Your puppy may need an occasional ear cleaning to remove excess wax buildup, especially if he plays outdoors in dusty conditions or swims frequently and gets water in his ears. Both of these activities can trigger excess wax production, which increases the risk of ear infections. Your veterinarian may suggest regular ear cleanings as a preventative measure.
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your puppy is currently displaying the symptoms of an active ear infection. These include pawing or scratching at her ears and a foul ear odor. In addition, the presence of redness, swelling, open wounds on the earflaps or inside the ear, or dark brown or crusty earwax may indicate an infection or an ear mite infestation.
Go outside or away from carpet and upholstered items to clean your puppy's ears and assemble all the necessary items within arm's reach before beginning. Some of the ear cleaning solution may spray on nearby objects.
Speak to your puppy calmly. While most dogs do not enjoy having their ears cleaned, they will learn to tolerate it after a few cleaning sessions. If your puppy pulls away, it's helpful to use a long leash that you can wrap around your leg or your waist. Sit comfortably on a step or kneel beside your puppy and hold him securely but kindly.
Squeeze a small amount of ear cleaning solution slowly into your puppy's ear by placing the tip of the bottle at the ear canal's entrance. Avoid inserting it any further. A small breed puppy may require 1 tsp. of solution while a large breed puppy may need up to 1 tbsp. of solution. The solution should be at room temperature to reduce the sensation.
Massage the outside base of your puppy's ear for 10 seconds, just below the entrance to the ear canal, as soon as you've introduced the solution. The massaging action will calm your puppy and reduce the tickling sensation from the solution as well as distribute the solution evenly inside the ear.
Release your hold on your puppy's head and allow him to shake his head, expelling the excess solution. Repeat the procedure with his opposite ear and wait a couple of minutes to allow the solution to soften the earwax.
Wipe away softened earwax with a cotton ball, beginning at the bottom of the visible portion of her ear canal and wiping upward and outward. Your puppy's ear canal has two sections: the outer section extends downward and the inner section angles toward the middle of her head from there. Clean only the outer section but make sure to wipe away waxy buildup in the deep creases within that portion of the ear canal.
Use only a veterinarian recommended ear cleaning solution. Other solutions may contain alcohol that may sting your puppy's ears.
Do not insert cotton-tip swabs into your puppy's ear canal.
Dry your puppy completely after bathing him and wipe residual moisture from his ears.
Items You Will Need
- Veterinarian-approved ear cleaning solution
- Sterile cotton balls (or cotton wipes)
- Plastic bottle with squeeze tip
- Hound Health Handbook, Betsy Brevitz, DVM, Workman Publishing, 2004
- Royalty free image from Shutterstock