How to Clean a Terrier's Ears

Three Methods:Getting the Right SuppliesCleaning the EarsFiguring Out When to Clean the Ears

It is important to take good care of your dog's ears, especially the small ears of a terrier. Poorly cleaned or dirty ears can cause infection, mites, and other medical issues. You should check the dog’s ears for infection daily and perform regular ear cleaning.

Method 1
Getting the Right Supplies

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    Get the right ingredients. There are certain cleaners you should use to treat your dog's ear. Any you buy should be made specifically as an ear cleaner that is safe for dogs. Look for products that have ingredients that will clean off dead cells and ceruminolytic properties, which help break up earwax.[1]
    • They should also be mildly acidic to help kill bacteria and be able to evaporate quickly.
    • Your vet may also be able to give you a good cleaner.
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    Choose a liquid cleaner. There are multiple kinds of cleaners, but some are better than others. Liquid cleaners are better than cleaner wipes. Wipes can only reach certain parts of your dog's ears, where liquid cleaners can reach all parts of the ears. Ear wipes also cannot reach your terrier's ear canals, which is where most ear infections start.
    • This is why you need liquid cleaners that evaporate quickly.
    • Witch hazel-based ear cleaners are one of the most common because they dry quickly. You can find them in most pet stores.[2]
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    Avoid water. Even though water helps clean the rest of your dog, it should not be used in the ears. Unlike cleaner, water is hard to remove after it gets into your terrier's ear and the stagnant water left in the canal can cause it to swell.
    • This side effect creates a breeding ground for infections, since water doesn't evaporate as quickly as liquid cleaners.[3]
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    Get the dog ready. When you are about to clean your terrier's ears, ask a friend or loved one to help. Your dog may move around and you need both hands to clean the ears. Place your dog on a soft, high surface, such as a table covered with a towel, so your terrier will be comfortable while you're cleaning his ears.[4]
    • It may be necessary to trim the fur in your pet's ears if you haven't recently. If you keep your terrier's coat regularly trimmed, this may not be needed. However, if you do not, terrier's ears are often very furry, so you may need to trim the fur around the inside. This will also help cut down on trash and dirt in his ear as well. Use small manicure scissors to trim the fur in your pet's ears.[5]
    • Also have some disposable gloves for your hands and two cotton balls nearby.

Method 2
Cleaning the Ears

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    Pour the liquid into the ear. Start by warming the liquid cleaner slightly. You can move the bottle back and forth in your hands or place it in a warm place. Next, hold your hand around your dog's ear and place the nozzle of the bottle above it, just over the ear entrance. Gently squeeze the fluid into the ear, pouring enough liquid in to fill the canal.
    • If you overfill the canal, it won't hurt your dog. It will just spill out onto the floor.[6]
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    Plug your dog's ear. Once the ear is full, use one of the cotton balls to plug the entrance. This will help keep the cleaner in during the next step. It should fit down into the ear canal.
    • Don't push it too far down. You don't want to hurt your dog.[7]
    • Do not use a Q-tip. Dogs have a tendency to move suddenly, which could cause the q-tip to plunge into her ear and cause pain and structural damage.[8]
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    Massage the ear canal. Once the cotton ball is in place, gently rub the bottom of your terrier's ear canal for a minute or two. This will help mix the cleaner with the wax and debris in your terrier's ear canal. The ear canal is the area right under the ear flap. It will feel like a small tube underneath your fingertips.
    • The exact location doesn't matter as long as you are in the general area.[9]
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    Dry up the cleaner. After the ear massage, remove the cotton ball from the ear. Your dog will likely shake her head at this point to get the remaining cleaner out. Once she does, use another cotton ball the gently blot out excess cleaner. Try massaging the ear canal to bring any remaining cleaner to the surface. Your dog will likely shake her head a few times, which is normal.
    • Look the other direction when she does this. The cleaner may fly out of his ear.
    • Once she's done shaking her head, repeat on the other ear.
    • If any discharge you find smells bad, you notice a heavy discharge, or the color is brown or black, take your dog to the vet. [10]

Method 3
Figuring Out When to Clean the Ears

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    Determine how often to clean your dog's ears. There are many factors that go into deciding how often to clean your dog's ears. There is no specific rule for how often you should do this. This can range from once a week to once a month.[11] This timeline depends on the amount of ear wax produced by your dog, any predisposition to ear infection, or your dog's general lifestyle.
    • For example, if your dog has a history of ear infections and has a fast production of thick black wax, he would benefit from cleaning once a week. If not, the built up wax could fester ear mites or harmful bacteria. Reducing the amount wax weekly could help decrease the breeding ground for infection.
    • However, if you dog has never had ear infections but still produces a lot of wax, he would be okay with ear cleanings once a month.
    • If you aren't sure, ask your vet for the advice about how often you should clean your dog's ears. You don't want to over clean them, which can cause problems.[12]
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    Avoid cleaning the ears under certain situations. There are some behaviors that signal a larger issue for your dog than a need for ear cleaning. If your dog tilts his head to the side constantly or permanently to one side, avoid cleaning his ears and see your vet. Additionally, if your dog develops a head tilt after you clean his ears, seek veterinary attention before cleaning his ears again.
    • These symptoms are signs of ear pain or possibly a ruptured eardrum, both of which need immediate treatment. If the eardrum is ruptured, cleaning can make it worse.[13]
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    Notice other issues that need vet assistance. There are other ear conditions that might signal another issue with your dog. If you notice your dog scratching or tearing at her ears, have her ears checked by your vet before doing anything else to her ears.
    • These symptoms signal the possibility of a foreign object or body stuck in your dog's ear. If this is the case, your vet may need to examine her with an otoscope to check for issues.[14]

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Categories: Canine Health