What You Can’t See May be the Problem
People and dogs have pretty much the same ear equipment. But while human ear canals are fairly straight to the eardrum, dog’s ears take a 90 degree turn. Past that turn is where your dog’s ear trouble may really be.
That inner portion of the dog’s ear is warm, wet and dark, with limited air circulation. This is true of all dogs, but for those with droopy ears, it is even worse. These are ideal breeding grounds for infection, and if a foreign object works its way down there, it can go unnoticed until the dog develops major problems.
If you suspect an infection or foreign body in this inner portion, leave it to your vet to diagnose and treat. If you try to clean too deep you may push debris further into the ear and pack it down, or even puncture the eardrum. It is OK to wipe the outer portions of the ear with a cotton ball or finger wrapped in cotton but only go as far as you can see.
You could also wrap your finger in a gentle ear wipe; Earthbath makes a nice wipe.
If his ears aren’t too dirty, you could use the same wipe for both ears; just wrap your finger with half of the wipe, clean, then repeat with a clean portion of the wipe. Quick, easy and gentle cleaning.
The only way to safely clean the deepest portion of your dog’s ear is to use a liquid cleaner. Lift the dog’s ear up without pulling it, and gently squirt in the amount of cleaner per directions. Massage the base of the dog’s ear for a few seconds, and then allow the dog to shake. Use a clean cotton ball to remove excess and wipe the outer portion of his ear. Repeat on the other side.
A tea tree oil cleaner is a good option for an ear cleaner. It is gentle and is also nicely, naturally scented. Or you may try Zymox Ear Cleanser which is a great product that is natural and is very effective. It comes in cleanser, ear drops and cream. If you’re not comfortable cleaning his ears yourself, schedule regular grooming appointments where they will do this for you.
So remember to sniff and visually inspect your dog’s ears regularly, and use a liquid cleaner to gently clean them. Protect his inner ear area; only wipe as far as you can see, and see a veterinarian if you have any questions.