How to Clean Golden Retriever Ears & How Often? Step-By-Step Guide with Video

Cleaning your golden retriever’s ears is as important as cleaning their teeth and brushing their coats. It needs to be done often and it needs to be done right, but unfortunately, not all people do this or even know it.

Your golden retriever’s cute floppy ears are a perfect spot to trap moisture and be a haven for bacteria which leads to all kinds of infections. However, you should also not over clean it. As with all things, the best practice is somewhere in between.

So, how often to clean golden retriever ears?  You should clean your golden retriever’s ears 1-3 times a week if there is an infection to keep it clean, but if their ears are perfectly normal you can clean it once a month, and it mainly depends on how bad their ear condition is and their ear wax production. 

Like what I said before, to make sure that their ears do not get infected you should clean them regularly and take good care of them just like their coat because it can affect their health too, keep reading to learn more about them.

How often to clean your golden retriever’s ears? 

Golden retriever puppy with blue wallpaper to illustrate how often to clean golden retriever ears

If your golden retrievers’ ears are in excellent health, then you can clean their ears once a month, but if they are suffering from an ear infection, then you should clean their ears more often, for example, 1-3 times a week to fight off the infections and keep their ears clear.

As stated above, it really highly depends on the condition of your dog’s ears, the environment they’re staying in, and the weather, actually. This is why it’s usually quite hard to just give one simple answer because nothing is ever this simple.

Let me give you an example; a dog that lives in a city with dry weather, spends most of their time away from the water, and usually plays in clean places will definitely not needs to have their ears cleaned as a dog that lives somewhere like Florida where it’s hot and humid and their ears would quickly have moisture building up in it.

By the way, you can learn how to help your golden retriever stay comfortable anywhere with hot weather here, and I do recommend checking these posts out and they have some very practical and useful tips that will make a difference.

5 Homemade dog ear solutions that work

  • Pour white vinegar and rub alcohol into a small glass bowl and use the turkey baster to dip into the bowl and put it in your dog’s ears
  • You can use a combination of olive oil, almond oil, and some natural oils and add a couple of drops to the outside of your dog’s ear canal, wait for your pooch to shake their head (by doing this they will spread the oil around the canal) and if they do not shake their head, you can massage their ears to help spread the oil and just like the other methods use the cotton ball to remove oil and the debris 
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of glycerin with 2 tablespoons of boric acid, put it on the cotton ball, and wipe their ear, the glycerin soothes their skin and prevents it from getting too dry, and the boric acid breaks up waxy build-up.
  • Mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide with one part water, and pour it in your dogs’ ears and wipe away the debris (however, hydrogen peroxide could be harmful to your dog in certain situations, so be very careful with it)
  • This one is great for floppy-eared dogs, mix ⅔ cup of water and ⅓ cup of apple cider vinegar.

You can get hydrogen peroxide 3% on Amazon here.

I do not always recommend homemade ear cleansers because some of them can contain some harmful and irritating ingredients but also there are some homemade ear cleansers that do a really good job.

In the end, it’s up to you. I would recommend going slow and trying the easiest homemade solutions first (the ones with oils and vinegar) before moving to the more advanced remedies with hydrogen peroxide and such.

How to prepare your dog for an ear cleaning? 

  • First, you need to massage your dog’s ears to make sure that there aren’t any sores there.
  • Make sure that their  ears actually needs cleaning (if their ears are clean, it will be pink, not inflamed, and odorless)
  • If your golden’s ears smell, it does not necessarily mean that it needs cleaning, but it could mean that your dog probably is suffering from inflammation, ear mites, or allergies and they’ll need to get their ears checked by the vet.
  • Calm them down, wait for them to be relaxed to begin 
  • Make someone help you to steady their head because they will want to move.

How to Clean Dog Ears to treat and prevent infections

Watch the video below for a step-by-step guide to clean your dog’s ears:

Here are the step-by-step process of cleaning your dog’s ears:

What you will need:

  • A veterinary approved ear cleaner 
  • Cotton balls or cotton swabs 
  • Gloves to  prevent any fluids from getting on your hands 
  • Towel to keep it dry during the process

What you will do

  • Pull the ear gently away from the head and up to open up their canals 
  • Take the fluid and pour straight in their ear and fill up the ear canal all the way up till you can see the fluid 
  • Massage the area below their ear gently in a circular motion (it will help loosen any debris that may be sitting in there) for 30 seconds and you’ll hear a squishing sound when you do this 
  •  Place the towel over their head to avoid getting the both of you dry because they will shake their head
  • Take your cotton swab and gently wipe away any debris that you see
  • You can repeat the process if the amount of debris is a little too much 
  • Now you can move to the other side and repeat the process 

Do not use a q- tip at home it only should be used at the vet because it could shove the dirt and debris deeper into their ears.

Quick Recommendations:

For the ear cleaner, I simply use the one from Zymox which is affordable and safe. I have never seen any side effects of it on my dogs, and it does work pretty well.

You can get this ear cleaning solution on Amazon here.

For the cotton balls or swaps, while you technically can use the ones you have at home, it’s not recommended as the cotton balls for humans are smaller than those used for dogs and, in most cases, harder.

I like these ones from Gladog as they are quite soft and don’t seem to bother my pooches.

You can get these cotton buds for dogs on Amazon here.

You can use any gloves you have at home as long as they give you good control and don’t make it hard for you to handle things with your fingers. Basically, what I’m saying is just don’t use oven mitts.

Why does my golden retriever keep getting ear infections?

Golden retrievers have floppy ears and even though it looks adorable on them and how it flows while they are running, it has some disadvantages such as they trap the moisture inside their ears which makes them more prone to ear infections especially when you do not dry their ears well after the bath or swimming.

Also, it could be that your dog is prone to recurrent or chronic ear infections, you should identify the underlying cause and manage it. 

If they had an ear infection and it healed and the same thing happened again, then you should definitely take them to the vet for a check-up. 

You can also take a minute to learn why do golden retrievers have floppy ears here and how it affects them.

Should I clean inside my dog’s ears?

No, you should not clean inside of your dog’s ears, over-cleaning their ears may cause them irritation in the ear canal and it could lead to infection.

If your dog has clean upright ears then they may never need to have their ears cleaned.

Even if they have floppy ears and it’s clean you can clean just once a month but check if it’s really needed first.

What is the best medicine for a dog ear infection?

For any medicine, you should consult your vet before giving it to your dog.

Here is what you can give to your dog to treat ear infections 

Related Questions 

What is the brown stuff in my dog’s ears?

If your dog has a waxy brown ear discharge can mean that your dog has an ear infection, and it could happen for lots of reasons such as mites, overproduction of earwax, allergies, too much moisture in the ears because of swimming, or excessive bathing, or polyps. 

How much does it cost to clean a dog’s ears?

It depends on the case if they have an ear infection the average cost could be from $50 to $300, but even in the infection the cost is different from a dog to another, but if their ear is fine then it will cost very little, just the cotton, veterinary-approved ear cleaner, and gloves.  


How to clean dog ears

Instructions for Ear Cleaning in Dogs


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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