How To Clean Labradoodle Ears? Ultimate Guide

Labradoodles are loyal, friendly and fun-loving dogs and are a great addition to many families. Dogs in general are more prone to ear infections than humans because of the narrow shapes of their ear canals. Knowing how to clean Labradoodle ears is important.

how to clean labradoodle ears

Labradoodles have big and floppy ears which could pose a risk for ear infections. The ears can harbour dirt, pests and microorganisms which cause ear infections. Ear infections are a nasty experience for dogs and can cause it a lot of pain. 

Cleaning your Labradoodle’s ears greatly reduces the risk of ear infections. It is imperative for every Labradoodle owner to know how to properly clean their dog’s ears. This simple procedure can save a heck of a lot of discomfort for a Labradoodle.

If you are not comfortable cleaning your Labradoodles ears then both the groomers and the Vet Nurses commonly clean Poodle Mix breeds ears. It is a simple and quick procedure! Ask your Vet or Groomer if you are not willing to clean your Labradoodles ears yourself.

Do Labradoodles Have Ear Problems?

Like any Poodle mix, Labradoodles are susceptible to ear hair and wax build up. If the hair and wax is allowed to get out of control, there is a risk of ear infection.

If a dog has an ear infection it can be very uncomfortable for the dog. It is one of the main causes of a Labradoodle scratching its ears. It can give the dog a life threatening temperature. (petMD) Prolonged untreated ear infections can lead to deafness for Labradoodles.

It is therefore vitally important to take preventative steps to prevent issues. You should learn how to clean Labradoodle ears and make it part of the grooming routine.

a chocolate labradodle in a park
Labradoodles are prone to ear wax and bacteria build up.

How To Clean Labradoodle Ears?

Cleaning Labradoodle Ears is one of the more labour intensive elements of Labradoodle grooming. Learning how to clean Labradoodle ears is a very important skill for any Labradoodle owner.

The video below documents how to clean a Poodle ear. The Labradoodle ear canals and hair are inherited from the Poodle. This means that cleaning the Labradoodles ears follows the exact same method. You can learn how to clean Labradoodle ears from this video.

It will take time to encourage your Labradoodle to allow you clear access to its ears.

Before you start cleaning the dog’s ears, you need to teach it to hold still anytime you are cleaning its ears. 

A great tip to get your Labradoodle used to its ears being touched it to massage its ears gently when possible.

The environment in which you clean your dogs ears is important too. A comfortable place like the kitchen or living room is better than attempting to groom your dog in an unfamiliar or unhappy place.

Be careful! No one likes to have their ears poked. This would make the ear cleaning process pleasant for your Labradoodle. 

white labradoodle dog
A White Labradoodle puppy. Lighter dogs you can often see wax build up more easily.

Steps To Clean Labradoodle Ears

To start cleaning the dog’s ears, you would need cotton balls and mild ear cleaning solution and tweezers. 

The ear cleaning solution should not contain steroids or alcohol. 

If you do not have an ear cleaning solution, some people make their own at home. 

Commonly people use apple cider vinegar and water. Mix them in a 1:1 proportion and use them as ear cleaning solution. Check with your Vet or groomer to see if this home remedy is appropriate for your dog.

You can also use mild antiseptics like Hydrogen peroxide or saline to clean your dog’s ears. Again, refer to your groomer, pet store or vet for advice.

Start cleaning Labradoodle ears by removing any dead hairs you find around its ears. You can do this either with your finger or with tweezers. 

Clean the area around the ear thoroughly with clean gauze before moving to the ear canal. 

  • The dog’s ear canal usually has a buildup of wax. 
  • This buildup should be cleaned regularly and this can be done using a cotton ball that is dampened with the ear cleaning solution. 
  • To clean the ear canal, tip some of the solution into it and massage the base of the dog’s ear 
  • This properly distributes the solution in the canal. 
  • After doing this, use a cotton ball to wipe off the debris and excess solution that would come out of its ears. 

The Labradoodle naturally will want to shake its head after the cleaning. Don’t be surprised if the shaking is vigorous!

Allow it to do so as it would expel any liquid that is still present in the ear. Dry off the dog thoroughly.

Ensuring that your dog’s ears are clean and free from infections is your job as its owner. Labradoodles are especially at risk for ear infections since their ears are long and floppy and can accumulate excess moisture and wax. These increase the risk of infections. 

Considering the fact our Labradoodles cannot easily communicate their discomfort to us, we must take preventative steps. Learning how to clean Labradoodle ears is a great basic grooming skill.

a cute Labradoodle puppy looks up at the camera
Learning how to clean a Labradoodles ears is an important grooming skill to ensure the comfort of your puppy.

How to soothe dogs ears after plucking?

After plucking a dogs ears – it can be nice to use natural balms to relieve any discomfort or inflammation. Given that dog or doodle ear infections are common in unplucked ears – we need to stick with basic soothing balms that do not cause any harm.

Some people use talcum powder to sooth the ears after plucking.

Personally I use either plucking powder (the ear powder used to made plucking more predictable and comfortable) or opt instead for a warm salt water (saline) wipe using a soft cloth.

There is no need for medicated wipes or ointments unless a Vet has recommended them.

felt good after grooming
A Labradoodle felt good after complete grooming. (Image: Instagram/@dexter_the_doodle_dog)

How to get wax out of dog hair?

Every dog coat is different – but the following technique was emailed to me by a dog groomer with lots of experience with Poodle cross dogs.

  • Whether it is ear wax or candle wax – wait for it to be room temperature. Not hot, not cold – just room temp
  • Get a comb ready – but don’t use it yet
  • An oil based cleaning agent (or just baby oil) will soften the wax
  • Once softened – gently pick away with fine tooth comb
  • Once the bulk has been removed – only then bother shampooing
  • It will be time consuming and frustrating
  • Removing colored wax (ear drips, infection or candle accidents) is very difficult. In some cases the color will stain the hair and it cannot be stripped back. Time for a haircut!
  • Acetone or rubbing alcohol can also dissolve wax – BE CAREFUL IF YOU END UP USING THESE! They can irritate skin and cause damage to the coat.
Labradoodle with its floppy ear
A Labradoodle poses with its floppy ear. (Image: Instagram/@alicethelabdood)

What Home Remedy Can I Use To Clean My Labradoodles Ears?

Store bought solutions for cleaning Labradoodle ears are cheap and effective. If you would like to make your own solution there are options.

Ear cleaning solutions must be free from alcohol, steroids or other antibiotic agents. The simpler the better to keep it gentle and allergen free.

Some trainers and breeders recommend using an apple cider vinegar and water mix in a ratio of 1:1.

Other people recommend pure Aloe Vera with no additives. It would be important NOT to use an aloe vera gel that has additives or is designed for humans. 

Given how cheap and effective natural store bought ear cleaning liquids are – it might pay to consider a healthy natural option from a pet retailer.

gazes out of the window
The Labradoodle gazes out of the window. (Image: Instagram/@daisy_me_rolling30)

How Do You Get Wax Out of a Labradoodles Ears?

Even though ear cleaning liquids are an important part of how to clean Labradoodle ears – the primary method or ear wax removal is mechanical.

A clean cotton bud or tissue will be effective to remove the wax. The ear cleaning liquid serves to loosen or weaken the ear wax. The actual process of wax removal is physical and comes from the wiping.

Failure to remove the wax once loosened by the ear cleaning solution or a bath will result in the wax setting further down the ears.

straight coat labradoodle running into the wind
Wavy and Straight coat Labradoodles are difficult to differentiate.

How Old Should a Labradoodle Puppy Be Before Ear Cleaning?

Labradoodle puppies begin accumulating ear wax early in life. The grooves and structure of the Poodle inherited ear canals predisposes Labradoodles.

Puppies typically will not have excess ear hair. This reduces the severity of the wax build up.

Simple wiping Labradoodles puppy ears to remove wax is typically adequate till six months of age. Gentle sterile steroid and alcohol free ear rinse can be used conservatively if required. 

Excess ear hair can be plucked at any age – but most groomers and owners avoid this until the Labradoodle puppy is older. The curlier the coat the more likely this is to be an issue.

Labradoodle Ear Smells

Poodle crossbreeds like Labradoodles or Goldendoodles are prone to ear hair build up in their narrow ear canals. This can result in bacteria and wax build up. This can make your Labradoodle smell.

Just having wax build up can make Labradoodles ears stink. However, infection is a serious issue and can also smell.

Note: If there are signs of infection then ear cleaning will not cut it. Your Labradoodle will need to see a Veterinarian for care. Discharge that is bloody, heat, swelling, discharge or fever are common signs of infection. Ears are delicate and hearing can be affected by infection. 

Poodle mixes like Labradoodles have long lifespans, and protecting hearing into old age is vital.

labradoodle white puppy begging for treats
Even the cutest Labradoodle puppy will grow up quickly!

Best Labradoodle Ear Cleaning Solution

The Best Labradoodle Ear Cleaning solutions should be

  • Steroid Free
  • Alcohol Free
  • Non-Irritating
  • Odour Eliminating

You swish the Labradoodle ear cleaner into the ear canal. You massage the ears at the base. Then you can dab the ears dry with cotton swabs or carefully with tissues.

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04/20/2023 02:08 am GMT

When researching how to clean Labradoodle ears it will become clear you will likely need an ear rinse agent to soften the wax.

Mighty Petz ear cleaner is cheap, natural and reduces itchiness almost immediately. If your Labradoodle has stinky ears, wax build up, or itchy ears – this type of ear cleaning solution is for you.

The ingredient list contains simple ingredients: Purified Water, Propylene Glycol, Octoxynol-10, SD Alcohol 40B, Phenoxyethanol, Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Salicylic Acid, Cucumber & Melon Infusion, Benzoic Acid, Aloe Vera Powder

The product is so low impact and low allergy that it is actually suitable for all ages of dogs. It is even cat friendly!

What is the Black Stuff In Labradoodle Ears?

The ear wax that can get caught in Labradoodle ear canals can be many colours. It is common for the wax to be a deep dark colour. Dark brown, black and greens are common.

Some of the bacteria trapped can also be chromogenic which means they contribute dark colours to the wax build up.

If the discharge is in fact red rather than black, this could be a sign of infection of the ear canals. If you suspect this then the Labradoodle will need Veterinary attention.

How Often Should You Clean Labradoodle Ears?

The question of how often you should be cleaning your Labradoodle ears is tricky. It depends on the individual dog.

It also will be influenced by how often the dog is bathed, swims, and how much anatomy the Labradoodle shares in common with a Poodle. The more your Labradoodle resembles Poodle anatomy the more you will need to learn how to clean Labradoodle ears.

In general – a gentle non-invasive clean every 2-3 weeks should suffice to keep your Labradoodles ears healthy and clean.