The warm recesses of your pet's ears make a perfect home for parasites, yeast and bacteria, so keeping your pooch's ears clean can help prevent serious ear infections and parasitic infestations. Commercial ear cleaners are available from pet supply stores, but a homemade ear cleaner can be made from materials found at your grocery store.
Be sure to check your dog's ears weekly for infections or parasites. A healthy ear can be handled without causing pain, if it is not swollen and is free of odour or dirty discharge. Also, if your dog shakes or scratches its ears, it may be suffering from an ear disorder. Do not clean your dog's ears if they appear infected; seek the care of a veterinarian. The risk for infection is increased if your dog goes swimming often, has long ears or lives in a humid environment.
Make your own homemade ear cleaner by mixing one part water with one part distilled white vinegar in a squirt bottle. Shake the mixture thoroughly before use. Begin cleaning your dog's ears by plucking out the hairs growing inside the ear canal. Gently flush the ear with a few drops of the cleaner and allow your dog to shake out most of the solution. Massage the area where the ear attaches to the head gently to distribute the solution. Dry the outside of your dog's ear with a towel after flushing, and wipe the inner side of the ear's upper flap with a cotton ball.
Consult with your veterinarian about how often you should clean your dog's ears, because excessive cleaning can do more harm than good. It is a good idea to inspect your dog's ears weekly and clean them if they appear dirty or waxy. It is also a good idea to clean your dog's ears after bathing or swimming.
Cleaning your dog's ears can damage his eardrums if done improperly. Be gentle when squirting the solution into your dog's ears and do not insert anything, including cotton swabs, into the ear canal. Commercial cleaners may contain drying agents or alcohol that can hurt your dog, so consult with your veterinarian before using these products.