I find the best way to clean a pet’s ears is to obtain a water-soluble solution that contains drying agents such as salicylic acid. I find that these agents are often most effective in breaking and drying up the wax and discharge that may develop especially in floppy eared dogs, and which is often is responsible for the development of secondary bacterial and yeast infections.
One of my favorite ear solutions is Epi-Otic, which has been around for many years. I find that flushing the ears liberally with this solution for several minutes is often the best way at cleaning such often waxy ears. The pet will often shake his head of the excess moisture which can then be wiped safely away with dry gauze or cotton balls. While I will often use Q-tips in the exam room in deeply cleaning out the ear canals, I usually don’t instruct clients to do this at home because of my concern about perforating the ear drum if they go too far down. I will usually recommend flushing the ears out with a good drying solution at least a few times a week, and sometimes more frequently if a pet has an active current infection.
For those pets who like to swim or bathe a lot, I will recommend flushing the ears out after bathing or swimming. Another of my favorite products, Zymox Otic HC is great to use in those pets prone to yeast or bacterial infections, as not only does this solution kill these microbes, but they will naturally and enzymatically keep the ears clean, without the need for using additional cleaners or medications in many cases.