Cleaning your dog's ears

How to Care for Dog’s Ears and Eyes

Dog Hair Clippers for Grooming

Your dog’s ear and eye care is a very important function in the hygiene of your pup. It’s a good habit to clean your dog’s eyes with every bath, but you shouldn’t neglect to clean any noticeable discharge from the eyes. Therefore, their eyes and ears require your full attention because of the possibility of eye infection in dogs and dry eyes in dogs.

The ideal time to wash your dog’s face and eyes is at bath time. Just don’t focus on his body, make sure you cover all the ground from nose to tail. However, there will be times when your dog needs a quick touch-up on his face and around his eyes. Here are some tips to help with face grooming.

Even though I have taken care of dogs for a very long time, I am no veterinarian. So, I am going to give you some simple advice that I have used in my life-time to stay ahead of having any eye or ear infections for your dog.

Dogs Eye Car and cleaningWhen you notice at any time small little globs from around your dog’s eyes simple hold his mouth shut with one hand to stop him from jerking away and then just use a clean water-moistened washcloth or small sponge (one specifically saved for your dog’s cleaning requirements), and very gently wipe the area around the eye to loosen and remove this dirt. Be careful not to wipe the eye itself for obvious reasons. Using this approach will prevent you from startling your dog and allow safe and effective eye cleaning.

Avoid using paper towels or napkins. When these types of products get wet they can easily shred and fall apart into pieces which will leave small bits of paper in your dog’s eye when wiping. A very small piece can develop and cause an eye infection. The idea is to make your dog cleaner than he was before you groomed him. Also,  do not use pre-moistened wipes because of their convenience. Why? because they contain ingredients in their solution make-up and can irritate your dog’s eye socket. Only use wipes that are for dogs only

When performing any task on your dog, it’s best to have the proper gear and tools at hand for all of your dog’s grooming needs.

As with any function you have to do with your dog, especially the first few times, reward your pup with a treat and the phrase good boy, good boy or girl. It’s part of the training process and having them comfortable with the task of touching them with your hand.

Tear stains: stains are that dark blotchy area that forms on the hair under the eyes of some dogs which is called Poodle Eye. This discoloration is particularly visible in lighter-colored dogs. The “stains” are caused when the eye has an excessive number of tears, which react with the bacteria in the hair. Routine cleaning with a moist washcloth should remove the stains, you can try solutions that are specially made for this condition. I have listed my selections below. Be sure to follow the directions.

However, if the tear stains are a chronic problem with your pet, it is a possible indication that there is an underlying medical cause, such as infected tear ducts. You should bring this to the attention of your veterinarian. This is also the situation in any eye infection in dogs such as redness, or dry eye in dogs. Take your pup to the veterinarian. He is the best qualified to remedy the situation and advise proper medication such as anabolic eye drops if needed. Do not take risks and please, do not wait. Proper care is essential to their health and well-being.

This zYoung 3-Pcs. Comb Tear Stain Remover is a very good value for home pet care.

zYoung 3 Piece Pet Comb Tear Stain Remover Combs for Dogs

— This is a 3 piece comb set as shown
— This set of tear stain combs can be used on any breed of dog who has tear stains or crusty eyes. Tip: it’s best to wet the area first before cleaning to make it easier to perform a thorough cleaning.
— The combs are made of sturdy plastic with fine strong rounded stainless steel teeth; alleviates discomfort by gently removing crust, gunk, buildup, and mucus around the eyes
— Combs are multi-purpose and can also be used for a variety of grooming needs


Stain Remover Comb Set

Your Dog’s Ear Care and Maintenance

Cleaning your dog's earsI am asked this question all the time. How do I clean my dog’s ears properly and how often? Well, it’s really simple actually. First, on a regular basis. If your pup is outside a lot you should give him a quick look over at least twice a week. You’ll know if their ears are dirty. Dog’s have wax build-up just the same as humans do so it is important to keep them clean to stave off any possible infections.

To clean normal ears, choose a mild ear cleaner specifically designed to be used on pets. Oh, and don’t use any of these home remedy solutions I hear about, i.e., using vinegar, alcohol, and even hydrogen peroxide. These types of chemicals can cause serious irritation for the skin of some dogs and be painful to an already inflamed ear canal if it exists.

My simple method is to use a moist cotton pad or you can use a soft, thin cotton cloth and wrap it around your index finger and “gently” wipe the visible part of your dog’s ear canal and the outer part of the ear. Only use a cotton swab if it is necessary and only on the visible portion of your dog’s ear.

However, if you prefer using moisten wipes specifically for dogs, I have listed one below I feel is economical and safe to use. Again, reward your pup with a treat and then repeat the steps on the other ear. If cleaning has not been done for long periods of time, you may want to purchase an ear cleaner that will remove wax and dirt deep inside the ear. Follow the directions and use just a small amount and massage the bottom part of the ear gently and let your dog shake out the excess liquid. Do one ear at a time. Another treat if you please.

I keep on hand two of the products I have listed for prevention purposes a) I use the Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for routine ear cleansing in the healthy ear canal or prior to administration of other ear preparations, and b) it’s a mild alcohol-free cleansing and drying solution for routine maintenance of “otitis externa” which can be common in dogs ears and Epi-Otic has a low pH of 2.2 and contains no chlorhexidine or alcohol.

Also, if your canine does show symptoms of ear infection it would be prudent to have a treatment on hand right-away.

ZYMOX LP3 Enzyme System – Otic Enzymatic Solution Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone


Canines ear canal anatomy

Having owned dogs all my life, adult life, ear infection, and inflammation in dogs’ ears, known as otitis, are extremely common in canine health problems.

For Dogs, just like our own ears, always has a low level of bacteria and yeast cells present. Otitis occurs when conditions allow these bacteria or yeast cells to thrive and overwhelm the ear canal, resulting in infection and/or inflammation of the ear.

There are three types of otitis. Otitis externa is an infection and inflammation in the outer ear, also known as “swimmer’s ear” in humans. This is the most common form of infection since dogs’ outer ears are most exposed to water, bacteria, and other foreign pathogens.

Otitis media occurs when there is an infection and/or fluid buildup in the middle ear canal behind the eardrum. Otitis interna, the most severe level of infection, occurs when the infection reaches the innermost part of the ear canal. The inner ear canal hosts our sensory and hearing organs; infection here can lead to vertigo, imbalance, and even deafness.


Here are the most common causes of ear infections in canines:

Excess moisture. One of the most common culprits of canine otitis is excess moisture left in the ear after swimming or bathing. Bacteria thrive in moist environments, and overgrowth will lead to inflammation and infection. It’s no surprise that water-friendly dogs who swim often (or get baths often) are more prone to ear infections.
Ear mites. Ear mites are usually rare in dogs and puppies unless they have been in close contact with another animal with ear mites. Ear mite infestations can lead to ear inflammation and infection. These tiny creatures can cause very intense ear itching and if you see your dog scratching his ear or rubbing his head on the floor, he may ear mites.
Allergies. Allergies to food or environmental elements (i.e. pollen, mold, dust mites, grass) can cause recurrent ear infections in dogs. If your dog is experiencing recurrent ear infections from a food allergy, typically removing the food allergen from his or her diet will help put a stop to the ear infections. Reactions to environmental allergens can often be addressed with canine allergy medicine. Please speak to your licensed veterinarian if you suspect your dog has a food or environmental allergy. Your vet can properly diagnose your dog’s allergy and recommend the safest medicine or natural remedy for your four-legged family.
Foreign debris. All types of debris can get caught and trapped within a canines ear canal because it is larger than a humans canal, and if not properly checked and cleaned out, it can lead to infection over a small period of time. That is why dog care is so important. Cleaning your dog’s ears at home on a regular basis is the best way to prevent the risk of ear infections. All you need is a good quality ear cleaning solution, which I have listed two above and use a cotton gauze or a good clean cotton cloth. Do not use tissue as it can shred (break apart when wet) and fall into the ear canal.
Dogs with big, floppy ears.  These types of ears are more prone to ear infections than other dog breeds.  To name a few, they include Irish setters,  Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Golden Retrievers, bloodhounds, and many others, so take caution.


Short answer, Yes. As I mentioned above, ear infections are common in dogs and otitis externa is the most common form of infection. Otitis externa occurs when the outer ear canal becomes infected and inflamed due to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast. This is why I keep the ZYMOX on hand in case this situation occurs, and it has a few times over many years. No matter how clean you keep your dog’s ears, it will rise on occasion and it’s best to be prepared. It will prevent a possible expensive vet visit.

Although every dog breed can develop ear infections, dogs with floppy ears such as bloodhounds, cocker spaniels, setters, etc, are more likely to be more susceptible to otitis.


How do you know if your dog has an ear infection? Look for these telltale symptoms.

Head shaking or tilting
Scratching and pawing at the ear
Redness in the ear canal
Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge in the ear canal
Ear odor
Visible discomfort, whining
Vertigo and imbalance (signs of a potentially more developed and serious ear infection)

Personal Note on Dog’s Ear Infections:

Throughout this website, I have mentioned many areas on your canine that should be looked after and monitored on a regular basis.

Even though the site is about grooming your own dog at home, I felt is necessary to mention other areas for caring for your best friend. It’s no different than caring for a child. You want the best for them, to make sure they are well taken care of, i.e., health, nutrition, and over-all grooming.

I mention this because a dog’s ears can be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, this is why it is extremely important to make sure they are kept as clean as possible, especially if your dog is outside a lot, like mine are and that is why I keep those two products on-hand for their ears at all times.

The same holds true for the bathing process. Keeping their skin and hair clean from dirt and debris is essential so the natural oils can promote healthy skin and shiny hair growth. So bathing your pet regularly, thoroughly rinsing out the shampoo and brushing is also just as important.


Never hesitate to ask a question in the comments. The newsletter is only sent when vital new information is relevant.


2 thoughts on “How to Care for Dog’s Ears and Eyes”

    1. I will say this first. If you have read the above information and followed all I have listed i.e. cleaning, using a solution or the ZYMOX, then OK. It may be wise to see a vet.

      Making sure their ears are clean is an important part of their hygiene. Keeping your dog’s ears clean with regular cleaning prevents infection. But also, your dogs likey infection can be yeast or bacteria, or both, possibly it is inflammation from seasonal allergies or both of these things. This time of year is greater for allergies to flare up, and many dogs get itchy skin and often inflamed ears that itch. Dogs can develop seasonal allergies at any age, but usually by age five most who will have allergies develop symptoms in those first years of life.

      Therefore, if you have tried the solutions I have in the information on this page and you are still seeing a problem with scratching his ear, then consult with your vet. An ear infection is nothing to play around with. Forget home remedies on this one.


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