About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesdays Tip #43

I have cleaned a lot of ears over the years.

To be honest, I don't remember learning a lot about plucking and cleaning ears in Grooming School.

I mostly remember learning how to clean out ears really well at the Veterinarian I worked for after grooming school.
He would send dogs down to have their ears cleaned out all of the time, and he was a stickler about getting them whistle clean.

I would pluck every hair out of them, and then the Vet had me put the dog in the tub, squirt a cleaner down into the ears, and then flush them out with the hose.
Then I would stand back and let the dog shake all kinds of nasty stuff out of their ears.
I loved that ears cleaner.
It smelled so good and really got the ears clean.

Anyway, that Vet really grilled it into me to get the ears as clean as possible.
So, I clean out ears no matter how nasty they are.
I do this for a couple of reasons.
One reason is because of the that Veterinarian that I worked for, and the other reason is a little more.....
oh I don't know what the word for it would be.

I know that there are a lot of groomers out there that leave bad looking ears along, and send the owner to the Vet.
I have found just one problem with that.

Nine times out of ten the Veterinarian looks at the ear, gives the owner medicine, and sends the dog home without  plucking or cleaning out the ear.
Oh, and the best part, tells the owner to have their groomer clean out the ear at the next grooming.

That is a really big pet peeve of mine.

I can not stand when a dog comes in, and the ears are all greasy with medicine that the owner hasn't even been getting down into the ear because the Vet never bothered to pluck and clean them out.

That is the main reason why I clean out all ears no matter how nasty they are.
The only exception is a dog whose ears are causing him/her pain.
I will not hurt them to clean out the ears.

Unfortunately, I have been told by a few Vets that I clean the ears a little too well.

After I clean the ears, tell the owner to go to their Vet, because I think that their dog has a possible ear infection, the Vet says that they can't see any problem because I cleaned the ears too well.  :/

So, did I stop cleaning out bad ears?


I save everything that I got out of the ears.

The hair.
The cotton balls.
Whatever goo and crusty stuff that I get out of the ear is saved.

What for you ask?  :)

To put in my little plastic bags.
(You can get these at Wal-Mart in the craft department)

I seal all of the yucky stuff up in this little plastic bag and hand it to the owner.

I tell the owner to take it, with their dog, to their Veterinarian and have the ears checked.

I tell the owner to tell their Vet that the stuff in the baggy is what I got out of their dogs ear.

I also use these little baggies for other things that I find on dogs.

If a scab comes off.
If I got a lot of crust off of a wart and it was bleeding.
Long curled toenails to show the owner how much I got off the nails, and that they need to be clipped more often.
And...any other foreign matter that you might find in a dogs coat.

It is also a good idea to get some labels to stick onto the the little bags.

 You can write the date and the dogs name on the label.

You can also write a message to the owner so they will remember what you told them when they get to their Veterinarian.

Hope this helps. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. New to grooming, I stumbled across your page on a quick google search. I feel like its Christmas! So many amazing tips, pics and info. Thank you so soooo much for taking the time to do this. I can't wait to read more!

    You new #1 fan,

  2. Hi Trish,
    Thank you! I am glad you like the blog. Welcome to the wonderful world of grooming.
    Lisa, MFF

  3. Because of this blog I just went and purchased this one, my old one is nearly 7 years old and seems outdated now, I hope I like it. Should be in by this time next week, I got it in pink :)

    Thanks again,

  4. So how do you clean ears??? What era cleaner and if you still get the hose in the ear?? Just to know your way..i usually pluck and put era cleaner in a cotton ball repeat if necessary and dry with clean cotton ball

  5. Oh boy Serena,
    You have me worried. I hope you like the dryer. I think dryers are kind of like scissors. You like the feel of some and not others. I wish that there was a place that groomers could go and actually use a variety of tools before they buy them. I hope you like the dryer. I like it. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  6. Hi Jessica,
    I clean ears the same way that you do now. The cleaner that I used to use at the Vet was a special cleaner that only Vets could get. I have not cleaned ears like that, with a hose, in a long time, but there have been some ears over the years that I wish I still had that cleaner and still cleaned them the old way. :)

  7. I work for a vet, and it is standard practice for us to pluck if needed and clean/flush out ears that are infected. I hate to say it but I feel like we do a better job than a lot of groomers when it comes to plucking! We also send home cleaner in addition to just meds! But thank you for being a GOOD groomers!

  8. Hi Anonymous,
    It sounds like you work for a Vet like I used to work for the. I no longer flush ears because my Vet won't get the cleaner for me anymore. He doesn't like that I would be using the cleaner without a Veterinarian's supervision.
    The crazy thing is, that more and more of the Vets around me are telling customers NOT to pluck the ears. They also tend to like to blame the groomer for getting water into the ears, causing an ear infection. It drives me crazy. I also rarely ever see a Vet around me send home cleaner, and so many of them don't pluck the ears. :(
    I like your Vet. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  9. I had a client come in and as I was checking the dog, I was looking over him and saw his yeasty ears. Both of them were bad. As I started to mention the problem to her she stopped me to say she has been to the vet and has medicine for him. I was shocked and aside why didn't the vet clean and pluck the ears out. She said it would have been $30 extra dollars. I asked who the vet was, she told me and I said that they have a groomer there, she said yes the groomer there would have dons it for that much.. so ridiculous!!!!!!! Trust me I plucked the poor pups ears and cleaned them for her so the medicine would be able to work. How unprofessional the vet is and money hungry.

  10. Hi Anonymous,
    It ticks you off doesn't it? I am so glad that you cleaned the ears out for her.
    Don't you become a Vet to help dogs?
    For that matter, don't you become a groomer to help dogs also?!
    At least that owner can get the Meds. in the dogs ears now. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  11. Hey,
    I got that dryer in just this past Friday, I wanted to thank you for your recommendation. The dryer is just amazing, worth every penny. I can't flip both switches and use it on high though, it keeps flipping off the surge protector/power strip, I need to install a bathroom outlet with that little trip breaker on it and plug it straight into the wall for a better conduit. Hoping to get that done soon. Still on low, it's the best dryer. Dried a yorkie in under 2 minutes, most dogs in under 10, goldens and doodles in under 30. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those things that I can't imagine how I survived without it before. My old one was great for nearly 7 years, but was so out dated, this was a great purchase!
    We hosted a 'Dog Wash Fundraiser' for the local Humane Society the day after it came in the mail, this item is what allowed us to bathe 67 dogs in under 5 hours.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  12. Hi Serena,
    I am so relieved, and so happy that you like the dryer!
    Congratulations on the success of your 'Dog Wash Fundraiser'. 67 dogs in 5 hours...Wow. That is wonderful. I had thought about doing something similar for the Horse Rescue that I got my foster horse from, (they are really having a hard time) but I always chicken out, worrying that it wouldn't be a success. I will have to think about it some more. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  13. Hi Lisa,

    I actually came across your site through a google search for ear plucking. I had gone to my vet to have her check out my 4 month old goldendoodle's ear because when I cleaned them out, one of the cotton balls had brown gunk on it.

    As she's looking at my pup's ears she only comments how hairy they are, but tells me that the brown gunk was no cause for concern and that her ears were just dirty.

    That's it. Nothing about plucking. Didn't even offer a solution about how I should clean my dog's ear, even though I do it on a daily basis.

    The comment never sat right with me. Since my pup needed her second grooming I wanted to look online to see if there was anything that groomers offered about hairy ears. I stumbled upon your website and the rest is history. I've been reading through your posts and it's truly been an enlightening experience. I want to thank you for your wealth of information. It really makes me see groomers in a completely different light even makes me see my pup and her needs more seriously.

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      There has been a debate brewing in the last couple of years...'to pluck ears' or 'not pluck ears'. As I stated in this post, I was taught by a Vet to pluck the ears whistle clean. That was 27 years ago. I still like to pluck ears clean, but I am no longer as anal about it. Now, if the ear only has a tiny bit of hair in it and is clean, I leave it alone.
      A couple of years ago I had a Holistic Vet really give me a hard time, because she saw that I pluck my Standards ears whistle clean. She tried to tell me that plucking would cause infections. I very nicely informed her that I know my Poodle, and when I don't pluck her ears she gets infections, but if I keep them plucked clean her ears are great.
      So, as with so many things...it really depends on the dog.
      If you have your Goldendoodle groomed regularly, (4 to 8 weeks) and the groomer plucks and cleans the ears for you each time. All you should need to do is swab them out once in a while with any dog ear cleaner. Any pet store should carry ear cleaner.
      A couple of signs of problems with the ears are; if your dogs shakes her head constantly, digs at her ear with her paw, or there is a bad smell coming from the ears, you should see your Vet.
      Once again thank you for reading my blog. am glad that I could help. :)
      Lisa, MFF