How to Clean a Dog's Ears With Witch Hazel

Those lovable, floppy ears may be hiding a dirty surprise.
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If your precious pooch has an offensive odor that lingers regardless of how many times you bathe him, his ears may be the culprit. Wax, water and grime build up inside his ears, and if not cleaned frequently, can lead to serious infections. Grab a cotton ball and a little witch hazel and wipe those ears clean.

Step 1

Check your dog’s ears for indication of infection. Signs of infection include excessive head shaking, scratching at the ears, red, inflamed tissue and foul-smelling liquid inside the ear canal. If you suspect your pooch has an infection, call your vet.

Step 2

Add a few drops of witch hazel directly into the ear canal and massage the base of the ear with your hand. Most dogs love having their ears scratched, and this loosens debris in the ear canal in a relaxing, pleasurable way. Wipe away loosened grime with a towel or cotton ball.

Step 3

Soak a fresh cotton ball with witch hazel, and wipe the cotton ball over the dog’s entire ear flap. If your dog has erect ears, brace the ear with the palm of your hand and wipe from the base of the ear up to the tip. If your pup has floppy ears, lift the ear flap with one hand and wipe the ear with your free hand.

Step 4

Hold the ear flap up until the skin is completely dry. Witch hazel evaporates quickly and is a natural cleanser, removing oil and grease from the ear without the risk of leaving moisture in the ear canal.


  • Clean your dog’s ears once a week. If they haven’t been cleaned recently or are extremely dirty, wipe them down every day until they are clean and odor-free, then switch to a weekly maintenance wipe.

Items You Will Need

  • Small towel
  • Cotton balls
  • Witch hazel