German shepherds are large dog breeds that make loyal family pets and excellent watchdogs. They have large, erect ears, making them keen listeners while at the same time allowing more air circulation than floppy ears. Their ear canals also tend to stay relatively dryer, making them less prone to infections. However, it’s still important to watch out for German Shepherd ear mites by occasionally inspecting the ears and cleaning appropriately. This guide highlights a step-by-step process on how to clean German shepherd ears to keep them healthy and attentive whenever you call their names or issue commands.
How To Clean German Shepherd Ears
If your German Shepherd Dog (GSD) has crusty ears, ear wax, or other black stuff inside the ear, you’ll need to clean the ear, but you need to learn how to do it the right way! Here is a step-by-step process:
#1: Inspect The Ears For Dirt and Wax
If your GSD has dirty ears, you may see black stuff inside the ears, and there might be a foul smell. Examine the ears for signs of infection. If there is an infection, your dog’s ears may appear red and inflamed. If that’s the case, your pup will require veterinary attention. Generally, healthy German shepherd ears will appear pink and free of discharge.
#2: Get The Tools Ready
You’ll want to have a clean towel handy to dry off your dog’s ears after cleaning. That way, your dog won’t need to shake his ears all over you. Other essential tools you need include:
- Dog ear cleanser Cotton ball or soft, clean cloth
- Ear drying powder
- Blunt-nose scissors or tweezers (only if the ears are excessively hairy).
#3: Pull Out The Ear
Gently pull one ear upward to straighten it and expose the ear canal.
#4: Apply Dog Ear Cleanser
Squeeze a few drops of the dog ear cleanser into the ear canal and gently massage the base of your GSD’s ear with the towel to evenly distribute the solution. It helps to have a friend or family member hold your pup’s head still to ensure he doesn’t shake it as you apply the cleanser.
#5: Swab Out Dirt Using a Cotton Ball
Using a cotton ball, carefully swab out the interior of your GSD’s ear, wiping out debris and residual cleanser. Use a new cotton ball to swab the same ear and repeat until no more wax or dirt comes out. If you don’t have cotton balls in handy, you may use a soft, clean cloth.
#6: Apply Ear Drying Powder
After cleaning, apply an ear-drying powder to your dog’s ear to ensure it stays dry. Since German Shepherds have erect ears, they often dry pretty fast.
#7: Trim Hair Around The Ears
Next, trim the hair around the inside of your dog’s ear with pair of blunt-nosed scissors. You could also pluck out long hair with a pair of tweezers. But note that this step is only necessary if your German Shepherd has very hairy ears that inhibit airflow to the ear canals.
#8: Repeat The Process For The Other Ear
Repeat the same steps with your GSD’s other ear, and then reward your dog with a small treat for the cooperation. After multiple regular cleanings, your dog should get used to the process and will likely corporate better. Check our dog’s ears for dirt and odor daily and repeat the cleaning process as needed. Once the ears are fully clean, get on a cleaning schedule at least once every 1-2 weeks. It’s also a wise idea to schedule teeth cleaning simultaneously with ear cleaning to save you time and stress.
Dealing with German Shepherd Ear Mites
If your GSD’s ears are crusty and have black spots that resemble, your pet may have ear mites, particularly if he keeps scratching his ears and shaking his head. Ear mites thrive in warm, humid conditions. But since the German Shepherd’s propped-up ears tend to be dry and cool, mites are less likely to infest them than floppy ears that often harbor more warmth and humidity.
What It Looks Like When a GSD Has Ear Mites
Ear mites are typically white and tiny (the size of a pinhead). To check for mites, grab the debris from your pup’s ear with a cotton ball and shake it off onto a dark surface or piece of paper. Look out for white specs walking on the dark paper. Whenever possible, use a magnifying glass to have a closer look.
If you suspect ear mites, be sure to take your dog to the vet to perform a full inspection and recommend the right treatment to get rid of the problem. Ear mites are highly contagious and can easily spread to other pets your dog comes in contact with, including other dogs, small mammals, and cats.
Although they don’t spread to people, you need to take them seriously to protect other animals nearby! Generally, vets provide ear mite drops that you can apply in your dog’s ears to kill the mites over time, and the process of application is similar to the ear cleaning process discussed above.
Following these simple steps will keep your dog’s ears clean and healthy. But if you’ve cleaned out your pet’s ears two days in a row and the problems still persist, take him to your vet to investigate ear mites and infections. Consider trimming your dog’s nails at the same time to stay ahead of your grooming regimen and save time.
Feel free to purchase any of the German Shepherd Ear Cleaning Solutions highlighted below and let us know what worked well for your GSD:
Dr. Belinda Hawks earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University in 2006 and has been practicing veterinary medicine since then. Dr. Belinda currently works as a passionate rancher and mixed animal veterinarian in a rural town in South Carolina. When not practicing veterinary medicine or writing, she spends her free time with her lovely husband and three kids (2 boys and a lovely girl) in South Carolina.