Dear Daisy Dog
My veterinarian recommended cleaning my dog Sadie’s ears weekly to cut down on ear infections. I’m not sure I’m doing it right. Can you help?
Buy an unmedicated pet ear cleaner. Medicated cleaners are not recommended for routine use, because they kill the “good” bacteria and allow “bad” bacteria and yeast to overgrow.
Hydrogen peroxide is not a good ear cleaner because it forms oxygen and water, which leaves the ear canal moist and thus promotes bacterial growth. Don’t use alcohol, either, as it stings if the ear canal is inflamed.
Our ear canals are L-shaped internally, so the first step in cleaning is to straighten the “L” by gently raising Sadie’s ear flap as far as it will go.
Fill the ear canal with cleaner, and massage the base of the ear to loosen any debris inside the canal.
Let go of Sadie’s ear and let her shake her head. The debris will move from deep in the canal up to the ear flap where you can remove it with gauze, cotton balls or tissues.
Don’t put a cotton swab into her ear canal because you might push debris deeper into the canal or damage her eardrum.
Give Sadie lots of positive reinforcement (my mom gives me a kiss and a treat) so she’ll always be happy to have her ears cleaned.