how to clean shih tzu ears

How To Clean Shih Tzu Ears: 2023 Comprehensive Guide

Ear hygiene matters! Knowing how to clean shih tzu ears can prevent infections and keep them feeling comfortable.

Caring for Your Shih Tzu’s Ears

The Importance of Ear Care for Shih Tzu Dogs

Shih Tzu dogs are known for their long, beautiful ears, which can unfortunately be prone to a variety of issues if not properly cared for. This is why ear care is so important to the health and well-being of your furry friend. The main reason that ear care is crucial for Shih Tzus is due to the shape and length of their ears. Their long, floppy ears create a warm and moist environment that can easily trap dirt, debris, and moisture. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria or yeast, which in turn can cause infections or other issues. Additionally, if left unchecked, these problems can become quite painful for your dog. Luckily, regular cleaning and maintenance is all that’s needed to keep your Shih Tzu’s ears healthy and clean. By taking just a few minutes every couple of weeks to clean your dog’s ears thoroughly, you can prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy.

The Importance of Regular Cleaning

As mentioned earlier, regular cleaning is critical in preventing infections and other issues from building up in your dog’s ears. Not only does this help remove any excess wax build-up or debris such as grass seeds or dirt particles but it also helps maintain good hygiene practices regarding their hearing system. It should be noted that over-cleaning can be just as bad as under-cleaning when it comes to ear care. This means you need to find the right balance when cleaning; too little will not do anything towards keeping infections at bay while too much might cause dryness on the skin leading to discomfort. Another factor worth noting when cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears regularly is that it helps identify any changes in their ear condition early enough before it turns into a severe issue. Observing if your dog has any discharge, redness, or inflammation can provide you with an early warning of potential health problems that require medical attention. Regular ear cleaning is also a fantastic bonding opportunity between you and your furry friend. Each time you clean their ears, give them praise or a treat as positive reinforcement as this will encourage good behavior and make the process more enjoyable for both of you.

The Importance of Prevention

Prevention is a crucial aspect of ear care for Shih Tzu dogs. This includes taking steps to prevent issues from arising in the first place by keeping their ears clean and dry, as well as by avoiding exposing them to potential irritants or allergens. Some common tips for preventing ear problems include keeping your Shih Tzu’s ears dry after baths or swimming, avoiding the use of harsh chemicals or perfumes near their ears, monitoring their diet to ensure they’re getting enough nutrients for healthy skin and coat (which includes the hair on their ears), and being mindful of allergies that could lead to inflammation or irritation. By following these simple prevention tips alongside regular cleaning practices, you can help ensure that your Shih Tzu’s ears stay healthy and free from infection or other issues.

Gather Supplies

Before beginning the ear cleaning process, it is important to gather all necessary supplies. This will make the process much smoother and efficient for both you and your Shih Tzu. Here is a list of necessary supplies:

Cotton Balls or Pads

Cotton balls or pads are an essential tool for cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears. They are soft and gentle on delicate skin, making them ideal for wiping away excess debris from the ear canal. However, avoid using cotton swabs as they can push debris deeper into the ear canal and potentially damage your dog’s eardrum.

Ear Cleaner Solution

There are numerous ear cleaner solutions available on the market, but not all of them are suitable for Shih Tzu ears. It is best to consult with your veterinarian to determine which brand is best suited for your dog’s individual needs. Generally speaking, look for an alcohol-free solution that contains natural ingredients such as aloe vera or tea tree oil.


Positive reinforcement is key when it comes to maintaining good ear hygiene in Shih Tzus. Offering treats before, during, and after the cleaning process can help create positive associations with ear care, making future sessions less stressful for both you and your dog.

Towel or Mat

To prevent messes and keep your Shih Tzu comfortable during the cleaning process, consider placing a towel or mat on a stable surface such as a table or countertop. This will provide a secure surface for your dog to stand on while preventing them from slipping or sliding. Gathering all necessary supplies prior to beginning the ear cleaning process will help make things go smoothly and efficiently. With these essential tools at hand, you’ll be better equipped to give your Shih Tzu the ear care they need and deserve.

Preparing Your Shih Tzu

Tips on how to make your dog comfortable and relaxed during the cleaning process

It is important to remember that for most dogs, the ear cleaning process can be quite uncomfortable and even scary. Therefore, it is essential to make your Shih Tzu feel safe and secure before starting the procedure. You can start by spending a few minutes petting and talking softly to your dog, reassuring them in a calm voice that everything is okay. This will help soothe their nerves and make them more receptive to the ear cleaning process. Another crucial part of making your Shih Tzu comfortable during ear cleaning is choosing an appropriate location for the procedure. Ideally, you should find a quiet, well-lit area where there are minimal distractions. Make sure that the surface you choose is non-slippery and that you place something soft on it like a towel or blanket so that your dog feels more comfortable.

How to properly restrain your dog if needed

Some dogs may not be cooperative during an ear-cleaning session, especially if they are not used to having their ears cleaned regularly or if they have experienced pain or discomfort in their ears before. In such situations, it may be necessary to restrain your Shih Tzu gently. One way of restraining your dog is by wrapping them in a towel or blanket with only their head sticking out from one end. This will prevent them from moving around too much while also allowing you access to their ears. Alternatively, you can hold your dog’s head gently but firmly with one hand while using the other hand for ear-cleaning purposes. Be careful not to squeeze too hard as this may cause discomfort or injury. It’s important to note that even with restraining techniques; never hold or force any part of their head into a painful position as this could cause injury or damage. Taking the time to make your Shih Tzu comfortable and relaxed before starting the ear-cleaning process is critical for ensuring a positive experience. If needed, gentle restraint can be used, but it’s important to do so carefully and without causing pain or discomfort. By creating a calm environment and using appropriate techniques, you can help ensure that your dog is more receptive to having their ears cleaned.

Cleaning Your Shih Tzu’s Ears

Applying Ear Cleaner Solution

Before starting the cleaning process, it is important to choose the right ear cleaner solution for your Shih Tzu. Make sure to consult with your veterinarian in case your dog has any allergies or sensitivity issues. Once you have the appropriate ear cleaner solution, apply a few drops into the ear canal and gently massage the base of the ear. This will help loosen any buildup of debris and wax that may be inside. It is important to avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal, such as cotton swabs or other objects. These can damage your dog’s eardrum and cause pain or discomfort.

Massaging the Base of the Ear

After applying the ear cleaner solution, massage the base of your Shih Tzu’s ear for 20-30 seconds. Be gentle but firm enough to help move around any debris or wax that may be inside. This will also help distribute the ear cleaner solution evenly within the ear canal. During this step, you may notice some liquid draining out of your dog’s ears. This is normal and expected as it indicates that there is buildup inside that needs to be removed.

Wiping Away Excess Debris with a Cotton Ball

Take a cotton ball and gently wipe away any excess debris that comes out of your dog’s ears after massaging them. Be sure not to push too far into their ears as this can worsen any blockage or damage. You may need several cotton balls depending on how much debris comes out, so make sure you have enough on hand before starting. It is important to use only one cotton ball per swipe in order to reduce any chance of contamination from one ear to another.

Repeating on Other Ear

Once you have cleaned one ear, repeat the process on the other ear. Make sure to use a fresh cotton ball for each ear to avoid any cross-contamination. If you notice any bleeding, excessive discharge or your Shih Tzu shows signs of pain or discomfort during this process, stop immediately and consult with your veterinarian. Your dog may have an underlying issue that requires medical attention. Overall, regular cleaning of your Shih Tzu’s ears is essential in preventing infections and other issues. By following these steps carefully, you can help ensure that your furry friend’s ears remain healthy and clean.


After cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears, it’s important to reward them for their patience and cooperation during the process. Positive reinforcement is key to making ear cleaning a pleasant experience for your dog, so consider offering them a small treat or toy as a reward. This will help build trust between you and your pet, making future cleanings easier and less stressful. In addition to rewards, it’s a good idea to give your Shih Tzu some time to relax after an ear cleaning session. Let them rest in a comfortable spot where they can shake out any remaining debris and take a nap if they choose. Avoid exposing them to loud noises or other stimuli that could cause stress or discomfort.

Tips on how to reward your dog after a successful cleaning session

The best way to reward your dog after an ear cleaning session is by giving them something they love. Consider offering them their favorite treat, toy, or even just some extra cuddles and affection. The key is to make sure the reward is something that they truly enjoy so that they associate the ear cleaning process with positive experiences. You could also try incorporating training into the ear-cleaning process itself. For example, teaching your Shih Tzu to hold still while you clean their ears can be an excellent way of boosting their obedience skills while simultaneously making ear cleanings more manageable.

Suggestions for ongoing maintenance and monitoring

To keep your Shih Tzu’s ears healthy in between cleanings, there are several things you can do:
  • Check their ears regularly for signs of infection or irritation
  • Dry their ears thoroughly after swimming or bathing
  • Avoid using cotton swabs when cleaning their ears as this can push debris further into the ear canal
  • Consider using a drying solution to help prevent moisture buildup in the ears
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s overall health and well-being.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your Shih Tzu’s ears remain clean, healthy, and free from infection or other issues. Remember, ear cleaning is an important part of pet ownership and should be done regularly as part of your overall grooming routine.

Potential Issues and When to Seek Veterinary Care

Ear care is an essential part of keeping your Shih Tzu healthy, but even with regular cleaning, issues can still arise. It’s important for owners to be aware of potential problems and when it’s time to seek professional help. Here are some common issues that can occur with Shih Tzu ears.

Ear Infections

One of the most common issues that Shih Tzu owners may encounter is ear infections. These can be caused by bacteria, yeast, or other organisms that thrive in the warm and moist environment of the ear canal. Symptoms of an ear infection may include: – Redness or inflammation in the ear canal – Foul smell coming from the ear – Excessive scratching or head shaking – Discharge or debris inside the ear – Sensitivity to touch If you notice any of these symptoms in your Shih Tzu’s ears, it’s crucial to take them to a veterinarian right away. Untreated infections can lead to more severe complications and discomfort for your dog.


Shih Tzus are prone to allergies, which can manifest as skin irritations or itching around their ears. Allergic reactions may be caused by environmental factors such as pollen or dust mites, certain foods, or even flea bites. Symptoms of allergies in dogs may include: – Redness and irritation around the ears – Itching and scratching at the affected area – Hair loss around the ears – Oozing sores If you suspect that your dog has allergies that are affecting their ear health, consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

When To Seek Veterinary Attention

As a pet owner, it’s essential to know when it’s time to seek professional help for your furry friend. Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to take your Shih Tzu to the vet:

Persistent Symptoms

If you’ve noticed ongoing symptoms despite regular ear cleaning and home care, it’s time to seek veterinary attention. These symptoms may include itching, redness, or discharge from the ears.

Behavioral Changes

If your dog is displaying unusual behavior such as increased agitation, lethargy, or loss of appetite in conjunction with ear issues, it may be a sign of a more serious problem.

Bleeding or Swelling

If you notice any bleeding or swelling around your Shih Tzu’s ears, this could indicate a more severe issue that requires immediate attention. Ear care is an essential part of keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and comfortable. By being aware of potential problems and taking action when necessary, you can help prevent serious complications and ensure that your furry friend stays happy and healthy for years to come.


Taking care of your Shih Tzu’s ears is an essential part of their overall health and well-being. Regular ear cleaning can prevent infections and other issues that can cause discomfort to your furry friend. With patience, diligence, and the right supplies, you can easily maintain your pet’s ear hygiene. In this step-by-step guide, we provided you with all the information you need to clean your Shih Tzu’s ears properly. First, we discussed the importance of gathering supplies and preparing your pet for the cleaning process. We then outlined how to go about cleaning your pet’s ears, including applying an ear cleaner solution and wiping away excess debris. We also noted some potential issues that may arise with your dog’s ears and when it may be necessary to seek veterinary care. By following our guide regularly, you can stay on top of any problems that could affect your Shih Tzu’s health. Remember to reward your furry friend for their cooperation during the ear-cleaning process with treats or praise at every step. Ongoing maintenance is key in keeping their ears healthy. We hope this guide has been helpful in giving you the tools and knowledge necessary for maintaining proper ear hygiene for your beloved Shih Tzu. With these tips, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for them!

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