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How to get a bug out of a dog's ear

Updated February 21, 2017

Ear disease is a common problem in dogs; in fact, according to veterinarian Holly Nash, about 20 per cent of dogs are affected by ear infections. Some causes for ear problems include allergies, parasites, infections and foreign objects getting stuck inside the ear. If your dog appears to have an insect stuck inside his or her ear, it's important that you try to remove it promptly before it causes any complications. Not only does a bug inside your dog's ear cause your furry friend discomfort and irritation, but it may cause the dog to scratch or paw excessively at the ear, causing trauma to the ear as well as a possible infection.

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  1. Observe your dog's behaviour. If your dog is obsessively pawing or scratching at an ear, this may indicate that a foreign object, like a bug, is causing irritation in the ear.

  2. Examine your dog's affected ear. Some signs that point to a bug being trapped inside your dog's ear may include shaking of the head, redness or swelling of the ear canal or ear flap and odour or discharge.

  3. Wash your hands and prepare a table with cotton balls, cotton swabs, mineral oil and ear cleaner.

  4. Place your dog atop a table. If your dog is uncomfortable, you may want to have someone else calm him while you are working on the ear.

  5. Apply a few drops of mineral oil into the ear if you suspect that the bug is still alive. Doing so will kill the bug. Wipe your dog's ear gently with a cotton ball.

  6. Apply an ear cleaner if your veterinarian has approved the use of one in the past. Massage the cleaner gently into the base of the ear as to loosen up the debris. Allow the dog to shake its head as this will help get excess cleaner out and possibly allow the bug to shift to a visible part of the ear.

  7. Use cotton balls and cotton swabs to carefully wipe up the debris (including the dead bug). Only clean the parts of the ear you can see; if you go farther into the ear canal, you run the risk of damaging your dog's ear drum and pushing the debris in farther.(References 1)

  8. Contact your veterinarian if you are unsuccessful with your attempt to remove the bug from your dog's ear.

  9. Tip

    If your dog was cooperative throughout the process, reward him with a treat or a fun activity.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Mineral oil
  • Ear cleaner
  • Dog treats

About the Author

Nancy Chen is a professional writer and owner of a pet care business. She is also certified to teach English to middle and secondary school students. Chen holds a bachelor's degree in English and comparative religions from Tufts University, as well as a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University.

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