How Do I Care of My Pug Ears Properly?

Edited by Dr. Jo

Pugs Ears Care – Why?

Not just Pug ears…Did you know dogs can hear frequencies up to 60,000 hertz? Which in comparison, a human with excellent hearing can only hear up to 20,000 hertz! And while a dog’s hearing is exceptional, it is not the only purpose of the ears. Your dog’s ears have 18 different muscles in them, which makes them one of the most expressive parts of their body.

It is therefore really important to care for your Pug’s ears. Are you providing your Pug with the right ear-care? Find out more about Pug’s ears types and issues, learn how to cure them properly at home by yourself, and how to cleanse them so they stay forever healthy!

So, why should you protect your Pug’s ears?

  • Common issues that can cause deafness are easily avoidable with a cleaning routine!
  • Pug dog ears are prone to infection. If you don’t pay attention to them, they will most certainly cause trouble.
  • Pug dog ears are more sensitive than average dog ears

Keep your Pug free of any type of infection or aggravated issue using our easy-to-follow tips and cleaning routine. Let’s get started!

Pug Ear Types

There are several different Pug ear types, but only two are accepted by most breed standards:

  • Button Pug Dog Ears (Accepted): These types of ears are the most preferred by judges. The ear falls folding forward, and the point is aligned in height with the eye. Also, the ear canal entrance is covered entirely by the pinna (flap) of the ear. This is not always practical, as a covered ear canal can lead to a moister environment, which makes it susceptible to infections.
  • Rose Pug Dog Ears (Accepted): Not preferred at shows. This type of ear is very similar to Button Pug ears. The difference is that the fold is not tight, but instead, it’s overlapped over the face without touching it. That leaves the ear canal lightly uncovered, which shows part of the inner ear cartilage, called the rose.
  • Flying Pug Dog Ears (Not accepted): These are rose or button Pug dog ears that have developed a more open fold. This leaves the ear canal partially to fully uncovered. It’s among the so-called “genetic fault”. A rather cute one, though.
  • Pug Dog Ears at Different Heights (Not Accepted):  Pug’s ears that are set too tall, too low, too open, or are too big, are often neglected and also deemed to be genetic faults.

Pug’s ears vary in shape greatly while they’re growing. One day they have button ears but later turn into rose ears or flying ears. Unless you intend to show or breed your Pug, you shouldn’t worry about what type of ears your Pug has, as even if they are different, it will give him personality!

The ears are thin, small, soft, like black velvet. There are two kinds – the ‘rose’ and the ‘button’. Preference is given to the latter.”

AKC – American Kennel Club
pug ears

Pug Ears Problems (and HOW to avoid or treat them)

Even though dogs, in general, are susceptible to ear health issues, Pug’s ears are above average for susceptibility. These are some of the issues Pug dog ears may present:

  • Otitis Externa: Otitis means inflammation of the ear, and externa means the outer-most part of the ear canal. So, this condition essentially just means inflamed ears, which can happen for several reasons. Firstly, skin allergies, otherwise known as Atopic Dermatitis, can cause an inflamed lining of the ear canal, as it is linked to the skin. This may lead to a poor barrier to infectious organisms such as bacteria or yeast, and secondary infection can form, although the inflammation can also be completely sterile. Another cause of Otitis Externa is a primary ear infection. Again, this is usually bacteria or yeast, but ear mites can also cause Otitis Externa. Pugs are particularly susceptible to ear infections when they have button ears, as the environment remains warm and moist from a lack of airflow.
  • Chronic Ear Infections: Bacterial ear infections have the potential to become chronic. These are types of ear infections that last for months or even years. The reason for this is antibiotic resistance. The bacteria responsible for ear infections are becoming increasingly more resistant to antibiotics, and therefore they do not respond to many medicated drops. Resistance is building due to non-compliance by owners; either stopping the course of the drops before the infection is completely healed, or because the dog is difficult to handle due to sore ears, and getting the full dose in is impossible.

Note: All of them are recognizable by a bad smell coming out of their ears, swelling, irritation, or if you see you Pug rubbing or scratching their ears with their pug paws or against surfaces.

How to avoid these issues?

Both issues, since chronic infection being caused by otitis, can be avoided by proper ear hygiene, anti-allergy medications for dogs when appropriate, and adequate diet. Since the pinna part of Pug ears are floppy, they retain a lot of moisture, which is the main enemy of the dog’s ears in general. If you make sure your Pug’s inner ear is dry through using drying ear cleansers, you can rule out this as a cause.

How Often Should I Clean My Pug Ears?

If your Pug’s ears are healthy, you must not clean them every day. Once every two to four weeks is fine. It is ok to wipe the underside of the pinna of your Pug’s ears with ear wipes once every few days though, as this will keep it fresh and clean. The exception to this is if his ears have become wet from swimming or bathing. In these instances, the use of an ear cleanser, which helps dry out the environment of his ear canal, is warranted. If he’s got an infection, your vet will prescribe an appropriate ear cleaner and medicated drops. These may require daily administration.

“Over-cleaning your dog’s ears can lead to infection and irritation…”

AKC – American Kennel Club

How To Clean Pug Ears: Practical (And Easy) STEPS!

Cleaning your Pug’s ears can be a difficult task since most of them hate their ears being messed with. But following our steps will make it much easier!

  1. Get what you need: Get your ear cleaning solution for Pugs, some cotton balls, and ear wipes for Pugs. You can also use soft tissues if you don’t have access to wipes.
  2. Place your friend in a safe place! You want to avoid your Pug escaping. A table works great for some (it must be tall enough for his ears to be accessible), but if your Pug is cooperative, you can clean his ears on your lap or on the floor.
  3. Apply the cleaning solution: Every ear cleaner is different, so you should read the instructions before use. Place the nozzle of the solution in the opening of your Pug’s ear and give a squeeze. Flap over the pinna to cover the hole and massage the ear for 10-15 seconds. This helps the solution to work its way down the whole ear canal. Next, stand back and let your Pug shake his head to remove as much as possible. Gently wipe away all the wax is has brought out with some clean cotton balls or ear wipes.
  4. Dry those ears! Make sure the area stays as dry as possible by patting away excess moisture with cotton balls.
  5. Reward your friend! Give your Pug some love so he learns to associate ear cleaning as a positive experience. You can use treats for Pugs or just some cuddling. He’ll probably never love the experience though!

Pro tips: As we commonly recommend, you need to make this activity as regular as you can for her/him to get used to it. This will make it easier, especially if you start doing it in puppy-months.

Discover Useful Products To Clean Pug Ears!

Not every ear cleanser or ear wipeout in the market is good quality or effective. Check out our Detailed Reviews for Pugs comparing the Best Useful Products in the Market for Cleaning your Pug’s Ears!

  • Best Ear Wipes for Pugs: they must be hypoallergenic, natural, made with soft material. Not every ear wipe complies with these conditions.
  • Best Ear Cleaners for Pugs: they must have natural ingredients. These products are not used on a daily basis.

Note for our members: We make plenty of reviews from different brands in the Dog Supplies Market. We DO NOT get free products from product companies and have NO relationship whatsoever with them.

Frequently Asked Questions – Pug Ears Infections

Do all pugs suffer from ear issues?

Of course not! They are just susceptible to these issues if you don’t take care of them. In fact, most of them develop these conditions due to improper care.

How much earwax is normal for a healthy pug ear?

Ear wax, also known as cerumen, can be normal, so seeing a small amount is nothing to worry about. If it is not uncomfortable for your Pug and does not smell, it is likely to be ok. If you are concerned, ask your vet to check his ears.

What to do if my Pug doesn’t stop shaking his head after a bath/swim?

She/he may have water or something stuck inside the ears. If you think that’s the case, don’t try to remove it at home since you might cause a bigger problem…this is a job for your VET to treat.


Getting your Pug to enjoy the cleansing of his ears can be hard work, but it will be rewarding. After the first few weeks of following our advice, it should become easier and your Pug more cooperative. The required products are easy to source; however, you must always pick quality. We suggest that you purchase products that are tested and reviewed without any bias, which you should be able to clean your Pug’s ears easily and safely. These sorts of products, combined with your Pug’s favorite treats, will make ear cleaning a breeze!

Now, are you ready to start using our practical and easy steps? Please share your thoughts…

Dr. Joanna De Klerk

Dr. Jo is a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College, University of London. She was one of BBC's Young Vets and experienced in telemedicine services, interviews, and public speaking about dogs and cats. Author of Harper Collins' Tales from a Young Vet and Tales from a Wild Vet, and a series of books on different dog breeds. She currently has 2 dogs at home. This article is the result of her experience not only as a Vet but also as a dog Parent.

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