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How to Clean a Small Dog's Ears
How to pluck hair from a dog's ears

Ear wax buildup and excess hair in the ear canal can be problems for your dog. Not so much for hearing loss as for potential ear infestations and infections. The latter is among the top five
reasons why people take dogs to vets.

You can help your dog by taking a few simple actions.

      • Clean his ears once a week or as directed by your vet.

      • Kneel on the floor and have your dog sit between your thighs. That way you
        can gently squeeze him to make him stay. Have his head facing away from you.

      • Use sterile cotton balls, tissue or gauze. For routine cleaning, you don't need
        to use a cleaner but could use mineral oil. I use a hypo allergic wipe. If you want to prevent wax buildup, however, you will need a commercial product. My vet
        recommended Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser and I really like it.

      • Use a new cotton ball/tissue/gauze on each ear. If one ear is infected, using
        the same tissue may spread the infection to the healthy ear.

      • Never put a Q-Tip, your finger or anything else down your dog's ear canal.

      • Wipe the underside of his ear and the opening of the ear canal with the hypo allergic wipe or mineral oil.

      • See if there is hair growing down the ear canal. This is a particular problem for
        Poodles, Shih Tzu, Yorkies, Maltese and Affenpinschers.

      • The easy way to remove excess ear hair is to cut it with small nail scissors and
        then wipe it away.

      • The better but harder way to remove excess ear hair is to spray it with
        R-7 Ear Powder or other ear powder, which will dry it and make it easier to hold, and then use tweezers or your fingers to remove it. This will probably upset you more than it will your dog. See video at the end on how to pluck the ear hair.

      • If you're using a cleaner, squeeze ten drops in his ear canal or squeeze until the
        excess starts coming out of his ear.

      • Gently massage the outside of his ear. The video below shows you how. Your dog
        will start shaking his head which also will help the solution settle.

      • Wipe away the excess solution with cotton. Wipe the entire underside (non-hairy)
        ear and the front part of his ear canal. Don't poke.

      • Give him a cuddle and treat.


      • If you see anything in his ears that looks like red dirt or coffee grounds or if his
        ears smell like a sewer, see a vet right away. It's probably ear mites or other

      • Always wipe out his ears after swimming or bathing. Water remaining in the ears
        can lead to inflammation or infection. It's a good idea to shake a bit of
        R-7 Ear Powder
        in his ear and ear canal to remove excess water.

If your dog has recurring ear infections, your vet may recommend testing him for allergies and/or
using an anti-fungal ear cleaner.

Here's a well done 2-minute video on how to clean your dog's ears.

Epi-Otic dog ear cleaner and wax remover
Ear Cleanser

Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser

My vet recommended this brand and I've been very satisfied. I also discovered that it's cheaper to buy it at Amazon.com than at my vet's office.

Here's what some other reviewers said:

Ever since I started using Virbac Advanced Ear Cleanser for my dog, he hasn't had one single ear infection, and that is the truth.

I like the scent, quick drying action, and it does not leave the hair on his ears feeling sticky or tacky like some ear cleansers do.

As long as they keep manufacturing this brand of ear cleanser, I will never buy any other brand.

In addition to cleaning product, you may need to pluck or trim ear from your dog's ears. This is especially important if your dog has floppy ears or allergies to prevent infections. Below is a video
that shows you how to pluck the hair. You can also VERY CAREFULLY use small manicure scissors to clip your dog's ear hair.

I like this video because it clearly shows which hair needs to be plucked. It goes on a bit long so feel free to click to off when you've seen enough. The groomer starts by sprinkling ear powder such as
R-7 Ear Powder in the little dog's ears before she starts

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