How to Get a Bug Out of a Dog's Ear

While your dog is having fun romping around a park or a field, he may get a bug inside his ear that causes him distress as he tries to remove it himself. You may be able to help him shake it out of his ear just by filling the affected ear canal with ear cleaner, causing him to shake his head and expel the bug.

Cute siberian husky puppy scratching
"It's this ear. Look in this ear."
credit: anurakpong/iStock/Getty Images

Signs of Ear Bugs

When a dog has a foreign object or bug in his ear, his actions will signify the fact. He displays some of the same symptoms as a dog with an ear infection: He may put his foot in his ear, walk with his head tilted to the side of the affected ear. He may walk in circles, rubbing the ear on your floor or furniture. Your canine friend's actions will indicate to you which ear has a bug in it.

Ear Bug Complications

Leaving a bug in your canine buddy's ear can cause complications from his scratching. Scratches caused by his claws can become infected. He may experience loss of hair at the ear base and tatters on the tips of his ears. All of these areas can become infected, warranting the use of antibiotics from your veterinarian.

Ear Cleaning

Cleaning your dog's ear with a liquid causes him to shake his head. So fill the ear with cleaning solution and let the dog shake the bug out. Clean his ears in this fashion in a bathroom shower stall or a tub with a curtain. Arrange your supplies: dog ear cleaner, several pieces of sterile gauze, mineral oil and a towel.

Take your dog into the shower and ask him to sit. Then lift the tip of the affected ear upward and place a few drops of mineral oil in the ear canal. Mineral oil soothes the ears from irritation. Fill the ear canal with ear cleaning solution. Immediately place a thumb and forefinger at the base of his ear and massage the cleaner. You will hear a squishing noise as the cleaner goes into the ear canal.

Release your dog and watch for a bug as he shakes his head. Open his ear and gently wipe out ear cleaner residue with sterile gauze pads.

Ear Cleaning Warnings

When using ear cleaner on your dog, don't ever use cotton swabs in his ear. If he moves, the swab can go too deeply into the ear canal and pierce the ear drum.

Sterile gauze pads work better than cotton balls for absorbing and removing excess ear cleaner. Cotton balls can leave small fibers behind or can break apart, leaving bits in the ear.

Never use hemostats, tweezers or any other metal object to try and remove a bug from your dog's ear. Stiff metal objects can cause trauma to an ear if your dog moves while it's in his ear.

Veterinarian Visit

If repeated attempts with cleaning solution in the ear don't expel the bug from your dog's ear, make an appointment with your veterinarian for removal. If your dog's ear is red, swollen or painful, he may already have an ear infection that requires antibiotics.