How to Clean Dog Ears with Hydrogen Peroxide: What to Do

Is your dog prone to ear infections? The good news is that you can easily solve that issue easily at home. However, the jury is still out on the best way to go about that.

If you’re like most pet parents, chances are that you have pondered on the idea of using hydrogen peroxide (H202) to clean your pooch’s ears. They use the same stuff in over-the-counter ear drops for humans anyway! So, why not use it for dogs?

What Vets Think About Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Dog Ears

Most vets have okayed the use of this chemical for managing ear infections at home. The substance is particularly recommended for managing yeast build-ups or situations where there’s too much wax in there.

However, even then, vets recommend doing this carefully. The hydrogen peroxide to be used needs to be diluted i.e. one part water and one part H202. This helps tone down the chemical making it just strong enough to kill bacteria colonies that might be causing the infection to thrive.

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Some Vets Advise Against It

Please note that not all vets okay the use of H202 in fighting earache, itchiness, and waxiness. Part of this comes from the fact that hydrogen peroxide works rather aggressively i.e. by forming bubbles.

One thing you know about using this chemical is that it typically leaves the dog’s mid-ear section with excess moisture. And as you know, water causes dampness which equates to a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.

For that reason, some experts argue that using H202 is actually counterproductive. Fortunately, there is a way you can still use this therapy and still minimize the chances of dampness forming or bacteria-building-up afterward.

How to Clean Dog Ears with Hydrogen Peroxide

To get started, you need to take care of the basics. It’s important to start by inspecting your furry-friend’s ears. And for that, you need to get them seated or lying in a comfortable position e.g. on a dog bed.

At this point, you want to inspect the general condition of the ear. Do not proceed with the cleaning exercise if you spot any of the following symptoms:

  • Fluid drainage
  • Deep scratches or abrasions
  • Severe wax build up

Another tell-tale sign to look out for is the smell coming out of your dog’s ears. If there’s too much smell coming out i.e. a funky smell, chances are that you’re dealing with a case of yeast infection. So, be sure to consult your vet instead of trying to manage the problem on your own at home.

What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

If you go ahead and clean a dog’s ears with H202 in disregard of the precautions provided above, chances are that the condition will worsen. In worse off cases, this could even lead to a total loss of the hearing ability in your dog.

That said, you can proceed with cleaning your pet’s ears if all you can see are normal wax and a bit of dirt. Of course, don’t forget to give your friend some treats after checking their ears just to keep them in a good mood.

Materials Needed

  • Dry cloth
  • Water
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Small bowl
  • Cotton balls

Steps To Clean Dog Ears

Step One:

You want to start by mixing water and hydrogen peroxide in equal proportions. For that, measure 2 tablespoons of water and put inside the bowl. Measure another 2 tablespoons of H202 and add it to the bowl with water and stir.

NB: You can always increase or reduce the measurements depending on the situation you’re dealing with. But be sure to keep the 1:1 ratio intact.

Step Two: 

Gently place a cotton ball into the mixture for a dab. Then use it to clean the ear starting with the outer rim of the ear and slowly moving toward the inner ear. Do this carefully and preferably in a circular motion.

NB: You don’t have to use one cotton ball throughout. Get a fresh one as necessary.

Step Three:

Keep cleaning and move deeper into the proximity of the ear canal. DO NOT attempt to clean beyond that point.

Step Four:

Now that you’re done with the first round of cleaning, it’s time for round two which is meant to ensure a thorough clean up session is achieved. For this, you’ll need to place another cotton ball in the mixture before having it inside your pooch’s mid-ear.

Step Five:

Carefully smush the ear all around the ball of cotton as if to give your dog a gentle ear massage. Do this for a few seconds before moving on to the next ear.

Step Six:

As for the second ear, you’ll need to repeat all the steps starting with Step 2 all the way to Step 5.

Step Seven: 

Lastly, take a dry cloth and use it to dry off the ears. And the job is done.

Please note that if your dog’s ears aren’t still clean enough, you might want to consult your vet or try a dedicated dog ear cleaning solution.

How Often To Clean the Ears

The rules for cleaning a pet’s ears are not cast on stone. However, if your pooch is prone to infections, you might want to be cleaning them regularly. For average dogs, a once-a-month clean up should be enough.

But if your dog is susceptible to infection and the formation of wax, you might want to be cleaning them once every two weeks.

If you have to clean them every day or every week, chances are that you need to make a visit to your vet so they can look into their health condition.

Plucking the Ears

It’s always a good idea to pluck your pooch’s ears once in a while. But you have to be careful when doing this. If you’re not too sure, ask your vet or groomer to show you how it’s done.

You may use a hemostat or fingers to pluck. Worth noting, however, is that plucking isn’t advisable if the ears look reddish and irritated.

Final Thoughts

Although cleaning dog ears with hydrogen peroxide is still a controversial topic, so far, every indication is that it’s okay to do so. You only need to make sure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions. And if in case of worrying symptoms, get your vet to handle the situation for you.

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