We’ve all been there. Trying to hang on every word of the show we’re binging, when BAM! The collar starts jingling, jingling, jingling and our dog starts scratching, scratching, scratching. What’s an annoyed (yet totally loving) pet parent to do?
First, know that head shaking and ear scratching isn’t just something that “all dogs do.” These are surefire signs of a pet ear infection. Ear infections are painful for our four-legged friends … and no picnic for us pet parents when we have to fork out money at the vet to treat it!
Here’s the good news: by keeping your pet’s ears clean, you can drastically reduce the chance of a pet ear infection and make sure your dog is happy and itch-free. And if you’ve never cleaned your pet’s ears before, deep breath. If you take it step by step, you’ll be a pet ear cleaning pro in no time!
What You’ll Need to Clean Your Pet’s Ears
- Your pet – If you have a small dog, he can sit in front of you with his rear between your legs. For larger dogs, put him in a “sit” in the corner of a room, with one side against the wall. This will discourage escape-artist behavior. Then kneel on the other side and proceed with the ear cleaning. Cats can be held on your lap. And, while you get used to the process, it often helps to make this a two-person job!
- Cotton balls or gauze – No Q-tips please – they can harm eardrums.
- Towel – This is simply to keep any debris from splashing on you when your pet shakes his head.
- High-quality pet ear cleaner – Note: pet ear cleaning is not the time to showcase your DIY skills. Many ingredients in homemade pet ear cleaners can sting a pet’s ears or bubble and scare them (think hydrogen peroxide and vinegar). If your pet’s first experience with ear cleaning is painful and scary, it will be challenging to get them on board with future cleanings.
We’re totally going to play favorites and recommend Oxyfresh Pet Ear Cleaner. Vets and groomers swear by it because it quickly removes stubborn ear wax and is perfect for pets with sensitive ears. Uniquely formulated without alcohol and fragrances, it’s super gentle and never stings so your pet won’t get an “ear cleaning complex.” Plus, it leaves no residue behind! This helps discourage yeast growth, a leading cause of pet ear infections.
3 Steps to Clean Your Dog’s Ears (Purrfect for Cats Too!)
#1. Add 10–15 drops of ear cleaner into the ear.
Cats and dogs have long narrow ear canals that are L-shaped, which is why debris can easily get trapped in them. To get the pet ear cleanser where the stubborn gunk is, gently pull the ear away from the head and up in a vertical position.
Add 10–15 drops into the ear. Be sure to keep the tip of the bottle out of the pet’s ear so it doesn’t introduce bacteria into the ear canal.
#2. Massage the ears.
Rub the base of the ear gently in a circular motion for about 30 seconds to loosen wax and dirt. Note: It’s normal to hear a squishing sound when you do this as the pet ear cleanser moves around in the ear canal.
#3. Let the pet shake his head.
The natural motion of your pet shaking his head will dislodge the debris (this is where that towel will come in handy), which you can simply wipe away with a cotton ball. Then you’re done and can move on to the next ear … or if you’re a superstar, you can try both ears at once!
Wait, that’s it? I don’t have to rinse out the ear cleaner?
It depends on the product you use. If you use a pet ear cleaner that has oils and fragrances, the ears will need to be rinsed, as those ingredients can be highly irritating. That’s the beauty of Oxyfresh Pet Ear Cleaner. No need to hassle with the extra step of rinsing because there are no fragrances, alcohol or other irritants – just gentle ingredients that soothe the ears as they clean.
P.S. After you master the art of pet ear cleaning, it’s time to give some attention to your pet’s smile. Oxyfresh has 3 unique solutions to stop bad dog breath (cat breath too!) and improve their gums and teeth.