Q-tips (cotton swabs) should only be used to wipe any debris surrounding the actual ear canal. We recommend to AVOID using Q-tips if at all possible as a sudden movement by your dog and especially a cat could cause damage to the delicate inner ear or ear drum. (Specially made cotton swabs with longer handled as often are used by trained practitioners in both veterinarian and groomer’s facilities to clean ears in a controlled manner but is not recommended at home. Cats especially are not good to use swabs with because they’re more likely to jerk suddenly.)
While you’re cleaning your dog or cat’s ears, check for any signs of ticks, fleas, or ear mites being afoot near your pet’s ears.
Reward your pet when you’re done.
Note: If you need any support while using EcoEars, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure EcoEars goes in slowly and is not too cold, massage it well, and then wipe and let him shake.
Soon this will be a welcomed routine.
Dirty or Infected?
During your cleaning, you may have noticed that your pet’s ears were especially dirty. Dirty pet ears, just like our own, are nature’s way of protecting the ear canal.
Ever wonder why we have hairs in our ears? Same reason. Ear wax and hair follicles form a natural barrier so pesky flies and windblown dirt won’t be able to enter our ear canals.
If you suspect an ear infection, observe your pet for any of these symptoms and give your vet a call to see how to proceed:
- Head tilted to one side
- Shaking head side to side
- Pawing at ears or head
- Refusing to let you near face or head
Using EcoEars on a regular basis will keep your dog or cat’s ears at their best while addressing a multitude of ear problems such as ear mites, internal bacteria, yeast, and fungal infections. EcoEars can safely be used once every other week or so as needed for cleaning and preventative maintenance, and using it will keep your pet’s ears at the optimal pH to avoid future ear problems.
Craig is a lifelong pet owner and dog advocate with a special interest in animal and human longevity. He founded Vet Organics to develop an affordable, all-natural, safe and effective ear infection remedy for his dog, Lucy, whose chronic ear problems could not be solved by the vet.