Check out the big ears on Sinead. She uses these big Boston terrier ears to let me know how she's feeling about the world around her. If those ears are up and open, she's curious and/or comfortable. If they're pinned back and closed up tight, she's afraid of something (or dreading the daily walk).
Since her ears are so vital to her expressiveness, it's important to keep them clean. But, some ear-cleaning methods can do her a lot more harm than good. For example, if I went poking around in there with cotton swabs, I could push grime into her canals, and that could trigger an infection. Or, if I poke and she jerks her head, I could poke out her eardrum and cause hearing loss.
But I can't ignore her ears, either. Sinead rolls in the dirt pretty frequently, so she often has debris in there that just has to come out. And she can't really clean her own ears, since her tongue won't reach. So I have to help, and it isn't hard.
I use an enzymatic cleaner made just for dogs (right now, I'm using one made by Burt's Bees). I squeeze a little liquid on a cotton ball, just enough to make the ball feel damp but not dripping. Then, I swab out the inside of her ears with that wet glob.
I confine my swipes to the top fourth of her ears. No poking into the canal is allowed. But, I do squeeze that ball just a touch, so the liquid on the ball moves inside the ear canal.
I manage to get dirt out with the swipe, and the leftover liquid breaks down wax, so her ears are clean and odor free.
A once-a-week cleaning is all this girl needs to keep her ears healthy and upright. And I'm happy to help!