A couple of weeks ago, we spoke to our resident Dog Grooming expert, Dianna, about her particular general dog ear care tips and tactics. Recently, we spoke to her again about how she actually goes about the process of cleaning any waxy build-up, dirt or debris from inside a dog’s ear. It certainly isn’t a particularly glamorous or remotely pleasant job, but it is one that needs doing regularly and properly to ensure that your dog remains healthy and in peak condition.
Pro Pooch: Hi Dianna, so let’s get down to the business of actually cleaning out a dog’s ears. What would be your first step in your dog ear cleaning routine?
Dianna: Well, the first thing is to make sure you’re wearing old clothes or a plastic apron, then get your dog to sit or stand still next to you and get yourself into a comfortable position where you can see into your dog’s ear. If your dog is well trained then this won’t be a problem for you but if you’re still working on his or her training, then you may need the assistance of someone else who knows your dog to sit with you and provide a little distraction whilst keeping your dog still.
We then need to do an inspection of the ear before using our dog ear cleaning solution. If you see any really excessive waxy build-up, clear, greyish or brownish discharge which smells nasty, wounds or scabs then it would be best to speak to your vet before attempting to clean your dog’s ears. A healthy dog ear will just have a light coating of wax and if it needs cleaning then you will notice a little dirt and debris in there too.
Pro Pooch: Why is it so important to consult a vet if you see excessive wax or some sort of discharge in your dog’s ear?
Dianna: Dogs can have all sorts of ear problems because they do love to roll around on the ground, run through the undergrowth or swim in the river! This means that they can easily pick up mites, ticks or fleas. These irritate the ear and your dog may scratch at the irritation and damage the skin inside the ear, causing an infection. Your vet will be able to determine the cause and recommend a course of action before any damage is done to the ear drum or inner ear. Applying a dog ear cleaning solution to damaged skin may hurt your dog and cause more
Pro Pooch: Right, so if your dog’s ears just look a bit mucky and in need of a clean, what’s the next step?
Dianna: As you know, I use the Pro Pooch dog ear cleaning solution because it’s a natural product with no nasty chemicals in there that might irritate a sensitive ear canal. The cotton pads and buds that come with the cleaner are ideal for any size dog and the buds especially are great for getting into difficult crevices! I usually put a little of the dog ear cleaning solution onto a cotton pad and then carefully and gently wipe any dirty areas outwards so that any loose bits of dirt or dried wax do not get dislodged and fall down into the ear canal. Gently massage your dog’s ears to work the dog ear cleaning solution into the skin to loosen any stuck on dirt and then repeat the wiping outwards process.
Dog’s ears are sensitive and you need to be ever so gentle when doing this job. Cleaning a dog’s ears is not a job that can be done quickly and half-heartedly. Care must taken, particularly with the ear buds. You must never push the ear buds down into the ear canal as you might damage your dog’s ear drum, they should only be used to clean areas of the ears where the pad won’t go. If you have a small dog or your dog has small ears, then you might find yourself using the buds more than the pads. The opposite is true if your dog has big floppy ears.
Pro Pooch: If you need to take your time with this job, what happens when your dog gets a bit antsy?
Dianna: It’s detrimental to establishing a regular dog ear cleaning routine if you try to force your dog to remain still for a long period of time whilst cleaning his or her ears. If your dog gets a bit bored then you can try giving some treats if that will help to keep them still, keep talking to and praising your dog if they’re behaviour is good or if they get really restless then just let them do something else for 5 or 10 minutes before trying again.
One thing your dog will almost certainly want to do during and straight after application of the dog ear cleaning solution, is shake their heads. This is why you need old clothes or an apron on. Any excess dog ear cleaning solution or little bits and pieces of debris, will be ejected at speed, so don’t get too close and mind your eyes.
Pro Pooch: Once The Head Shaking Is All Over, Are We Finished With The Dog Ear Cleaning Session?
Dianna: We just need to have a final check in each ear to make sure that the job has been done properly and keep an eye on your dog for the next few hours just to be sure that he or she is happy with their ears. If your dog is worrying at their ears or continually head shaking, then it may be necessary to closely inspect your pet’s ears again for any sign of irritation or possible infection that may have been uncovered during the ear cleaning.
Pro Pooch: Once again, thank you very much indeed, Dianna, for your valuable advice. We look forward to picking your brains for more dog health tips in a couple of week’s time.
Dianna: You’re more than welcome, it would be my pleasure!