Cleaning Your Poodle Ears

If you have a Poodle, whether it is a toy, miniature or standard, it is very important that Cleaning Your Poodle Ears is a regular part of your routine each month.  If you are getting your dog or dogs groomed each month, as I tend to do, make sure that the groomer is checking the poodle’s ears for hair and removing all of it.  In between grooming appointments, you may find that the hair is growing back so quickly that you have to keep up with it at home more than once a month.

Get into the habit of checking your poodle’s ears frequently, just to look inside the ear and give it a smell.  Look for any signs of infection or dark brown discharge.  If the ears smell very bad or you do see any discharge, you should call the vet and have it checked right away.  Another sign that your pup may have some ear problems is if he or she is scratching the ears often or holding it’s head to the side often.

Poodle ear cleaning is an important part of your poodle's health


Cleaning Your Poodle Ears


Check your poodles ears for hair growth regularly.  Some dogs hair grows faster than others and occasionally you may have to pluck some hairs from the ears yourself.  It is easy to do, but you must be careful not to pluck out too many at once or it can cause problems and it is very painful as well.  Just use your fingertips and quickly pluck just a few hairs at a time from the ear with a very quick tug and gently massage the ear after each time you pluck some hair.  It is best to do this when your poodle is calm and quiet and you can lay the dog down on the bed or on the floor.

After you have gotten rid of the hair in the ears, you want to use a cotton ball and gently wipe and clean the inside of the ear.  I do not suggest using a q-tip because there is the possibility of damaging the ear or the eardrum.  Just use a cotton ball with a few drops of a cleaning solution.  Some suggest rubbing alcohol, but this may be too harsh.  You can dry a few drops of white vinegar mixed in with a cup of water and just swab the ears to clean them.

poodles ear

Holding your poodle's ear back to clean it


The photo above is after I have removed most of the hair from our miniature poodle’s ears.  It should be clean and pinkish looking and pretty much free of all hair inside of the ear.

Symptoms of a problem:
If your dog has a brown material in the ear, shakes its head regularly and even cries when the head is shaken then
suspect an infection or worse yet, a foxtail in the ear. The ear may smell bad as well. You may need veterinary help to
get the problem under control.

Treatment of infections:
If your dog has a mild infection it can usually be cleared up by cleansing the ear and putting a drying agent into the ear
twice a day for about a week. If there is hair in the canal you must remove it. If the problem is not resolved or gets
worse you will need to see your Veterinarian . If your dog has frank pus in the ear then you should immediately seek
veterinary help and not delay with the above series of steps.

Before any antibiotics, either systemically or topically, are used a culture must be taken to be sure that the antibiotic is
the correct one for that particular infection. Be VERY careful of what antibiotics are used as many can damage the
hearing of your dog. Be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian. Some of the topical drugs often induce allergies so
also discuss this with your veterinarian. Most of the “mycins” can quickly damage hearing.

Some dogs have multiple skin allergies, allergic diarrhea, flea allergies, and some even have frequent sneezing and
scratching. This type of dog frequently also has a chronic ear problem. The ear leathers may be red and itchy. There
may even be hives on the ears. If this is the case you need to find what your dog is allergic to, be it an environmental
problem or a food or they type of shampoo you are using on the dog, or a flea product. You may need the help of a
Veterinary Dermatologist. As long as your dog has a topical allergy problem you will not be able to clear up the irritated
ear problem.

Fungus infections:
Because the ear canal is dark and damp some dogs develop a chronic fungus infection. This should NOT be treated
with steroids, as it will make the fungus infection worse. Some veterinarians attempt to treat an allergic dermatitis with
steroids and this usually results in an overgrowth of fungus in the ear. The treatment of a fungus infection is dry, dry,
dry, and then perhaps a topical fungus medicine. Usually keeping the ear DRY and acidic will clear up the fungus

For the serious chronic ear infection
it may be necessary to put the dog on a rigorous program of twice a day cleansing with TRIS-EDTA solution mixed
with an antibiotic such as Baytril plus systemic antibiotic for as long as as six weeks. Your veterinarian may
recommend a short course of topical steroid drops to reduce the inflammation and swelling so that the dog will be
more comfortable until the infection gets under control. Another good topical ear drop that is in use has a combination
of antibiotic and silver such as “Baytril otic”.

Swimming and bathing:
If your dog loves the water make sure that after every session of swimming you clean the ears and put a drying agent
into them. If you keep your dog with long thick ear hair, then you must be sure that the ear hair is also dry when you
put the drying agent into the ear canal. When I bathe my dogs I always pour dilute shampoo into the ear canals,
massage the ears and head and then rinse very well with the spray nozzle. I find that this REALLY cleans out the ears
and I have not had an ear infection since starting the routine of shampooing into the ear canals and then using the Ear
Relief Wash followed up by the Ear Relief Dry.

See the original article here

The above excerpt from an article on Cleaning Your Poodle Ears has some very helpful information and should be helpful to anyone with questions or concerns about how to go about making sure that your puppy or adult poodle’s ears are in good health.  This also applies to any breed of dog besides poodles that have ears that drop down and have hair that grows inside of them, such as the cocker spaniel for example.
Did you find some helpful and useful tips in this article?  Did you learn something new about your poodle and it’s ear health and maintenance?  If so, please like the post and share it with others you know who have dogs or poodles.



  1. Margaret says:

    i have spoken to a couple vets who have attended recent seminars and they are finding ear hair plucking is not a good idea for any pet unless their is a problem like infection. when the hair is plucked it opens the the skin up to possible infections. the ear should be cleaned with saline solution with a cotton ball. the suggested to only trim the hair if it is a lot. the more you pluck the chance of eventually getting an infection. i have had this problem. so i no longer pluck and just trim and clean with saline solution. vinegar can also irritate the ears. anyway, just thought i would pass the info i received on.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the comment. I have never had a problem plucking just a few hairs at a time from my poodle’s ears.
      My veterinarian actually did this and showed my wife and I how to do it.
      Thank you for the warning anyway.

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