How to Clean a Dog's Ears With Witch Hazel

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Dogs with long hair on floppy ears are more prone to ear infections.
Dogs with long hair on floppy ears are more prone to ear infections. (Image: TijanaVanna/iStock/Getty Images)

A dog's inner ear design is twisty and curvy and is a breeding ground for yeast, bacteria, parasites and infections due to wax buildup. Cleaning your dog's ears with a witch hazel ear cleaner can prevent infections and promote healthy, pink and clean ears.

Ear Cleaner Recipe

Make a homemade dog ear cleaner to keep on hand. Pour 3/4 cup of witch hazel extract into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of powdered boric acid and mix well. Add 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice and 1/8 teaspoon of lavender essential oil and mix all the ingredients well. Pour the mixture into a new plastic hair color applicator bottle. Place the cap on the tip to prevent spills.

Ear Cleaner Benefits

Witch hazel has several beneficial properties in dog ear cleaners including a drying effect to prevent infections, an astringent for cleaning skin, and an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling tissues. Witch hazel is a natural hemostatic product that encourages good blood flow for healthy ears.

Powdered boric acid is an antiseptic and an insecticide that kills parasites in the ears such as fleas and ear mites.

Aloe vera juice is an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and germicide that provides moisturizing to skin.

Lavender essential oil kills fleas and other parasites in dog ears.

Ear Cleaning Process

Place your dog in the "sit" position in a small room of your house, such as a bathroom or laundry room, or take him outside to clean his ears. When your pooch shakes the excess ear cleaner out of his ears, it is easier to wipe up on a hard surface, or leave it outdoors.

Shake your cleaning solution and remove the cap. Grasp the tip of an earflap and pull it upward. Fill the ear canal with the cleaning solution, and massage the base of the ear with a thumb and forefinger to facilitate the solution to enter the ear deeply. Release your dog and allow him to shake his head. Wipe any remaining ear cleaner from the inside out to the tip of his ear with a sterile gauze pad until all wax and debris is removed. Repeat this process with his second ear. Follow ear cleaning with some tasty treats and praise for his patience. Examine his ears weekly and clean wax and debris as needed to help him have healthy ears.

Ear Infections

During your weekly ear inspections on your furry friend, turn the earflaps backward so you can see the inside of the ear. Inspect the ears for signs of yellow, brown or bloody discharge, redness and swelling. The inside of an infected ear likely will have a putrid smell or odor. These are signs of an ear infection and require a trip to your veterinarian for antibiotics.

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