Clean a Dogs Ears

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Having trouble with your dog's ears? Does your dog headshake a lot and rub its ears? The answer to the problem will surprise many.



  1. Many dogs, specially those with floppy ears like the labrador, have a constant problem with a red-brown gummy discharge in the ear canal and within the outer ear. This is smelly and usually annoys the dog to such an extent that there is constant half-rotating headshaking and ear rubbing on solid objects.
  2. The usual advice is to keep cleaning the ear using proprietary cleaners or impregnated tissues. This needs to be done very carefully so as not to injure the ear drum, and often needs to be done daily, or at least every other day. The gummy discharge soon returns after cleaning.
  3. The question is - why should a healthy dog have this problem? Many people think it is a result of breeding, with floppy ears excluding fresh air leaving a damp enclosed space for bacteria to flourish. This really is not the reason.
  4. The inside of the outer ear, like all of the skin, has to be very slightly moist for good health. The moisture travels through ducts onto the surface, the moisture being taken from the circulating blood supply. This moisture contains anti-microbial peptides which should keep the inside of the outer ear free of bacteria. But many dogs are fed high protein food which results in high protein in the blood supply, with this protein leaking onto the inner surface of the outer ear, a perfect encouragement for bacterial growth.
  5. So if your dog has this ear problem, the answer is to change to a lower protein food. There is plenty of canned food available at 6.0 to 6.5 per cent protein, and the ear problem should clear after about six weeks. The ears will still need cleaning about once a month, but only as a minor problem and with no irritation for the dog.


  • It is possible that your dog may have an ear infection needing treatment with drugs. Have a vet examine the dog with an otoscope to check this.