Cleaning your dogs ears is an essential part of canine care. It is very important to regularly check the condition of your dog’s ears.

Most dogs naturally have healthy ears and never need ear cleaning in their lifetime. On the other hand, some breeds of dogs with long hair are at high risk of ear infection and require regular ear cleaning to prevent ear infections. If you are uncertain if your dog needs their ears cleaned consult with your veterinarian to help you decide if your dog’s ears need to be cleaned.

If your dog regularly visits a professional groomer, make sure their ears are cleaned there. If you want to clean your dog’s ears at home, you should know the ear cleaning procedure and other important aspects. Read the article below and learn how you can clean your dog’s ears.

How to clean your dogs ears with vinegar?

So you want to save on buying sometimes expensive dog-specific ear cleaners? Vinegar can also be used to clean the dog’s ear. This is how you can use vinegar

  • Take half a cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (ACV) and mix it with half a cup of water. If your dog’s ears are inflamed or injured, the concentration of vinegar in the water should decrease.
  • Give your dogs ears a wipe with a cotton ball along the heavy wax, being sure not to press too far down your dogs ears. Then fill the ears with the Vinegar and Water mix, only a small amount depending on the size of your pooch. 
  • Massage the ears from the base of the canals all the way down to the head. You should be able to hear the liquid moving about in your dogs ear. 
  • It might be a good idea to do this cleaning process outside as your dog will start shaking to get rid of the solution from the ears which is what we need them to do. So stand back. The wax and other gunk in the ear canals are going to be loosened by the vinegar. 
  • If there is no mess first then consider applying another flush of the vinegar and water solution and remember to massage your dogs ears well. 
  • Then lastly wipe the excess vinegar and other gunk out with a cotton ball. Making sure not to stick it down into the ear canal. 

Some vets recommend a 10% ear cleaning solution because if it is too strong, it will sting, and the dog will start scratching his ear.

Do not save the solution for later use, as you make the solution, use it only on time

Vinegar has a lot of benefits. It can help to remove the extra wax to decrease ear infection. As the solution is acidic, it will kill a lot of harmful bacteria. 

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How to clean your dog ears?

Cleaning your dogs ears is a challenging process, especially if they easily get stressed when you touch their ears. Make sure they are comfortable with the whole process. Of course, it will help you a lot if you start handling their ears from a young age.

Equipment needed

Certain equipment is needed before you start cleaning your dog’s ears, make sure you have the following before starting the procedure.

  • A clean towel
  • Cotton wool pads
  • A dog-specific Ear cleaner 
  • A handler if your dog is not used to the procedure

Never use cotton buds in the ear cleaning process because they can go too far in the ear canal and cause a lot of damage. 

Recommended procedure to clean a dog’s ears:

  • Put your dog in a comfortable position, lift the ear, and look well inside the ear.
  • Check your dog’s ear for discharge, redness, and a bad smell. A small amount of wax present in the dog’s ear is healthy. However, if the wax is present in large quantities and there is pus and odor, it is a sign of infection.
  • Now gently wipe the outside of the ear with the damp cotton wool to remove excess wax.
  • Use a dog-specific ear cleaner in the ear canal and be sure not to insert it too far.
  • Start by massaging the base of the ear. It will help the cleanser to pass into the ear canal.
  • Wipe the cleaner with damp cotton.
  • Repeat the same process on the other ear.
  • If you are giving your dog ear drops, it is best to use them immediately after cleaning them. This will ensure that the ear drops are effectively absorbed without getting stuck in excess wax.

How often should I clean my dog’s ears?

Ear cleaning depends on the breed of your dog. If you have droopy-eared dogs like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, they require a regular ear cleaning. The problem with long drooping ears is because of the less airflow that gets into the ear, and there is a higher chance of infection.

Similarly, dogs that like to swim more often need regular ear cleaning because additional moisture can cause an ear infection. Also, if your dog suffers from ear mites, he will need more regular cleaning.

What is the brown stuff in my dog’s ears?

Usually, the inner portion of the dog’s ear is pink, clean, and healthy. If you noticed a brownish discharge in your dog’s ear, it is an alarming sign because this discharge is a clear sign of ear infection. Dogs are generally known to get dirty, but the inside of the ear should always be clean and dry.

Can I use water to clean my dog’s ears?

There are many ear cleaning products available on the market, but if you want to use water to clean your dog’s ear, you can get the job done. Always use warm water and cotton balls to clean the ear. Dip the cotton wool in warm water and clean the ear from the outside of the ear to inward. 

How to flush your Dog ear? 

There are several techniques used to flush your dog’s ear, the most commonly used method is shown below.


  • First, examine the ear canal and determine the nature of the disease and the amount of debris in the canal. Your initial approach is to remove excess debris from the ear canal.
  • If you find that debris in the ear canal is waxy, soak the canal for 5 to 10 minutes with the help of a ceruminolytic ear cleaner.
  • Now flush their ear with warm isotonic saline. You can also use a video otoscope for this procedure because it has all the flushing equipment and higher magnification. However, an 8-French polypropylene urinary catheter or a bulb syringe with a 12 ml syringe can also be used.
  • If the debris is present in large quantities, you can use ear curettes or alligator clips to remove them.
  • Once the procedure is complete, evaluate the ear’s tympanic membrane.

You must be aware of the owner of the possible complications that can occur during the ear flushing. Typically, a normal ear heals after 20-30 days of flushing. Some veterinarians also recommend the use of non-toxic steroids and antibiotics after ear flushing.


The ear is an integral part of the dog’s body, and its regular cleaning and care are necessary. Always keep your dog on the lookout for infection and excess wax. You can use warm water and apple cider vinegar at home to clean their ear.

Clean dogs ears with vinegar