Dog Care – Cleaning Ears

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 65,043
    Dr. Candy Olson demonstrates how to care for a dog and clean a dog’s ears.

    Candy Olson

    Dr. Candy Olson graduated from veterinary school in 1978, and has been working as a small animal veterinarian ever since. She started her own practice, Greenbriar Animal Hospital, in Fairfax, Virginia in 1993 with a goal to providing a very personal level of service, like an old fashioned family doctor’s office. The hospital has grown into a busy 2 doctor practice with a full time dog and cat groomer. The practice and Dr. Olson have received several awards for top quality service to her patients and their owners, but what she enjoys the most is fine tuning the day to day care of her patients, and helping their owners cope with medical and behavioral issues that pop up in today’s lifestyles. Dr. Olson is particularly interested in the care of geriatric pets and in pets with multiple medical and/or behavioral problems. She keeps her veterinary knowledge current by reading more than 8 veterinary journals every month, and by attending more than 80 hours of continuing education meetings each year (Virginia requires 15 hours per year). She also serves as a mentor for student veterinary technicians and high school students interested in veterinary medicine. Her hobbies include gardening, travel, and photography (photography is an extended family hobby). Some of her photos and some of her family’s photos are framed and on display at the animal hospital.

    Hi, I am Dr. Candy Olson from Greenbriar Animal Hospital. We are shooting a video on, tips for how to care for your dog at home. This section covers a couple of different ways to clean your dog's ears. This is Sadie; she is going to be helping us out here. There are some things about cleaning your dog's ears, not all dogs need to have their ears cleaned, but some do, and some need to have it done on a regular basis. There's a couple of basic ways to do it. One of the big no-nos for cleaning ears is to use anything like a Q-tip. The dog's ear canal starts out as a big hole like this, and goes down, gets narrow and narrow as it goes down, and actually makes a right angle and turns on a dog Sadie's size. This way Sadie, let me just show them. There's the opening for ear up there. It goes all the way down to here, almost two inches before it turns and goes into the eardrum. So, there's a lot of area there and it's very easy if you are using a Q-tip to get some of the stuff out, but actually pack more stuff down in. So, you should never ever use a Q-tip in a dog's ear, unless you can see they've got a blob of wax stuck in these little folds here, in which case you can just wipe it out. It's a lot easier to do it with a Q-tip there, but it should only be where it's really visible, and it's frankly better not to use them at all.

    If your dog has an ear infection, your veterinarian may tell you to not clean the ears while you are treating it, or they may tell you, no, you need to clean it each day, whatever. There's a lot of variation depending upon what's going on. There are two basic ways to clean the ear. The big thing is, because you've got this big, sort of like a funnel in there almost, you want to use lots of liquid to help dissolve the wax and the debris, to get it to come on out. So, the first way to do it -- I know sweetie, you are a good girl, turn this way -- is to just literally fill the ear up with the ear cleaning solution, and we are going to fill it up -- I know it feels weird, doesn't it? oh good girl, turn this way -- till it overflows a little bit, and then we are going to just rub it like this o-ho, good girl, and you know you've got enough in there, if when you are massaging it like this, first of all, you get those real squishy sounds, but also it should overflow. We've got a bunch of it down here, and that's perfect. That's just what you want.

    Then after you do your just gentle massaging and rubbing for, hold out 30 seconds or so. You can take a tissue and just gently wipe it out, just like that, and that's what you should get, just a little bit of slightly brown stuff, good girl. Dog ear wax is just a little bit brown, and so that's very normal. If you've got a bunch of brown stuff out, then what you want to do is, do it again. Fill the ear back up, squish it around, wipe it out again. If you get a lot of brown ear wax out the second time, best thing to do is to let it be for a day or two, and come back and do it again. Give that medication, the other ear cleaner chance to soften that stuff, so that maybe you get more out next time.

    Dog's with a certain kind of chronic ear infection, will just have lots and lots of wax in the ear. So, if you clean the ear that seems really dirty, couple days later you clean it again, it's still really dirty, couple of days later you do it again, still really dirty, call your vet, your dog probably has an ear infection that needs to be checked.

    The other way that you can do the ear cleaning and this is particularly helpful if you've got a dog who's not as cooperative to Sadie -- you heard your name, didn't you? Good girl -- is to take a cotton ball or for a smaller dog, half a cotton ball, and just soak it with the ear cleaner stuff, until it's dripping, and then what you do, we are just going to do this in the other ear. We are just going the tuck that cotton ball in there. We are not going to pack it down in. Turn this way sweetie, so they can see, it's just right there at the top. Then we are going to do the same thing that we did when we filled it up, we are going to massage it, and what that cotton ball does, is rather than have that feeling of something running down the ear, and you are trying to hold it, and squat the stuff in, it holds the liquid, you get the exact same effect. You can hear those nice squishes. Good girl, oh that's excellent. You can even do this if the dog is you know, leaning over and doing that kind of thing, because, it doesn't have to run in, and then we are going to want to take that out. And again, using, either use cotton or tissue and just gently wipe out and see, oh, that's just about perfect. Just a little tiny bit of brown stuff, and the same thing here, if she had a bunch of brown stuff, we would do it again. It's a very easy way. You don't have to worry about how much do I put in there, or anything else. You want to make sure that for the small dogs, like I said you are using half a cotton ball, the amount that we used for her would be like a regular cotton ball size. You don't want to use tissue for this, because the tissue will -- once you wet it and poke it into the ear, it will fall apart and you'll end up leaving pieces in there. So, it's important to use cotton. So, those are a couple of things that you can do for ear cleaning, the ear cleaner itself, does leave a little bit of stuff on the side of her face here. You can see she is just a little bit wet there. That will dry just fine. You don't have to worry about washing it off or anything. It's meant to just let there be. If you are planning to give her a bath, cleaning the ears first is a good idea, but it doesn't really matter.

    So, those are some tips for cleaning your dog's ears. One important thing to remember is, if you are cleaning your dog's ears and it seems to make them sore, stop, call your veterinary, there's probably a problem. Don't ever use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide in your dog's ears, because that can be very irritating. Good girl Sadie you were excellent, yes I know. So those are the tips for cleaning your dog's ears. We are going to go over micro chips for your dog next.