How to Clean Your Pet’s Ears

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Hi I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell, and today we’re going to talk about how to clean your dog or cat’s ears. A couple things to keep in mind when you’re cleaning ears. It’s really important to use a cleaner that’s designed to go in ears. Never put hydrogen peroxide, or straight water, or rubbing alcohol, or anything like that in your pet’s ears. You want to use something that’s been purchased at a pet store or a veterinary clinic. A couple of tips with ear cleaning. You can pour the cleaner directly into the canal. Most dogs get a little resentful with this, but the benefit to it is you can get a lot of liquid in there, especially if the ears are dirty. The canal is actually a long structure so you really want to be sure to fill it enough that you’re going to bring any debris or wax to the surface, and the base of the ear canal kind of basically runs kind of right under the ear flap.

So with Tulah, I think she’ll let me pour straight into the canal. I often use the ear flap as kind of like a little running board. I know it feels funny. And then I’ll usually fold the ear over so it traps that moisture in, and then you want to rub. You should be able to hear it kind of slosh around. Give it a good massage, and then I usually let them do a good shake. Are you going to give us a shake? There we go. And that will usually allow the liquid that you put in there to come out. And then you can follow up with a cotton ball and rub the base and the inside of the ear, removing any debris that you’ve lifted up with your cleaner. Never use Q-tips in your dog’s ear unless you can see where you’re going. Never put it into the canal because you can actually damage the ear drum and it can be painful, and it can push debris and particles deeper in.

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An alternative method in dogs that don’t love to have the cleaner directly poured into the ear, or cats, actually will often times do better with this, is to take your cotton ball and just really saturate it just as much of the cleaner as it will hold. And then I’ll just place it into the canal about like that, fold it over, and then use that to squish, and again you should be able to hear it kind of slosh around in there. You really want to aim towards the base of the ear. And then the kind of bonus there is that you can use your cotton ball to wipe any debris that comes out. Usually, I let them do a nice shake, and then follow up with a dry cotton ball just to get any of that moisture out.

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