Topical ear medications are often necessary to adequately treat inflammatory or infectious ear conditions. Some dogs will tolerate the administration of liquids or ointments into their ears, while others will not.
Remember that your dog's ear condition may be painful, and that even a normally gentle and passive dog may respond by struggling, growling, biting, or scratching. Until the medication begins to control the problem and ease the discomfort, you may need to muzzle your dog for this procedure.
If your dog needs his ears cleaned before ear drops are applied, see handout "Instructions for Ear Cleaning in Dogs".
Make sure you carefully read the drug label and understand the prescription instructions before following the step-by-step procedure outline below:
- If the medication is refrigerated, you may be able to warm it up by placing the container in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Be sure to ask your veterinarian if this is acceptable before warming any medication. Do not microwave the medication.
- Hold the medication in your dominant hand. Draw up the liquid into the dropper or prepare the squeeze bottle as directed. Gently pull the flap of the ear up and slightly back using your other hand.
- Apply the prescribed number of drops into the ear canal, while continuing to hold the ear flap up.
- Rub the base of the ear against the head in a circular motion. Be cautious and gentle as your dog may object to this procedure. You should hear a 'squishing' sound as you massage the medication deep into the ear canal.
- Release the ear and let your dog shake its head. If the medication contains a wax solvent, it will dissolve the debris, which your pet will shake out of the ear. You may gently wipe away any accumulated debris from the ear flap with a tissue or ball of cotton.
- Make sure you give your dog plenty of praise throughout the procedure and offer a treat during and after giving the medication. This will make the experience more positive and make it easier to give the medication the next time.
Remember that your dog's ear(s) may be very painful and that your dog may respond by scratching or biting. Use caution and patience when treating your dog's ear(s).