How to Clean your Pets Ears

The more health and wellness maintenance care that we as PetParents are able to provide to our pets at home, the better off our pets will be. Obviously our pets’ veterinarians are always the experts when it comes to our pets health, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take some of these matters into our own hands to benefit our pets. Perhaps you’ve got a vet who is willing to show you how to do a certain task (like clip your dogs nails) so that you are best able to care for your pet at home. Providing some of these basic care needs to our animals within the comfort of our own homes is a great way to ensure they stay relaxed, healthy, and happy.

Routine ear cleaning is something that pet parents should easily be able to handle at home with just a little practice with their pets. Make it a part of your weekly routine, along with nail trims and teeth brushing and it will soon become a habit to both you and your beloved pet.  Just as humans must occasionally use q-tips to clean our ears, our pets deserve the same treatment. Ear wax and buildup are a fact of life, and your pet will have happy (and less itchy) ears if you’re diligent to keep them clean. Treatment for ear infections, ear-mites, and the like should always be left to your veterinarian.

Nearly all cats have erect ears, but the variety of ear shapes and sizes is much more vast in dogs. Dogs with dropped ears like labradors often have more of an issue with dirt and build up in their ears than dogs with erect bat ears like the dog on the right above. As a PetParent, it is our job to check on our dogs ears on a regular basis and clean them as needed. How often your dogs ears need cleaning will depend on many factors, so close monitoring is ideal.

If your dog swims often, it becomes especially important to check their ears, and clean them frequently. Bacteria found in rivers, lakes, and streams can easily cause an ear infection if left untreated and dirty. Painful, infected, or itchy ears are a sure way to have a pup who feels miserable. Below are some signs to watch for that could let you know your pet has a more serious ear issue that should be addressed by their attending veterinarian:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • painful ears
  • discharge
  • warm to the touch
  • hair loss

To Clean Your Pets Ears:

  1. Start by gently examining the ear. Light brown wax is normal, but any dark or bloody discharge and you should plan a trip to the vet.
  2. Dampen a cotton ball with mineral oil, commercial ear cleaner, or hydrogen peroxide. Ensure that you NEVER insert anything into your dogs ear canal- a Q-tip is not a tool for pet ear cleaning- just wipes and cotton balls.
  3. If your pet has a lot of fur growing in their ears, it may be necessary to trim this prior to cleaning the ears.
  4. Use the cotton ball to gently wipe the insides of your pets ears and remove the wax from them.

Small pets, like rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils also require occasional ear cleaning. They can get ear mites, ear infections, and more, just like our dogs and cats do. Regularly check and monitor your pets ears and consult your veterinarian for assistance and treatment.

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