Dogs scratch their ears when they get water in them after bathing or swimming, during ear mite infestations, as a result of ear infections or excess wax build-up and sometimes simply out of boredom. Cleaning your dog's ears can help determine the cause of your dog's itchy ears and whether veterinary care is needed, especially when infection or ear mites are present. If veterinary care is unnecessary, use this home remedy to clean your dog's ears and to treat the itchiness.
Prepare the ear wash solution by mixing equal parts of rubbing alcohol and distilled white vinegar in a clean jar. The white vinegar contains antiseptic properties and the alcohol will aid in the rapid evaporation of the liquid from the dog's ears.
Choose an area where you will clean your dog's ear and assemble all the items you will need. Because excessive head shaking can splatter ear wash solution everywhere, outdoor ear cleaning is highly recommended.
Fill a dropper with the ear wash solution. Lay your dog on his side with the affected ear facing you. Add the ear wash solution to your dog's ear canal until the ear canal is full of solution. Your dog may dislike the unusual sensation of liquid in its ear and may resist. You may need help holding him down.
Massage your dog's ear for 30 seconds while the ear wash solution is in the canal. Allow your dog to get up and shake out the ear wash solution. Allow him as much time as he needs to clear his ears.
Rub the interior surface of your dog's ear with a cotton ball that has been dampened with ear wash solution. Clean wax build-up or dirt from the dog's ear.
Repeat the cleaning on the other ear if necessary. Clean the dog's ears once daily until the dog no longer suffers from itchiness. A regular cleaning once each month can prevent the problem from recurring.
Reward your dog for his cooperation with a favourite treat. Put the lid on the ear wash solution jar for use during the next cleaning.
The rubbing alcohol in the ear wash solution can be irritating if your dog has open scratches in its ears from excessive scratching. If your dog experiences any discomfort during the ear cleaning process, substitute the rubbing alcohol with clean tap water.
Symptoms of an ear infection include pain, redness, odour and discharge and should be examined by a veterinarian to prevent possible hearing loss. Do not stick anything inside your dog's ear canal. This can damage his ear canal or ear drum and cause permanent hearing loss. If your dog's itchy ears persist, consult a veterinarian to help determine the cause.