Hair grows in the poodle’s ear canal. Some poodles may have an abundance of hair in the ear canal, while others will have less. If the ears become heavily weighted with hair, the ear canal can become blocked and an infection can develop.

Standard practice is that the ears are plucked free of hair each time a poodle is groomed. If you take your poodle to a professional groomer, ear cleaning and the removal of excess hair on the insides of the ear flaps is always included as part of the complete grooming service.

If you trim your poodle at home, it is extremely important to make ear care part of his grooming routine. When the ears are attended to every month, they should remain in good condition and the cleaning will only take a short time.

How to Clean the Poodle’s Ears

Examine the inside of each ear and the entrance to the ear canal carefully once or twice a month. The skin inside the ears and on the flaps should be pale pink. Red, brown, black skin or a foul odor may indicate a problem. A little ear wax is normal; excessive amounts are not.

  • The first step in cleaning the ear is to remove the hair leading into the ear canal. Because the ear canal is deep and almost L-shaped, the safest position for removing excess hair is to grasp the ear flap and draw it backwards or flat to the head.
  • Sprinkle a little ear powder into the opening to make the hair easier to grip the hair. Never probe deeper than you can see, and pull out a few hairs at a time.
  • In order to avoid getting too much powder in the ear, sprinkle some ear powder in a small container and dip your fingers into it before grasping the hair.
  • Once the hair is removed, moisten a cotton ball with ear cleaning solution or a little mineral oil to clean away any dirt, wax or remaining ear powder. Wipe around the ear flap and into the opening as far as you can see. A light swabbing is sufficient if there is no evidence of wax accumulation.
  • If there is a great deal of ear wax or the ears smell foul, you will have to flush out the ear with ear cleaning solution. Grasp the base of the ear and draw outward and away from the head so that the liquid dropped inside will make its way down the ear canal. Use several drops of ear cleaner or mineral oil.
  • Lower the ear flap and steady your poodle’s head with your hand to keep her from shaking her head. With your other hand massage the base of the ear to distribute the lotion or oil, and help dislodge any wax inside the ear.
  • After a short massage, release your poodle and let her shake her head, it will help to bring any deep-seated wax to the surface. Once the wax is brought up, use cotton balls or swabs to wipe the ear until it is clean and dry.

Poodles that are prone to severe and chronic ear infections, or those that accumulate excessive amounts of wax deep in the ear canal should be attended to by a veterinarian. If your poodle shakes her head persistently, whimpers while scratching her ears, holds her head to one side, or if the ears have a foul odor and a reddish-brown discharge, see your veterinarian.