How To Clean Husky Ears (4 Easy Steps & Top Tips)

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This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

Cleaning your husky’s ears is probably not at the top of your to-do list,

It’s important to clean their ears correctly. Cleaning their ears too often, or too little, can cause problems. Their ears or hearing can be damaged if you don’t clean them correctly.

Let’s take a look at 3 easy steps to clean your husky’s ears properly.

Cleaning Husky Ears: 4 Easy Steps

To keep your husky’s ears healthy and clean, all you need to do is follow these steps.

Step 1: Check Their Ears

It’s time to clean when:

  • The ear has an odor
  • You see redness or irritation
  • You see debris or dirt in the ear
  • They are shaking their head or scratching their ear

Before you clean your husky’s ears, you should make sure they need cleaning.

A clean and healthy ear should be pink and free of debris and dirt. It should not smell stinky or yeasty.

If your husky’s ear smells bad, or you see dirt in the ear, it’s time for a cleaning. The ear may also be slightly red, which indicates irritation. You may also notice them shaking their head, or scratching at the ear.

It’s important to note that if your dog’s ears seem sore, are very red, or have discharge, you shouldn’t clean their ears. Instead, you should call your vet.

Step 2 Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need:

  • Cotton balls
  • Ear cleaning solution 
  • Towel
  • A partner to help

You’ll need cotton balls to hold the ear-cleaning solution, and remove the debris from your dog’s ear.

Towels are helpful for keeping the process as clean as possible, so have at least one on hand.

A partner is helpful to keep your husky still and in the correct position. This is particularly important if your pooch isn’t comfortable or familiar with having their ears cleaned.

Ear Cleaning Solutions

What should you use to clean your husky’s ears? There are two schools of thought here. According to experts, including the AKC, you should only use a commercial ear-cleaning solution that is designed specifically for dogs.

These solutions are designed to be safe and effective.  I recommend that you follow the advice of the AKC, or your veterinarian when choosing an ear-cleaning solution.

What About Homemade Solutions?

Many husky owners prefer to make a homemade cleaning solution, often made from a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. It’s less expensive and more convenient, but do they work effectively?

These cleaners may be effective, but they are also risky. These solutions can irritate the ear, which can lead to ear infections. Huskies don’t require ear cleaning that often, so purchasing ear cleaner won’t break the bank (between $10 and $20 per bottle on average).

Unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to clean your husky’s ears without an ear-cleaning solution, avoid these homemade cleaners.

Ironically, cleaning their ears with water may be the worst option of all. The water doesn’t break down the wax or debris, so it can actually push it farther into their ear.

Step 3: Get Ready

Get your husky into a comfortable position. You’ll need them to be still, and be in a position where you can access their ear. This is where a partner can come in handy.

You should also be sure your husky is calm and comfortable. If they are stressed or energetic, this isn’t the best time to clean their ears.

Consider cleaning them after your husky has had some exercise or a calming brushing session.

Making The Process Easier

You can set yourself and your husky up for success by making the process a little easier. One way to do this is with a plate of peanut butter.

Rather than attempting to force your husky to stay still, you can use this tasty treat.

Simply spread peanut butter on a plate. Allow your pooch to lick the plate, while you are cleaning their ears. This keeps them occupied and helps them associate the process with something they enjoy.

Step 4: The Cleaning Process

Now you are ready to clean your husky’s ears.

Clean The Outside Of The Ear

You’ll begin by cleaning the outside portion of the inner ear. You can use a cotton ball moistened with the ear-cleaning solution. Remove any visible dirt or ear wax.

Clean The Inner Ear

To clean the inside portion of the ear, squeeze the cleaning solution into the ear canal. Don’t let the tip of the applicator touch your husky’s ear, because this can introduce bacteria.

Massage the base of the ear gently for 30 seconds. You may hear a squishy sound. Don’t worry, this is simply the solution working.

Remove Debris And Cleaning Solution

First, allow your husky to shake their head. This is a natural instinct for them and will help dislodge the debris and remove the excess cleaning solution. 

Use the towel to wipe away any cleaning solution from your dog’s face, and yours if necessary.

This step requires extra care. You’ll take the cotton ball and wipe the inner ear canal. You don’t want to go too far into the ear.

You can go into the ear until you reach your knuckle. Don’t go further than this to avoid potential injury. If you feel resistance, don’t force the cotton ball any further.

You can expect your husky to be less than thrilled at this point. However, if your pooch seems to be in pain while you are doing this, stop and call your vet.

A white husky's ears next to a window

Dealing With Difficult Cleanings

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, there are a few reasons why your husky may object to having their ears cleaned, or even touched. If they have an ear infection, their ears are painful. Of course, they don’t want anyone touching them.

If they’ve had an ear infection in the past, they may associate ear cleaning with the pain.

If your pooch has never had their ears cleaned, or had a bad experience with it in the past, they may be scared to have their ears cleaned.

Defiance VS Pain

It’s very important to know the difference between them not wanting their ears cleaned, and them being in pain when their ears are touched.

Generally, if the ears are very red or inflamed, or smell like yeast, they likely have an ear infection. In this case,  your vet should handle the initial cleaning.

If their ears look dirty, and not infected, they probably don’t want their ears cleaned. In this case, you’ll need to get them through it.

Helping Your Husky Through Cleaning

In this case, a partner is a necessity. If your husky becomes aggressive when you touch their ears, you may need to muzzle them. However, this is unlikely in the breed, and it’s much more likely for them to just be dramatic about it all.

Make the process as enjoyable as it can be. A treat can be helpful here. Allow them to see the treat, but don’t give it to them until the process is complete.

Then, reward them with the treat and praise. You may also give them a chewy or small treat before starting the process, and then another one after.

You can also use the peanut butter plate method. This is helpful for huskies who are a little anxious about cleaning, but not terribly difficult.

Vet Cleaning

If you can’t clean your husky’s ears on your own, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. They may provide medication to calm your pooch so you can do the cleaning at home, or they may recommend that you bring them in for cleaning.

Most dogs do fine with cleaning, but if they have severe anxiety or aggression when it comes to cleaning, your vet can sedate them to perform the process.

Caring For Husky Ears

Now that you know how to clean your husky’s ears, let’s take a look at how to care for them properly beyond cleaning.

Get Them Comfortable With The Process

This is one of the most important things you can do for your furry family member. It’s important to get them comfortable with being touched anywhere. This makes it easier for you and your vet to care for them.

For example, if you’ve never touched their paws, you can’t expect them to be calm while you trim their nails.

When it comes to caring for their ears, you’ll need to get them comfortable with having their ears examined. Start as early as possible, and check their ears once a week.

Keep Them Dry

When your husky gets wet, it’s a good idea to dry their ears to prevent infections.

Moisture is a common cause of ear infections. The yeast and bacteria that cause infection need a warm moist environment to grow.

When your pooch goes swimming or gets a bath, some water will naturally get into their ear.

To dry their ears, take a clean cotton ball and wipe the inside of the ear. Just like when cleaning, you’ll dry the outside of the inner ear, and the lower portion down to your knuckle.

You can also reduce the water that gets into their ears by not pouring water directly on their head when bathing.

Regular Vet Appointments

Even if your husky is perfectly healthy, regular vet appointments are still necessary. You can expect your vet to perform a physical exam, which will include checking their ears. They will also recommend any vaccines or preventative medications your pooch may need.

A Siberian husky in a field

Understanding The Importance Of Treating Ear Problems

It can be tempting to think an ear infection is only a minor inconvenience for your husky, particularly if they don’t seem very bothered by it.

However, they can have serious consequences if not treated. Most ear infections begin with the outer ear. However, if they aren’t treated, they can move into the middle and inner ear.

An inner ear infection is the most concerning. If untreated, the infection can permanently damage their hearing and interfere with their balance.

The facial nerve can also become affected, which can cause facial paralysis. Eye problems, including eye discharge, can also occur.

When To Contact A Veterinarian

We’ve mentioned a few signs that you should contact your vet, but let’s go into more detail.

You should contact your vet if you notice: 

  • Strong odor
  • Discharge
  • Blood
  • Inflammation or swelling 
  • Irritated or red skin

In addition to these signs, you can look for behavioral signs that your pooch has an ear issue, according to PetMD. A husky with an ear infection will typically whine, shake their head, or scratch at their ears. They may also whine or cry if you touch their ears.

An ear infection can also affect your dog’s balance. If you’ve ever had an ear infection that affected your balance, you know what your husky is experiencing.  They may be off balance or turn in circles. They may simply be uncoordinated, and trip over objects or fall when walking.

Final Thoughts

You love your husky and want to keep them healthy and comfortable. Cleaning their ears periodically is one way to prevent problems, like ear infections.

Remember to clean their ears when they are comfortable, and make the process as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. Avoid putting q-tips or home cleaning solutions in your dog’s ears.


What Is The Brown Substance In My Husky’s Ears?

It’s earwax. If it’s light brown, this is perfectly normal. However, if the wax is very dark brown or black, they may have an ear infection. Contact your vet if you see dark ear wax.

How Can I Tell If My Husky Has Ear Mites?

The symptoms of ear mites are often similar to those of an ear infection, but there are a few differences.

Ear mites typically cause your dog to scratch around their ears and neck and shake their head. You’ll typically see a dark waxy discharge, and may smell an unpleasant odor. If you suspect ear mites, contact your vet.

Can You Clean Your Husky’s Ears With A Q-tip?

No, you shouldn’t clean your husky’s ears with a Q-tip. The stiff Q-tip can perforate their eardrum, which can cause hearing damage.

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About The Author

Hi, I’m Carrie! I’ve always had a special connection with nature, and animals of all shapes and sizes in particular. I’ve been a writer for nearly a decade and recently joined the Malamute Mom team. I love providing information to other dog lovers.

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