Your dog's ears are one of the most sensitive parts of their bodies, and while you may have never thought about it, need equally sensitive care. That's right - they need to be cleaned! In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about keeping your dog's ears cleaned and healthy.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Why It's Important To Clean Your Dog's Ears
2. Do All Dogs Need To Have Their Ears Cleaned?
3. How To Tell If Your Dog's Ears Need To Be Cleaned
4. The Anatomy Of Your Dog's Ears
5. How To Clean Your Dog's Ears
6. The Step-by-Step Process
7. TIPS AND TRICKS
8. Using PurOtic To Clean Your Dog's Ears
Why It's Important To Clean Your Dog's Ears
Just like humans, your dog's ears are prone to accumulating gunk over time - this is normal and generally healthy. Unlike humans, however, the shape of your dog's ears makes it difficult for this gunk to find its way back out, which can lead to blockage in your dog's ears.
When this kind of blockage in your dog's ears happens, it can easily lead to ear infections. Most pet parents have never thought twice about their dog's ears, but they are actually one of the most important components of keeping your dog healthy. You should regularly be cleaning and checking out your dog's ears.
You can clean your dog's ears yourself or take them to the vet for regular cleaning. Cleaning your dog's ears yourself is the more affordable option, and once you get the hang of it, not nearly as difficult as it sounds.
Do All Dogs Need To Have Their Ears Cleaned?
In short, no. Every dog is different and as a result, every dog has different needs. Some will need their ears cleaned every week while others may never need to have their ears cleaned. This all depends on factors like your dog's age, breed, activity level, environment, and so on. In particular, dogs with drop ears are going to need ear cleanings more often than those with straight ears, as drop ears receive less airflow.
You should only be cleaning your dog's ears when you notice that they need to be cleaned. So if you notice that your dog's ears only show signs of needing cleaning every two weeks, then you should only clean their ears once every two weeks.
Just like with people, over-cleaning your dog's ears can actually be a bad thing. It can lead to irritation, which can lead to infection, which is what you're trying to avoid in the first place. Also, if you notice any other issues with your dog's ears - like inflammation, redness, swelling, tenderness, and so on - take them to the vet before proceeding with an ear cleaning.
How To Tell If Your Dog's Ears Need To Be Cleaned
Figuring out if your dog's ears need to be cleaned is surprisingly simple - if they're dirty, they need to be cleaned! You should always check your dog's ears before cleaning them to make sure that a cleaning session is really required.
You can examine your dog's ears by using a flashlight and holding their ear gently open. Look for signs of dirt, buildup, and moisture. In perfectly clean ears, you should only see lots of pink, un-inflamed skin. Look for parasites as well, as they have a habit of making a home out of your dog's ears.
You should also be inspecting your dog's ears for their smell, too. A healthy ear that doesn't need cleaning should be odorless. If you notice that your dog's ears have a smell - sometimes like yeast - then an ear cleaning is definitely overdue.
The Anatomy Of Your Dog's Ears
The most visible part of your dog's ear is the pinna. This is the external part that you see all the time; in some dogs, it stands straight up, while in others it's more on the floppy side. Just beyond that, directly inside the pinna, is the external canal. This part of the ear is made up of cartilage, so you'll notice lots of ridges and creases. The external canal is mostly flush with your dog's head, then spirals inward. Your dog's ear is a complicated and sensitive part of their body, so understanding what each part is and does will help make your cleaning session a safe one.
The external canal leads to your dog's eardrum, which is where sound first begins passing through your dog's ears. The eardrum also protects the inner ear from the outside world. After that is your dog's middle and inner ear, which are the most sensitive parts of the ear. These are what allow them to ear, maintain their balance, and so on.
How To Clean Your Dog's Ears
Now that you have a better idea of how your dog's ears are made up, it's time to start cleaning them!
Just like when bathing your dog, the best place to clean their ears is the bathtub. If they're a bigger dog, you can also clean their ears outside. Your dog is probably going to do a lot of head shaking throughout the process, so be ready for that - don't wear white.
- A safe dog ear cleaning solution, like PurOtic, for breaking up the debris in their ears. NEVER use hydrogen peroxide
- Rubbing alcohol, for cleaning the cleaning solution bottle
- A towel (maybe two towels, actually) for the mess
- Cotton balls and/or gauze, for wiping out the ear
- Cotton swabs - BUT only for their external canal (see, learning the ear anatomy is already coming in handy)
- Tweezers, for dogs with a lot of ear hair (don't worry, most dogs won't feel anything if you pull out their ear hair)
- Dog treats, for putting up with having their ears cleaned
The Step-by-Step Process
Get your dog into the bathtub
This will be the first of many battles, but it doesn't have to be so hard. First, sit in one end of the bathtub with your legs stretched out. Then, call your dog over to join you in the bathtub. Use treats if you have to.
Apply the cleaning solution
Grab the pinna of your dog's ear (the flap) and gently expose the external canal of your dog's ear. Then, grab the cleaning solution and gently fill your dog's inner ear canal with a solution until it fills up completely. It's ok if some spills out. Never put the tip of the cleaning bottle into your dog's ear canal. If the tip of the bottle does touch their ear, clean it with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. Also be sure to use extra soft silicone tips for dog ear application.
Massage the base of your dog's ear
After you fill their ear with a cleaning solution, wait thirty seconds while gently massaging the base of their ear. This helps the cleaning solution break up all of the debris in their ear. Don't worry if you hear a squishing sound - this is normal.
Clean your dog's ear
After you've massaged their ear for thirty seconds, take a clean cotton ball and start wiping the inside of their ear gently, soaking up the cleaner and wiping out the debris. Keep in mind that you should be holding the pinna of their ear up the entire time. DO NOT use a cotton-tipped applicator (Q-Tip) for the inside of their ear.
Once you've got the majority of the cleaner and the debris out of your dog's ear, let go of their head and give them a chance to shake out the last of the cleaning fluid. Give them a treat for being so patient, and when you're both ready, repeat the process with their other ear, making sure to use fresh cotton balls throughout.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Wearing old clothing is recommended, as the ear cleaning process can be a little gross
- While you don't have to keep your dog in a bathtub during the cleaning, it helps keep the mess and your dog in one place
- Always completely fill your dog's ear canal with cleaning solution. It may seem like you're putting too much in, especially with bigger dogs, but it's important to completely fill their ears each time
- If you have a smaller dog with straight ears, you may be able to supplement the above cleaning process with a simple and quick wipe now and then. This process is more so for dogs with medium to serious ear cleaning needs
- While it can be a difficult process the first time around, you and your dog will both get the hang of it over time, so don't feel disheartened if it was a bit of a disaster the first time!
Using PurOtic To Clean Your Dog's Ears
The most important tool at your disposal when cleaning your dog's ears (aside from the bathtub) is the cleaning solution. You need a solution that will get the job done without hurting or damaging your dog's ears, which is where PurOtic comes in.
PurOtic is a 99% natural ear cleaning solution for dogs that safely breaks up debris, protects against infections and reduces the effects of wax buildup. The bottle itself has a soft silicone tip, so you won't hurt your dog's ear during accidental bumps. This tip makes it easier to fill your dog's ear with solution than most other standard solutions.
The active ingredients in PurOtic are tea tree oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, and docusate sodium. These ingredients work together to provide you with a solution that is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and biodegradable.
Cleaning your dog's ear for the first time can be a stressful experience, to say the least. But it's also one of the best things you can do for your dog's health, and it gets easier each time you do it. If you're looking for a product that makes cleaning your dog's ears safe and easy, consider using PurOtic.