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The Dos and Don’ts: Pet Ear Cleaning at Home

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Massaging your pet’s ears after using an herbal ear wash will help break up debris and wax.

We all love our pet’s furry ears, whether they perk up or flop around. But did you know behind those cute flaps lies a complex maze of tubes, bones, and muscles? Their soft ears not only capture your loving praises like "Good boy!", but also tend to collect dirt, debris, and even pesky mites.

After this short read, you’ll have handy tips for home-based prevention and the scoop on an effective herbal ear wash for dogs and cats. Let's embark on an auditory journey and discover how to keep your beloved friend’s ears as clean as a whistle!

Pet Ear Anatomy 101

Let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is going on inside your pet’s ears? This is sound knowledge for pet lovers! Let’s take a walk through the anatomy of your pet’s ears.

  • Outer ear: the pathway that takes the world’s sounds straight to your pet’s eardrum. This includes the pinna, which is the floppy part made of cartilage - you know, the part you love to pet.
  • Ear canal: a funnel that connects to your pet’s eardrum. Unlike human’s shorter canals, dogs have long, narrow ear canals that make an almost 90-degree bend before they travel to the deeper parts of the ear. Think of this part as that hard-to-clean area of your bookcase that collects dust (or in your pet’s case, ear gunk). Interesting fact: That longer ear canal is why dogs can hear up to four times better than us! [1]
  • Middle ear: where all those sounds bounce around on the eardrum, an air-filled chamber with three tiny bones inside. There are also two muscles that connect to your pet’s nose. Who knew there was so much going on in those tiny ears?!
  • Inner ear: made up of the cochlea which translates sound into brain signals, plus the vestibular system which helps them with balance.

From the floppy pinna to the deep cochlea, every part of your pet’s ear plays a note in this auditory orchestra. Next, you’ll learn the ins and outs of herbal ear care for dogs and cats at home.

Life's Abundance

‘Otitis externa’ is one of the most common reasons for small animals (especially dogs) to be taken to their veterinarian.

Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Pet’s Ears at Home


  • Understand your pet’s ear anatomy. Thanks to the section above, consider this one done!
  • Clean when your pet is calm and sleepy. Just before bedtime is the best time to attempt an ear cleaning. Your pet will be relaxed after a busy day.
  • Use a pet-friendly ear cleaner. A good herbal ear wash for dogs and cats should swoop into both the horizontal and vertical parts of your pet’s ear canal. Holistically formulated, our Ear Care Formula features a unique botanical mix and mild cleansers made to do just that. It effortlessly dissolves wax and banishes dirt, while aloe vera comforts and moisturizes the inner ear.
  • Warm it up. Place the cleaner bottle in a bowl of warm water. While this is optional, your pet will thank you because the warm liquid feels more comfortable.
  • Massage the ear. Once you've poured the liquid in your pet’s ear, channel your inner massage therapist. Give those ears a gentle rub at the base. This helps break up the dirt inside (and your pet will love it!).
  • Stay prepared for the shake-off. Your pet’s ear finale involves shaking out the dissolved goo. Pro tip: Do this outside, stand back, and wear something you don't mind getting messy.


  • Use human products. Remember, your pet's pH balance and skin sensitivity differ from yours.
  • Use cotton swabs. Especially for deeper cleaning, you could do more harm than good.
  • Put the tip of the bottle into the ear. If the bottle tip brushes against your dog's ear, no worries! Swipe the tip with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol to prevent bad bacteria from entering your cat or dog’s ear canal.

With these pointers, your pet will be all ears (and squeaky clean ones at that!). But what happens when our best efforts at home don't quite cut it? Read on to learn what to do when home care isn’t enough.

When Home Care Isn’t Enough

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things can go a little off-key in your pet’s ears. ‘Otitis externa’ is one of the most common reasons for small animals (especially dogs) to be taken to their veterinarian. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know how to pronounce it - but you do need to know the symptoms.

Here are some signs that it's time for a professional:

  • Your pet can't stop shaking their head or pawing at their ears.
  • They shy away from ear play and don’t want their ears touched.
  • You notice an unusual odor or funky-colored discharge.
  • Their ear canals look red and irritated.

If your furry friend is showing any of these symptoms, it’s vet time! Your vet can examine, do an otoscopic exam, prescribe the right meds, or even perform a deep clean. Sometimes, it's more than just a dirt issue - allergies, foreign bodies, or more sinister issues can lurk behind those cute ears.

As we draw this earful journey to a close, remember this: regular ear cleaning is like tuning a musical instrument. With the right care, not only will you keep dreaded 'stinky ears' at bay, but you'll also help ensure your pet’s ear health stays in perfect harmony. Until next time, happy ear cleaning!

[1] Barber, A. L. A., Wilkinson, A., Montealegre-Z, F., Ratcliffe, V. F., Guo, K., & Mills, D. S. (2020). A comparison of hearing and auditory functioning between dogs and humans. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 15, 45–80.

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