Guide: How to Properly Clean a Boston Terrier’s Ears

Cleaning your Boston Terrier’s ears is an essential part of grooming and should be done regularly. If you take your Boston to see a professional groomer, rather than doing the work at home, your pup’s ears are likely being cleaned each time by the groomer. 

However, if you groom your Boston at home, you’ll need to add this extra step to your normal grooming process.

Guide: How to Properly Clean a Boston Terrier's Ears. Boston Terrier Society.
Bella snuggling.

Honestly, Emily and I are bad about cleaning Bella’s ears. Cleaning the ears is easily an overlooked body part if you do not include it in your washing routine.

How to properly clean a Boston Terrier’s ears

Cleaning a Boston Terrier’s ears is a five-step process. First, choose a location to clean your Boston’s ears comfortably. Second, evaluate her ears. Third, apply the cleaning solution. Forth, clean. Finally, give your Boston a treat for being patient. 

Here is precisely how to clean your Boston’s ears with an in-depth why and how…

What Happens If You Do Not Clean Your Bsoston’s Ears?

Routine cleaning is vital to the overall health of your Boston Terrier’s ears. Over time, wax and oils build up inside your pooch’s ears. If your dog gets any water in her already dirty ear, such as during swimming or bathing, her chances of developing an ear infection increases dramatically. 

The warm, dark environment of the ear creates the ideal conditions for yeast and bacteria to grow, especially when moist. Ear infections can be painful, and severe infections may even impact your Boston’s ability to hear. 

Ear infections can develop in one or both ears, so it’s essential to check both ears for signs of infection. If you notice your Boston Terrier scratching at her ears or rubbing one or both ears on the floor or furniture, she may have an ear infection. You may also notice a strong odor coming from her ear, or discharge near the ear canal. 

Other symptoms include head shaking, tilting the head, hair loss around the ear, and redness or swelling around the ear. If your Boston has been scratching at her ear, you may see redness and cuts. Severe infections may also cause your dog to lose her balance or hearing.

How Often Should You Clean a Boston Terrier’s Ears?

You’ll need to consider your Boston Terrier’s lifestyle, habits, and overall ear health when deciding how often to clean her ears. If your pup spends a lot of time in the water, it’s recommended to clean her ears after every swim to help clear out excess moisture. If your pooch prefers the comforts of dry land, she may only need her ears cleaned once a month. 

You may also want to consider cleaning your Boston’s ears every time you bathe her. Even the most careful groomer can accidentally get water in a dog’s ears, so it’s advisable to clean them out after every bath, just in case. Adding ear cleaning to your regular grooming routine will also help you to remember to check your Boston’s ears and make sure they’re in good health. Frequent cleanings will allow you to catch any infection in the early stages so you can seek treatment as soon as possible.

Supplies Needed for Cleaning a Boston Terrier’s Ears

Ear Cleaner Solutions

Your local pet store or favorite online retailer likely has a variety of ear cleaners available. Some ear cleaners are made with only natural ingredients, while others contain ingredients designed to help prevent infections. 

If your Boston has already been diagnosed with an ear infection, your vet may prescribe a specific ear cleaner for you to use. Whichever type of ear cleaner you prefer, it’s important to choose one that is not alcohol-based. 

Ear cleaners containing alcohol may cause discomfort to already sore or tender ears. The stinging sensation of alcohol will likely discourage your pup from sitting quietly the next time you try to clean her ears.

Cotton Balls

To help thoroughly clean your Boston Terrier’s ears, you’ll need a few cotton balls. Cotton balls are recommended over cotton swabs for safety reasons. Using only your finger and a cotton ball, you’ll be able to clean down into your dog’s ear canal, but not far enough to damage any of the delicate structures. 

With cotton swabs, you can reach further into the ear canal, potentially damaging your pup’s ear if she happens to shake or move unexpectedly. Even if your Boston has relatively clean ears, cotton balls will help soak up any excess cleaner or moisture before she has the chance to shake or rub it all over your furniture. Having a towel on hand will also help with cleanup.

Ear Powder

You may also consider purchasing an ear powder to use after cleaning. Ear powders help absorb excess moisture and may also soothe itchy or irritated ears. Keeping the ears free of moisture is critical in preventing infection. 

If your Boston frequently plays in the water, you’ll need to clean her ears often. A good powder can help keep her ears from becoming irritated from frequent cleanings.


Be sure to have a few treats on hand to reward your Boston for being such a good girl while you clean her ears! Rewarding her for sitting patiently will encourage her to behave during future ear cleaning sessions.

How to Clean Your Boston Terrier’s Ears

1) Choose A Location

If your Boston tends to shake her head a lot during cleaning, you may want to consider cleaning her ears in the bathtub or another easy-to-clean location. Choosing a good cleaning location is especially important if her ears are dirty. Because you probably don’t want to clean up ear discharge and cleaning solution off the furniture.

2) Evaluate

Before you begin cleaning, take a moment to evaluate both of your Boston Terrier’s ears. If you notice any signs of infection, you may want to skip the at-home cleaning and contact your vet. 

Infections cannot be treated with ear cleaning alone, and you’ll need to get the proper medication from your vet. If both ears look normal and healthy, you can proceed with the cleaning. 

3) Begin With The Cleaner

Ask your pooch to sit quietly in front of you in your chosen location. With one hand, hold your Boston’s head still while you fill the ear with cleaner. Her first reaction may be to shake her head, so try to prevent that until you’re finished cleaning. 

Once the ear is full of cleaning solution, gently massage the base of the ear. Your pup will probably enjoy this part of the process, but if her ears are sore, you may need to be extra gentle. Massage the ear for about 15-20 seconds before releasing. 

At this point, you may want to hold a towel over your pooch’s ear as she shakes the excess cleaner out.

4) Wipe Away Excess Cleaner and Discharge

After your Boston has shaken out most of the cleaner, you can take your cotton ball and gently wipe out the ear. Don’t be afraid of cleaning the ear canal itself, your finger and the cotton ball are too large to reach any of the ear’s delicate structures. 

If the ear is infected, this may be somewhat painful, so be sure to use a gentle touch. If the ear still looks dirty after this step, you may want to repeat the process until you’ve removed all of the discharge.

5) If Applicable Apply Powder and or Medication

Once you’ve removed all of the visible discharge, you can apply the ear powder or any medications prescribed by your vet. Be sure to reward your Boston for being so patient! After you’ve finished with one ear, you can move on the other ear. 

You may notice that one ear is dirtier than the other, but if your pup isn’t showing any signs of infection, there is no need to be concerned.

Final thoughts…

Cleaning your Boston Terrier’s ears is a quick and straightforward process, especially when done regularly. Whether you need to clean your beloved Boston’s ears after her weekly swim session or during her monthly bath, be sure to use your newfound knowledge to keep her ears clean and healthy.

Need more help on grooming? Check out this article I have written on the topic:

Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

Recent Posts