How to clean a puppy’s ears at home: a handy guide (11 steps)

Puppies have sensitive ears. But with the right information, it's easy to learn how to clean a puppy's ears at home. Learn everything about cleaning dog's ears!
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One fine morning, I called my dog out of my bedroom window. 


And he didn’t respond. I suddenly realized his lack of response was becoming a norm lately, especially when he was away.

That got me thinking why he is not listening. 

I started troubleshooting my brain to find out the answer, and suddenly I realized it’s been a long time since I cleaned his ears

Let the truth be told; I never cleaned my dog’s ears before. It was the first time for me, and I felt stupefied. 

Have you ever been in a similar situation lately where your dog wouldn’t respond to your calling anymore?

Or you are a novice dog owner like I was and want a detailed article on how to clean puppy ears. 

Well, well. You just landed on the right page.

I know exactly how you are feeling right now because I felt the same when I was in that spot.

After researching the internet thoroughly, watching tons of videos on the subject, and gaining hands-on experience on how to clean a puppy’s ears, I am writing this article for my fellow dog owners to save them from the trouble. 

Now you don’t need to go through the trouble at all.

Take a back seat.

Relax and enjoy this piece until the end to know every bit of detail about how to clean your puppy’s ears and make your life easy. 

Cleaning a Puppy’s Ears: a Preview

  1. Why should you clean your puppy’s ears
  2. When should you start cleaning your puppy’s ears
  3. Regular ear check – 3 times a puppy’s ears need cleaning
  4. How often you clean your puppy’s ears depends on these factors
  5. Dog ear cleaning solutions and tools
  6. How to clean puppy’s ears in 11 easy steps
  7. FAQs (frequently asked questions) on how to clean puppy ears

Why Should You Clean Your Puppy’s Ears?

If you are thinking why you should clean your puppy’s ears, I have summarized three reasons why you should be doing that.

  1. Some dogs have clean ears. They don’t require much cleaning. Others have ears that require a regular cleanup. Dirt buildup in the ears can cause infections. If you own a breed that has long-hanging ears, such as Basset Hounds or Cocker Spaniels, your dog does need frequent ear cleaning. 
  2. Dirt can accumulate in your puppy’s ears if you would not clean them up regularly. The dirt buildup would impart the hearing of your dog. Like my dog did, your dog would not listen whenever you would call it. 
  3. Lack of cleaning invites bacteria, and bacteria means infection. If your dog develops an ear infection, he will suffer from earaches that can be utterly painful for your little friend. So, do not miss how to clean puppy ears and save your friend from any inconvenience. 

When Should You Clean Your Puppy’s Ears?

You have to look for some indications before you start the how-to-clean puppy ears mission.

Let’s start with a physical inspection of your puppy’s ears. Look at your friend’s ears and examine. If you find any dirt or inflamed skin, you can go ahead with the cleaning. 

You can smell and identify the cleaning needs as well. A clean ear is odorless. If your friend’s ear smells yeasty or stinky, go ahead and do the cleaning. 

Regular Ear Check – 3 Times a Puppy’s Ears Need Cleaning

You need to perform a regular ear checkup. There are three times when your puppy ears need cleaning. What you have to look for is listed below:

#1 Know Your Puppy’s Ears

You need to know your puppy better. If the puppy ears are pointed and erect, they would not require frequent cleaning. But if they are covered with a soft flap, they are more likely to trap dirt and grim inside them.  

#2 Observe The Inside of The Ear

You have to look deeper into your puppy ears. If the ear canal is dry and pinkish, your puppy ears are already clean and require no further action. But if you notice a color change, swelling, or inflamed skin, go ahead with the cleaning. 

#3 Observe The Head Movements of Your Puppy

You already know your friend better. You can notice a change in his head movements. If you notice that your friend is shaking his head more often than usual, chances are it’s time for you to refresh your memory on how to clean puppy ears before actually starting on.  

How Often You Clean Your Puppy’s Ears Depends on These Factors:

#1 Lifestyle and Activity Level

If your friend likes to stay in the mud, he is more likely to end up with dirty ears and would require ear cleaning more often than usual. 

#2 Type of Ears

If your friend’s ears are not pointed, have a closed ear canal and are covered with a flap, he would often end up with dirty ears because natural ear cleaning is difficult when the puppy has an ear flap. 

#3 Health and Skin Condition

If your puppy’s skin is sensitive, you should do ear cleaning more often because sensitive skin catches infections easily. 

Dog Ear Cleaning Solutions and Tools

With the best dog ear health in mind, I have here a few recommendations for you to make your life easy on how to clean puppy ears

  1. Zymox otic pet ear treatment with hydrocortisone
  2. Pet md – dog ear cleaning wipes – otic cleanser for dogs to stop ear itching and infections with aloe vera and eucalyptus
  3. Nutri-vet ear cleanse for dogs | cleans and deodorizes 
  4. 4-in-1 dog ear cleaner – vet formulated cleansing solution + aloe vera for removing wax, debris & odor in pets

Read more here: The best ear cleaners for dogs

How to Clean a Puppy’s Ears in 10 Easy Steps

Cleaning dog ears is not a difficult task. It might seem like a daunting one, but it is actually rather simple. Clean your puppy’s ears by following the instructions below.

Total Time: 5 minutes

Step #1

Sit on the floor and have your puppy sit in front of you with his rear end positioned between your legs.

Step #2

Grasp one of the puppy’s ears and hold it vertically to expose the ear canal.

Step #3

While gently but firmly holding the puppy’s ear flap with one hand, take the ear cleaning solution in the other.

Step #4

Squeeze some of the ear cleaning solution into the dog’s ear, using enough cleaning liquid to fill the ear canal completely. It might be uncomfortable for your dog.

Step #5

It is okay if some of the cleaning solution leaks out of the ear canal; try not to put the tip of the bottle of cleaner in contact with the ear under any circumstances. If the tip of the bottle touches your dog’s ear, wipe the contact area with gauze soaked in disinfectant to prevent the spread of bacteria or yeast.

Step #6

Continue to hold the ear vertically with one hand and gently massage the base of the ear under the ear opening for about 30 seconds with the other hand. This allows the cleaning solution to break down the debris in the ear canal.

Step #7

Still holding the ear upward, take a wipe, wrap it around your finger and clean the inside in circular motions. Massage gently and get the debris out of the ear.

Step #8

Let your puppy shake his head. This allows the remaining ear cleaning solution and dirt from the ear canal to move out of the canal toward the outer opening of the ear.

Step #9

Lift the ear upward once more and remove the debris and cleaning solution from the ear canal using gauze in an inward, outward motion. NEVER use a human ear stick for this removal.

Step #10

Provide some treats for your puppy to leave a good memory of this first cleaning and repeat the same process with the other ear.

Step #11

If your puppy seems to be in pain during the cleaning process, stop and consult your trusted veterinarian immediately to find out the source of the problem.

Estimated Cost: 15 USD


  • Ear cleaning solution
  • Ear wipes

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions on how to Clean Puppy Ears

How Often Should I Clean My Puppy’s Ears?

The ears of your dog are one of the most sensitive areas of his body, and are the entry point for many infections. It is important to check and clean your dog’s ears at least once a week. Depending on the lifestyle, breed and shape of the ears, your dog may need more care.

How to Introduce Ear Cleaning to Your Puppy?

Puppies need ear cleaning training. Be gentle with your dog. Cuddling before starting the cleaning helps in calming the dog. But you have to hold him tightly once the solution is inside. It may be uncomfortable for your dog. Treat him with his favorite candy afterward. 

How Can I Get My Puppy to Cooperate With Ear Cleaning?

You can use his favorite candy as a treat for cooperating. Tell your dog what’s going to be the reward for letting you clean his ears, and that way, you can get him to cooperate with you for the cleaning. 

Can I Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean My Puppy’s Ears?

Never use Hydrogen Peroxide for dog ear cleaning. It is harmful for your puppy’s ears. The inside of the puppy ear is sensitive, and hydrogen peroxide can lead to damage of the cells of the ear canal. In short, can cause more damage than good. 

What Should I Clean a Dog’s Ears With?

You can use a wipe and warm water. Alternatively, you can purchase ear cleaning wipes or ear cleaning solutions. For recommendations, please go through the ‘Dry Cleaning Solutions and Tools section’. 

Do All Dogs Need to Have Their Ears Cleaned?

Yes. Ear cleaning is a must for all dogs. But some dogs would need it more often than other dogs. 

Why Is It Important to Clean Dog’s Ears?

Dogs’ ears are particularly sensitive to the attack of fungi, bacteria and parasites. As a result, the lack of proper dog ear hygiene can lead to the onset of numerous infections. Moreover, if infections are not treated in time they can lead to more severe diseases.

at What Age Should I Start Cleaning My Dog’s Ears?

In order to allow your best friend to enjoy iron health and avoid the development of disorders that may affect the auditory system, I strongly recommend you start cleaning your dog’s ears from an early age.

Especially some breeds of dogs such as labrador, cocker, dachshunds, bassethound, poodles, and most dogs with long, floppy ears are particularly susceptible and at risk for ear infections.

As a result, taking care of your dog’s ear cleaning frequently is essential.


After reading this article, I am sure you have learned everything on how to clean your puppy ears.

It is necessary for your cute little friend to have regular ear cleaning. It is healthy for them and keeps them out of infection’s way.

Some dogs require cleaning more than others. Optimize and schedule as per your dog’s needs. 

Thank you for trusting me with your time and for reading so far.

Now you can successfully handle your puppy’s ear cleaning session all by yourself. But if you have any other query, do let me know, I am here to help. 

Until next time!

A big hug.

Extra resources:

Paws up for sharing this dog-related article!
Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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