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How To Put Ear Drops In An Uncooperative Dog

So, your dog loves to roll around in the dirt or is just prone to earaches and the vet says they need ear drops. You nod and promise to administer them faithfully.

Inside, you’re cringing. From past experience, you know that your dog does not like to take medicine of any kind — especially ear drops.

Take heart and continue reading for tips on making this task easier. You can take care of your dog and still maintain your sanity with the right strategy.

What Causes Earaches In Dogs?

An ear infection can cause your dog a lot of discomfort and pain.

Ear infections typically result from bacteria that linger in the ear canals and cause diseases that are specific to the ear, such as otitis and ear vasculitis.

If your dog develops these conditions, they may require antibiotics or other medication delivered in the form of drops. The remedy is likely to make your dog feel better fast.

However, getting the drops into your dog’s ear can turn into a major battle if you don’t know what you’re doing.

How to Get the Ear Drops in Your Dog’s Ear Without a Hassle

Taking a positive approach can help your dog feel confident when you approach them to administer the ear drops.

By maintaining a positive atmosphere and encouraging your dog with praise, you can turn a bad situation into a not so bad one.

Remain sympathetic and try to remember that your pet is suffering. Your great attitude will help you remain calm, which will help your dog stay calm too.

Something as simple as stroking the dog or patting them during the process can help things move along quickly.

This reassurance also gives your dog something positive to associate with the ear drops. Keep in mind that they won’t understand why you’re trying to put something in their ears.

So, keeping them focused long enough to get the drops in may be the best you can hope for.

Dos and Don’ts of Administering Ear Drop Medications for Dogs

Here are some tips to help the medication administration go more smoothly.


  • Don’t lure your pet into a false sense of security by taking them to their favorite place to receive the ear drops. They could end up running away the next time you tried the same trick. Instead, develop a routine so that your dog doesn’t freak out every time you put the drops in.
  • Instead of calling out to get their attention, go directly to your pet. You don’t want them to be scared the next time that you call out to them.


  • Before you administer the medication, get everything ready.
  • The process always goes smoother with a second set of hands. One person can work on controlling the dog gently while the other quickly administers the ear drops.
  • Administer the medication in a neutral area. Choose a slightly confined place where your pet can’t run off in the middle of getting their ear drops. This will be easier for small dogs because you can place them on a table or bed and control them with your hands while someone else administers the drops.
  • It takes a little more work for larger dogs to get them relaxed and positioned so that you can control their movement. First, put your dog on a leash so you can gently control their motions.
  • Consider placing a muzzle on your dog why you give them the ear drops. No pet owner wants to do this to their pet — but it could be the safest thing for them and you.
  • After you get through the process, give your dog a treat and give yourself and your assistant a pat on the back. You’ve all been very brave. Your dog is one step closer to health and wellness and a time when you no longer have to administer ear drops.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

For dog’s prone to ear infections, you can help avoid them by frequently cleaning the dog’s ears.

The vet may ask you to clean out the ears to help clear up the infection faster.

Here are some tips for cleaning your dog’s ears:

  • Ask the vet to prescribe a gentle ear cleanser that does not contain alcohol. Unfortunately, many over-the-counter cleaners have alcohol that can sting your dog’s sensitive skin, making them even more reluctant to cooperate.
  • Your vet can tell you how to apply the drops safely for your dog. Dogs with larger ears have more surface area, but it’s easier to get at them to perform the cleaning.
  • You can warm the cleaners slightly to help calm your dog down. Test the surface to ensure that it’s not too hot before putting the cleanser into your dog’s ear.
  • Do not use Q tips or other cotton-tipped swabs. Just like with people, this can injure their ear canal.

Why Dogs Shake Their Heads After Getting Ear Drops

This is a natural reaction that most dogs have when getting water or other liquid in their ears.

The drops won’t feel natural to your dog, so they will shake their head, attempting to shake off the unfamiliar feeling literally.

Complete the Course of Medication as Instructed

At some point or other, most dogs get an ear infection.

When they do, their human owners must remember their patience and do everything in their power to complete the course of medication.

Perhaps the cause of the infection was a foreign material such as grass or dirt or something more familiar to the ear environment, such as ear mites or wax plugs.

It’s essential to treat the infection before it can spread and cause your dog even further discomfort.

Final Word

It’s often a challenge to get your doggo to sit still while you administer ear drop medication. However, you can get it done with our tips above.

And if your dog gets antsy when he sees you coming with that ear drops bottle, then try putting the drops on a cotton ball and then squeezing it out into his ears.

No matter how uncomfortable your dog looks while you try to give him the canine ear medication, just remember that this is for his own good and he will feel better afterwards.

Plus, you can always return to the vet or local animal hospital if you have too much trouble getting the drops into your pupper’s ears.

credit: Pexels

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National Canine Research Association of America