Cleaning Cocker Spaniel Ears

Cleaning Cocker Spaniel ears regularly (at least weekly) is essential for your dog's ears to stay healthy and free from infection and disease. Ear infections can be excruciating and difficult to budge.

These 7 simple steps will help you keep your Cocker Spaniel's ears healthy and bacteria-free.

All About Cleaning Cocker Spaniel Ears!

It's an understatement to say that Cocker Spaniel's ears can be pretty high maintenance; that's why cleaning your dog's ears at least once each week is paramount!

Golden cocker spaniel with both ears held out to the sides. The photo was taken against a white background.Cleaning Cocker Spaniel ears keeps them healthy!

Because of their pendulous design, their ears often trail across the ground, picking up all sorts of debris and trailing through who knows what.

And because the ear flap closes over the ear canal, trapping in warm moist air, Cocker ears are often susceptible to many infections.

However, if you keep them well-brushed and scrupulously clean, you can help to avoid infection in the first place and keep them bacteria-free and healthy.

Why not try these 7 simple steps to cleaning your dog's ears? You could easily add them into your Cocker's regular grooming routine.

Essentials For Cleaning Cocker Spaniel Ears!

Before you begin cleaning your dog's ears, it's a good idea to have the following items within easy reach:

  • a couple of cotton wool balls;
  • cotton buds (optional);
  • a couple of tissues;
  • a pair of blunt tweezers;
  • blunt-ended scissors;
  • a good ear cleaning solution;
  • a small dish;
  • medicated ear powder (optional);
  • a couple of treats for a well-behaved Cocker Spaniel.

You'll find a selection of excellent ear cleaning solutions in most reputable pet stores, but you may also find that one or two can be drying to the ear. It's simply a matter of trial and error.

Use a brand that you trust, or alternatively, you could ask your vet to recommend a product to you.

7 Simple Steps To Cleaning Cocker Spaniel Ears

Step 1: Wash Your Hands

Ear problems can be pretty stubborn once they take hold, so there's really no point in taking risks where your Cocker's health is concerned!

Before cleaning your dog's ears, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid transferring bacteria from your hands to your dog.

Step 2: Take A Close Look At Your Dog's Ears

Ask your Cocker to sit while you carefully inspect the inside of each ear.

They should be clean and pink, with no waxy discharge, and there shouldn't be any foul smell.

A little brown or blackish/brown wax is fine if there's no unpleasant odour.

Max often gets brown wax in his ears now and then (they just smell 'doggie' not yeasty), and I just give them an extra clean and a quick check every other day to make sure there's no infection.

Step 3: Apply A Cleaning Solution Inside His Ears

Squeeze a few drops of your favourite ear-cleaning solution directly into your pet's ear and massage the base of his ear for a minute or two. My Cocker really loves this bit and will let me continue rubbing for ages. 

But be warned...when you stop massaging his ears, he'll probably shake his head and cover you in solution and wax!

Step 4: Cleaning Cocker Spaniel Ears (Externally)

For cleaning your dogs ears (externally, around the outside of the ear canal) you only need to pour a few drops of solution into a small, clean dish (the lid of an old jam jar works fine, just remember to sterilize it first with boiling water).

If you use cotton buds on your pet's ears, you mustn't push the bud into the ear, which could seriously damage your pet's eardrum.

Only clean the part of the inner part of the ear that you can easily see, no poking!

Dip a cotton wool ball into the solution and squeeze out any excess. (You could use a cotton bud if you prefer, but take care not to go in any deeper than you can see.)

Gently rub the inside of your Cocker Spaniel's ears to remove any wax, dirt or solution (shaken out after the previous cleaning).

Working from the inside of the ear towards the outside edge, remove as much dirt and debris from his fur as possible.

Step 5: Clean Folded Parts of the Ear

Dip a cotton bud into the ear-wash solution and gently clean the folded parts of your Cocker's ears.

If you decide to use a medicated powder, now's the time to use it.

Step 6: Dry Your Cocker Spaniel's Ears

Bacteria loves a warm damp place, so it's advisable to dry his ears thoroughly after cleaning them to help keep bacteria at bay. 

You can use a dry tissue or cotton bud to remove any residual ear-wash solution and/or medicated powder.

Step 7: Keep Your Cocker's Ears Trimmed

Removing excess hair from around the opening to your dog's ears can help the air to flow better inside the ear canal. You may need to use a puff or two of medicated powder to help you grip the hair if it's too waxy.

The more air you can circulate, the better chance you have of reducing moisture levels in your dog's ears, which will create less of a breeding ground for bacteria.

Cleaning Cocker Spaniel Ears: General Pointers

Black, tan and white cocker spaniel with one ear splayed out to the side.Cleaning Cocker Spaniel ears is important

When cleaning your dog's ears, don't be tempted to re-use the cotton wool ball or cotton bud in your dog's other ear. Throw it away after use to help stop cross-infection from one ear to the other.

Whisper to your Cocker while working to help keep him calm and reassured.

When you've finished, and if he stayed (relatively) quiet and behaved well throughout, praise him and give him one of his favourite treats!

Following the above guidelines will help keep your precious Cocker's ears healthy, free from mites, bacteria, yeast, and viruses, which otherwise could lead to severe infection and misery for your boy.

You can learn more about ear infections in Cocker Spaniels here.

More Relevant Articles

If you'd like to read more about the symptoms of ear infections in Cockers and how to spot the signs, simply click on the above photo.

If you'd like to understand more about Cocker Spaniel's ears and their general maintenance, click on the photo of this cute buff cocker above.

Photo Credits: Cleaning Cocker Spaniel Ears:
1. Serezniy at
2. Tammy McAllister at