How to Clean a Dog's Ears With Vinegar and Water

Vinegar and water, applied gently to the outside ear, will clean a dog's ears safely and easily, but deeper ear problems require the attention of a veterinarian. Learn how to care for your dog's ears in this free video on puppy and kitten care.

Part of the Video Series: Puppy & Kitten Care

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. Laurel Leach, I'm here again, with Stewart today. And today, we're going to talk about how to clean your dog's ear with vinegar and water solution. But before we go into that, we're going to talk about a couple of caveats that we might have before hand. First of all, I would advice that you talk to your veterinarian before you start cleaning your dogs ear with vinegar and water solution. Because the ear canal comes down in here, to the ear drum. So, this is kind of like, we're looking at the ear, Stewart, look at this, there. We're looking at the ear like this. So, if we could take and open Stewart up that way, we'd be seeing this. And the ear is an L-shaped canal. In us, it just comes straight out, so our ear comes straight out like this. And you know, on the side of the Q-tip, it says, never stick it into your ears. So, what do we all do? Stick it into our ear. So, with some very big precautions, we can use a cotton tipped applicator to clean gently, the outside of the ear. But the problem is this, you don't know what the inside of the ear looks like. The inside of the ear could be very, very inflamed, the ear canal could be very narrowed. You could have infection, or pus, you could have a ruptured ear drum. So, your veterinarian needs to look down this ear canal. And make sure there's no foreign object trapped down here, make sure that the canal is not too narrowed. And make sure that it is actually appropriate to use a cleaning solution in your pet's ear. O.k., so, you're going to see your veterinarian, to make sure it's actually appropriate to be cleaning your pet's ear with a vinegar and water solution. Because if you have a ruptured ear drum, you're not going to be wanting to use that in your pet's ear. The recommendation for the vinegar and water ear cleaning solution comes back from an older time. When we didn't may have as good medications. But the vinegar and water is slightly astringent and it's going to create a pH that's not hospitable for any yeast to live. And yeast are important contributors to ear disease. So, when veterinarians were recommending vinegar and water, they were taking distilled white vinegar. And putting it in body temperature, warm water and then, mixing it up. And then, using a cotton ball in that solution, to gently wipe the outside of the ear, first of all. And then, sometimes, very gently, down in where you can see the outer part of the ear, the outer part of the ear. You don't want to go any further than this. And there are some veterinarians that would argue that, that even traumatizes the ear and contributes to perpetuation of the condition. So, you're going to want to just take that moistened cotton tipped applicator. And only wipe the outside part, where you can see. Anything down in this area needs your veterinarian's attention and probably needs medication. There is no way at home that you can look into that area, your veterinarian needs to look into that area. So, that in short is how to clean your dog's ear with vinegar and water solution. And thanks very much, I'm Dr. Laurel Leach, and this again, is Stewart.

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