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How to clean a cocker spaniel ears to stop them from getting infections and wax build-up

Whilst there is a lot to love about a cocker spaniel personality-wise, most cocker spaniel lovers are drawn to this dog breed by their adorable, floppy ears with gorgeous wavy hair. The ears, no doubt make a cocker spaniel cute, but they also make them a lot more vulnerable to ear infections in comparison to other dog breeds.

This means that if you own a cocker spaniel, you have to remain vigilant by cleaning their ears frequently. If you are wondering how to do it, we are about to tell you all about it.

What do you need to clean a cocker spaniel’s ears?

Here is what you need to clean a cocker spaniel’s ears.

  • Cotton balls or pads
  • A vet recommended ear cleaner or solution (Somestimes warm water is also suitable)

Firstly, what not to do

Do not be tempted to clean your cocker spaniels ears using cotton buds. This could push ear wax further down the ear canal and cause more harm than good. Also, you should never put things in your cocker spaniel’s ear canal beyond what you can see. Doing so might rapture your cocker’s eardrums.

So, how do you properly clean your cocker spaniel’s ears? Let’s delve into it.

Cleaning cocker spaniels ears with cotton pad after apply specially designed ear cleaner for dogs

How do you clean a cocker spaniel’s ears?

To clean a cocker spaniel’s ears, firstly clean your hands. You don’t want to transfer any germs, bacteria or anything nasty you might have on your hands. I also recommend wearing a pair of clinical gloves, just for extra protection.

AnimalCareTV have also filmed a great video to show you how to clean a dogs ears

Step 1

Pull back the cocker spaniel’s ear to reveal the ear canal. Pour a generous amount of ear cleaner into the ear canal (apply only as directed on the instructions of the ear cleaning solution).

You might want to tilt your dog’s head to make sure the ear cleaner goes all the way into the ear canal. Close up the ear flap and massage gently for anywhere between 20 seconds to 2 minutes. This will dissolve all the excess wax out and most dogs love this process too.

When you release your dog’s head, they are most likely going to shake their head to expel the liquid in the ears, which is okay. Let them shake it off.

Step 2

When they settle down, you will need to wipe the excess ear cleaner off the ears. You should never leave your cocker spaniels ears wet, as this can create a warm, humid environment which is perfect for bacterial growth.

Pull back their ear and wipe off any excess ear cleaner using cotton balls or pads. Again, just wipe off the areas you can see. Don’t stick anything into your cocker spaniel’s ears, as this could injure your pup’s eardrums. After drying the ears, you are done.


How do you prevent your cocker spaniel’s ears from getting an infection?

The major reason cocker spaniels get ear infections is that their large ears cover the ear canals. The covered ear canals get little air and the poor ventilation creates the perfect environment for bacterial growth, especially if the ears get moist.

To prevent ear infections, you need to keep the ear canal as clear as possible. You can do this by carefully cutting excess hair around their ears. Extra hairs around the ears inhibit proper circulation in the ear canals.

Keep their ears dry. After bathing your cocker spaniel, you will also need to clean their ears using the routine we have laid out and ensure you dry them well afterwards. Never leave their ears wet.

Checking a cocker spaniels ears for any signs of an ear infection

How do you tell when your cocker spaniel has an ear infection

As we have already mentioned, cocker spaniels are more prone to ear infections compared to other dog breeds due to the nature of their ears. You need to know how to catch them early if it happens. Here are some of the signs that your cocker spaniel might have an ear infection.

Head shaking and scratching can be a sign of ear infection in dogs

If you notice your cocker spaniel pup shaking their head more than they usually do, you need to check their ears. If you notice them scratching their ears, you need to check and make sure there is nothing nasty going on in there.

Foul smell coming from ears can be caused by an ear infection

All dogs have a doggie smell. If you notice a suspicious smell coming from your cocker spaniel, check that it’s not coming from their ears.

Check out this article which discusses why my cocker spaniel smells

Redness around the ear canals is a sign of infection in dogs

If you notice that the skin around your cocker spaniel’s ears is red, it means they have an infection.

Vet checking ear infection in cocker spaniel dog

If you notice that your cocker spaniel has an infection, take them to the vet and have them look at your dog.


In conclusion,

A cocker spaniel will inevitably have a few ear infections in its lifetime. If you own, or are planning to get one, the only way to prevent ear infections is by cleaning their ears regularly. When you get an ear cleaner, you also want to make sure you get the right one as your dog could be allergic to some ear solutions and never use one designed for humans. Buy specially designed ear cleaner suitable for dogs only.

Remember, don’t insert anything in your cocker’s ear canal, as this can rupture their eardrums. Don’t be tempted to use earbuds to clean their ears either.

Keep the air canal clear by cutting the hairs around it to improve the canal’s ventilation. Lastly, be vigilant and if you notice your cocker spaniel has an infection, take them to the vet for treatment.


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