You should avoid using baby wipes on your dog’s ears. Although it’s okay to use them every once in a while in an emergency situation, you don’t want to use them consistently. Instead of baby wipes, try using a hypoallergenic wipe.
Dogs have sensitive ears, which makes cleaning them no easy task. One of the most common reasons dogs are brought to the vet is because ear canal issues.
It is important to take precautions when cleaning sensitive areas like the eyes and ears. Baby wipes may seem like a simple solution, but if you aren’t careful they can do more harm than good.
In this guide, we will go over whether or not you should use baby wipes when cleaning dog ears and what you can use as an alternative.
What You'll Learn
Before You Start
Before you begin cleaning your dogs ears, you should first inspect both the inside and outside to make sure there are no cuts, inflammation, or bites that could be aggravated if you are too aggressive when wiping.
If your dog becomes aggravated while you’re cleaning their ears, they may lash out in pain and accidentally bite you.
Another benefit to inspecting the ears beforehand is that it can show you which areas might need some extra love.
Can You Use Baby Wipes?
People may assume that because baby wipes can be used on the sensitive skin of a newborn baby, they must be okay for dogs…but that’s not necessarily the case.
Baby wipes have a number of chemicals that are harmful to dogs. We need to remember that the formula was made for human skin, and the chemicals on the wipes are usually too much for dogs. The wipes used on babies also contain moisture, which might not be suitable for your dog.
With that said, in emergency situations, using baby wipes on a dog might not be harmful to them in the long term (assuming it doesn’t happen often). But investing in the right type of wipes is important. Wipes that contain alcohol are not recommended for dogs. The alcohol can dry the skin which will cause severe irritation.
What Wipes Can You Use?
Hypoallergenic wipes such as aloe wipes that can be flushed and are biodegradable are the best types of wipes to use. You can also look at brands made specifically for sensitive skin because they typically leave out the harmful chemicals that other wipes use.
When cleaning your dog’s ears, a good rule of thumb is to avoid getting these too close to their eyes, even when using a more natural wipe. If the wipe touches the eyes, it can cause additional problems, especially if the wipe has already been contaminated with substances from their ears.
What Are Some Alternatives?
A soft, damp towel with soap made for pets is a great alternative if you want to avoid wipes altogether. Wipes made specifically for dogs are also a good option. You can pick up these wipes when you stop at the pet store for kibble. These wipes are typically made with dogs in mind and the chemicals used reflect that.
While baby wipes may not be detrimental to your dog’s health, they do contain certain chemicals that can cause severe skin irritation. If you decide to clean their ears with baby wipes, be sure to keep an eye on your dog for the next few hours. Make sure they aren’t constantly scratching their ears or rolling their head against the ground.
Signs of Serious Ear Problems
Since dogs have sensitive ears, cleaning them can be a challenge. Some resistance is expected, but if there are extreme reactions, a lot of pulling, and a lot of crying, you may want to take your dog to the vet to check for an ear infection.
If you notice your dog’s ears look inflamed, have an unusual smell, or notice your dog is in pain when you make contact with their ears, it may be time to call the vet.
How to Use Ear Wipes on Dogs
Having the wipes or damp towels on-hand is the first step. Next, make sure your dog is relaxed and calm by sitting with them in whatever position they are most comfortable. You don’t want to forcibly restrain them right off the bat.
When you get your pup to sit with you, it’s helpful to reward them with a treat or praise and continue to do so if they continue to remain calm.
When wiping, it’s helpful to gently wipe the inside of the ear and direct all motion towards the outside. This will ensure you don’t push any debris further into the ear canal.
Avoid making contact with the dog’s eyes or mouth, especially when the wipe you are using has cleaned parts of the ear already.
If the flap blocks the ear, you will hold that and begin working on removing whatever has piled up in their ears, pushing it away from the ear canal.
Releasing the flaps occasionally so your dog can shake their head is also a good rule of thumb and can make this a smoother process for both of you.
Remember: Hydrogen Peroxide is one chemical which should never be used on your dog’s skin as it will cause irritation, pain, and damage to their ears.
Desensitize Your Dog to Ear Touching
Getting your dog accustomed to you touching their ears can make this part of the grooming process much easier. Brief sessions in higher frequency as opposed to hours of working on getting their ears clean can be more effective and prevent you and your animal from getting irritable.
Even when you aren’t cleaning their ears, it’s a good idea to touch both the inside and outside of their ears. Mimic the motions you would do when cleaning. This will help get your dog used to their ears being touched.
Listen to Your Dog
Some animals may react differently to the same wipes. Just like human skin responds differently to various chemicals, so does dog skin.
Although you can clean your dogs ears with baby wipes every once in a while, we don’t recommend it. There are many other solutions available that are considered much safer and more effective.
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