How to clean a dog's ears with vinegar & water

Written by marina hanes
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How to clean a dog's ears with vinegar & water
Dogs with floppy ears particularly need regular ear cleaning. (dog running on grass with ears and tail up play image by Paul Retherford from

It's common for dogs' ears to smell, especially if they have floppy ears. When a dog's ears fold over, it makes it easy for moisture to stay inside the ear, which causes a build-up of bacteria and wax. If you notice the dog scratching its ear, it could have an ear infection. Regular cleaning can prevent infections by keeping the ear dry and sterile.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Peroxide
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dog treats
  • Vinegar
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Mix one part vinegar, one part water into a small container and mix thoroughly.

  2. 2

    Tell your dog to sit next to you, then hold onto its snout. Be gentle, yet firm.

  3. 3

    Dip a cotton ball into the vinegar solution with your free hand. Clean out the inside of the ear with a few cotton balls. Then use a cotton swab to clear out wax build-up inside the ear canal. Don't put the cotton swab far down into the ear canal, because you can puncture the eardrum or it's possible to lose the cotton.

  4. 4

    Use a dry cotton ball to do a final swipe of the ear. This will help dry the area, too. Steps 3 and 4 can be done to the other ear.

  5. 5

    After both ears have been cleaned, give your dog a treat for obeying and sitting still.

Tips and warnings

  • Clean your dog's ears at least twice a week.
  • If your dog experiences pain or is constantly itching its ear, take it to a veterinarian to check for an ear infection.

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