Home Remedies for Cleaning a Dog's Ears

by Michelle A. Rivera, Demand Media Google
    Clean your dog's ears after he has gone for a swim.

    Clean your dog's ears after he has gone for a swim.

    Dogs with long, floppy ears are frequently the victims of ear infections. To avoid chronic ear infections, it's best to make routine ear cleaning part of your dog-care schedule. Many ear-cleaning products are available commercially, but you can also make your own.

    A Word of Caution

    Always check your dog's ears carefully before cleaning them. If you notice any swelling, redness, unusual heat or foul smell, or if your dog pulls away from you when you touch his ear, have your vet check for an infection. Don't put off getting medical treatment. Infections can lead to small ulcers in the ear, bleeding and loss of hearing, so don't take an ear infection lightly. When cleaning your dog's ears, always be sure the eardrum is intact. Your vet will check your dog's eardrums during a regular physical, and advise you on how to clean your dog's ears.

    Vinegar, Alcohol and Boric Acid

    To a 1/2 teaspoon of boric acid add 2 ounces of white vinegar. Add in a few drops of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of povidone-iodine. Shake to mix. If you are concerned about staining by the povidone-iodine, or don't like its smell, you can omit it. Because of the presence of the alcohol, this preparation is good for after swimming. Saturate a cotton ball, gauze or washcloth with the preparation and wipe the inside of your dog's ear with it. Wipe again with a clean, damp washcloth.

    Vinegar and Water

    Some groomers and pet owners swear by apple cider vinegar and water alone. Fearing the alcohol to be too harsh or drying for their dogs' ears, some owners prefer to omit it. To make a vinegar and water solution, mix 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar to 2/3 cup of lukewarm water. Wipe the visible part of the inside of your dog's ear with the solution, using a cotton ball or soft cloth.

    Waxy Buildup

    If you are only seeking to remove excess wax, and your dog's ears are not too dirty, you can use a few drops of almond, mineral or olive oil to loosen the wax. Place a few drops on the visible part of the ear, give it time to loosen the wax, and allow your dog to shake his head to spread the oil. Clean the wax and oil out with a soft, clean cloth or cotton balls.

    Dr. Lorraine's Recipe for Ear Cleaner

    Dr. Lorraine Kassarjian, a South Florida veterinarian, has developed her own favorite recipe for homemade ear cleaner. She says "find a bottle with a nozzle, like the kind used to color hair, and make sure it's well cleaned out and dry. Next, add half white vinegar, half hydrogen peroxide and a splash of alcohol. Mix it up and use it as an ear cleaner for dirty ears. If there is any chance there is an infection, I use a medicated flush with antibiotic properties." As with the other preparations, use the preparation to saturate a cloth and wipe out the visible part of the ear. Follow the recommendations of your dog's veterinarian if you detect signs of ear problems.

    About the Author

    Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.

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