Dogs’ ears are super sensitive to bacterial buildup and infections. Just like we clean our own ears, we should take time to clean our dogs’ ears. Take care and be cautious when cleaning out your pet’s ears. You don’t need any magic ingredients; in fact, you can use items found in your home. It only takes a second and can make a world of difference for your pooch.

Bacteria thrive in warm, damp places. Because of this, dogs with long ears are often more susceptible to ear infections and other ear problems. Dogs with short, pointed ears are less likely (but still prone) to develop the same problems. In addition to bacteria, there are other irritants that can aggravate your pooch’s ears. Allergies, fleas and ticks, and trauma (scratching the ear) can all cause your dog discomfort. That is why it is important to examine and to clean out your pet’s ears each week.

If this is the first time you have cleaned out your pooch’s ears, then a visit to the veterinarian may be needed. Before you grab the ear cleaning supplies, take a minute to thoroughly examine the outside and inside of the ear. If needed, grab a small flashlight to see deeper into the ear canal. If there is an odor coming from the ear, then this could be a sign of a serious infection, which should be handled by a veterinarian. Black flakes or discharge inside the ear are a sign of ear mites and require immediate attention. Excessive buildup should be removed by a veterinarian for safety reasons. A scratch to the ear can also lead to problems. Once the veterinarian cleans the ear initially, then you should put your pet on a weekly ear cleaning schedule.

Once you have determined that you can take care of your pet’s ears, then it’s time to gather the supplies. Grab a small pair of scissors and tweezers; you may need these items to remove excess hair. You will need multiple cotton balls or applicator tips. Be careful when choosing the applicator; it should be fairly large and soft and should not be painful or dangerous for your pet. Never use cotton swabs, since the swabs can be easily lodged in the ear. You can find ear cleaning solution made especially for dogs at your local pet store. If you would rather use something from your home, then equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water will do the trick. You can also use peroxide if you prefer. You should also grab a friend or family member to help hold and play with your dog until he gets accustomed to the process.

When you’re ready to clean out the ear, first examine the hair inside the ear. The hair should not be too thick or too long. Groomers will normally clip the ear hair; but, if you do not use a groomer, then it is up to you to trim the hair. You can even use tweezers to pluck unwanted hair; though you should try to be as gentle as possible. Once the excess hair is removed, then grab a clean cotton ball. Dampen the ball with the ear cleaning solution, and start with the top, exposed part of the ear. Dispose of the cotton ball, and dampen a new one. This time, wipe around the ear canal. Be careful, and do not go too far into the ear. You should wipe as far as you can without forcing the cotton ball inside the ear. Dispose of this cotton ball, too. Dampen another cotton ball and wipe out all the cracks and crevices of the ear. Finally, soak up the excess liquid with a dry cotton ball. It is extremely important that you use a new cotton ball every time you touch the ear. Never reuse a cotton ball, whether it is for the same pet or another pet. The bacteria can be easily transferred by the cotton ball.

Keeping your pet’s ears cleaned is important. If needed, have your veterinarian clean out your pooch’s ears the first time. After that, you should try to clean out his ears once a week. To complete the process, all you need are cotton balls and cleaning solution. A small pair of scissors and friend can also help with the cleaning. Soon enough, your pet will look forward to the weekly grooming.

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