Our 10 Best Ear Treatments for Dogs of 2022

It’s not uncommon for dogs to get ear infections. If left untreated, they can spread to the inner ear, causing your dog to get deaf, facial paralysis, eye issues, or even worse. 

As a dark, damp, deep environment, the ear canal does not receive a great deal of air, according to Dr. Carol Osborne, a veterinarian at Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic.

You can prevent an infection from occurring in your dog by regularly using a trusted dog ear cleaner. It is particularly true if your dog has floppy ears (Think: Cocker Spaniels), or if it has long or thick hair (like a Poodle) or if it spends a lot of time swimming (such as a Golden Retriever or Labrador).

What to Look For in a Dog Ear Cleaner

Here are some tips veterinarians suggest when shopping for at-home ear cleaners for dogs:

Choose a solution that has been approved by a veterinarian 

Although there are many recipes on the internet for homemade dog ear cleaning solutions, products that can be bought in stores are often the safest choice due to extensive testing and clearly labeled ingredients. Your dog’s ears can be damaged or irritated by some homemade ear-cleaning solutions. 

Stick With Liquid Ear Cleaners 

Since dog’s ear canals are very long and narrow and actually have a right-angle shape, liquid ear cleaning solutions are generally much more effective than wipes, according to Dr. Jamie Richardson, veterinarian and chief medical officer at Small Door Veterinary. Wipes cannot reach deep into the canal to clean it. 

According to Dr. Antoinette Martin of North Mecklenburg Animal Hospital and Hello Ralphie, liquid cleaners are better at dislodging waxy gunk.

By squirting it into the canal, massaging the base of the ear, and then allowing your dog to shake it out, we can use the force of the shake to remove all of the debris. 

The good news is that ear wipes for dogs can provide an interim solution to remove some of the debris if your dog is anxious or new to ear cleaning. 

Check the Ingredients

Ensure that your dog cleaner contains no harmful ingredients.

I have seen dogs have adverse reactions to tea tree oil in my experience, says Osborne.

You can also determine what the cleaner does by examining the active ingredients:

  • In addition to their antimicrobial properties, salicylic acid and lactic acid are most effective in preventing yeast infections and mild bacterial infections. 
  • Itchy skin can be treated with hydrocortisone.
  • Ketoconazole is an antifungal medication.

Consider Your Dog’s Specific Needs 

You should keep in mind that some cleaners are more effective at removing wax, while others are more effective in drying an ear after swimming. Some are also medicated to prevent yeast, bacteria, or fungi from growing in the ear. If you are not sure what to get for your dog, your veterinarian can assist you in determining what is most at risk.

Best Dog Ear Cleaner For Multiple Symptoms

1. Great Ears Multi-Symptom Dog Ear Cleaner

Great Ears Multi-Symptom Dog Ear Cleaner

Dogs with dirty, stinky, and itchy ears can be difficult to treat. Great Ears is a multi-symptom dog ear cleaner that addresses all three issues in one convenient solution. The safe canine ear wash is made with natural ingredients in the USA and works instantly. Great Ears is safe for dogs and puppies over 12 weeks old, whether they are spunky puppies, middle-aged mutts, or golden oldies.

It is not fun for your dog to have dirty, waxy ears, and it is even more unpleasant if he requires a veterinarian visit, according to Dr. Katie Woodley, holistic veterinarian of The Natural Pet Doctor. In fact, you can make an apple cider vinegar concoction or use Great Ears ready-to-use dog ear cleaner. The device is lightweight, portable, convenient, and designed for the gentle removal of ear wax, debris, and dirt from canine ears of any size or shape.

Highlights:

  • Designed for floppy-eared dogs such as Spaniels, Poodles, Basset Hounds, Beagles, and Retrievers.
  • Designed for regular cleaning to prevent waxy buildup, infections, and yeast growth
  • It is safe to clean the ears frequently and on an ongoing basis with plant-based ingredients
  • An ergonomically designed bottle tip makes it easy to flush a dog’s ears.
  • No alcohol, sulfates, phosphates, or nasty chemicals are used in this product to keep ears clean and fresh

Things to Consider:

  • It should be used daily for three days or until the debris and odor have disappeared
  • Lightly fragranced
  • If there is an excessive buildup of ear wax, a second treatment may be required

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2. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Cleaner

Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Cleaner

The majority of veterinarians we interviewed for this article recommended this product. “It is a great product for dogs with chronic ear problems,” says Richardson. It is supported by scientific evidence that [it] supports the pH of the ear and the epidermal barrier, and reduces debris.”

It has been around for many years and is safe, gentle, and pleasant smelling, according to Dr. Jerry T. Moore, a retired veterinarian with 30 years’ experience at Bow Wow Labs.

Highlights:

  • It smells citrusy.
  • There are two sizes of bottles available.
  • This product is effective in treating allergies, sensitive ears, and chronic ear infections in dogs.
  • It is easy to remove waxy debris with this product.
  • Drys out the ear canal by containing a drying agent (salicylic acid).

Things to Consider:

  • According to some reviewers, this product did not work as well for their pets with extremely waxy ears. 
  • Bottle sizes of 4 ounces and 8 ounces are available only.

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3. Zymox Ear Cleaner

Zymox Ear Cleaner

During our conversations with veterinarians, this was the second most frequently mentioned ear cleaner. “This is an excellent over-the-counter option for cleaning healthy ears,” explains Richardson.

Highlights:

  • A proprietary blend of enzymes disinfects and cleans the ear canals.
  • Treats infections caused by bacteria, fungi, and yeast.
  • It is gentle enough to be used on a regular basis.
  • This product contains hydrocortisone, which relieves itching.

Things to Consider:

  • In spite of the fact that it is effective against minor infections, talk to your veterinarian before using it if you have a severe infection.
  • The nozzle on the bottle has been reported to come loose by some reviewers.
  • For dogs that require frequent ear cleanings, hydrocortisone might be too strong.

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4. Dechra EpiKlean Ear Cleaner

Dechra EpiKlean Ear Cleaner

When there is no infection present, Woodley recommends this product for routine use in dogs, or even to use prior to applying ear medications when your dog has a yeast or bacterial infection. It contains numerous drying agents such as salicylic acid that keep the ear canals dry and prevent ear infections, such as yeast, from occurring. It is an excellent product to have on hand, particularly if your dog enjoys swimming. It can be used afterward in order to remove excess water from the ear canals and to aid in the natural drying of the ear canals.

Highlights:

  • Cleanses and dries the ears at the same time
  • Ideal for dog ears that are infection-free but require regular drying, cleaning, and debris removal.
  • It is suitable for routine ear cleaning as well as prior to applying medications for ear infections

Things to Consider:

  • The fragrance is light and sour apple-like
  • For routine use, it may be used one to three times per week
  • Before using any new product, consult your veterinarian

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5. MalAcetic Otic Cleanser

MalAcetic Otic Cleanser

According to Dr. Jessica Herman, veterinarian with Fuzzy, this ear cleanser is more effective against bacterial infections due to the combination of acetic and boric acid.

Highlights:

  • The antimicrobial properties of the product contribute to the prevention and treatment of mild to moderate bacterial infections.
  • It is easy to use.
  • There are three sizes of bottles available: 4 oz, 8 oz, and 16 oz.

Things to Consider:

  • There have been some complaints about its smell in online reviews.
  • It may not be as effective at preventing all types of infections.
  • It did not work for some online reviewers’ dogs with sensitive skin.

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6. TrizULTRA + Keto Flush

TrizULTRA + Keto Flush

Herman recommends this cleaner for fungal infections because it is gentle and contains antifungal ingredients. In cases of more severe ear infections, it can also be used as a pretreatment 15-30 minutes before a topical antibiotic is applied. Prior to using this product to treat your dog’s severe ear infection, please consult your veterinarian.

Highlights:

  • Due to its fragrance-free nature, it is an excellent choice for dogs who are sensitive to odors.
  • A non-stinging formula is used in this product.
  • Ketoconazole, an antifungal agent, is contained in this product.
  • Other pets, such as cats and horses, may also benefit from this treatment.

Things to Consider:

  • As it is more effective against fungal infections than bacterial infections, it may not be appropriate for all dogs.
  • It is more expensive than some of the other cleansers on this list.

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7. Vetoquinol Vet Solutions Ear Cleaning Solution

Vetoquinol Vet Solutions Ear Cleaning Solution

It is safe and gentle enough to use 2-3 times a day if your dog’s ears get really dirty (though hopefully that shouldn’t be the case once you begin a regular cleaning regimen.) Moore also recommends this product, especially if your dog has very waxy ears.

Highlights:

  • Has a gentle formula.
  • It is available in a variety of sizes (up to one gallon).
  • Suitable for multi-pet households because it is safe for both dogs and cats.
  • Contains a formula that cleans, dries, acidifies, and deodorizes.

Things to Consider:

  • There is a strong smell that lingers even after you have cleaned your dog’s ears. This was something that bothered some online reviewers.
  • Infections caused by yeast do not respond as well to this product.

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8. Pet MD Veterinary Tris Flush

Pet MD Veterinary Tris Flush

This over-the-counter solution is recommended by Dr. Sara Ochoa, veterinarian at Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Texas. “It contains both antifungal and antibiotic properties that will help clear any mild infection your dog may have,” she says. 

Highlights:

  • Formulated to be gentle and non-stinging.
  • Eliminates odors.
  • It is easy to use the bottle.
  • This product is suitable for both dogs and cats, making it a good choice for households with multiple animals.
  • The bottle size is large.

Things to Consider:

  • The product is not fragrance-free, and several online reviewers have reported that it has a strong odor. 

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9. Vet Organics EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner

Vet Organics EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner

This multi-symptom, natural formula is ideal for persistently itchy or smelly dog ears. It is also effective for filthy discharge caused by mites, bacteria, yeast, and fungal infections. Rather than relying on stronger antifungals and antibiotics, Woodley claims that this product uses herbs and natural therapeutics to combat infection and reduce inflammation naturally.

The natural witch hazel extract helps prevent ear infections by drying out the ears. If you are looking for a natural ear cleaner, I recommend this product for the prevention and treatment of mild ear infections.”

Highlights:

  • The product contains witch hazel extract, tea tree oil, organic mullein leaf extract, rosemary extract, and fingerroot extract.
  • There are no artificial preservatives, harmful chemicals, hormones, enzymes, or antibiotics in this product
  • The product is available in a 4-oz or 8-oz bottle
  • Produced in a facility that is FDA-registered in the United States

Things to Consider:

  • Only for external use on dogs
  • Under the age of 12 weeks, this product is not recommended
  • The product contains tea tree oil, which can cause adverse reactions in dogs
  • According to the instructions, ears should be treated twice daily for 10 days
  • It should not be used on broken skin, if blood is present, or on ruptured eardrums
  • In case of irritation or worsening of the condition, discontinue use and contact your veterinarian

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10. VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats

VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats

A fresh-smelling ear cleaner for dogs and cats, VetWELL ear cleaner helps reduce infection risk as well as prevent painful itching and scratching. Using this ear cleaner, Woodley says waxy build-up in the ear canals is removed and the ear canals are dried out, reducing the risk of developing ear infections. The product also contains soothing aloe vera to reduce inflammation that can occur when ear infections occur and to provide relief and pain control to your pets.”

Highlights:

  • Veterinarian formulated 
  • Suitable for cats and dogs
  • Aloe vera gel soothes the skin
  • Maintain healthy ears by applying 1-2 times per week (or as directed by your veterinarian)
  • It is available in two scents: Cucumber Melon and Sweet Pea Vanilla
  • A bottle of 8 ounces is provided
  • The product is made in the United States

Things to Consider:

  • Use only for topical purposes
  • It is recommended that you apply the product 2-3 times daily over several days if your dog has extremely dirty ears 
  • In case of suspected damage to the eardrum, do not use

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How To Use a Liquid Dog Ear Cleaner

Generally, liquid ear cleaners for dogs are easy to use, but you should be aware that ear cleaning can get messy, so you may want to clean your dog’s ears outside or in a room with a good ventilation system.

As you clean their ears, follow these steps:

Step 1. Ensure that your dog is comfortable and calm before you begin. Dr. Martin recommends giving your dog treats if they have a food motivation. An excellent distraction is peanut butter on a chew toy.

Step 2. In order to examine your dog’s ear canal, gently pull their ear back.

In the canal, squirt enough solution to create a slight pool. 

Step 3. The base of the ear should be massaged gently for about 30 seconds in order to loosen wax and debris. The right way to do it is to hear a little squishing sound,” explains Dr. Martin.

Next, we will proceed to the messy part. Give your dog the opportunity to shake their head by letting go of them. As the liquid tickles their ears, they will naturally fling the cleaning liquid (and the waxy grime it dislodged) out of the ear, thus assisting with the cleaning process.

Step 4. Using a cotton ball or piece of gauze, gently wipe and dry the ear canal after they have finished shaking. Do not go too deep into their ear to avoid hurting them, and do not use a Qtip or anything with a pointed end.

Take a break between each ear if your dog fights you during the cleaning process. In addition, you can desensitize your dog to your touching their ears before you clean them by petting their ears. 

Richardson recommends that you stop the cleaning process if your dog seems to be in pain at any time during the process. Ideally, cleaning should not hurt your dog, but if it does, your pet may already have an infection that needs to be treated by a veterinarian. A dog may also experience a reaction to an active ingredient in the ear cleaner in rare cases.

Dog Ear Cleaner FAQ

Does Dog Ear Clean Prevent Infections?

Using a dog ear cleaner regularly at home can help prevent infections. 

As well as yeast, wax, and fungal buildup, ear mites and trapped water from swimming may lead to inflammation in the ear, resulting in an infection. Some pets may also have allergies that cause irritation of the skin in their ears, making them susceptible to infection.

Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly, including after they go swimming, may help remove waxy build-up, dirt, and moisture that create this ideal environment for infection. 

How Often Should I Clean My Dog’s Ears?

Depending on the type of dog you have, their ear anatomy, lifestyle, and medical history all play a role.

Richardson explains that the frequency of ear debris buildup and ear infections in dogs varies greatly. It is possible for some dogs not to need their ears cleaned very often at all—less than monthly—whereas others may require their ears cleaned every few days or once a week.

In order to prevent an infection in your dog’s ears after swimming, you should always dry out their ears after getting them out of the water.

However, it is possible to clean a dog’s ears too frequently, so most veterinarians recommend consulting your regular veterinarian since he or she is familiar with your dog’s medical history. 

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