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  • Here's how to clean your dog's ears along with the tools you need to make it a successful experience. 
  • The eardrum is very fragile, so it's important to exercise caution while cleaning and follow these steps precisely.
  • Always consult your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of an ear infection, which may include shaking their head, holding it to one side, odor, or signs of pain.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Karie Johnson, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Some dogs never or rarely need to have their ears cleaned. For other dogs, the external ear canal may accumulate wax and debris, so they may benefit from regular at-home ear cleaning. This could depend on their breed (ear shape, presence of hair in the ear canal), lifestyle (swimming), or medical conditions (allergies). Your veterinarian can advise you as to whether or not it's necessary for your dog.

My dachshund Walter has long hound ears and an even longer ear canal where debris accumulates, so I clean his ears once a week. Based on my experience working as a certified veterinary technician at a clinic and teaching clients how to clean a dog's ears, you don't need a lot of tools to do this at home. Many of the items are human grooming tools, including balls of cotton and tissues. Your veterinarian or tech can help you select an ear cleaner that is right for your dog.

If your dog has painful ears or strongly resists routine ear cleanings, your veterinarian can also administer a sedative or a short-acting general anesthetic and do an ear cleaning at their clinic. With that in mind, many dogs are okay with their owners cleaning their healthy ears between vet visits. "Most dogs can learn to tolerate this with patience and treats," said Dr. Brian Collins, faculty veterinarian at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Although routine at-home cleanings can support your dog's ear health, it's important to consult your veterinarian if there are any signs of infection. "If you notice your dog shaking her head, holding her head to one side, or if you notice an odd odor or signs of pain, have your veterinarian examine her as soon as possible," said Collins. A veterinarian will examine your dog's ears, take a sample of discharge for further evaluation, prescribe any necessary medications, and potentially do an in-office cleaning.  

Here's how to clean your dog's ears at home:

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Lady Gaga dognappers may not have targeted singer, new evidence shows

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After Lady Gaga's French bulldogs were stolen and her dog walker was shot in Los Angeles last week, investigators initially looked into whether the assailants had targeted the singer in the interest of demanding a ransom.

New evidence, however, suggests the dogs' expensive breed alone may have inspired the attack.

© MediaPunch/Shutterstock Lady Gaga

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ they have reason to believe the attackers who shot dog walker Ryan Fischer in the chest and stole two of the three dogs he was walking may not have known who the pups belonged to.

They now understand Ryan had stopped at Almor Wine & Spirits on Sunset Boulevard at Fairfax shortly before the incident, which occurred on a residential street seven blocks away. Given how busy and well-lit that intersection is, authorities have determined someone could have simply noticed Ryan walking alone with three Frenchies, which can cost from $1,500 to $5,000 or more, according to ABC.

As the American Kennel Club's Brandi Hunter told CNN last week, "Smaller breeds are more appealing for theft, and French bulldogs are wildly popular right now." She added that "the demand for the breed is higher than the supply so they are often a more targeted breed."

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Gaga's stolen pooches, Koji and Gustav, were eventually recovered, having been spotted tied to a pole in an alley. The third dog Ryan was walking was recovered last week as well, presumably after escaping during the attack.

The singer's friend and dog walker, Ryan, whom she praised as a "hero" on social media, is expected to make a full recovery after being hospitalized.

© Matt Baron/Shutterstock Lady Gaga

Gaga has been in Italy preparing to shoot "Gucci" throughout the dognapping drama. She plays Italian socialite Patrizia Reggiani, Maurizio Gucci's ex-wife, in the upcoming film. 

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