Frequent cleaning with a Q-Tip. The ear canal is shaped like an "L", so as long as you stay vertical, you will never go down too far. I also use ear cleaner once every 2 weeks, and so far I have had no problems. Good Luck!
Depending on the size of the dog I'd be careful with Q-tips, With large breeds and large ears it is to easy to go to deep.
With my dogs (Weims and Labs) I use cotton balls and to be honest they clean better, just put a mild amount of ear cleaner on a cotton ball and and use your finger to wipe around, if you need to then use a Q tip and CAREFULLY wipe the gunk out.
The last time Roxy had an ear infection the vet told me that she prefers kleenex to clean out the ears - it can be twisted or wrapped around your finger and is easier to manipulate than cotton. In the past I had always used cotton balls but the kleenex seems to be working well. I also use an ear wash from the vet.
You can also ask your vet how to properly clean your dogs ears. Especially the beagle since theirs are longer. There is a solution you can buy that you squirt down in the ear canal, squish it around and then the dog will shake its ear (and loose debris) out. You may want to do this outside though cause it can be mess or in the winter in the shower stall.
They also have larger cotton pads (near the costmetic area in stores) which are flat and not as fuzzy. We use these between cleaning just to get surface dirt out on the flaps. Q-tips to get a bit further down.
I have a 4 1/2 month old shih tzu and we DREAD cleaning his ears! We are doing it once a week, and its getting more and more difficult because he just hates it! I think the kind of ear cleaner the first vet we took him to gave us had alcohol in it. I was told by his current vet that you should get cleaner with out alcohol. any opinions of what kind i should get?
Louie has huge ears, and I used qtips when he was a baby, but now I use a kleenex wrapped around my finger. It's gentler that way and I kind of massage his ears, too - he loves it. I put him to sleep doing that.
my sister calls them eargasms. I agree - cleaning ears feels good!
I have a great dane with uncropped ears and he is prone to ear infections. My vet said clean ears with a half water half vinegar solution to help them dry out. If you think they are infected he said to do it everyday for a week. After it clears up he said it wouldnt hurt to do it once a week.
I use OtiRinse on my beagle/golden retriever mix. We clean his ears out 2x a week because he's so prone to ear infections... (just went to the vet today... grrr). I've found that if you squirt it in and squish it around then wait for a half hour a lot of the "gunk" comes out and can be wiped out with a tissue.
My dogs absolutely hate cotton balls... I don't know if it's the sound in their ears or what - but they try to bite anyone who comes at them with a cotton ball...
They have a homemade ear cleaning solution, they give you the exact recipe and many people have used it and tried it. I am definitely going to use it with my new pup when it arrives. They recommend squirting it in the ear, putting the ear down and rubbing in a circular motion for a few and then let the dog shake it out. They give specific directions and have FAQS also. HTH!