How to Clean a Dog’s Ears at Home

Cleaning your dog’s ears is incredibly easy to do and can be done at home. This handy guide will tell you how to clean a dog’s ears.

Cleaning your dog’s ears is incredibly easy to do and can be done at home. This handy guide will tell you how to clean a dog’s ears.

Many dog owners often wonder: Should I be cleaning my dog’s ears? Well, the short answer is, usually, yes.

Some dogs need more frequent ear cleaning than others. While some canine health routines, like nail trimming and teeth cleaning, are often left to professionals, you can clean dog ears at home.

In most cases, thoroughly cleaning the entire ear canal is the first step in treating an ear infection. However, it may be good to clean the ears more routinely to help prevent future infections.

Breeds with extra furry or long ears will need more frequent ear cleanings. This is because dirt, moisture, and dust accumulate faster and stick around longer in those types of ears.

How Do You Know if Your Dog’s Ears Need to Be Cleaned?

If they look and smell good, leave them alone. Cleaning a healthy ear can damage its self-cleaning abilities. In other words, too much ear cleaning can lead to an infection.

Some dogs with healthy, clean ears may never need to have their ears cleaned. However, it is recommended to clean your dog’s ears if you notice discharge or an odor when examining the ear.

What Can I Use to Clean my Dog’s Ears at Home?

Cleaning your dog’s ears does not require any special equipment.

To clean your dog’s ears at home, you only need a few items: a cotton ball or gauze, a dog ear cleaning solution, and a towel.

However, before you start cleaning your dog’s ears, ensure you have the following things:

  • A good quality ear cleaning solution or normal saline.
  • Some cotton balls or gauze.
  • Some treats to reward your dog.

It’s also vital that you never use cotton buds to clean your dog’s ears! These can be inserted too far into the ear canal and potentially cause damage.

Steps for Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

If you have a large dog, then it’ll be easier to clean their ears on the floor. If your dog is small enough, put them on a table and wrap your arm around them.

1. Apply Ear-Cleaning Solution

Ensure your dog is comfortable, then lift their ear, holding it between your thumb and forefinger to get a good look inside the ear.

First, you’ll need to gently wipe the ear with a piece of damp cotton wool to remove any dirt or wax on the ear pinna and the ear canal entrance.

Next, while holding your dog’s ear flap, gently but firmly with one hand, have the ear cleaning solution in your other hand.

While being careful not to insert the bottle tip into your dog’s ear, using your dog’s ear flap as a funnel, gently squirt the cleaning solution into the ear canal. Some might spill out! That’s okay.

Don’t skimp on the cleaning solution. Filling the entire canal with a solution will help ensure the whole ear gets cleaned.

2. Massage the Ears

Hold the ear flap and massage the ear base for around 20 to 30 seconds. This is how the ear washes break up wax and other debris inside your dog’s ear.

You may hear a squishing sound as the cleanser breaks up wax and debris. Wipe away any excess cleaner with damp cotton wool.

3. Dry the Ear

Your dog will probably shake his head at this point, which is ok. This helps get the leftover ear wash and any additional debris out of the inner canal.

Remember to keep your mouth closed while doing this part, as there may be excess cleaner flying around!

While still holding up the ear flap, wipe away debris from the inner part of the ear flap and the upper ear canal using a cotton ball or gauze. Never penetrate your dog’s ear farther than your finger can reach.

Don’t forget to praise your dog and provide treats. Next, repeat the same process with the other ear.


Knowing how to clean dog ears is fundamental for grooming your pet. Cleaning your dog’s ears at home is easy with the right supplies and techniques. 

Ear cleaning can be stressful for dogs, so it’s essential to make it a positive experience.

Only clean your dog’s ears when they are already in a calm state, and reward them with plenty of treats during and after the process.

Be sure to give your pup some love after you’re done!