How to Clean a Golden Retriever’s Ears

By Britt Kascjak

Golden Retrievers are known for their soft, floppy ears. But this distinguishing feature also puts them at a high risk for ear infections. Cleaning a Golden Retriever’s ears is a simple process and should be done approximately once a month.

What You Need

  • Veterinarian approved ear cleaner
  • Gauze
  • Older towel or rag

Step One: Gather Your Supplies

To get started, gather up everything that you are going to need. The best place to clean your Golden Retriever’s ears is on an easy to clean floor like tile or laminate.

Place everything within reach from where you will be sitting so that you don’t have to get up once you start.

Step Two: Apply the Ear Cleaner

One ear at a time, fill your Golden Retriever’s ear canal with a veterinarian approved ear cleaner.

Holding the ear gently, start moving it around to cause the cleaner to move around. If you hear a swishing or squishing sound, then you are doing it right.

You can also massage the base of the ear to help the cleaner work down into the ear canal.

Rotate between these two actions for approximately 30 to 45 seconds.

Step Three: Let Your Golden Retriever Shake

By this point in the process, your Golden Retriever is going to want to shake his head. Let him!

But, be prepared. He is going to send ear cleaner and potentially bits of ear wax flying. This is why you have the towel.

Wipe down your Golden Retriever’s face, carefully wiping any cleaner away from your dog’s eyes.

This process of shaking will release a lot of the debris from the ears.

Step Four: Wipe the Area to Remove Debris

Using your cotton balls or gauze, carefully wipe the outer ear clean of any debris.

Wrapping a piece of gauze around your finger, reach into your Golden Retriever’s ear. You can reach down to approximately your knuckle.

Unlike a human, a Golden Retriever’s ear is shaped in a way that you aren’t going to do any damage by doing this.

As you remove the gauze, allow it to wipe thet side of the ear canal. The grooves of the gauze will pick up any wax or dirt on the way. If necessary, use a second piece to make sure that you remove all the debris.

Tips and Tricks for Cleaning a Golden Retriever’s Ears

Don’t Use Hydrogen Peroxide

There is a lot of advice only saying to use hydrogen peroxide in place of the standard ear cleaner.

The problem with this is that the ears contain very sensitive tissue. Hydrogen peroxide can actually irritate this tissue, causing discomfort or even damage to your Golden Retriever’s ears.

Always stick to a veterinarian recommended ear cleaner.

Pay Attention to Smell

Before you see an infection, you may be able to smell that something’s off.

If a Golden Retriever has an ear infection, they often give off a sweet, yeasty smell. This is a clear sign that something’s wrong and our dog may need veterinary help.

Avoid Home Remedies

There are many home remedies online for dog ear-cleaning. But, many of the ingredients will actually irritate your Golden Retriever’s ear over time.

Before choosing an ear cleaner, read the packaging carefully.

If you are concerned about what is safe and what isn’t, you can ask you veterinarian for recommendations.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.