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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

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Regular ear care can be one of the most overlooked areas of pet health. I’ve met a lot of pet parents who are a little nervous about cleaning their pet’s ears, because (understandably) they don’t want to hurt or stress their beloved pup or kitty. But routinely inspecting the ears is a great way to catch early signs of infection, allergy, or mite infestation that can be quickly addressed. Good routine ear care usually involves weekly inspection and some type of regular cleansing routine.

Some people like to use the Zymox products we blogged about recently; while others prefer manual ear cleaning. Either method can be effective, and most pets don’t mind ear cleaning once they get used to it. If you’d like to go the manual route, here are a few tips and tricks that can really help simplify the process:

Dog Ear Cleaning

Once your pet gets used to the process, ear inspection and cleaning can be stress-free … and with the right treats, even rewarding!

 

  • Make regular ear inspection and cleaning part of your routine. Once pets are used to having their ears handled, the entire experience becomes much less stressful.
  • Make sure it’s a very positive experience. We like to use grain-free, low-calorie treats like Fruitables both during and after, and heap on the praise.
  • Do the cleaning when your pet is otherwise unstressed. In other words, right after a bath or a nail clipping is probably not the best time.
  • If your pet is hard to handle (this can especially apply to cats), ask someone to help you. Use as little restraint as necessary, and keep petting and praising throughout.
  • To begin the cleaning process, wrap a small piece of gauze loosely around your pointer finger. This is a safer, gentler option than a Q-Tip.
  •  Moisten the gauze with a bit of liquid ear cleaner. The gauze should be damp, but not soaking wet.
  • Hold the very tip of your pet’s ear flap between your thumb and forefinger, and gently roll it up so you can see the inner part of the ear.
  •  Inspect this area for redness, sores, or discharge. Wax that is light brown in color is pretty normal — but black, red, white, or infected-looking discharge is a warning flag.
  • Gently swab the inner and outer ears. If your pet’s ears haven’t been cleaned for awhile, you may need to use several pieces of gauze. It’s fine to go toward the inner ear — just be very, very gentle. If your pet begins to squirm, stop immediately and praise.
  •  As an alternative, you can slowly squirt 5-7 drops of a “self-cleaning” enzyme-based product like Zymox into the ear. Then fold down the ear flap and gently massage the base of the ear for 15-20 seconds.
  •  It’s generally best to clean your pet’s ears every week or so. Dirt can accumulate rather quickly, and doing a visual check can help you catch an early infection before the area becomes painful and inflamed.

Do you have a special approach that works for you? Share with us below!