how to clean puppy ears?

how to clean puppy ears

One of the crucial aspects of grooming a puppy which is often overlooked is cleaning your puppy’s ears. If you are one of those dog owners who is wondering- Is it necessary to clean my puppy’s ears? Let me directly say a yes. Ears are vital sensory organs for dogs which need proper care. It is important to note that there are few puppies who do not need ear cleaning while there are others who need frequent ear cleaning.

Dogs with droopy ears, dogs who like to swim need frequent ear cleaning. You can easily clean your puppy’s ear at home. It is not rocket science at all. If you and your dog are comfortable, you can definitely do it yourself.

How to clean your puppy’s ears?

The first thing to prioritize while cleaning your puppy’s ear is their comfort. This should be the paramount in the whole process. Starting early by introducing gentle handling of their ears, patience and utmost care is ideal which will help establish positive associations.

You need to begin by familiarizing your puppy with gentle touches and strokes to their ears. At first observe their reactions closely; If you feel they seem uncomfortable or resist, it’s crucial not to force the process. Stressing or startling your puppy during ear cleaning could distress them and potentially cause harm.

If you feel that your puppy is displaying aversion to ear handling, it’s better to seek professional assistance from a vet/groomer..

Equipments you will need

Cotton balls

You will need Soft cotton balls and non-abrasive materials to apply the cleaning solution and gently wipe away debris from the ear.

Ear Cleaning Solution

Opt for a vet recommended gentle and dog-specific ear cleaning solution. Make sure they do not contain alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as they will cause irritation.

Towel or Cloth

Make sure you keep a clean soft towel or cloth handy to clean any accidental spills or to provide comfort to your puppy during and after the cleaning process.

Plenty of Treats or Rewards

You can definitely use treats and rewards to create a positive association with your puppy. It is a good practice to reward your puppy with treats for their cooperation during and after the cleaning process.

Have a second support or helping hand

You will need a second pair of hands or support if your dog is not used to ear cleaning or handling.

how to clean puppy ears : Step by step guide

1. Preparing and providing comfort

Begin in a quiet, comfortable area where your dog feels relaxed. You can make sure to offer treats or gentle praise to create a relaxed and positive environment for your dog.You can do so by introducing your puppy to various people, animals, and the environment to help them become well adjusted and comfortable in different situations.

2. Examination

Gently lift your puppy’s ear, holding it in between your thumb and forefinger to examine the ear’s interior. Look for any indication of redness, excessive wax buildup, discharge, or unpleasant odors. If you find any sign that is concerning, consult your vet for guidance before proceeding with cleaning.

3. Initial Cleaning

Dampen a cotton ball or gauze pad with a proper vet recommended ear cleaning solution. Gently wipe the visible parts around the entrance of the ear to remove dirt or excess wax. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal at this stage.

4. Applying Ear Cleaner

With now your puppy being in a calm state, carefully insert the tip of the dog friendly ear cleaner into the ear canal, ensuring not to insert it too deeply. You need to also make sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner’s label for the appropriate amount.

5. Massage and allow the solution to work

Gently massage the base of your puppy’s ear for about 20 to 30 seconds. This helps the cleaner to dislodge debris within the ear canal. Your puppy might shake their head; this is normal and it helps to expel loosened debris.

6. Wipe excess cleaner

Using a fresh cotton ball or gauze pad, delicately wipe away any excess cleaner and dislodged debris from the ear’s surface.

7. Repeat for the Other ear

Repeat the same gentle process for the other ear, ensuring the cleaning experience is calm and positive for your puppy.If at any point your puppy shows signs of discomfort or distress, stop the cleaning process immediately and consult your vet for guidance.

How often should you clean your puppy’s ear

Determining the frequency of ear cleaning for your puppy depends on various facts, primarily their breed, level of activity they undergo and individual preferences.

Droopy eared breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds require more frequent ear cleaning. Their longer, pendulous ears limit airflow, creating an environment where debris and moisture can easily accumulate , leading to potential yeast infection.

Dogs that love swimming or frequently expose their ears to moisture necessitate more regular ear cleaning. Excess moisture can predispose them to ear infections, making regular cleaning crucial to prevent issues. 

Additionally, staying vigilant for ear mites, which can cause infections and spread to other pets, is important. Monitoring for symptoms and ensuring prompt treatment is essential.

Remember striking the right balance is the key. Regular cleaning is necessary to prevent infections, yet excessive cleaning can irritate the ear canal, leading to further complications and damage. Therefore if you are unsure, it is always best to consult your vet. 

Do’s and Don'ts while cleaning your puppy’s ear


  • Always go for gentle, dog specific ear cleaning solutions recommended by vets to avoid unnecessary complication and irritation.
  • You do have to use gentle motions and reassure your puppy by giving them treats while approaching them for ear cleaning. It’s important they remain calm and feel relaxed during the whole process.
  • Do check for signs of infection, excessive wax build up or unusual odors or any concerning symptoms before cleaning.
  • Follow the instructions on the ear cleaning solution’s label carefully. 
  • Use soft materials like cloth or towel for cleaning visible parts of the ear. If you are using any applicators, apply them with caution.


  • If your puppy shows signs of distress or discomfort during ear cleaning, stop immediately, do not force the process.
  • Avoid using harsh substances like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, as they can cause irritation or damage to the delicate ear tissues.
  • Do not insert any sharp objects deep into the ear canal, as this can cause injury or push debris further inside leading to complications.
  • Do not neglect professional guidance. If you are unsure about any aspect of ear cleaning, seek proper guidance from your vet so that they can address any underlying issues effectively.
  • Over cleaning is not at all recommended. Excessive cleaning can disrupt the ear’s natural balance and cause irritation. Follow a proper routined schedule.


The journey of caring for those adorable ears isn’t just about cleanliness, it is a testament to your commitment towards your puppy’s comfort and health. By understanding the above steps, you have taken a significant step towards fostering a lifetime of comfort for your puppy.

Never hesitate to reach out to your vet for guidance, if you notice any concerning symptoms or if your puppy appears uncomfortable during the ear cleaning process.

Here’s to many happy, ear-scratch-free moments with your puppy friend !