How to Clean a Small Dog's Ears

A few tips and how-to video

vet looking at dog's ear

Ear wax buildup can be a problem for your dog, not so much for hearing loss as for potential ear infestations and infections. The latter is among the top five reasons why people take dogs to vets.

Here are the steps I use for my dog:

  • Clean his ears once a week or as directed by your veterinarian
  • Wash your hands before you work on your dog
  • Kneel on the floor and have your dog sit between your thighs. That way you
    can gently squeeze him to make him stay. Have his head facing away from you.
  • If you want to prevent wax buildup and reduce the likelihood of ear infection, you will need a commercial ear cleaner. I like Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser or Top Performance ProEar Professional Medicated Dog and Cat Ear Cleaner. Follow the product directions.
  • Use sterile cotton balls, tissue or gauze to clean his outer ear. I use a hypo allergic wipe. Use a clean ball/tissue/wipe for each ear.
  • Never put a Q-Tip, your finger or anything else down your dog's ear canal.
  • Give your dog a cuddle and treat when you're done.


  • If you see anything in his ears that looks like red dirt or coffee grounds or if his ears smell like a sewer, see a veterinarian right away. It's probably ear mites or other infection.

Video: Here's a well done 2-minute video on how to clean your dog's ears.

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