A dog’s ear is healthy if the bare skin on its inner flap is roughly the same color as the bare skin found on other parts of the dog (i.e., belly). Clean dogs ears should have no smell, either, nor give the dog a continuous itchy sensation.
Dogs that have unhealthy and infected ears tend to have wounds on the skin where they’ve scratched it often because of itchiness. The infected ear may also have pus and other types of discharge, either coming out from such scratches or leaking out from the ear canal. Sometimes the discharge is actually a strange brownish-pink colored wax usually caused by a yeast infection. Worse, the dog may even feel some form of pain every time his ear is touched, and experience some form of motion sickness or physical imbalance (i.e., stumbling, walking “drunk,” watery eyes, dizziness, being sick).
If this sounds like your dog, don’t just go ahead and clean his ears. Before anything else, take him to the doctor. For any ear infection—be it inner ear, outer ear, or the ears’ surface skin—your dog must first be properly diagnosed and treated by the vet. Your vet would also be able to identify other aggravating factors to your dog’s ear infection such as mites or fleas, which must also be treated. You can also ask the vet how you can start implementing ear cleaning for your dog as he undergoes the healing process, and how regular ear cleaning should be performed when he finally heals.
The normal, proper way of cleaning your dog’s ears should involve the use of cotton pads or balls. Do not use cotton swabs; remember, you’re not cleaning the ears of a human being who can be talked into keeping still. As a cleaning solution, use a mild vinegar solution.
To clean your dog’s ears, cradle him close to you, and start cleaning them one by one. Gently fold your dog’s ear backward or up and back, if he has floppy ears. Dip the cotton in the solution, and start cleaning the outer parts of the ear. Remove accumulated dirt, and throw away the used cotton.
Then very gently trickle in the tiniest amount of the solution into the ear canal. (Do not pour!) Massage the area as you wipe off whatever trickles back out with fresh cotton balls or pads. Usually, dirty inner wax will come out this way, and can be easily wiped off. Never push the cotton far into the ear canal, because this will hurt your dog.
Regular ear cleaning should be done every few weeks. But if your dog is still being treated for an infection, per the doctor’s advice you may have to do this procedure as often as once a day. Remember, clean dogs ears makes a healthy and active dog.