Cleaning Your Pet's Ears
A regular grooming routine is a must for our animal companions, not just for keeping them looking and feeling the best, but also to allow us to get familiar with his or her body so that should anything out of the ordinary be noticed, we can seek help immediately. It also provides a great human-animal bonding experience.
Brushing, bathing, nail trimming, and dental care are all a part of an essential grooming regimen, but oftentimes, ear cleaning is one that gets overlooked. In order to help make it easier, we've provided a few tips on how to clean your pet's ears safely and effectively without stressing yourself or them out.
Check your pet's ears regularly. If you notice any of the following, contact your vet.
Scratching, head shaking, or head tilting
Not all dogs need their ears cleaned. Frequent cleaning may cause irritation and other problems. Speak with your veterinarian about what is best for your dog or cat.
Depending on your cat's grooming habits and environments, ear cleaning may be unnecessary. Generally, cats are excellent self-groomers. However, if you notice any of the above, it may be time for a cleaning.
Speak with your veterinarian or groomer about trimming excessive ear hair if your pet is prone to ear infections and frequent wax build-up. Avoid sticking scissors into your pet's ears.
Schedule regular veterinary exams so your vet can assess your pet's health and diagnose any issues early. Your vet will check your pet's ears and can help give you further instructions for cleaning and care.
How to Clean Your Pet's Ears
First of all, it's most important that your pet be calm and it be a pleasant experience for him or her. Affection, treats, or their favorite bed or blanket can be soothing. Also, it can help if they've had some physically stimulating activity prior to the cleaning.
You will need to gather these supplies prior to the cleaning: cotton pads or balls, a veterinary-approved ear cleaner, and a towel. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol-based cleaners as they can dry out the ear canal and cause irritation. Do not use Q-Tips or anything with a pointed tip to clean your pet's ears as you may damage the ear canal and cause other health problems for your pet.
It is generally easier for you to position your pet with his or her backside facing you. Gently pull on the ear flap and fill the canal with an approved-veterinarian ear cleaning solution. Do not stick the applicator into the ear canal or allow it to touch your pet's ear as it may spread bacteria.
Massage the base of the ear for at least 30 seconds to help the solution work its way in. You will hear a squishing sound as the product dislodges debris and buildup. Allow your pet to shake his or her head and expel the solution. Use the cotton ball or towel to absorb any remaining solution on the outer part of the ear canal. Repeat until the cotton pad is clean. And that's it!
Again, not all pets will need their ears cleaned frequently. Speak with your veterinarian to help you come up with an ear cleaning routine that works best for you and your pet.
Sam & Mallory
Founders of Dogs Love Walks