It is best to consult your vet before cleaning your German Shepherd’s ears for the first time.
They will be able to demonstrate safe ear cleaning procedures, suggest how often to clean the ears, and appropriate ear cleaning products for your German Shepherd’s needs.
Here is a general 5 how-to step guide you may take into consideration when performing a basic ear clean yourself, and some things you can look out for and be aware of.
NOTE: only use cotton swabs or cotton balls to clean your dog’s ears and never a Q tip. Ear cleaning with a Q tip should only be carried out by a vet as it can be dangerous for the dog’s ear if performed by someone who isn’t a trained professional.
German Shepherd Ear Cleaning: A Simple 5 Step How-To Guide
1. Inspect Your German Shepherd’s Ears For Ear Problems & Infections
Before you get to cleaning the ears, it’s important you inspect both the inside and the outside of the ears for any sign of ear problems and infections.
Infection can include bacterial, fungal and yeast infections, and the following are some signs which might indicate an infection is present:
- Redness in the skin
- Inflammation of any kind
- Discharge and oozing from abrasions or sores
- Overly bad odors
If you suspect there is an infection or anything other than regulation dirt and debris in your GSDs ears, you’ll want to consult your vet immediately.
2. Prepare German Shepherd & Ear Cleaning Materials
There are four main things you’ll want to get ready when cleaning your dog or German Shepherd’s ears:
- A helper to hold your dog’s head steady and mouth closed
- A vet approved ear cleaner. If you are using a home solution or mix, make sure you get your vet’s approval
- Cotton Balls or Cotton Swabs
- A small towel
You can also place a mat down if you are performing the ear cleaning inside to protect your floor.
Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treament with Hydrocortisone (on Amazon) is an example of an ear treatment and cleaner – get your vet’s approval before use
3. Clean The Dog’s Ears
To clean your German Shepherd’s ears, you can follow these steps:
1) Ask your helper to place one hand around the muzzle of your dog to keep their mouth close, and the other hand on the back of the head to keep the whole head steady
2) Put your gloves on and with one hand gently pull your dog’s ear out and up to open up the ear canals
3) Having read the instructions on the ear cleaner bottle, pour the recommended amount in the ear canal (usually until you fill the ear canal)
4) Once the ear cleaner is in the ear, massage the base of your dog’s ear in a circular motion. Your helper can offer praise to your dog and calm/re-assure them while this is happening.
5) At this point the dog will usually want to shake their head to get rid of the fluid, so place your towel on the outside of the ear while you dog shakes it’s head to catch the fluid
6) Grab your cotton balls or cotton swab and clean any fluid or debris from the ear
7) Get your helper to give your dog a treat and offer lots of positive encouragement/reinforcement
8) Repeat process for the other ear
9) After both ears are done, reward your dog with a treat again
You can see how a veterinarian cleans a dog’s ears here.
4. Reward Your German Shepherd
Getting the ears touched, prodded and filled with strange and weird-feeling liquids can be intimidating and scary for a German Shepherd – especially a puppy.
As we mentioned above, make sure when you’ve finished cleaning one ear that you reward your GSD with a treat so they learn to associate ear inspection and cleaning positively.
5. Clean The Area
Clean up the area, throw the used materials in the bin, and you’re done.
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