How Often Should My Dog's Ears Be Cleaned? - Sparkly Tails

How Often Should My Dog's Ears Be Cleaned?

Apr 26, 2024

Those floppy ears, those ears that perk up at the slightest sound of a treat bag – our dogs' ears are as unique and lovable as they are. But keeping them clean? That might not be the first thing on every dog owner's mind. However, our pets need a little ear care to stay healthy and comfortable.

So, how often should you be giving those furry ears a good cleaning? Well, that depends like many things in dog care, isn't one-size-fits-all. It depends on a variety of factors, some dogs with big ears might need more attention, while others with upright ears might be good with a less frequent cleaning schedule.

Factors Influencing a Dog’s Ear Cleaning Frequency

human cleaning jack russel ear

Understanding these four factors can help you determine the appropriate ear-cleaning schedule for your dog. 

By the way, if you haven't already, make sure to check out our blog from last week about Easy Tips to Clean Your Dog's Ears at Home - it's full of helpful advice to make the process smoother for you and your pooch.

1) Ear Type: 

Dogs with floppy ears, like Basset Hounds or Cocker Spaniels, tend to have less air circulation in their ear canals, creating a more humid environment where bacteria and yeast can thrive. These pups generally require more frequent ear cleaning, often weekly or bi-weekly. 

2) Activity Level: 

Is your dog a fan of playing in puddles, swimming in lakes, or rolling around in the grass? If your pet likes to be active and spend time outdoors, their ears could collect more dirt and moisture, needing more frequent cleaning at home to keep them healthy.

3) Allergies: 

Dogs with allergies, whether from environmental factors like pollen or food-related triggers, often face ear problems more frequently. Allergies can cause inflammation and excessive wax production in the ears, increasing the likelihood of infections. Therefore, paying extra attention to ear hygiene for dogs with allergies is important.

4) Past Ear Infections: 

If your dog has experienced ear infections before, your veterinarian may suggest a proactive cleaning regimen to maintain ear health and prevent the recurrence of problems. Regular cleaning can help keep the ears clear of excess wax and debris, reducing the risk of infection and discomfort for your pet.

Dog’s Ear Care Made Easy

woman spraying go ears

We've covered the general guidelines for ear cleaning frequency, but every dog is unique, and their ear care needs can vary just as much as their personalities. So, how can you determine the perfect cleaning schedule for your dog? It's all about playing detective and understanding the unique factors that might influence their ear health.

Earwax Consistency:

Not all earwax is created equal! Pay attention to the colour and consistency of your dog's earwax. A small amount of light brown, waxy discharge is normal. However, excessive wax buildup, colour changes (yellow, green, or black), or a bad smell can indicate a bigger problem that requires veterinary attention.

Ear Proportions and Hair Growth:

While floppy ears generally require more frequent cleaning than upright ears, consider the size and shape of your dog's ears. Dogs with larger, heavier ears might trap more moisture and debris, even if they stand upright. Similarly, dogs with excessive hair growth in the ear canal might benefit from more regular cleaning to prevent blockages.

Swimming Style:

Your pup's swimming technique says a lot about their ear care needs. Some dogs love to dive deep, while others prefer a gentle paddle! Those deep divers may need a little extra help keeping their ears dry and clean after their aquatic adventures.

Sensitivity and Allergies:

Some dogs have sensitive skin or allergies that manifest as ear problems. If your dog frequently scratches their ears, experiences redness or swelling, or seems uncomfortable, it's important to check for potential allergens or sensitivities. Your veterinarian can help identify triggers and recommend appropriate management strategies, which might include more frequent ear cleaning with sustainable hypoallergenic solutions.

Environmental Factors:

Consider your dog's environment and lifestyle. Do they spend a lot of time outdoors exploring dusty trails or rolling around in the grass? Are they exposed to allergens like pollen or dust mites? These environmental factors can contribute to ear debris and irritation, potentially requiring more frequent cleaning.

Q&A | Common Concerns About Dog Ear Infections 

Dog ears

Q: What causes ear infections in dogs? 

A: Ear infections are typically caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast in the ear canal. This can be triggered by various factors, including allergies, trapped moisture, ear mites, or underlying medical conditions. 

Q: My dog keeps getting ear infections. What can I do?

A: Repeated ear infections can be frustrating for both you and your dog. It's important to work with your veterinarian to identify the root cause. This might involve allergy testing, ear cytology to determine the type of infection, and exploring possible factors like hormonal imbalances or autoimmune diseases. Your vet can then recommend a customised treatment plan, which might include long-term medication, dietary changes, or more frequent ear cleaning.

Q: How can I tell if my dog's ear infection is serious?

A: While any ear infection warrants veterinary attention, certain signs indicate a potentially more serious issue! These include severe pain, head tilting, loss of balance, hearing loss, facial paralysis, or a bad smell accompanied by discharge. If you observe any of these symptoms, seek immediate veterinary care for your dog.

Q: Are all dog ear cleaners created equal? 

A: Not all ear cleaners are the same. Many commercial options contain harsh chemicals and alcohol, which can irritate your dog's delicate ear canal, especially if inflammation is present. Opt for natural ear cleaners with soothing ingredients like witch hazel or aloe vera. Organic and hypoallergenic choices are ideal for sensitive dogs. 

Q: With so many dog ear cleaners on the market, how do I choose the right one for my furry friend?

A: Choosing the right ear cleaner is essential for effective and gentle ear care. Look for a product that combines ease of use with natural, organic ingredients. Some innovative options such as the Essential Dog’s Organic Ear Cleaner offer mess-free application methods and soothing botanical extracts like witch hazel and aloe vera. 

Essential Dog’s Organic Ear Cleaner Gif


Always prioritise transparency and choose a cleaner free from aggressive chemicals and artificial fragrances, ensuring a safe and pleasant experience for your pooch.

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