How to Clean Labradoodle Ears-Safely & Quickly to Prevent Infections

Your Labradoodle is fun, loving, and caring. They need to care too. Taking care of your dog’s ears is one of the most important things to consider when owning a Labradoodle. 

Floppy-eared dogs, in general, need more ear-care than other dogs because they are more prone to infections. 

Labradoodles are also subject to more wax and bacteria build-up. Thus, it is easier to prevent ear infections than to deal with them. You should have a set schedule for cleaning your dog’s ears. 

So, how should you clean your Labradoodle Ears? You can either take your Labradoodle to a professional groomer or clean their ears at home. If you clean them at home then you need a cotton ball, mild cleaning solution, and tweezers. They’ll need to be perfectly still during the cleaning, too.  

As someone who has been cleaning their dogs’ ears myself for years, I can tell you that it is important but it is not easy, thankfully, if you know what you are doing, it does get easier with time. In this article, I’m going to basically tell you everything I have learned over the years.

So, to know how to clean your Labradoodle’s ears, what tools you will need, mistakes to avoid, home remedies, how to remove wax from your Labradoodle’s ear, and the benefits of cleaning your dog’s ears, keep reading!

How to clean Labradoodle Ears? 

labradoodle smiling to show how to clean Labradoodle ears

Cleaning your Labradoodle’s ears is a tricky business. The amount of information you need to acquire may seem overwhelming. Let us break it down for you in a simple manner that makes it easy to use this information.

What will you need? 

Before actually starting to clean your dog’s ears, you need to be prepared. You will need: 

  1. Cotton balls (a lot of them)

Cotton balls are essential to do this process and we will tell you how. However, do not use cotton swabs, stick to cotton balls.

  1. A Mild ear cleaning solution 

The cleaning solution is also essential. You need to choose it carefully, as it should not contain alcohol or steroids. You can always buy it from the store. And here’s a plus: it is cheap.

If you are going to buy it from a store, make sure it does not contain alcohol or steroids. For specific recommendations, check out my guide to cleaning dog ears here as it has all the recommendations you will need.

  1. Tweezers

You need tweezers to pluck the hair around the opening of your dog’s ear. You need to make sure you can see the ear canal. 

Your phone’s flash should be helpful here, just make sure you don’t hold it in your mouth and then drop it (ahem, yes, ‘some people‘ broke their phone screen doing that)

  1. Aloe Vera Gel 

You will need pure aloe vera to break down the wax in your dog’s ears. It deodorizes and provides for a healthy environment in your dog’s ear canal. 

  1. A confined place

Your dog will probably want to run away from you because this experience is quite scary and painful for them. To make sure that does not happen and cause a mess, you need a confined place like a bathtub for example. 

If you are going to do it in the bathroom, you need to make sure the floor is completely dry, otherwise you or the dog may slip. You also want to make sure the dog don’t know how to open the door.

Make sure to get everything you will need in there first and triple-check if you need to, because if you do get the dog inside and figure out that you have forgotten something, it will be really difficult to get outside to grab it and get back without the dog making a mess in the bathroom or running away the moment you open the door.

  1. Patience 

Be patient with your doggo. The ear-cleaning process is not fun for either of you. However, he/she might be scared. Try to take it slow and to make them feel safe. Remember, it can be a long process. 

The best time to clean their ears 

As a rule of thumb, you should clean your dog’s ears once a month. However, floppy-eared dogs like Labradoodles need their ears cleaned more often. 

It is best to clean your Labradoodle’s ears every other week if they are scratching a lot. It is better to clean their ears more regularly (maybe even once a week) if they swim regularly. Also, make sure to pick a time when your Labradoodle is not energetic. 

Pre-cleaning routine 

Now that you are prepared, it’s time to prepare your dog for the ear-cleaning session. 

  1. Make sure they are relaxed

Before cleaning your dog’s ears, make sure they are relaxed. When your dog is relaxed, it is more likely that they would sit still.

This means that they should have gotten their daily dose of exercise already and have no reasons to be stressed. Something that works with some dogs surprisingly well is classical music as it seem to have a good relaxing effect on them, so you may want to try it out with your own dog as well.

I also have a guide on how to calm down your dog here that you can check out for more ways on how to calm down your dog.

  1. Choose the place

It is better to place your dog in a place you are not afraid to get messy. During the process, your dog will probably shake their head and get wax everywhere. 

Also, it is better to place them somewhere they can’t run.

  1. Distract them

Place distractions for them while you are cleaning their ears to make sure they do not focus on the strange sounds or the pain or discomfort.

An idea is to make them lick something like peanut butter or melted cheese. Of course, you should consult your vet about that too. 

  1. Praise them

If they are quiet and relaxed, praise them. Praise will encourage them to stay quiet and still which will make your job way easier. 

It would also associate positive feelings to the ear-cleaning process. 

5. Removing the dead hair: around the ear and on the flap 

You need a visual of the ear canal. That is vital. Hair around the area can make it hard for you to see and can make the cleaning less effective. 

You should remove dead hair around and in the ear using either your fingers or tweezers. Removing dead hair will also allow you to clean the skin itself. 

How to clean the inside of the ear canal 

As explained earlier, cleaning the inside of the ear canal is one of the most critical parts of cleaning their ears. That’s because it’s where you will need to be the most precise. Your dog must be perfectly still while you do this. If they are not, you should wait for them to calm down.

  1. Hold the ear flap 

You should hold the ear flap upward to expose the ear canal and get a visual of how much dirt or wax is in there. 

  1. Apply the cleaner

Apply an adequate amount of the cleaning solution directly into the ear canal. You should not be afraid to put the tip of the bottle in the ear canal and squeeze the solution into the ear. 

  1. Massage 

 You should gently massage the solution with a cotton ball into your dog’s ear canal. Make sure you hear it swooshing inside to make sure it is getting into all the right places. 

  1. Allow them to shake their head

This will come naturally to your dog. The feeling of the solution will make your dog want to shake their head, which is good. Shaking their head will allow the solution to travel farther into your dog’s ears, which will break up more debris. 

  1. Wipe out the ear 

This is where you and your dog get some relief. Remove the wax, debris, and excess cleaning solution in your dog’s ears with a cotton ball. Gently insert your finger into the ear canal to make sure there is nothing left there. 

This video actually does a good job of showing how to clean a dog’s ear canal (starting at around the 1:57 mark):

How to soothe their ears after plucking it 

Plucking hair is not a fun experience for humans or dogs. The skin after plugging can be a bit irritated. You can use natural balms to relieve your dog from the irritation or discomfort they may be feeling. 

Coconut oil also soothes the skin. It also provides your dog with amazingly glowy skin and can prevent skin dryness. I have a complete guide on how to pluck your dog’s ears here that is definitely worth checking out.

Mistakes to avoid when cleaning your Labradoodle’s ears 

Unfortunately, many new (and sometimes even experienced) dog owners do some mistakes repeatedly when cleaning their dog ears. To make sure you don’t fall for these same mistakes, here is a breakdown of the most common ones:

  1. Using the wrong cleaning solution 

Choosing the cleaning solution is as important as choosing your own moisturizer or sunscreen. 

While buying the cleaning solution, make sure it is free of alcohol and steroids. Buy a cleaning solution that has ingredients that acidify the ear canal for an effective clean. For example, lactic acid helps break down debris and ear wax. 

  1. Not applying enough ear cleaning solution

The cleaning solution needs to travel deep down to your Labradoodle’s ear canal. Thus, you should gently and completely fill your Labradoodle’s ear canal with the solution until you see the fluid pooling inside. 

  1. Using a cotton swab 

Using a cotton swab can not only hurt your Oodle, but it can also push debris and wax farther into the ear canal. A cotton ball won’t hurt your doggo and will remove as much excess debris, wax, and solution as possible. 

  1. Choosing the wrong place

If you are a person that likes to keep the house clean, you would really hate to clean your dog’s ears next to your nice bed or brand-new couch. Ear-cleaning is a messy process. 

While your dog shaking their head during ear-cleaning is good for them, it can get wax and debris all over you and your house. Hence, some people like to do this either outside or in the bathroom. 

  1. Disciplining your dog during the cleaning process

If your dog is just not having it, avoid punishing them during the process. This is not the time for punishment as your Oodle will associate ear-cleaning with punishment. Consequently, cleaning their ears in the future will be even more dreadful. 

Instead, postpone the ear-cleaning a little bit and play with your dog. If you don’t have the luxury of time, you can try offering them treats. 

You can learn how to discipline your dog correctly here, but again, you should never punish it in a way that makes them associate any part of their grooming process with punishment. This will make it impossible in the future to groom them easily.

In fact, some owners do this a lot and it gets so bad that the groomer needs to drug the dog in order to do anything to them, which as you may think, is definitely not good.

Home Remedies for Cleaning Your Labradoodle’s Ears 

If you have some extra time on your hands and you want to spoil your dog with a home-made remedy, you have 2 options:

  1. You can mix apple cider vinegar and water together with a 1:1 ratio.  
  2. You can make pure aloe vera gel. 
  3. You can use olive oil and store it in a cool, dark place. 

Before making the home remedies, please consult your veterinarian. 

Please note that you should avoid using alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and boric acids, as they can result in pH imbalances. 

However, we recommend that you buy ear cleaners from the store. They are less time-consuming, safer if you take your precautions, cheap, and effective. 

Should you remove the wax from your Labradoodle’s ear? 

Yes, you should remove wax from your dog’s ears, as wax and dirt build-up can cause ear infections. If you are not sure whether there is wax build-up in your Labradoodle’s ears, check if they are scratching their ears a lot. 

Wax can also make your Labradoodle’s ears smell. Labradoodles don’t usually have a bad odor. So, if your Labradoodle’s ears smell, it’s time for a good ear-cleaning session. 

If your dog’s wax is black, dark brown, or green that is because of the bacteria caught in the wax. 

How to remove wax from your Labradoodle’s ear?  

To clean the wax from your dog’s ears, you should:

  1. Wait till the wax is room-temperature
  2. Get a clean cotton bud and cleaning solution 
  3. Start wiping your dog’s ears (including the ear canal) with the cotton bud and cleaning solution 
  4. Then, get a tooth comb and an oil-based cleaner 
  5. Start gently applying the cleaner to your dog’s ears to soften the wax
  6.  Gently pick the softened wax away with the comb 
  7. Shampoo after 

The benefits of cleaning your Labradoodle’s ears 

The greatest benefit of cleaning your Labradoodle’s ears is that it helps them stay comfortable and does a great job preventing them from getting infections. 

Due to your Labradoodle’s floppy ears, dirt, debris, and moisture get trapped inside. That is because of the lack of airflow in that area. 

Trapped moisture, dirt, and debris can result in serious infections which can compromise your Labradoodle’s health. 

Getting rid of any dirt inside your dog’s ears is much easier than getting rid of an infection, which will require many vet visits and many medications. 

Just like humans, dogs need to be healthy in order to be happy. Thus, cleaning your Labradoodle’s ears will result in a happier dog, which ultimately results in a happier dog owner. 

However, do not over-clean your labradoodle’s ears. If your dog’s ears are clean, there is no need to clean them again. Over-cleaning can also lead to skin problems such as dryness. 

Related Questions 

How often do you clean your Labradoodle’s ears? 

As a rule of thumb, Labradoodle’s ears should be cleaned every other week. It also depends on your dog. Labradoodles are playful and fun-loving dogs.  If your dog likes to swim and roll in the dirt, they are most likely to require more ear-cleaning. 

You should always check your Oodle’s ears for any dirt and wax-build up. If they develop dirty ears quickly, you can clean them once per week. 

At what age do you start cleaning your Labradoodle’s ears? 

Until 6 months of age, it is enough to simply wipe your Labradoodle’s ears with a cotton bud to remove the wax. You can use a gentle cleaning solution that is alcohol and steroids-free. However, you should use it conservatively, so as to not hurt your puppy’s ears. 

After 6 months, you can start cleaning your labradoodle’s ears every other week. 

Do Labradoodles need their ears plucked? 

Labradoodle’s ears are prone to hair getting stuck inside. Hair tends to be rooted deep inside the ear canal. Thus, in order to clean it, you need to remove the hair. Make sure to remove dead hair too. Make sure there is no hair in the way to be able to clean the skin itself. 

Do Labradoodles have ear problems?

Yes, Labradoodles have ear problems due to their floppy shape. Floppy-eared dogs in general tend to have more ear problems than other dogs. The moisture, dirt, and debris get stuck inside of their ear canal, Thus, they need constant care and cleaning. 

Helpful Resources 

How to Care for Your Dog’s Ears

How to Clean a Dog’s Ears: Three Simple Steps to Try at Home

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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