How Often Should You Clean Your Shih Tzu’s Ears?

As pet owners, we always want the best for our furry friends, including our beloved Shih Tzus. One important aspect of their health that sometimes goes overlooked is ear hygiene. Many of us may wonder, how often should you clean your Shih Tzu’s ears? The answer may not be as straightforward as we think, but it’s crucial to understand the benefits of proper ear cleaning and the essential factors that influence it. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why ear cleaning is necessary, tips and techniques for cleaning, and when to seek veterinary help. So, let’s delve into the importance of ear hygiene and find out how we can take good care of our furry friends.

Why is Cleaning Your Shih Tzu’s Ears Important?

Why Is Cleaning Your Shih Tzu'S Ears Important?
The well-being of your furry companion depends on their hygiene and overall cleanliness. That is why cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears is an essential part of their grooming routine that owners should prioritize. It is not only about maintaining their appearance but also their health. In this article, we will take a closer look at why cleaning your pet’s ears is crucial and how often it should be done. We will also discuss the importance of proper ear cleaning techniques and tips. We will provide relevant information on when it is necessary to visit a vet. Let’s dive into the topic to learn more about the significance of ear care for your fur baby. If you want to know more about how to clean your Shih Tzu’s ears, check out our guide on ear cleaning for Shih Tzu.

Preventing Ear Infections

Keeping your Shih Tzu’s ears clean is essential for preventing ear infections. A dog’s ear canal is L-shaped, which can make it difficult to clean thoroughly. Ear infections in Shih Tzus are common and often caused by the buildup of dirt, wax, and moisture in the ear canal.

Ear infections can cause great discomfort and pain for your furry friend. If left untreated, they can lead to more serious health issues. Symptoms of an ear infection in Shih Tzus include head shaking, scratching or rubbing the ears, foul odor coming from the ears, redness or swelling in the ear canal, and sensitivity when the ears are touched.

To prevent ear infections in your Shih Tzu, it’s essential to clean their ears regularly. Cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears will remove any dirt, wax, or debris that has accumulated.

Here are some tips for preventing ear infections in your Shih Tzu:

  • Check the ears regularly: Look inside your Shih Tzu’s ears for any signs of redness, discharge, or a foul odor. It is best to make checking your dog’s ears part of your regular routine.
  • Clean the ears frequently: The frequency of ear cleaning depends on your Shih Tzu’s individual needs. Some dogs may need to have their ears cleaned weekly, while others may need it only once a month. Talk to your vet to determine the appropriate cleaning frequency for your dog.
  • Use a safe ear cleaning solution: It’s best to use a solution specifically designed for cleaning dog ears. Be careful not to use any solution that is too harsh or that can irritate your dog’s ears.
  • Be gentle: Never insert anything deep into your dog’s ear canal. Use a soft cloth or cotton ball to clean the ear flap and the part of the ear canal that you can see.

Following these simple tips can help prevent ear infections in your Shih Tzu and keep their ears healthy and happy. If you’re unsure about how to clean your dog’s ears or suspect they have an ear infection, seeking veterinary advice is always recommended.

For more detailed instructions on safe and effective ear cleaning for Shih Tzus, check out our guide on safe Shih Tzu ear cleaning. If your Shih Tzu is experiencing ear problems, our article on Shih Tzu ear problems and treatment can provide helpful insights. Finally, if you have a Shih Tzu puppy and want to learn how to properly clean their ears, check out our guide on ear cleaning for Shih Tzu puppies.

Identifying Health Issues Early

Keeping your Shih Tzu’s ears clean can also help identify any potential health issues early on. By inspecting your dog’s ears regularly, you can notice any signs of discomfort or changes in their behavior. Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

  • Scratching or pawing at ears: If your Shih Tzu is constantly scratching or pawing at their ears, it may indicate an infection, mites, or other health problems.
  • Unpleasant odor: If you notice a foul smell emanating from your dog’s ears, it could be a sign of infection or buildup of dirt and wax.
  • Redness or inflammation: Redness or inflammation in the ear canal can indicate infection or allergies.
  • Discharge: If there is any discharge, pus or blood coming out of the ears, it is a clear indication of an ear infection.

If you notice any of these warning signs, it is important to consult a vet immediately. Delaying medical attention can lead to further complications and make it more difficult to treat the underlying condition.

Regular ear cleaning can help you catch these issues early, as you will already be inspecting your dog’s ears for any signs of discomfort or abnormalities. Cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears not only helps keep them healthy, but can also help save you money on expensive vet bills in the long run.

To learn more about how to properly clean your Shih Tzu’s ears, check out our Shih Tzu Ear Cleaning Guide.

Removing Dirt and Wax Build-up

Dirt and wax build-up in your Shih Tzu’s ears can lead to discomfort and infection. Regular cleaning of your furry friend’s ears can prevent these issues from arising.

Using q-tips and ear bud can push the debris further into the ear canal and can even damage their delicate eardrum. Instead, there are numerous cleaning options to choose from to remove dirt and wax build-up from your Shih Tzu’s ears.

One option is to use a specially formulated cleaner designed to loosen and dissolve the wax and debris. These cleaners can be found at your local pet store and are typically made with natural ingredients. Using a cleaner can help break down the wax and debris, making it easier to remove.

You can also use a solution of equal parts warm water and apple cider vinegar to clean your Shih Tzu’s ears. The vinegar helps remove dirt and debris while also balancing the pH levels in their ears. Using a cotton ball or soft cloth, gently wipe the inside of your dog’s ear, being careful not to push too deep or cause any discomfort.

Another option is to use an ear flush solution which can help remove debris and offer a more thorough cleaning. Ear flush solutions are available at your local pet store and typically come with a dropper or applicator to make the cleaning process easier.

It’s important to remember that over-cleaning can also be harmful to your Shih Tzu’s ears, causing them to become dry and irritated. As a general rule of thumb, you should clean your Shih Tzu’s ears once every two weeks or as advised by your veterinarian.

In the table below, we have summarised some of the pros and cons of each method.

Cleaning MethodProsCons
Specially formulated cleaner-Prevents damage to the ear canal
-Breaks down wax and debris
-Made with natural ingredients
-More expensive than other cleaning methods
Warm water and apple cider vinegar-Effectively removes dirt and debris
-Balances pH levels in the ear canal
-Low cost and easily accessible
-May not be as effective for severe build-up
-Vinegar scent may be unpleasant to some dogs
Ear flush solution-Offers more thorough cleaning than other methods
-Easy to administer with included applicator
-Can be found at local pet store
-May be more expensive than other methods
-Can be messy or difficult to apply

If you notice a foul smell, discharge, or any discomfort in your Shih Tzu’s ears, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian immediately. They can provide a professional cleaning and examine for underlying health issues.

How Often Should You Clean Your Shih Tzu’s Ears?

Determining how often to clean your beloved Shih Tzu’s ears can be a perplexing task for any responsible pet owner. It’s essential to maintain good hygiene to prevent ear infections and identify early signs of possible ear problems in your furry friend. However, cleaning their ears too often can be counterproductive and even harmful to their health. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at various factors that determine how often you should clean your Shih Tzu’s ears and highlight useful cleaning techniques to ensure you’re taking appropriate care of your pup’s delicate ears.

Factors That Influence Ear Cleaning Frequency

The frequency at which you should clean your Shih Tzu’s ears can depend on a variety of factors. Below are some of the main factors that you should consider when deciding on an ear cleaning schedule for your furry friend:

  • Shih Tzu’s ear shape: The floppy ears of Shih Tzus can create a warm and moist environment that’s perfect for bacteria and yeast growth. This can increase the chances of ear infections and make regular cleaning more necessary than it would be for dogs with erect ears.
  • Activity level: A more active dog who spends a lot of time outdoors and in dusty areas may need more frequent ear cleanings than a less active one. Dirt and debris can accumulate faster in a more active dog’s ears.
  • Skin allergies: Shih Tzus are prone to skin allergies that can affect their ears. If your dog has a history of allergies or has developed redness, itching, or irritation in their ears, regular cleanings may be necessary to keep the ears free of harmful buildup and to prevent further irritation.
  • Ear infections: If your Shih Tzu has a history of ear infections, it may be necessary to clean their ears more frequently than a dog who has never had an ear infection. Consult with your vet to determine the appropriate frequency of cleanings based on your dog’s individual circumstances.

Considering these factors is crucial in determining how often you should clean your Shih Tzu’s ears. Additionally, it’s important to watch your dog’s behavior and health to ensure proper ear care.

Cleaning Tips and Techniques

When cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears, it is important to follow the correct techniques in order to avoid causing any discomfort or harm. Here are some cleaning tips and techniques that you can use:

Use a Gentle CleanerWhen cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears, it is important to use a gentle, pet-friendly cleaner. Avoid using any harsh chemicals or solutions as they can irritate the ears and cause discomfort. Ask your vet for recommendations on which cleaner to use.
Check for DebrisBefore cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears, examine them for any debris such as dirt or wax. You can use a cotton ball or soft cloth to gently wipe away any debris that you see on the outer ear.
Apply the CleanerGently apply the ear cleaner to your dog’s ear canal. Be sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner and avoid overusing it. Massage the base of the ear to help the cleaner work its way into the ear canal.
Wipe Away ExcessUsing a cotton ball or soft cloth, gently wipe away any excess cleaner and debris that has come out of the ear. Be sure to avoid pushing any debris further into the ear canal.
Use Treats for Positive ReinforcementCleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears can be a stressful experience for them. To make the process more enjoyable, use treats as positive reinforcement for good behavior during the cleaning.

It is important to note that you should never use cotton swabs or any other type of foreign object to clean your Shih Tzu’s ears, as this can cause damage to the ear canal. If you are unsure about how to properly clean your dog’s ears, consult with your vet for guidance.

When to See a Vet

Regular ear cleaning is an essential part of Shih Tzu grooming, but sometimes even with the best care, ear problems can still arise. In some cases, it’s important to consult a veterinarian. Here are some signs that your Shih Tzu needs to see a vet:

  • Odor: If you notice an unusual odor coming from your dog’s ears, it’s a sign there is an underlying problem. A foul smell usually indicates an infection or inflammation.
  • Discharge: Discharge from the ear is another clear sign that there is something wrong. If you notice any yellow, green, or brown discharge coming out of your dog’s ear, it means that there is an infection or severe inflammation present.
  • Scratching: It’s not uncommon for dogs to scratch their ears occasionally, but if you notice that your Shih Tzu is continuously scratching or rubbing at their ears, it’s a sign that they are uncomfortable or in pain.
  • Redness: Redness inside or outside of the ear is an indication of a problem. It could mean your dog has an infection, inflammation, or an allergic reaction.
  • Pain and discomfort: If your dog shows signs of discomfort or pain when their ears are touched, it could be a sign of a severe ear infection or blockage. If you notice any head shaking, ear tilting, or head rubbing, you need to contact your vet immediately.
  • Bleeding: If you notice any bleeding from the ear, it’s a clear indication that something is wrong, and you should take your Shih Tzu to the vet without delay.

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical attention from your vet as soon as possible. Remember that early detection is critical to prevent any further damage and complications. Your vet will be able to diagnose the problem and advise you on the best course of action to take.


In conclusion, keeping your Shih Tzu’s ears clean is an important part of their overall health and well-being. Regular ear cleaning can help prevent painful and unsightly ear infections, identify health issues early, and remove dirt and wax build-up that can cause discomfort or blockages.

Remember, the frequency of cleaning will depend on various factors such as environment, activity level, and the individual dog’s ear health. It’s important to pay attention to your Shih Tzu’s ears and notice any changes in smell, discharge, or behavior that may indicate a problem.

By following the tips and techniques discussed in this article, you can safely and effectively clean your Shih Tzu’s ears at home. However, if you notice any signs of infection or discomfort, it’s best to seek professional veterinary care.

Overall, a little bit of routine ear cleaning can go a long way in keeping your furry friend happy and healthy. So don’t forget to include ear cleaning as a regular part of your Shih Tzu’s grooming routine!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use cotton swabs to clean my Shih Tzu’s ears?

No, you should avoid using cotton swabs as they can damage your dog’s ears. Use a gentle ear cleaning solution and a soft cloth or cotton ball instead.

2. How do I know if my Shih Tzu has an ear infection?

Some signs of an ear infection in a Shih Tzu include shaking their head, itching or scratching at the ears, redness or discharge from the ears, and a foul odor.

3. Is it normal for my Shih Tzu to have a lot of ear wax?

Some amount of ear wax is normal in dogs, but excessive buildup can lead to issues. You should clean your Shih Tzu’s ears regularly to prevent this.

4. Can I use human ear cleaning products on my Shih Tzu?

No, human ear cleaning products are not safe for dogs. Always use products specifically formulated for canine ear cleaning.

5. How often should I take my Shih Tzu to the vet for ear checks?

It’s a good idea to have your Shih Tzu’s ears checked by a vet during their regular wellness exams, typically once or twice a year.

6. Can allergies cause ear infections in Shih Tzus?

Yes, allergies can cause ear infections in Shih Tzus. Allergy testing and treatment may be necessary to prevent recurring infections.

7. How do I clean my Shih Tzu’s ears if they resist?

Try to coax your Shih Tzu with treats and rewards for good behavior while cleaning their ears. If they still resist, it may be best to have a professional groomer or vet do the cleaning.

8. Can swimming cause ear infections in Shih Tzus?

Yes, water can get trapped in the ears and lead to infection. Be sure to dry your Shih Tzu’s ears thoroughly after swimming or bathing.

9. Should I clean inside my Shih Tzu’s ear canal?

No, you should avoid inserting anything into your Shih Tzu’s ear canal as it can damage the delicate structures inside. Stick to cleaning the visible parts of the ear.

10. Can ear cleaning prevent hearing loss in Shih Tzus?

Regular ear cleaning can help prevent ear infections and other issues that may lead to hearing loss in Shih Tzus. However, other factors may also contribute to hearing loss in dogs, so it’s important to see a vet if you notice any changes in your pet’s hearing.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DoggoLab, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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