Ear Hygiene for Poodles

Health, Poodles | 3 comments

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Your active poodle can need some specialized grooming when it comes to their ears. Poodles are generally easy to care for dogs but have some extra ear hygiene that is required due to their excessively floppy and hairy ears. This extra care comes in the form of a good hygiene routine that keeps wax, ear hair, small bugs, and particles under control. This helps both their grooming and health. Preventative hygiene means less discomfort for your poodle and less expensive vet visits for you.

Ear Issues for Poodles

Due to your poodle’s ear structure, they are prone to ear infections and secondary irritation from poor hygiene. Ear infections are problematic and can be painful and irritating for your dog. Some pups only get them once, whereas others have them chronically. Ear hygiene is important in combating this painful issue. Keeping ears free of long hairs, wax buildup, and dryness is important.

Ear Infections

A problem that can come from poor hygiene that allows for dampness and bacteria to get caught in your poodle’s ears.

Smell & Discharge – a major symptom of ear issues is a bad smell or wax that is an odd color coming from the ear. If the ear is healthy, then there will not be an odor or discharge

Rubbing & Head-Shaking – infection can lead to itchy ears leading your poodle to try and stop the irritation. They may paw at their ears or rub them against surfaces such as carpets or furniture to find some relief. Repeatedly shaking their head may happen as well.

Dizziness – if an ear infection is present, it can sometimes affect the dog’s balance. They may lose their equilibrium and seem dizzy or wobbly when on their feet

Eye Movement – if you see your poodle having a strange back and forth eye movement, it could be due to a middle ear infection

Decreased Appetite – ear infections can cause overall listlessness and lack of appetite

Oso wanting to play despite the cone – from @oso_the_maltipoo

Ear Yeast Infections

Yeast problems can occur in one or both ears. It happens when the yeast that lives naturally in a poodle’s body gets thrown off balance by things like allergy medications with steroids. The steroids cause extra yeast growth. Ear yeast infections can cause itching and irritation, along with a strong smell that is similar to cheese popcorn or mold. Either way, it is not pleasant.

A diagnosis of ear yeast infections means medications are needed, and special ear cleaning has to happen until it goes away. Your poodle may also have to reduce sugar intake and increase nutrients that will support your dog’s immune system.

Ear Mites

Mites are little bugs that get into the ears. Although puppies are more affected by this, it can affect poodles of any age. They are contagious and spread between many species of animals, not just dogs. Humans cannot get ear mites from their pets. Ear mites cause itching and a crust on the outside of the ear. There will also be small lumps on the ear canal that look like small, black dots.

Treatment requires a specific prescription for all animals in the household for 7-10 days. There needs to be a second treatment about two weeks later to tackle any mite eggs that might be left. The house needs to be thoroughly cleaned as well, especially soft items like pillows.

Ear Hygiene to Combat Ear Issues in Poodles

Ear Hair Removal

A poodle’s long ear hair can hinder airflow in the ear, causing infections. These long hairs need to be dealt with either by a professional groomer or at home.


You can pluck or trim, but plucking is the most successful as it lasts longer and removes the full hair and follicle. If you are plucking or trimming at home, you will need:


The curvy inside of your poodle’s ear causes warmth and moisture to get trapped in the ear canal. It allows for the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mites if not properly cared for. It also traps small bits of debris that can also irritate and infect the ear. Even though you may be trimming or plucking hair from the ears, wax can still buildup over time. To keep your pup’s ears clean and dry, you will need:

Otirinse Ear Cleansing and Drying Solution to clean ear canals by breaking up wax. Also dries any dampness left by cleaning or water play.

Nutri-vet Ear Cleansing Dog Padsto clean your poodle’s external ear. It washes and dries the ear with ingredients that are chosen to combat ear infections by cleaning away toxins specifically

Zymox Ear Solution .5% Hydrocortisonereduces itch for your poodle while the prescribed antibiotics begin to work. It combats the infection while reducing redness and irritation. Heals the infection and prevents new ones.

Extra Hygiene Treatment

Petmore Ear Mite Tick Treatment treatment combatting ear mites. Easy to administer.

Petmore Home and Carpet Careonce mites have been discovered, preventative care for your home and pets to stop reinfection.

Amoxicillin – Prescription Neededmedication will be prescribed by your poodle’s veterinarian to treat bacterial ear infections. It is an antibiotic to heal ear infections, both internally and externally.


Poodles are a floppy-eared canine companion that needs a little extra care when it comes to their ears. They are prone to ear issues, so as an owner, you need to be proactive in trying to circumvent any issues through good ear hygiene. By caring for your poodle’s ears, you will be able to save them some pain and irritation and yourself a costly veterinary visit. Ear care takes a little more effort with poodles but will keep you both happier and healthier if done.

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  1. Theresa Dowell

    What can I clean my poodles ear, with a home cleanser??

    • Poodled

      Hi Theresa,

      Good question. Quick disclaimer that I would check with your vet before using any cleansers that you have at home that aren’t specifically made for (and thus safe for use on) your pup. Our Grooming page has some great articles about pet- and dog-specific cleaning products and equipment.

      Best of luck!

    • Chyrle Bonk, DVM

      Hi Theresa,

      For regular cleaning, a white vinegar/water solution works well. Mix one part vinegar with two parts water and squirt into the ear canal. Massage at the base of the ear to loosen debris and then dry out with a paper towel on your finger. Avoid using Q-tips unless instructed by a veterinarian. The vinegar provides a drying affect to help prevent bacterial and yeast growth from excessive moisture. Depending on your poodle, you should clean ears at least a couple of times a month or as often as weekly. Definitely clean after baths or swimming to prevent ear infections. You may also need to pluck excess hair to prevent moisture buildup as well.

      Dr. Chyrle Bonk, Poodled Vet 🙂


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