How to Clean Chihuahua Ears (+6 Tips)

It is so valuable to know how to clean Chihuahua ears because you’ll be able to keep your dog’s ears healthy and hopefully make fewer trips to the vet.

Most Chihuahua owners don’t realize they need to be checking and cleaning their dog’s ears regularly until they end up at the vet with an ear infection. 

We know firsthand how important it is to clean your Chihuahua’s ears regularly, as our rescue pup, Leo, had an ear infection when we first adopted him.

This blog post will help you understand why and how to clean Chihuahua ears plus 6 useful tips if your dog hates getting their ears cleaned. 

A tan Chihuahua with big ears is wearing a pink sweater and lying on a rug

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How Often Should You Clean Your Chihuahua’s Ears?

Generally, you should clean your Chihuahua’s ears weekly. That way you can prevent earwax from building up and inspect their ears on a regular basis to make sure they look healthy. 

If your dog has an ear infection, you might need to clean them daily or follow the guidance of your vet. 

How to Clean Your Chihuahua’s  Ears

There are 2 options to clean your Chihuahua’s ears: a general clean or a deep clean. 

General cleaning is best when there’s not much wax inside or if you’ve been consistent with cleaning your dog’s ears. It’s also useful for removing dirt and debris. 

You’ll want to do a deep clean when there’s a lot of gunk inside the ears or if you haven’t kept up with cleaning them.

If your dog has an ear infection, the vet may instruct you to follow this method as long as your dog doesn’t have a ruptured eardrum.  

It’s important to know that you should never stick a regular q-tip into a dog’s ears. It can damage their eardrum and push any debris in further.

These large q-tips are made specifically for dogs and are much safer.

General Clean

1. Get 2 cotton balls, cotton rounds, or large q-tips, 1 for each ear. They also sell these ear wipes if you’d prefer a ready-made option.

2. Take your ear-cleaning solution and pour some onto the cotton.

3. Thoroughly wipe out your dog’s ear, stroking away from the ear canal.

Deep Clean

1. Get a towel and place your dog on top. You can also place them in the bathtub or do this outside. Ear cleaning will get messy when your dog shakes out the cleaner.

2. Take your ear cleaning solution and squirt it into your dog’s ear canal until full. Don’t let the tip of the bottle touch the ear or it could introduce bacteria. 

3. Massage the base of the ear for 30 seconds.

4. Hold up your towel and let them shake out the solution. Then use the towel to wipe off their ears and face. 

What Do You Use to Clean a Chihuahua’s Ears?

There are many dog ear cleaning solutions available. Make sure you find an alcohol-free solution so it doesn’t irritate your dog’s ears.

This all-natural cleaner contains aloe vera and chamomille making it a great option for sensitive ears.

You can also use household products such as diluted apple cider vinegar (50/50), witch hazel (if ears are not inflamed), or olive oil. These will help remove Chihuahua ear wax.

A tan Chihuahua is standing with its ears back and eyes closed

6 Reasons Why You Need to Clean Your Chihuahua’s Ears

Cleaning your Chihuahua’s ears is an essential part of their wellbeing. 

If your dog doesn’t get their ears cleaned on a regular basis, the risk of getting an ear infection rises. 

Breeds with long floppy ears will especially benefit from getting their ears cleaned since they are more prone to ear infections. 

1. Remove Excess Earwax

Excess ear wax can cause discomfort and lead to infections.

Regular cleaning can help remove excess wax and keep your Chihuahua’s ears clean and healthy.

Some ear wax is normal, but you don’t want it to build up and become gunky. 

2. Prevent Ear Infections

Regular cleaning removes ear wax and dirt, which will help keep ear infections away.

Chihuahuas with floppy ears are more prone to getting ear infections since their ears trap moisture.

3. Inspect for Ear Mites

Ear mites are parasites that look like coffee grounds.

If you see any dark discharge, take your dog to the vet for an inspection.

4. Remove Dirt and Debris

Regular ear cleaning helps eliminate dirt, dust, and foreign objects that may find their way into your Chihuahua’s ears.

Whether it’s tiny particles from outdoor adventures or dirt, these foreign objects can lead to irritation and discomfort.

By cleaning the ears, you ensure that any potential irritants are removed.

5. Preventing Odor

Dirty ears can develop a foul odor, which isn’t pleasant for you or your furry companion.

Regular cleaning keeps their ears smelling fresh and clean.

6. Prevent Swimmer’s Ear

Chihuahuas may enjoy a dip in the pool or a day at the beach, but like humans, they can be susceptible to swimmer’s ear.

After any water-related fun, it’s crucial to clean and thoroughly dry your dog’s ears.

This step is especially important because moisture left in the ears after swimming can create a conducive environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive, leading to swimmer’s ear.

Read more to find out if Chihuahuas like swimming and learn swimming safety tips

6 Tips If Your Dog Doesn’t Like Getting Their Ears Cleaned

Cleaning Chihuahua ears is a very important task, but what are you supposed to do if your dog won’t let you do it or if they hate it?

1. Pick the Right Time 

Make sure your dog is calm and relaxed before you start trying to clean their ears. A good time would be after a walk or when they’re lying down resting. 

If you’re struggling to get your dog to sit still long enough, you could clean them during bathtime when they are contained in the tub.

2. Be Prepared

Have all your items ready beforehand to make sure this will be a quick process for your dog.

You don’t want to make it any longer than it has to be by forgetting something.

3. Start Slow

If your dog is not used to getting their ears cleaned, start the process off slow.

Try massaging their ears to get them used to having their ears touched.

Reward them with treats to show your dog that having their ears touched will mean they get something tasty. 

4. Stay positive

We want to make this a positive experience, so patience is key.

Try not to be forceful or yell at your dog. Be sure to give lots of praise and treats before, during, and after cleaning to keep your dog calm.

You could also give your dog a bone or toy to chew on to distract them while you do it. 

If you need some ideas for bones or chews, check out our post on the best natural chews for Chihuahuas.

5. Use ear wipes

If your dog won’t let you put any liquid inside their ears, then these ear wipes for dogs might be the best solution. 

They come pre-moistened and are an easy way to clean your dog’s ears without any drama. We use these on Leo in between deep cleanings.

Simply take a wipe, and gently wipe the inside of your dog’s ear.

You don’t need to go too far in, just get the parts you can see.

If your dog has a lot of wax build-up, you might need to use a few wipes.

Once you’re done, throw the wipe away and your dog’s ears should be clean!

6. Use a Kong or Lickmat

If your dog is having trouble staying still, then you could try using a Kong or lickmat as a distraction.

Both of these toys will keep your dog occupied while you clean their ears. This also works when clipping their nails!

Fill a Kong with treats or kibble or you can freeze wet dog food in it.

Spread some peanut butter or wet dog food on this small lickmat, the perfect size for Chihuahuas!

Hopefully, they’ll be too busy trying to get the yummy food and will be paying less attention to what you’re doing with their ears.

Ear Infections

When cleaning your Chihuahua’s ears, you’ll want to be on the lookout for ear infections.

Floppy ears are more prone to infections because they trap dirt and moisture.

Ear infections can be caused by bacteria, yeast, or both getting trapped in their L-shaped ear canal.

Some signs of infection include:

  • frequent ear scratching
  • aggressive head shaking
  • loss of balance or tilting of the head
  • inflammation and discharge inside the ear
  • odor

If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, take them to the vet right away.

Read next: Why Does Your Chihuahua Have Floppy Ears?


Now you know exactly how to clean Chihuahua ears and how important it is to clean them on a regular basis.

If your dog doesn’t like getting their ears cleaned, make sure you try out our 6 tips above!


Can You Use Olive Oil to Clean a Dog’s Ears?

Yes, olive oil is an all-natural way to clean your dog’s ear if you don’t have any cleaner at home. It helps loosen ear wax and will help kill ear mites. Using a dropper or a teaspoon, place a few drops inside the canal and then massage the ear. 

Can I Use Vinegar to Clean My Dog’s Ears?

Yes, Apple Cider Vinegar can be used to clean your dog’s ears and it’s a great homemade treatment for ear infections caused by yeast. You must dilute the vinegar using 1 part water and 1 part vinegar. If your dog’s ears are inflamed, use less vinegar. Fill a spray bottle or jar with the diluted solution and use cotton balls or gauze to wipe inside the ears.

Why Do My Chihuahua’s Ears Smell?

If you notice a smelly odor coming from your dog’s ears, it’s most likely due to a bacterial or yeast infection. Your dog’s ears should be pink inside with a little wax. If they look red and inflamed inside or your dog is scratching them a lot, you should head to the vet to get them looked at. 

Can I Use Water to Clean My Dog’s Ears?

No, do not use water to clean your dog’s ears. Water doesn’t break down wax, so it’s best to use an ear cleaning solution that will clean a dog’s ears properly.

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