How To Clean A Whippets Ears Correctly

how to clean a whippets ears correctly

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Everyone needs to clean their ears or problems can arise. You’ve been told to clean them and to never stick a Q-tip in your ears. Ouch! Some people are more prone to wax buildup more than others and this can cause a blocked ear and sometimes even pain.

Dogs also need their ears cleaned regularly. They have a few more things going on in there than humans like fur or long floppy ears that can hide dirt and debris.

Your whippet also needs thorough ear cleaning. Don’t panic! What you will aim to gain by reading the following information on cleaning, care and problems with your whippet’s ears, is how to clean a whippets ears properly and without stress, no Q-tips required.

Why Does My Whippet Need His Ears Cleaned?

Your whippet needs to have their ears cleaned primarily to remove any excess wax, dirt, debris or discharge from the ear. Leaving wax to build-up can cause infections and other problems.

A whippet’s ears themselves, either stand up or are rose ears, which means they are folded back along their neck. They sometimes can be a little floppy too. They can be as individual as your little furry child.

how to clean a whippets ears correctly
Image: Dave Gershkoff

Humans and dogs can both get ear infections. A person’s ear canal travels inward with only the eustachian tube sloping downward.

A dog’s ear canal is in the shape of an L, going down and then inward. For dogs with long floppy ears, there isn’t much airflow and for all dogs and your whippet, the bottom part of the L in their ear canal can trap moisture, dirt and wax and will become a breeding ground for bacteria if not properly cleaned in a timely manner.

How Often Should I Clean My Whippets Ears?

Typically, you should be cleaning your whippet’s ears from once a week to no less than once a month.

If your whippet is a very active pup, it would be wise to clean their ears weekly. Whippets who spend a lot of time outdoors, running and racing, especially through wooded areas, should be checked and cleaned often.

Your whippet may like to swim in the summertime. There’s no reason to be a wet blanket and not allow it, but be aware that they can be prone to swimmer’s ear just as people, when water becomes trapped in their ear canal causing that blocked, tunnel-like feeling and eventually leading to an ear infection. Cleaning will help remove that water.

Steps To Cleaning Your Whippets Ears

When cleaning your whippet’s ears, begin when they are puppies, unless you’ve added an adult whippet to your family. When you get them accustomed to regular ear cleaning, every time will become smoother.

There’s also no reason you can’t patiently introduce your adult whippet to an ear cleaning routine.

Handling

For a puppy or an adult whippet, don’t just jump right in there with the ear cleaning. Let your pup get used to you touching and handling their ears and reward with a treat for calm behaviour.

Always have patience and remain calm. They can sense if you are nervous, so take a deep breath and begin.

The Real Deal

So now it’s time for the real deal; the cleaning of your pup’s ears. Before starting, keep in mind that your whippet will most likely shake their head, so perform the cleaning either outside or in a room that can easily be wiped up. Place a towel down if need be.

  • Using a dog-friendly ear solution, squeeze a generous quantity of the solution into your pup’s ear canal.
  • Massage your whippets ear around the base of their ear. This will disperse the liquid into the entire ear. If your whippet is not a happy camper when squirting the solution in their ear, you can soak a cotton ball in solution and use the cotton ball to clean their ear. Using the solution, straight out of the bottle is ideal because it can flow farther down into the ear canal where you really need it.
  • After you have massaged their ear, step away and let them shake their head. This will eliminate any excess fluid.
  • Using cotton balls, gently remove any leftover solution from their ear canal. Never put the cotton ball or your fingers too far into their ear canal or you could push wax father down and damage their eardrum. Never, ever use Q-tips for cleaning.
  • Using a clean cotton ball or soft gauze, gently wipe the outer surface of your whippet’s ear to clean any dirt and debris.
  • If your whippet’s ear seems particularly dirty, repeat with the ear wash.
  • Take a short break if you or your whippet need it.
  • Repeat the steps on your whippet’s other ear.
  • Reward with a treat for a job well done!

There are a wide variety of ear wash solutions to choose from. There are even recipes to make your own natural ear wash for dogs. If you’re unsure which to use, consult your pup’s veterinarian for a recommendation.

Dog ear wipes are also available and are a great solution for in between cleanings.

Whippet Ear Problems

Ear problems are very common in dogs, especially those with long floppy ears. Even though your whippet doesn’t have long ears, they are a breed that is prone to ear infections and other problems. Below are some symptoms to be on the lookout for and ear issues that may plague your whippet.

Symptoms

The following symptoms do not all present in all of the ear issues listed below, but if your dog exhibits any or all of these, a call or visit to your vet is in order.

  • scratching and itchy ears
  • pain
  • odour
  • head shaking
  • crusty scabs
  • dry, scaly skin
  • smelly discharge that’s dark
  • dizziness or seeming off balance

Ear Infections

Ear infections in whippets can affect three different areas of their ear. The first area is the outer area of their ear canal called the otitis externa and is the most common.

The second can be in the middle ear or otitis media and the third in the most inner portion of the ear canal, the otitis interna.

The latter two are more serious and can cause paralysis of the face, deafness and balance problems. This is why it’s very important to keep your pup’s ears clean and contact your veterinarian if you suspect an infection.

Ear infections can be caused by wax buildup, but it can also occur from an overgrowth of yeast. Yeast can always be found in your dog’s ears but can multiply in a moist environment.

Staphylococcus strains are usually the cause of bacterial infections. Not to worry, though, you cannot catch this from your pup. It isn’t contagious to humans.

Both types of infection emit an odour and your pup may also seem in pain.

If your pup has any airborne or food allergies, these can also cause an ear infection. This is very common. If you can find out, by process of elimination, what your whippet is allergic to, this should help.

Medications for ear infections can range from antibiotics, antifungals, drops, ointments or creams.

Lodged Object

If your dog loves to be outdoors and loves to dig and play, especially in wooded areas, they may get dirt, debris from bushes or even a tick lodged in their ear canal.

If they show any of the above symptoms, see your vet. Let them have a look. Don’t try to poke and prod around in your dogs ear yourself.

Ear Mites

Even though ear mites are more of a cat problem than a dog issue, dogs can still get them because they are highly contagious. If you have a cat or even if your pup is around other dogs, they can get ear mites.

Ear mites are a parasite and there are several different species. They don’t bite your pup but they will cause your whippet to continuously scratch their ears, which can lead to an infection.

These mites live off the oil and wax in your pup’s ears. You will notice a thick, brown/black waxy discharge. After cleaning your whippet’s ears thoroughly, they will be treated with an anti-parasitic medication.

how to clean a whippets ears correctly
Image: Dave Gershkoff

If you have a cat or another dog, they must be treated as well or it will just end up becoming a boomerang effect.

Vestibular Syndrome

Whippets are prone to vestibular syndrome which affects their inner ear. This can be caused by ear infections or hypothyroidism, which is also on the whippet list of diseases that occur in them.

Symptoms of vestibular syndrome are dizziness, eye movements that are irregular and tilting their head. Treatment for an ear infection should also clear this up.

Ear Hematoma

Whenever your whippet has one of the other ear issues, they are at risk for an ear hematoma. While shaking their head vigorously, their ears are constantly flapping.

This causes a buildup of fluid in the ear which may cause the tip of their ear to swell. This can be successfully treated by having your vet drain the liquid or reducing the swelling with the use of a laser.

Other Considerations

Some of the ear problems are caused by moisture in the ear. When considering the many ear wash solutions, some contain peroxide, which you think would clean and dry the ear.

Peroxide, however, has been shown to slow in the healing process and can cause damage to ear tissue which is healthy.

Ear cleaners that contain alcohol will dry out your pup’s ear but may irritate already sore ears. Ask your whippet’s veterinarian what kind of ear wash would be best for your pup.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your whippet’s ears doesn’t have to be difficult or traumatic if you are consistent, patient and gentle. This can prevent painful ear problems down the road.

If you do suspect an ear infection, mites or something doesn’t seem quite right, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

Hopefully you now know how to clean a whippets ears correctly and can add this to your grooming routine to keep your pet nice and healthy.

Most importantly, never forget that very tasty treat for your little cuddle bug after the ear cleaning is accomplished and don’t forget to treat yourself either for a job well done!

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