It is very important to clean dog ears from time to time as failure to do so can lead to bacterial, fungal or yeast infections. If your puppy or dog’s ears smell like an old, wet tennis shoe, chances are that there is an underlying health issue. Other signs of ear problems include excessive ear shaking and so on. Waxy, brownish gunk coming out of dog ears could also indicate a bacterial infection. So let us study some easy ways to clean smelly dog ears.
1. What can you clean your dog’s ears out with?
As a pet owner, it is important that you know what to avoid and what to use in order to clean dog’s ears out with.
- Mineral oil is not a good ingredient to use in homemade dog ear cleaner as it is heavy and messy. It also traps dirt, fungi and bacteria in the ear and could worsen the infection.
- Coconut oil– This is a good, gentle and natural cleaner. A few drops of warm coconut oil added to dog’s ears can reduce odors and prevent fungi, bacteria and yeast.
- Olive oil– This is a great ingredient to clean out dog’s ears out with. It is safe, gentle and can keep odors, ear mites and ear infections at bay.
- Witch hazel– This is a gentle, natural astringent that can prevent ear infections and reduce foul odors.
- Essential oils– Lavender and tea tree essential oils are best for home dog ear cleaning. They kill bacteria and fungi and can also prevent ear mites.
- Aloe vera gel– Natural and antiseptic, this soothing ear cleaner can prevent fungal, bacterial and yeast infections in dogs ears.
- Sweet almond oil– This is a gentle natural and safe homemade dog ear cleaner. Add a few drops with a bit of vitamin E to clean dog’s ear, prevent odors, infections and alleviate pain.
- Over the counter otic cleaner for dog ears for head shaking, odor and infections- Many over the counter dog’s ear cleaners are available in the market. Use them regularly to prevent odors, bacterial and fungal infections. Choose a cleaner with antibiotics and also one that can kill ear mites.
- Gentian violet and boric acid– Mix a few drops of Gentian violet, a teaspoon of boric acid powder and some witch hazel. Use this homemade dog ear cleaner in each ear and massage gently. Let the medicine come out naturally as it will bring out the gunk with it. Repeat daily until the infection is cleared.
2. Easy homemade dog ear cleaner
Your vet can help you clean dog ears with antiseptic otic solutions. However, we all know how expensive a trip to the vet can be. If your dog is not in pain due to infection, try this easy homemade dog ears cleaner recipe:
- 1 tsp warm olive or coconut oil
- 1-2 drops of Lavender essential oil
Mix the oils well. Use a dropper to pour a bit of the blend in each ear. Allow the oil to work its magic. Your dog might want to shake its ears to remove the excess oil from the ears. Lavender oil is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It can also prevent foul, strong odors from dog ears. Olive oil is antiseptic and clears out the hardened wax and gunk. Coconut oil is antibacterial and anti fungal and also relieves pain and inflammation. The oil is the best dog ear cleaner when pet is having ear infection. Repeat the use of this homemade dog ear cleaner 2-3 times a day for a week or until the infection is cleared.
Related content: Easy Ways to Clean Dog Tear Stains
3. With vinegar
Distilled white vinegar is a natural dog ear cleaner. However, if your dog has an active infection or cuts inside the ears, do not use this remedy. It will sting and burn and irritate the ear canal. For general cleaning, use the following steps:
- Have a family member hold the dog’s head.
- Dilute the vinegar with a bit of distilled water (50:50 ratio)
- Soak a clean cotton wool in the solution.
- Use the cotton wool to clean the outer areas of the ear.
- Never allow the vinegar to drip inside the ear canal unless instructed by your vet.
- Repeat once a week or as needed until the foul odor is eliminated
In place of white vinegar, you can also use diluted, raw, organic apple cider vinegar for dog ear infection.
4. With hydrogen peroxide
Caution: hydrogen peroxide should not be used undiluted for cleaning dog’s ears as it can make a crackling sound that can terrify your pet. Also, do not let the peroxide drip inside the ear canal. Dog ears are very sensitive so make sure you use hydrogen peroxide only on the outer areas to clean and deodorize them
- Soak a Q-tip or a sterile cotton wool in the peroxide solution.
- Hold down the pet’s head.
- Gently clean each ear carefully. Clean only the outer areas and do not let the solution drip in the ear canal.
- This homemade dog ear cleaner is ideal to clean a dog’s ears with infection.
5. Air out dogs ears
If your dog has floppy ears (cocker spaniels, poodles etc) then you must allow its ears to air out. This is important to dry out the moisture trapped during swimming, bathing etc and failure to do so can cause fungal or yeast infections. From time to time, tape the dogs’ ears behind its head for a few hours at a time. This might look strange but it can prevent many dog ear issues later.
6. Perform dog ear cleanup weekly
Many pet owners wonder how often they should clean their dog’s ears. The answer depends on the dog’s activity and the weather conditions it is exposed to. If your dog is exposed to hot, humid environment, you must use the above products/cleaners to clean dog ears weekly. As a rule, clean its ears each time you notice waxy buildup or debris. Make it a habit to check pet’s ears at least once a fortnight to ensure they are clean and free from odor, mites and ticks etc.
If despite these steps, your dog’s ears look or smell infected, or s/he keeps shaking its head then it is time to take your baby to the vet.