How to Clean Dog Ears with Common Household Products

To prevent bacteria buildup and potential ear infections, clean dog ears regularly, using either a cleaner purchased at a pet store or simple household products found in your home.

Cleaning Techniques

If your dog has floppy ears, wax, dirt and oil can build up in them, leading to potential bacteria and yeast buildup as well. This can lead to ear infections, which can be painful or itchy for your dog. To prevent this, clean your dog's ears at least once a month, or weekly if your dog spends a lot of time swimming.

Before you start trying to clean your dog's ears, know how to do it properly. Using the wrong products (such as peroxide or other harsh cleaners) or the wrong technique can cause pain or damage to your dog's ear.

Use cotton balls or cotton swabs soaked in pet ear cleaner to wipe away the dirt and buildup that you can see on your pet's ear. Never clean any area that you can't easily see, as you may damage your dog's ear drum. Allow your dog to shake away any excess moisture after cleaning, which will prevent bacteria from gathering in the damp areas.

If your dog suffers from chronic ear infections, a more thorough cleaning includes pouring cleaner in your dog's ear and rubbing his ears at the base for 30 seconds. Allow him to shake out excess moisture and then use a cotton ball or cotton swab to clean the visible parts of the ear.

If your dog is in pain or doesn't like his ears handled, use treats to reward him for allowing you to handle him. Put peanut butter or liver paste on the wall of your shower to distract him with licking it during the process.

Making Ear Cleaner

There are many different types of ear cleaner that can be acquired from your veterinarian or a local pet store. Those are designed to be safe and gentle on your pet's ears, but you may feel more comfortable making your own pet cleaner. In a pinch, just a mild soap and water or rubbing alcohol will work for cleaning the visible parts of your dog's ear.

You can also mix equal parts white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in a squirt bottle and shake well to mix. This will provide you with a deep cleanser. Another homemade cleanser includes 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons of boric acid and 1 tablespoon of glycerin, shaken well to mix.

If you don't want to use rubbing alcohol in your mixture, try almond oil as a cleaner or mix apple cider vinegar and water, with 2/3 of the mixture consisting of water.

Remember to use caution when pouring these fluids in the ear, so that the solution doesn't go into the ear canal. Cup the ear at the base and rub to prevent this. To make the solutions more comfortable for your dog, warm them slightly so you aren't dumping cold liquid in the ear.

Cleaning your dog's ears is an important part of a regular grooming routine, whether he has an ear infection or not. If your dog has chronic ear infections, visit a veterinarian for a stronger ear solution.