While you might be attracted to floppy-eared dogs like beagles, basset hounds, cocker spaniels, and poodles, these breeds are also the most susceptible to ear infections. Dogs with longer ears that are more prone to dirt and wax buildup, creating a breeding ground for mites and bacteria and leading to significant discomfort for your furry friend.
Though it can sometimes be hard to tell how your dog is feeling, they’ll often let you know when their ears are bothering them by shaking their heads and scratching their ears. You can also look for redness, swelling, odor, and discharge as signs of an infection.
But keeping up with regular ear cleanings can help prevent infections. Veterinarians recommend cleaning your dog’s ears about once a month on average, but cleanings might need to be more frequent for your floppy-eared friend.
Most grooming facilities will clean your dog’s ears for a few extra bucks, but if you want to take on the job yourself, it’s good to know how*, especially if you don’t take your dog to get groomed by the professionals all that often. The good news is it’s a pretty simple task that only takes a couple of minutes to complete.
All you have to do is:
- Get your pup to sit. Having treats on hand to continuously reward good behavior will help things go more smoothly.
- Fill your dog’s ear canal all the way up with a cleansing solution. (You can get these from your pet supply stores or your vet. Best not to use alcohol or vinegar to avoid drying their ears out.)
- Massage the base of the ear for about 20 seconds. (Your dog might want to shake after you’re done. That’s OK, just hold a towel over their head so you don’t get splashed with the solution!)
- Using a cotton ball (not a swab), gently wipe the visible portion of the ear canal and outer ear.
- Give them a treat and tell them what a good dog they are.
- And just like that, you’re done! Repeat on the other ear.
Taking a few minutes to do this every month is a great way to prevent infections and to help your dog keep living his healthiest life!
*If your dog typically has high anxiety when you take him/her to get groomed, then it might be best to leave the cleaning to the pros.