How to Administer Ear Drops

Drooping ears often need attention. Images

Topical medication in the form of eardrops treats ears blocked with wax and various infections. If your vet has prescribed such drops, you’ll almost certainly need to administer them yourself after the initial visit. This is not a complicated procedure. But your dog might not take that kindly to it initially, so take your time and provide plenty of loving. Receiving eardrops shouldn’t be very painful in itself, but it can be disconcerting to a dog. Also, infected ears may already be hurting.

Step 1

Check the dosage instructions on the medication’s label. It’s all too easy to hear your vet’s instructions incorrectly and administer the wrong dose.

Step 2

Ask your dog to sit or lie down and pet him for a few minutes.

Step 3

Angle his head gently with your non-dominant hand so his ear is facing up. Lift his ear flap, if he has droopy ears, with a finger or thumb. Drip the required amount into the ear canal with your other hand. Don’t put the tip of the dropper or needleless syringe more than a tiny fraction of an inch into the ear canal and never push or force it. If your dog is wriggling hard, consider dripping in the medication from a short distance. If he's nervous or a fear biter, an assistant may need to hold him firmly while you administer the drops.

Step 4

Let his earflap drop. Massage the outside and base very gently to work in the medication.

Step 5

Release his head, pet him again and provide a small treat, so he begins to associate receiving ear medication with a nice experience.

Step 6

Wait a few minutes to allow the medication to percolate into the dog’s inner ear; then repeat the procedure for the other ear if required.


  • It’s fine if you release his head immediately after administering the eardrops, but don’t tilt it the other way for a few minutes; else the medication is liable to drip out.

  • If your dog is in pain from an infection, be prepared for distress. Plenty of petting and talking calmly to your pet helps calm him down.

  • If you are administering eardrops to a small dog who’s prone to wriggling, try wrapping him in a towel first. This is also helpful when giving eardrops to other pets, such as cats or rabbits.

An Item You Will Need

  • Treats