How do you clean the ears of a Puli to prevent wax buildup without damaging their cords?

As pet parents, caring for your dog's health and well-being is of paramount importance. That includes the less evident aspects of grooming, like ear care. Particularly for specific breeds like the Puli, a type of dog renowned for its distinctive corded coat, ear care becomes even more crucial. This is because the Puli's unique coat could complicate what would usually be a straightforward grooming process. This article will provide comprehensive guidance on how to clean your Puli's ears without causing harm to their cords.

Understanding the Puli Breed

Before diving into the specifics of ear cleaning for your Puli, it's important to understand some fundamental characteristics of this breed. Pulis are medium-sized dogs that have been herding sheep in Hungary for over a thousand years. Their thick, woolly coat, which naturally forms cords, serves as insulation against extreme weather conditions.

Pulis have a predisposition to certain health conditions like hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. But, one thing that often catches pet owners off guard is their susceptibility to ear infections. Their long, corded coat coupled with the breed's naturally drooping ears, create an ideal breeding environment for bacteria and yeast. Hence, regular ear cleaning becomes a necessity to prevent these infections.

The Anatomy of a Dog's Ear

To clean your Puli's ears effectively, it's crucial to grasp the basics of a dog's ear anatomy. Unlike humans, a dog's ear canal is 'L' shaped. It goes downward and then inward, making it prone to collecting debris and wax. If left unchecked, this buildup can lead to infections and skin diseases.

Cleaning your Puli's ears will not only help prevent wax buildup and the subsequent issues it can cause but will also give you the opportunity to check for any signs of infection or disease. Redness, swelling, unusual discharge, and foul odor are all signs that you should take your pet to the vet.

How to Clean a Puli's Ear without Damaging their Cords

Now, to the most critical aspect of this article — the actual cleaning process. Given their unique corded coats, Pulis need a slightly altered cleaning approach to prevent damage to their cords.

First, gather the necessary supplies. These include a canine ear cleaning solution, cotton balls, and a towel. Never use cotton swabs as they can damage the ear canal.

Start by gently lifting the ear flap to expose the ear canal. Apply a generous amount of the ear cleaning solution into the ear canal. Give your dog's ear a gentle massage at the base for about 20-30 seconds. This will help break up the wax and debris.

Then, let your Puli shake their head. This will bring the loosened debris up to the outer part of the ear. Use the cotton balls to clean the outer part of the ear.

During this process, take extra care not to pull or tug on the cords. If they get wet, make sure to dry them thoroughly to prevent matting or skin infections.

Regular Ear Care Routine for Pulis

Cleaning your Puli's ears should be a part of their regular grooming routine. This will not only keep their ears healthy but will also help you detect any potential issues early on.

Ideally, you should clean your Puli's ears once every two weeks. However, if your pet is prone to ear infections, or has been swimming or got wet due to rain, you may need to do it more frequently.

For the cleaning process to be effective and less stressful for your dog, make sure it's a positive experience. Use treats and positive reinforcement to make your dog associate ear cleaning with good things.

In time, with regular care, you will help maintain the health of your Puli's ears and prevent complications associated with wax buildup and infections. After all, prevention is the best cure.

The Puli's Unique Coat and Grooming Tools

The Puli's unique double coat sets it apart from many other dog breeds. This medium-sized breed's coat is one of its defining characteristics — it naturally forms cords, similar to dreadlocks in humans. This distinctive coat helps insulate the Puli from extreme cold weather, but makes grooming slightly more complex.

The coat of a Puli consists of a dense, woolly undercoat and a wavy or curly outer coat that forms cords. The cords start forming when the Puli is a puppy and takes about two years to fully develop. It's important to note that the hair in the cords is dead hair, and if not adequately cared for, it could lead to skin infections.

To groom your Puli's coat without causing damage, you should have the right tools. A hound glove or a slicker brush can be used to help remove loose hair and prevent matting. For the ears, a bristle brush can help clean without causing harm to the cords.

Remember, it's not just about having the right tools, but using them correctly. You should always be gentle and cautious to avoid hurting your pet or damaging their coat.

How to Maintain a Puli's Coat in Different Weather Conditions

Just like other dog breeds, Pulis are affected by weather changes, and their coat care routine should be adjusted accordingly.

In cold weather, their coat provides natural insulation, and it's important not to over-groom it as this could reduce its protective properties. During the colder months, focus more on maintaining the health of their coat rather than on its appearance.

During warmer months, their coat can get quite hot, and it's vital to ensure they are comfortable. You might want to consider clipping the cords shorter for easier maintenance and to keep your Puli cooler. However, never shave their coat completely as this could expose their skin to sunburn.

Regardless of the weather, it's essential to keep their coat clean and free from debris. Regular brushing with a slicker brush or hound glove will help keep your Puli's coat healthy and shiny.


Taking care of a Puli's ears and coat might seem daunting due to their unique corded coat, but with the right knowledge and tools, it can be a rewarding experience for both pet and parent.

Consistent grooming, appropriate tools, and an understanding of the breed's needs are key pillars to maintaining a healthy Puli. Being attentive to their grooming needs will not only keep your dog comfortable but will also prevent potential health issues.

An Australian shepherd, or any other medium-sized breed, might not need the same care as a Puli, but every breed has its unique needs, and it's our responsibility as their family to meet them.

Always remember, a well-groomed Puli is not just about aesthetics — it's about their overall health and well-being. Regularly cleaning their ears and brushing their coat will keep your Puli in the best possible condition, ensuring they remain the happy, energetic, and kid-friendly dogs cats and humans adore.