How To Clean Your Golden Retriever’s Ears

One of the Golden Retriever’s best qualities is it’s soft and floppy ears. You could rub them for days, and your dog wouldn’t mind one bit!

However, these loveable ears can run the risk of getting infected if they aren’t cleaned properly. This can spell bad news for your dog as well as your wallet. It should be done regularly – and you can do it yourself.

So, how do you clean your golden retriever’s ears? You can do a number of things, such as:

  • Stick to a cleaning schedule
  • Use an ear flush
  • Wipe outside of the ear with a cotton ball
  • Use dog-safe products to clean the ears
  • Proper technique is key in administering ear cleanings
  • Praise or give your dog treats after!

These simple rules can help give your dog’s ears a proper cleaning. As well as make sure they take to it with a positive association (i.e., treats!). This will guarantee that your dog’s ears stay healthy, and your dog stays happy. Here’s a quick guide to getting it done.

6 Tips And Tricks To Cleaning Your Golden’s Ears

It is important that you treat your dog with care and follow the steps that help your dog have clean, healthy ears.

Every dog breed is different, and there can be alternative ways of cleaning the ears based on the breed. Some dogs only need cleanings sparingly, while golden retriever ears need more.  Here is how you can help those furry, floppy ears:

1- Keep to a cleaning schedule. Dogs can be very routine-oriented and do better when they know the expectation. If you stick to a schedule for cleanings, your dog will be more likely to behave well while you clean them.

This may not sound like a big deal, but it sure can be if your dog won’t let you clean its ears. Make it a positive experience for him and you!

2- Use an ear flush at room temperature. This little trick will make the experience better for your dog. If the liquid is too cold or hot, it can come as an unwanted surprise to your dog. She could flinch or even bite if it is too unpleasant. It will also make trying to clean their ears again a less than ideal situation for you both.

3- Only use cotton balls or cotton swabs! These will get the earwax out without harming your dog’s sensitive ear canals. Never use Q-tips because similar to a human ear, a Q-tip goes too deep and can penetrate the eardrum by accident. This can cause injury and even surgery if the tear is deep enough — a visit to the vet you or your dog does not want to make.

4- Use dog-safe products to clean their ears. It can do more harm than good to use vinegar or water to clean your dog’s ears. There are plenty of dog cleaning products that you can buy that are safe for your dog. Using these products will get the job done and keep your dog happy and healthy. You can buy these online or prescribed by your vet.

5- Make sure you clean your dog’s ear properly. It is important that you use the products properly when you clean your dog’s ears. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could injure your dog or not fully clean their ears. Uncleaned ears can lead to infection or bacteria buildup. Here is a video on how to clean your dog’s ears properly.

6- Positive praise goes a long way! We all thrive on positive praise and treats for doing a great job at something that may not be the most fun experience. Your dog also feels this way, and treats go a long way in solidifying that positive experience when cleaning their ears. This is especially important for golden retrievers since you have to wash their ears weekly.

How To Clean Your Golden Retriever’s Ears

We’ve talked about some tips and tricks on how to clean your dog’s ears. Now, we’ll get into how to actually do the deed. You can clean their ears in some easy steps by reading below!

1- Dress for the part. Cleaning your dog’s ears can be a messy business, so make sure to wear something you don’t mind getting dirty. You also want to be sure you clean their ears either in a place in your house that can get dirty. You can also clean their ears outside if the weather is nice.

2- Lift your dog’s ear and pour in the ear solution. Gravity is your friend in this step, so hold the bottle upside down, so the spray goes in fast. Your dog most likely won’t sit still for very long after you put the solution into its ear. The more solution you get in, the more likely it will be that you get the ear wax out.

3- Massage around their ear to spread the solution around. Doing this feels good for your dog as well as move the solution around to dislodge the earwax. Be sure not to use vinegar or water for this step, since the former can irritate the ears while the latter can lead to bacterial infections.

4- Wipe inside of the ear with a cotton ball. This will catch the dislodged earwax and any dirt that might have snuck its way into your dog’s ears. You may need to wipe with a few cotton balls to get all the wax out. You should press the cotton ball in, but don’t feel like you have to force it in. Continue this process until the cotton is clean.

5- Clean around your dog’s ear. It’s important to clean around your dog’s ear to get off any dirt or grime that may have gotten stuck on it throughout the week. This will decrease the likelihood of your dog getting a bacterial infection from the dirt. Cleaning around the ear can also wash off any residue of ear wax.

6- Praise your dog! After that experience, make sure to praise and treat your dog. That way, they will be open and behaved when getting their ears cleaned regularly. Golden retrievers need to get their ears cleaned weekly due to how often their ears get dirty and the amount of earwax they produce.

Follow these steps each time you clean your dog’s ears, and you will have a happy and healthy dog. As well as a happy wallet with all the vet bills you will save on due to infections or even hearing loss if multiple layers of the earwax cakes on in your dog’s ears. Cleaning your dog’s ears only takes a few minutes out of your week.

What Products Should You Use?  

While researching products, a few seemed to rise to the top, based on customer reviews and ratings:

Doggie Dailies Pet Ear Cleaner. This cleaner has great natural ingredients to help level out the pH level within your dog’s ear. It will also dry it out so no excess water gets trapped in your dog’s ear that could lead to infection. This product is also one of the highest-ranked on Amazon by the website and buyers themselves.

ZYMOX Pet King Brand Otic Pet Ear Treatment. This is a great product for those dogs that have an ear infection that they are fighting or suffering from. These are also great for those dogs who are more susceptible to ear infections. This will help decrease those pesky infections from developing as often.

Pet MD – Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes. This product is great for tackling those yeast infections or mites/tics. It can also battle bad odor from any of those problem situations. These are also incredibly easy to use since you aren’t squirting water into your dog’s ear canal. You can also easily dispose of them after use, and they won’t make a big mess.

Gold Medal Groomers Ear Powder. This powder is a great finishing product to dry out in and around the ear canal. This also adheres to hair for easier removal. Removing hair in and around the ear is important to promote airflow and keep the area dry and free of bacteria buildup. The powder also helps get rid of pesky odors your dog’s ears may have in them.

Problems To Look Out For When Cleaning

Reddish-brown discharge or a bad odor coming from the ear. This can be indicative of a yeast infection in the ear. Your dog can get yeast infections due to water getting into the ear. You can get medication from your vet to treat the infection, along with regularly cleaning your dog’s ears.

Frequent head shaking, whimpering, and ear scratching. These actions may mean that something inside your dog’s ear is bothering her. This can be excessive wax or even an infection. If you see all three of these symptoms and your dog won’t let you touch her ear, you should check your dog’s ear and possibly take your dog to see the vet.

Check the outside of your dog’s ear for mites or tics. If your dog is super outdoorsy, you’ll want to check your dog’s coat and ears for unwanted guests. These can lead to discomfort, infections, or even disease. Finding these little friends early can help protect your dog from these issues and vet bills.

A diet change may help your pooch. Diet can impact how much earwax your dog produces. Simply changing up her diet might help reduce some of the chronic ear problems your dog is facing. Earwax buildup can be an allergy to something in your dog’s food rather than a simple buildup over time. This change can help if weekly cleanings aren’t doing the trick for your suffering pooch.

Common Ear Problems For Golden Retrievers

Red, inflamed skin in or around the ear canal. This can be a direct sign that your dog has an ear infection. Most dogs will scratch the infected ear, which leads to inflamed and reddish skin. These can be treated with sprays or ear washes, as well as antibiotics, if necessary, from your vet.

Bad odor or frequent scratching. This is a common problem that often points to a yeast infection. Yeast infections are often formed due to the build-up of bacteria, earwax, or dirt in the ear. A dog’s ear canal can be a moisture mating ground for these organisms, which is why it is important to clean your dog’s ears regularly to keep them dry.

Your dog won’t let you touch her ears. This is another sign of either an ear infection or a possible mite or tic issue. Either of these options is not great for your dog’s ear health or happiness. Taking care of them swiftly will help you get back your loyal and fun-loving friend. You can use ear washes and tic/mite products to help battle these issues.

Hearing loss due to ear canal surgeries from poor ear care. A study found a link between anesthesia and surgery, causing hearing loss or total deafness in dogs and cats. Poor ear care forces vets to put animals to sleep to care for their ears. If surgery is needed, it can be risky and cause damage to the eardrums. Keep your dog’s ears clean to prevent hearing loss!

How Do I Make My Golden Retriever Comfortable With Ear Cleaning?

Retrain older dogs. Puppies can be trained to get comfortable with ear cleanings. However, older dogs may struggle with it more. Especially if they aren’t used to weekly cleanings or haven’t had their ears cleaned at all. You can retrain these dogs by giving them treats after following a “Sit” command or being comfortable after you touch their head and ears.

Treats, treats, treats! When you first start the ear cleaning process, you may have to give your dog a treat after each and every step. This means a treat after you touch their ear, when you put in the solution and when using cotton balls. You can fade the number of treats you give your dog as he gets more comfortable with the process.

Consistency is key. Similar to having a routine cleaning schedule, being consistent with treats and cleaning can help make your dog more comfortable with ear cleanings. They will know what to expect as well as how it will feel when they get their ears cleaned. This can help reduce anxiety and discomfort when you initially start cleaning their ears.

Touch their ears! Help desensitize your dog to getting their ears touched. You can do this by treating them when you touch their ears during cleanings. You can also play with their ears when they are relaxing next to you on the couch. Or when you are playing catch, you can massage their head and rub their ears.

How To Keep Your Golden Retriever’s Ears Healthy

Examine your dog’s ears daily. Especially if your dog has frequent ear infections or scratches its ears a lot. Examining them daily can help reduce the likelihood of these infections from coming back and other ear issues. You should look for earwax residue, inflamed skin, or discharge. Basically, anything that looks out of the ordinary.

Smell for odor. You can take a quick sniff of your dog’s ears while you’re checking them for any bad odor. Bad smells can be indicative of a yeast infection that should be treated right away. You can take your dog to the vet to get a prescription to treat it or buy a product online. Depending on your comfort level, you can administer the product on your own.

Trim the hair in the ear canal and around the ear. Long hair can be like a magnet for dirt and moisture. These can lead to infections and excessive earwax buildup. Trimming the hair around the ear will keep the ear canal drier by increasing airflow. You will have to train your dog to be comfortable around trimmers first before you can do this regularly.

You can do quick wipes, but don’t use those instead of deep cleaning the ears. Wet wipes can help clean around the ear and inside the ear canal. However, this will not replace a deep clean that you should still be doing weekly. A quick wipe is great to use daily, especially if you and your dog were outside for an extended period of time or got dirty.


Keeping your dog’s ears clean on a weekly basis will prevent ear problems, such as infections or disease. It is important your dog is comfortable.

Comfort and consistency are key in preventing any ear problems with your dog. Keeping their ears clean will stop any bacteria or dirt from forming inside the ear and affecting your dog’s behaviors or demeanor. Not to mention their overall health.

Take these points with you the next time you decide to clean your dog’s ears. I hope this article has helped you!

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