If you groom and clean your dog properly, it will be happier and healthier. This should include cleaning your dog’s ears occasionally. How often to clean your Golden Retriever’s ears? Ear cleaning is important for Golden Retrievers because their ears trap dirt and moisture easily. Their floppy ears create an environment where bacteria can grow. Cleaning your dog’s ears is part of keeping your dog healthy.
How often should you clean your Golden Retrievers’ ears?
You should clean your Golden Retriever’s ears twice or at least once a month. If your dog is dirty or has spent some time swimming recently, you might clean their ears more often. The vertical shape of part of your dog’s ear canal makes water and dirt get trapped easily.
As well as bacteria, your dog’s ears are vulnerable to mites. Mites are tiny parasites that can make your dog’s ears very itchy. Sometimes, they can cause more serious problems than itching.
I have had a Golden Retriever for a decade and I always clean its ears twice a month. Ear infections are possible if you don’t keep your dog’s ears clean enough.
How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
First, you will need gauze or cotton balls (I don’t recommend Q-Tips), ear cleaning fluid (only use what your vet recommends), and a towel. Dogs don’t like getting their ears cleaned, so make sure to comfort your dog. Your dog will get used to it over time and won’t always make a fuss about it.
You need to put your dog in a place/position where you can keep your dog’s head still and clean its ears. If you have a second person with you, it is easier. Ear cleaning is important and works well to prevent bacteria and mites from harming your dog’s ears.
The easiest way is to have a dog sit in a corner and face you. If your dog is in a corner, it cannot easily escape and will not attempt this. You can also be behind them, with them sitting and facing away from you.
Use the Cleaning Solution to Clean Your Retriever’s Ears
As long as you can keep your dog calm and make it stay in place, cleaning your dog’s ears is easy. First, pull the dog’s ear flap up to expose the inner ear. Don’t pull on the ear hard, but pull it a little bit to open up the inner ear and help the fluid reach it.
Now, fill the dog’s ear with ear cleaning fluid. Don’t let the tip of the bottle rub against your dog’s inner ear, as it could introduce bacteria and cause an infection.
Massage Your Dog’s Ear
After you get some cleaning fluid in your dog’s ear, massage the lower part of the ear for about 30 seconds. It won’t like this – it doesn’t understand why you are putting fluid in its ear – but it will get used to it.
After you are done, the dog will shake its head back and forth to get rid of the liquid. Let the dog do this. It doesn’t want to leave fluid in its ears any longer, and there is no reason for it to.
After the dog shakes most of the fluid out of its ears, there may be visible ear wax or other gunk. Use a cotton ball or gauze to remove it.
Give Your Dog a Treat Before Starting the Second Ear
Don’t immediately clean out your dog’s other ear after you are finished with the first one. Let your dog take a break, have a treat, and get a pat on the back. After rewarding your dog, you can start cleaning the other ear.
Tips to Make this Easier
Cleaning your dog’s ears should not be difficult, either for you or for your dog. My most important piece of advice is to wait until your dog is as relaxed as possible. If the dog is worried or agitated in some way, it will bother your dog when you clean its ears.
If you get your Golden Retriever as a puppy, you should start cleaning its ears early. If it gets used to having its ears cleaned as a puppy, it won’t mind it as an adult. If you only start cleaning your dog’s ears in adulthood, it might be harder for your dog to get used to it.
You can also clean your dog’s ears with another person. One person can calm the dog down while another person cleans their ears. Talk to your dog in a nice voice, give them praise, and give them a treat when they are done.
What Not to Do
You should not clean your dog’s ears using anything other than an ear cleaner your veterinarian approves of. Some people use things like hydrogen peroxide to clean their dog’s ears. This is not a good idea – you can cause or worsen ear problems this way.
Don’t use vinegar or alcohol either. Vinegar and peroxide will leave your dog’s ears wet, and wetness helps bacteria grow. Alcohol is too harsh and will irritate your dog’s ears.
Don’t Use Q-Tips
Q-Tips can be risky for a dog’s ears and not only for a human’s ears. If your dog moves its head back and forth while you are cleaning its ears, the Q-Tip might go in too deep and injure your dog. This can happen even if you are being careful.
A better idea is to use gauze or cotton balls. Gauze and cotton balls won’t go too deep and injure your dog’s ears.
Don’t Clean Your Dog’s Ears too Often
Don’t assume that cleaning your dog’s ears much more often than twice a month is a good idea. This can backfire and lead to ear infections. Your dog’s ears are not supposed to be very clean all the time.
Just because your dog frequently gets ear problems doesn’t mean that you should clean your dog’s ears all the time. Your dog may have ear problems for reasons other than having unclean ears. In that case, cleaning your dog’s ears won’t help and might make the problem worse.
You should talk to your vet and find the underlying cause of your Golden Retriever’s persistent ear problems. Allergies may be the main cause, or there could be a long infection that never really goes away.
Do You Always Need to Clean Your Dog’s Ears After They Swim?
No, you don’t always have to. Simply drying your dog’s ears after they swim can be good enough. Cleaning your dog’s ears a bit more often than usual if they are swimming is enough.
Some Dogs Have Allergies
Some Golden Retrievers have allergies that affect their ears. While allergies are not the same as ear infections, you can still help a dog with allergies by cleaning its ears.
Signs of an Ear Infection in Golden Retrievers
If your dog’s ears smell, there is quite likely something wrong. Their ears may also be very sensitive. It might hurt your dog when you touch the ear.
Your dog might scratch their ears or rub them on the ground if they have any discomfort there. Sometimes, you can also tell by the appearance of your dog’s ears. If they are red, discolored, or have scabs, your dog likely has an ear infection.
Finally, your dog might be shaking their head more than usual, or have discharge coming out of its ears. Call a vet if you aren’t sure whether it is an ear infection.