Ear Cleaning Dos and Don’ts

Ear cleaning is a routine step taken by groomers during the grooming process to keep your pet comfortable and healthy. Dirty ears not only smell bad, but they can develop into ear infections if left untreated. If you would like to keep up with your pet’s ear health in between groomings and vet visits, here are some helpful tips to get you started.

First, there are certain things that are best left to the professionals, meaning you should NOT attempt them on your own. Ear plucking, for example, is best left to your groomer. Many breeds have hair that grows inside the ear, and this hair is removed to better allow air circulation inside the ear, and to promote the ears’ natural drainage process. Improper plucking puts your pet at risk for painful irritation and infection.

Also, make sure you are using the proper tools. Q tips are not recommended because it is easy to inadvertently pack dirt and wax deeper into the ear canal, causing buildup and infection. Furthermore, as with human ear cleaning, it is very tempting to go “digging for gold” with a Q tip, and if you have ever hurt yourself by going into your own ear too deep with one, you will understand why it is best to avoid putting your pet at risk for the same problem.

Instead, simply use a regular cotton ball moistened with your preferred brand of over-the-counter pet ear cleaner. Do not saturate the cotton ball, as the excess liquid will drip into your pet’s ears and pool at the bottom of the ear canal. Not only is the added moisture just begging for an infection, but it will cause your pet to shake his/her head to relieve the discomfort. The shaking, if done too much and too hard, can actually damage the outer flap of your pet’s ear!

As far as what part of the ear to clean, stick with the parts that you can readily see. The key is not shoving the cotton ball into the ear canal; wipe away dirt and wax on the ear flap and the outer opening of the canal, but do not try pushing into the canal itself.

Most pets don’t mind getting their ears cleaned. However, if you find that it is too much for you at home and your pet doesn’t need to be groomed very often, ask your groomer if you can come in just for an ear cleaning so they can take care of it for you.

The Yappie Cuttery Team