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How to Clean Your Large Breed Dog’s Ears

Did you know certain physical characteristics can put your dog more at risk for ear infections? Common characteristics for ear-infection-prone dogs include:
  • Long and floppy ear flaps
  • Deep ear canals
  • Excessive hair in the ear canals
Swimming and other outdoor activities can also increase your dog’s risk of ear infection. If your pet takes part in these activities, it's important to watch for signs of an ear infection, including shaking of the head, scratching at the ears, or discharge from the ears. If you see any of these signs, it's important to have your pet examined by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian may also recommend that you clean your dog’s ears at home.


The following video will walk you through how to properly clean your large breed dog’s ears. You can also refer to the step-by-step guide below. 

Instructions for Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

To clean your dog’s ears at home, follow these steps:

  1. Find a comfortable place on the floor, with plenty of room for your dog to lie down.
  2. Fold your dog’s ear up over the head to open up the ear canal.
  3. Place a small amount of ear cleaner into the ear canal.
  4. Fold your dog’s ear back over and gently massage the ear so the product coats the entire ear canal.
  5. Fold ear back up again to open the ear canal.
  6. Clean the outside of the ear with a piece of cotton. Then clean down in the ear canal where the product is. Never place a Q-tip in the ear canal—it could rupture their ear drum.
  7. Make sure to clean off most of the cleaning solution. If too much is left behind, it will cause irritation and cause your dog shake his head.
  8. Repeat this same process on your dog’s other ear. Note: If you touch the ear with the bottle, clean the bottle with alcohol so it doesn’t become contaminate with bacteria or yeast.
  9. After you’ve cleaned both ears, reward your dog with a treat!

Need more information?

If you have questions about your dog’s health, make an appointment with your local Banfield veterinarian. You can also read articles in our pet health resources library. Or, for more information about ear infections, check out the articles below.