How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears at Home in Oklahoma City, OK
You might have a dog who loves swimming or playing in the mud- their ears are always full of dirt and gunk. You might have a dog whose ears are sensitive to even minuscule amounts of debris- you want to clean them out before there’s a problem. You might have a dog who doesn’t tolerate an ear cleaning at the veterinarian or groomer- you just want to know how to do it yourself. Perhaps have a dog who is prone to ear infections- you want to stay ahead of it!
If your dog already has an ear infection you need to use caution when cleaning. But if you just want to get ahead of a potential problem- you’re in luck! Dog ear cleaning at home is possible in most dogs given time, patience, training, gentle handling, and the right equipment.
What If My Dog Already Has an Infection?
You can safely give your dog a basic ear cleaning at home at the early signs of an ear infection– when they first start scratching or you see a little redness. If the signs of an infection are any more advanced than this, it’s best to take them to their veterinarian in Oklahoma City, OK right away for antibiotic or anti-fungal medications, and potentially even pain medication.
What Does it Take to Manage Dog Ear Cleaning at Home?
Time, Patience and Training
Take your time when cleaning your dog’s ears. We don’t mind wiping our ear canals out with a q-tip, but dogs don’t understand what our motives are, they just know that it feels weird and will likely shy away. When they do, we need to be patient with them- it’s not their fault that they don’t understand what’s happening. If you try to rush through it and work hastily, your dog might not respond well.
While time and patience might help your dog deal with it, training will help you deal with it too. Before you try cleaning painful ears, teach your dog that everything associated with ear cleaning is a good thing! Give a treat every time you bring out ear cleaning supplies. Give a treat every time you touch their ears. Pretend to “clean” their ears without using any supplies, and give treats, treats, treats!
Even if your dog is being uncooperative (especially if they’re being uncooperative), don’t force them to endure an ear cleaning, and certainly don’t be rough about it. If they’re already scared, and their ears are already painful, the experience could quickly become negative. Make the experience about petting and love. Rub their face, scratch their chin, pet their head, speak in a happy tone of voice. Grabbing their ears or trying to hold them in place can quickly turn a necessary task into a traumatic one. This could also teach your dog that ear cleanings are a thing to be feared.
The Right Equipment for Dog Ear Cleaning
Equipment for dog ear cleanings should always include treats! Ear cleanings with positive associations build a good foundation for positivity in future encounters.
Next, the ear cleaner. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol and avoid cleaners that contain those ingredients. They both cause irritation and dryness and can cause incredible pain in already sensitive ears. Just about any ear cleaning product you get over the counter should be suitable. Gravitate toward general ear cleaning products, or those that have “soothing” in the label. In a pinch, if you don’t have a product available at home, you can combine vinegar and water in a 50/50 mix and use that as a short-term fix, or even as a general cleaning maintenance product.
Don’t forget the treats! It can’t be emphasized enough- dog ear cleanings should be a positive experience, and treats will make that happen!
Cotton balls or cotton makeup pads can all be useful for cleaning literal gunk out of the ear canal. Even soft tissues (not medicated) are gentle enough to wipe without causing irritation. They’re absorbent, soft, and still have enough texture to pick up unwanted particles. While we use q-tips on our own ears, and veterinarians use them on our dogs, it’s not recommended to use them at home unless your veterinarian has trained you in cautious ear cleaning techniques. There is a very real risk of accidentally pushing the offending material further down into the ear. And if you get too aggressive with the cleaning process, it’s possible to injure the ear drum.
Dog ear cleaning at home doesn’t have to be a scary, difficult process. With training, patience, the right equipment, and lots of treats, routine ear maintenance can become a breeze for you and your floppy eared friend!
Talk to Your Vet About Dog Ear Cleaning in Oklahoma City, OK
If you have questions or concerns about dog ear cleaning at home, please call Hefner Road Animal Hospital in Oklahoma City, OK at (405) 773-5557!
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About Hefner Road Animal Hospital
The bond shared between people and their companion animals is a bond that endures. At Hefner Road Animal Hospital, we have seen this firsthand since our veterinarians began serving the Oklahoma City community in 1998. It is our privilege and our pleasure to be able to contribute to that bond by delivering excellent veterinary medical care and compassionate service to area families. Many of our staff members have been with us since the very beginning and are dedicated to making our animal hospital a place of healing, comfort, and respect for animal welfare.