First of all, not all pets need to have their ears cleaned; please use these instructions only if you’ve been directed to clean your pet’s ears by your veterinarian. Patients that are predisposed to ear infections (those with hairy or heavy floppy ears, frequently bathed pets, those big swimmers and/or pets who have allergies, metabolic conditions and so on) can often benefit from regular ear cleaning. For these pets, lets go over some important tips.
Remember to never use Q-Tips, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean ears
- Get your hands on a good quality ear cleaning solution, we prefer the non scented varieties with soft tipped/flexible nozzles (nice but not necessary).
- Get your pet used to you gently holding up their ear flap to expose the opening, this will help straighten/open the ear canal for the ear cleaning solution.
Remember to praise your pets with their favourite things (toys, treats, rubs or brush downs) as you work towards each step of this process. It takes time to condition your pet to tolerate ear cleanings. Be patient and just work at this slowly, a bit each day if necessary
- Place the ear cleaning bottle nozzle directly into the ear and give it a good squeeze. If you find the bottle too bulky to hold (or have small hands like me) use a large cotton ball soaked in ear cleaning solution, and tuck the dripping/soaked cotton ball into the dog’s ear (no need to pack it in -just let it sit in the opening, use a another cotton ball for the other ear).
- The goal is to “fill” the ear with ear cleaning solution, then massage it in (can keep cotton ball in opening to block outflow). At ECVC, we tend to massage solution in using our thumb and index fingers to gently squeeze and pinch the base of head/lower part of ear (pets tend to love this part!). Do this for ~30 seconds, this action helps to dissolve any debris and wax build up in the ears, this should make a squishy sound.
At any point of the process, if your dog yelps in pain, stop immediately, as this could be the sign of an ear infection that requires medical attention
- Take a paper towel/cotton ball and gently wipe out the ear gunk (make sure not to leave any tissue or cotton ball behind). If you’re seeing a lot of waxy/brown debris, repeat once more, if you still get get a lot of brown goop, wait a day or two and try again… If the goo still persists, please let us know asap!
- Let your pet shake out the rest, if there’s residual ear cleaning solution in the ear, there’s no need to wash it out or dry the ear.
If any ear cleaning solution makes the ear red, itchy or bumpy please do not use again, this solution is not a good fit for your pet!
- Finish off with lots of praise and treats for a job well done (pour yourself a glass of wine, we often do!) Just kidding 🙂