As dog owners, there is a whole range of tasks we need to do to keep our four-legged friends happy and healthy. Besides feeding and exercising, we need to engage in regular grooming and cleaning to ensure our Goldendoodle maintains good condition. One of these particular tasks is cleaning the ears.
If you’re wondering where to start when it comes to cleaning your pup’s ears, you’re in luck! We’ve put together a simple guide that outlines everything you need to know about keeping your Goldendoodle’s ears clean.
Why do I need to clean my Goldendoodle’s Ears?
A dog’s ears are exposed to a whole range of dirt and debris daily. Whether your Goldendoodle is rolling in the mud at the park or picking up dust at home, there’s plenty of muck that can sneak its way into the ears. To avoid infection, you will want to make sure that this dirt is removed and your dog’s ears are kept clean.
What type of ear does a Goldendoodle have?
The type of ear that a dog has can impact the likelihood they will experience dirty ears or other ear problems. A Goldendoodle’s floppy, hairy ears make them so cute. However, the structure of their ears can also provide the perfect environment for bacteria to develop. The folded ear forms a warm space with limited airflow, which can be problematic if dirt or moisture gets in. This type of ear traps the debris and gives it a place to grow and develop, leading to much bigger problems if not cleaned regularly.
Why do some Goldendoodle’s suffer from dirty ears more than others?
It is worth noting that not every Goldendoodle will suffer from ear problems. Learning how to recognize a dirty ear and knowing how to clean it will prevent any issues from arising.
That being said, certain Goldendoodles may get dirty ears more regularly than others. This also comes back to the structure of the ear. Some Goldendoodles simply have smaller ear canals, making it harder for the wax to get out. When wax builds up, it can block the ear and cause bacteria to grow.
Goldendoodles also tend to have hairy ears that collect grime and wax, and the hair then stops it from escaping. If this is the case, you might be tempted to give your furry friend’s ears a trim. Loose hair can fall into the ear and actually cause more significant problems for your Goldendoodle.
How can I tell if my Goldendoodle’s ears need cleaning?
The best way to keep on top of your dog’s ear hygiene is to check them regularly. Make it a habit to look at your dog’s ears once a week. This will help you identify dirty ears or any other issues before they become too problematic. Ear wax is much easier to clean away in smaller volumes.
To check if your Goldendoodle’s ear needs cleaning, we recommend the following steps:
- Make your dog comfortable. Have them sit or lay down in a position where they will be relaxed, as this will make it much easier to check their ears.
- Give your dog a pat and talk to them in a calm voice. You might even give them a treat so that they have positive associations with ear checking and cleaning. If you are going to give them a treat, it is best to do so only when they are still and relaxed. You do not want to encourage exited behaviors as this will make the process more difficult.
- When your dog is calm, lift one ear to look inside. You want to be able to see straight down into the ear canal.
- Check the color of the ear. It should be a pale pink color and be clear of wax, dirt, or other debris. It is not uncommon for a bit of earwax present around the ear, but you certainly don’t want a build-up of this in the ear canal.
- Check the scent of the ear. Do you notice a strange smell when you lift up the ear flap? This is a sign of a dirty ear or potentially a bigger problem. A clean ear shouldn’t really have a scent.
- Observe your dog’s demeanor. Are they happy and relaxed when you touch their ear or do they react as though they are in pain? The ear should not be sore to the touch.
If you find the ear has visible dirt or wax, this is a clear sign that your dog’s ear needs cleaning. A strong, unpleasant odor may indicate a deeper problem, and you should take your Goldendoodle to the vet to get checked.
What do I need to clean my Goldendoodle’s Ears?
Once you’ve identified that your Goldendoodle’s ears need cleaning, you will need to collect a few supplies to help you get the job done.
Here are the things you will need to clean your dog’s outer and inner ear:
- Warm water
- Cotton wool pads or a cotton ball
- Canine ear cleaning solution (if you need to clean the inner ear)
- Treats (not a necessity, but helpful)
- An assistant (again not a necessity, but it might be helpful having a friend there to hold your dog still if required)
- Ear powder if you are consdiering plucking ear hair
How To Clean Goldendoodle Ears (Outside and Ear Flaps)
After collecting your supplies, it’s time to get cleaning! The following steps will help you get the job done correctly and positively for your Goldendoodle. These instructions are designed to clean the outer ear or ear flap rather than the inner ear or ear canal.
- Find an appropriate space and lay out all of your supplies within easy reach.
- Encourage your dog to sit or lay down calmly. For bigger dogs, you can have them lay next to you with their head on your lap. For puppies and small dogs, place them on your lap. If your dog is anxious or unfamiliar with the process, it might be worth getting a friend to help keep them in position.
- Give your dog a pat and talk to him calmly. You can give them a treat to help get their attention or reward them for doing the right thing. Just make sure you are not reinforcing bad behavior.
- Wet some cotton wool in the warm water, ensuring that the water temperature isn’t too hot. Squeeze it out properly as you don’t want it to drop excess liquid into your dog’s ear.
- Lift one of your Goldendoodle’s ears and gently wipe the inside with cotton wool. Always start closer to the inner ear and work your way toward the outer ear flap. This should remove dirt and wax, bringing it to the outside.
- Grab another piece of cotton wool and repeat the process until the ear is clean. A new piece of cotton wool should be used for each wipe so that you aren’t putting dirt back into the ear.
- Once the first ear is clean, check in with your dog. Are they relaxed? If so, move onto the second ear and repeat steps 4-6. If they are looking a bit worried or starting to fidget, it might be worth waiting and doing the second ear later.
How To Clean Goldendoodle Ears (Inside the Ear)
Suppose your furry friend has a significant build-up of debris and wax in their inner ear. In that case if you don’t know what you are doing, you’ll probably have to take them to the vet or groomer to avoid them becoming infected. They might prescribe a cleaning solution specifically designed for your dog’s inner ear.
- Non-irritating solution prevents microbial action
- Use during routine cleansing of sensitive ears
- Removes debris and excessive wax and dries the ear canal.
- Recommended for pets with chronic otitis externa which is chronic inflammation of a dogs external ear canal.
- It has a low pH, so it shouldn't interfere with other ear preparations.
Each solution will come with its own specific instructions. We strongly recommend you read the packaging properly before commencing any clean. That being said, most inner ear cleaners follow this basic process.
- As above, begin with your dog in a calm environment. Position them so that you have easy access to their ears and reward them with a treat if necessary.
- Pick up the solution. This will typically come in a bottle with a nozzle inserted into the dog’s ear.
- Place the nozzle in your dog’s ear. It needs to be far enough in that the solution can do its job, but don’t jam it so far that it will damage.
- Squirt the required contents into the ear. This is likely to make a squelching noise.
- Use cotton wool to wipe away any excess solution. This should always be done from the inside out, so excess moisture is taken out of the ear.
- Reward your dog with a pat and a treat! Try to reinforce positive associations, so your dog doesn’t become problematic with their ears.
How might my Goldendoodle react to ear cleaning?
Once your dog’s ears have been cleaned, they might react in any number of ways. Some dogs might remain calm and be happy to just chill out following the clean. Others, however, might get a sudden case of the zoomies and start flying around the house or yard! They might even try to rub their ears on the ground or keep shaking their head.
This is completely normal behavior, although we recommend that you try to keep them as calm as possible or avoid rewarding poor behavior. You can try to distract your dog with a walk or play with them if they seem uncomfortable.
How to introduce a puppy to ear cleaning
The sooner you can get a puppy accustomed to tasks like ear cleaning, the better! It will make it much easier to go through the process when they are bigger and heavier.
The key is to get them used to having their ears touched. From a young age, play with your dog’s ears when you are patting them. Stroke them, lift them up, and generally get your puppy familiar with having their ears touched. Play with their ear hair gently. Reward them with lots of praise and treats so they think having their ears touched is a good thing! By the time there is an ear problem or you need dog ear cleaner
It’s also worth doing some basic obedience training so that they learn to sit, lie down, and stay. This will be really helpful when they are older, and you need them to stay still so that you can look at their ears.
The same goes for older dogs that aren’t used to their ears being cleaned. Establish strong commands so that your dog knows to stay still. It’s also worth touching their ears regularly to get them used to it, no matter what their age is.
Regularly checking your Goldendoodle’s ears is a good habit. It will help you prevent any problems from occurring, which your beloved pup is sure to be thankful for!