Freddy has had 2 ear infections in his 3 (almost!) years of life. The first when he was a puppy and the second after some trips to the beach and the local pond for swimming. After his very first puppy groom, the groomer plucked all of the hair out of his ears and cleaned them. The next day, there was what looked like coffee grounds (as my vet put it) coming out of his ears. I thought the groomer did something wrong and was all worried. Turns out, it was an ear infection that was brewing and was trapped behind the ear hair.
After taking him to the vet for the ear infection and watching them clean his ears out, I decided I could do that myself to maintain his ear health and to prevent an infection from happening again. An ear infection is more likely to occur after water gets in the dog’s ears – after swimming, after a bath etc. He got his second one after swimming in a pond. Needless to say, it is important to check your pups ears weekly and clean them, along with their teeth. I talk about why (& how)I brush Freddy’s teeth in my post here.
Dogs with long floppy ears – like golden-doodles don’t have much air flow in the ear canal to let that water evaporate. I clean his ears every time after swimming (so every day in the summer!) with a topical solution, like the Doggie Pit Stop Ear Cleaner that we used in this post! I love that it is derived of all natural ingredients like coconut and palm. You can read more about it here. Every month or so, I’ll do a deep cleaning removing his ear hair. Sometimes his groomer does this and sometimes they don’t, so I learned how to myself and will show you how below.
Always have some yummy treats handy (I get this log and cut it up – keep in the fridge and take them on walks or crumble on kibble for an extra topping )because well your dog most likely does not want his ears cleaned and they deserve to be rewarded for it. Freddy has learned to tolerate it and he knows I would never hurt him in doing the cleaning or the ear plucking for that matter!
Step 1: Gently use a Q-tip to remove any dirt and/or wax buildup. Be VERY careful here not to go too deep into the canal. This is also good to see if your dog has an infection. If the buildup is almost black in color, that could mean they have an infection. The solution I use for ear infection is this one. My vet used it on Freddy and now I do if there is ever any sign of infection. You can also use the Doggie Pit Stop brand for ear infections. Luckily, Freddy has not had another one since I started cleaning his ears #win
If you aren’t sure, please check with your Vet to make sure your dog does not need any other treatment for the ear infection.
Step 2: If doing the full cleaning, use this powder, sprinkling some on the surface of the ear opening. The powder really helps grasp the hair with your fingers! At times, I’ve used a hemostat to pull them out, but my fingers are small enough to do without. Again, be VERY careful to not injure the ear canal when pulling. Be gentle and if your dog appears to be in any pain, STOP and make sure you are doing this right. Check with your vet or groomer if you are not sure. Freddy seems to tolerate this very well as I am super careful with how I pull the hairs out.
Step 3: Give your dog a treat for the ear plucking! Then break up a cotton ball and fully saturate it with the solution you are using. I used the Doggie Pit Stop ear cleaner here. **You can also simply pour the solution into their ear canal, however I don’t do it that way for a few reasons. For one, I feel that the cotton ball approach is not as alarming to the dog and also because my vet cleaned his ears this way so just kept it going!**
Step 4: Place the wet cotton ball all the way in the dog’s ear, but making sure you can still see it. Flap the ear back over (if they have floppy ears) and squeeze gently, letting the solution massage into the ear canal. **Skip step 4 & 5 if squirting the solution in the ear**
Step 5: Remove the cotton ball and discard. I use it to wipe up around the ear before I throw it out.
Step 6: Always end with a “Good Dog” and a few more treats!
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions and as always thanks for reading along. XO, K