Knowing the ins and outs of cleaning dog ears is crucial for your Cavalier’s ear health. Cavaliers have those adorable floppy, furry ears that are super cute. They are also the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, so it’s extremely important to have a clear understanding of cleaning dog ears and to keep up with cleaning your Cavalier’s ears regularly.
Cleaning Dog Ears is Easy
Knowing how to clean dog ears means you can keep your Cavalier’s ears spic and span. That’s important with a floppy, fuzzy eared breed like these little guys. Those cute little ears are so great at breeding bacteria and yeast, because they limit air flow and keep the canal warm and moist. And since Cavaliers have fur in their ear canals, it’s even more important. That fur is an extra layer of bacteria breeding. Good news: cleaning dog ears is easier than you think!
Issues Associated with Unclean Ears
- Chronic ear infections
- Painful swelling due to infection
- Permanently thickened ear canals secondary to chronic ear infections
Ear infections are no fun, and in cases of severe chronic infections, the ear canals can become permanently thickened, making it even more difficult to clean the ears and manage infection.
Properly Cleaning Dog Ears
Cleaning dog ears is relatively easy. The hardest part of the process will be trying to get your Cavalier to be still if he or she is a real wiggler. If he or she is a real wiggler? All Cavaliers like to wiggle and get very excited whenever they get a little extra attention though some are not fans of having their ears played with at all. I am lucky that Davinia and Indiana will both tolerate ear cleaning. Now ear brushing that is a whole other story 😉
Pluck the Ears
In the case of Cavaliers, or any breed with hair in the ear canal, you need to pluck the hair out of the ears. This is an important step, because hair in the ear canal is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. It gives them a place to hide and it reduces air flow. To pluck the ears, simply take a pair of tweezers and gently grab the hair near its base, then pull it out of the canal. Just be sure not to pinch the canal with the tweezers or pluck hair that is not in the canal.
Soak the Ears
Step two in cleaning dog ears is soaking. Fill your Cavalier’s ear canal with a high quality ear cleaner – your vet can recommend one – and then massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds. This allows the cleaner to soak into any crusted dirt and wax and break it up.
Cotton balls are Key
Remember this about cotton balls or cotton squares. You can’t hurt your Cavalier with them. Unlike people who have a direct line from the ear canal opening to the eardrum, dogs have a vertical canal that has a 90 degree turn before going to the eardrum. So feel free to really get in there. Gently use a scooping method to remove as much debris as possible from the canal. Also, go as deep as you can. Always remember to be gentle. You want to clean the ear, not irritate or abrade it. Have a pile of cotton squares next to you so that you can get those little ears nice and clean! We really like this Ear Cleansing Rinse you can read the post about why we like it so much.
Clean Ears are Healthy Ears
Properly cleaning dog ears means you can keep your Cavalier’s ears clean and healthy for the life of your pet. Although because of their floppy furry ears you may not be able to prevent every infection, you can most certainly prevent most of them, and that’s a good thing. If you follow the steps laid out above, you should have no problem keeping your Cavalier’s ears squeaky clean.
Our pro cleaning dog ears tip:
Keep those ears clean during the summer but make a point to create a schedule in the Fall and Winter as infections are more likely to pop up during those months.