How to Clean Dog Ear Infection? – Full Guide

Seeing your dearest companion in any sort of agony sucks. The ear infection in dogs isn’t to be taken lightly, as it might develop into something more complicated, and who can say for sure? Perhaps, it ends up being deadly in your dog’s favor. You need to resolve this issue quickly.

Today, this article will cover the treatment of dog ear infections.

How to Treat Dog Ear Infection?

The best bet would be to take your dog to see a veterinarian if your dog is showing signs of ear infections. The vet will completely clean the ear of your dog with ear cleaners. Then he will advise you to give necessary medicines to your dog to stop and cure the infection.

But, if you don’t want to go to the vet and try treating your dog by yourself at home, here is a step-by-step guide on how you can do it.

Step-by-step guide for Cleaning Dog’s Ear:

Before we go on to the pain points, let’s talk about the safety measures you will need to take before this process. First things first, take a look and make sure it is an otitis external, in which the outer part of the dog ear is infected. If that is the case, then you can proceed with the cleaning process, but if your pet has an internal ear infection, do NOT perform this operation.

With that being said, let’s move on to the guide.

  • Be Gentle: This is the most crucial part. Think of it this way, if you have had a dog since he was a puppy, then your pet is used to the gentleness of your hands. This will assure your dog that everything is okay, and he will remain calm. 
  • The Vulnerable Breed: Not all dogs will show signs of infection when they grow up, but some kinds are most vulnerable to these ear infections, like Basset Hound or  Cocker Spaniel, according to American Kennel Club. So, if you have these breeds, make them used to getting their ears touched from the beginning.
  • Get Prepared: Obviously, you are not an expert, so you will have to prepare yourself before performing the cleaning. It is better to ask someone to assist you in this, as you can pour the drops, and the other person can gently hold the dog down. You might wonder that we are using the word “gently” repeatedly. That’s because being gentle throughout the whole process is paramount.
  • Gather the essentials: After getting prepared, start gathering all the necessary things such as wooly cloth or towel. You are going to need it for wiping.
  • Settle your dog: Settle your dog in a comfortable position, like a mat on the floor, and sit precisely behind him.
  • Dry out your dog’s ear: Dry out the ear using a wooly towel. Be sure not to use a cotton piece. 
  • Hold the ear gently: Hold and move your dog’s ear gently upside to clear the area for the fluid to go in.
  • Use the cleaner: Now comes the vital part, pouring the cleaner inside your pet’s ear. Pour the ear cleaner inside the ear to the point that it overflows outside the ear. Yeah! It is completely okay if it does. Be careful, though, as you should not let the nib of the cleaner bottle touch your canine’s ears. If it mistakenly does, use alcohol to clean the nib to prevent microbes from developing.
  • Keep holding for a few seconds: Keep on holding the ear upside in your hand and massage the opening for about 20-40 seconds using your second hand. Due to it, the fluid will travel directly into the ear, wiping out any waste in its way, and you will hear a faded squish sound. 
  • Cleaning the debris: Keep on holding the ear upside and use a cotton piece to clean the wasted and unnecessary fluid from the earlap’s downside and the ear canal’s surroundings. 
  • Head shaking: After the process, let your dog shudder his head as much as he wants. Due to the shuddering, more wasted cleaning fluid that couldn’t go inside will come out on the ear opening. 
  • Hold the ear again: Again, grasp the ear upside, and by using the cotton piece, clean the remaining wasted fluid. Only push the cotton inside as much as a finger’s reach, and clean only that part. Going further inside will harm the ear and may aid the ear infection to dive back in. In some cases, doing so can also create a risk of deafness in your dog, as it may harm the eardrum as well. So, be careful.
  • Treat time: After successfully executing the job, provide your dog with some treats for his patience and cooperation so that he immediately gets ready for ear cleaning.
  • Potential bad news: If, even after all the cleaning, your dog still appears to be in pain, go to the vet and ask for the required medication. 

Step-by-step guide to use ear infection medicine:

You can apply for the medicine instantly after you have cleaned your dog’s ears. Consult the vet on how to use the medicine, how many drops are needed, all that. The process of ear infection medication is more or less the same as cleaning the ear.

  • Hold the earlap upside and uncover the ear canal.
  • Pour the advised numbers or amount of the medicine inside the ear.
  • Be careful not to let the medicine bottle nib touch your pet’s ear to avoid the spread of ear infections.
  • Softly, rub the bottom of the ear for about 20-40 seconds. Allowing the medicine to reach the core of the ear, and once again, a faint sound of squish will be heard.
  • In some cases, the bottom part of the earlap is infected. Consider pouring the advised number of the earlap as well. Do the same with the second ear, if required.
  • Finally, clean any wasted fluid with cotton, and you are all set!

When to see a veterinarian for a dog ear infection?

If the home remedies aren’t working in favor of your dog and the ear infection is subsiding or going away. It would be best to see a vet and tell about the whole scenario.

The vet will conduct a series of tests to identify the problem. These tests will include blood tests, X-rays of the dog’s head, CT or Computed Tomography scan, or sometimes, an MRI or Magnetic resonance imaging to correctly identify the disease. Then, he will prescribe you the necessary medication accordingly.

If your dog’s lucky enough, the infection will subside within 10 to 15 days, only when you have taken all the precautionary measures. But if that doesn’t happen, and your dog’s ear infection is still not calming down. Retake your dog to a vet.

Once again, after deeply identifying the problem, the veterinarian will use different lotions or ear drops to pour them into the dog’s ear deep enough to act on the infected area. He will also use antibiotics or painkiller medicines to cure the ear. But if any of these treatments are not seem to be working well, there is still a practical option left.

The doctor will advise surgery to be performed on the ear. This surgery is called TECA (or Total Ear Canal Ablation). In which the ear canal is successfully removed. Due to that, the infected tissue is also removed, and the infection spread is contained. But that option is only suitable for series ear infection cases, not for ordinary or mild ones.

One thing to care of is to make sure that those medications are not damaging the dog’s eardrums, because, in some cases, the dogs may become deaf, due to that. Even in between the surgery, keep on checking that if your dog is hearing properly or not. If not, tell the doctor instantly to prevent deafness.

The infections that last longer than usual are chronic ear infections, the reasons being several allergies and bacterias or yeasts. These infections often occur in dog breeds that have long ears like Basset Hounds, etc.

Can I treat my dog’s ear infection at home?

You can go for the cleaning part by yourself, and sometimes you can also perform medication for mild ear infections by adequately following the above-given instructions. If the ear infection is mild, it will calm down. But if it doesn’t, it is better and recommended to see a veterinarian for treatments. The more straightforward answer would be YES and NO

Can I prevent dog’s ear infection?

Of course, you can. Preventing would be the best course of action. Always try to keep the dog’s ear dried to avoid increasing moisture, after giving your dog a bath. Keep the ears clean.


Concluding the article, we would recommend always keeping your dog’s ear clean and relatively dry. If this article was to be summed up in one word, it would’ve been “cleanliness.” It is always better to see a veterinarian for the treatment than to go off on your own trying to heal it yourself at home.

But, if you decide to perform the job by yourself, you should always consult an expert and precisely follow the instructions given above to successfully execute the task and avoid further complications.

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