You don’t always have to go to the veterinarian’s to take care of your dog. In certain cases, such as when its ears need cleaning, you can do it yourself: just be ready on how to do it and what to use. Good ear cleaning is important to prevent more serious problems, such as otitis. A few steps are all you need to fix your dog’s ears.
- WHY TO DO IT: SUBJECTS AT RISK
Before we start explaining how to clean your dog’s ears, a foreword is important.
Canine otitis is an inflammation that may affect the inner, medium or outer ear of your dog, and may be caused by various factors. Earwax build-up, draughts, water (careful when washing them), parasites and other microorganisms can all cause otitis. However, the dogs most at risk of developing otitis are those whose ears have insufficient air circulation. If you own a dog with long ears, such as dachshunds, cocker spaniels, setters, or a dog with a lot of fur inside the ears, such as poodles and Maltese, you must be particularly careful.
It’s important to keep in mind that too much cleaning can be harmful: for instance, the mucosa may become irritated due to the excessive use of ear-cleaning products. If you do decide to clean the ears of your own dog, it’s always better to ask the opinion of your veterinarian, to know for sure when is the best time to do it based on the needs of your dog.
That said, let’s see what you’ll need.
First and foremost, prepare everything so that’s within reach: paper tissues (they’re perfect because they’re not abrasive, are resistant enough, and leave no residues in the ear canal), an ear-washing solution (there are several brands available in the market, containing disinfecting or wax-melting substances), and, if you want, disposable latex gloves. Alternatively, there are also wipes already imbibed with detergent solutions specifically designed for the ear canal.
Gloves are particularly advisable for dogs whose ears smell particularly bad, as the smell may impregnate your fingers. Keep in mind that if their ears smell REALLY bad and are particularly dirty, this may be an external otitis, and a visit to the veterinarian may be necessary.
Do not use Q-tips, especially if there’s no one near to help you keep your dog’s head in place: any unexpected movement may accidentally force the Q-tip deep into your dog’s ear, resulting in injury.
- WHAT TO DO
Once you have everything you need right at hand, make sure your dog is relaxed, caressing him. Hold its ear and pull it out slightly, then wrap your hand in a wipe or tissue imbibed with the cleaning solution and try to remove as much wax and dirt as possible. Don’t be afraid; your finger is too thick to reach all the way in, so you can’t hurt him. If necessary, drop some solution directly within the canal (read the instructions first, please), but keep in mind that your friend can react by shaking his head and sprinkling cleaning solution everywhere!
After inserting your wipe-wrapped finger inside the ear, take the chance to caress your pet, to make even more pleasurable. If you’re lucky, your dog will love it… The inner part of the ear is a point they can’t easily reach, and they may love having you clean it. If your dog shows he doesn’t like it, go and ask for help – and arm yourself with patience!
In any case, the first time you do it, it’s always advisable to have your veterinarian show you how to clean the ear. After a brief practical lesson, go on with your cleaning!
We would like to thank Dr. Chiara Pellizzari, veterinarian, for her cooperation.