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- Certified content. This article has been fact checked and verified by our veterinary advisor.
Approved By: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM
“If you have a dog that gets hair in their ears very easy this needs to be removed regularly to allow the cleaners to get down into the ear canal. Many groomers can remove this hair for you at their regular grooming appointments.”Note from our DVM, Sara Ochoa:
Cleaning your dog’s ears isn’t really something many people think about when buying a puppy. It’s one of those things that you find yourself needing to do and regretting that you don’t have the proper tools to do so. All dogs need to have regular ear cleaning because, like us, they’re prone to ear infections and wax buildup.
So why not use regular ear cleaner like Q-Tips or cotton swabs? Dog’s ears are very sensitive, and therefore you can’t use the same chemicals that we use. Their pH balance is different than ours, so even the slightest misuse or incorrect product can lead to ear pain or infections.
Finding the best ear cleaner for dogs can send you on a search for hours on end, but we went ahead and found you the top 10 best ear cleaners for dogs. We’ve scoured all the reviews and blogs to get all the information we could so you can feel confident when cleaning your dog’s ears!
Types of Dog Ear Cleaners
You can use two types of dog ear cleaners to have your pooch’s ears cleaned.
Liquid Ear Cleaning Solutions
First are ear cleaning liquid solutions, which are not ideal for all dogs. This is because some canines don’t like the idea of squirting liquid into their ear canal. What happens if they don’t like it is they can run away, making it difficult for you to do your dog’s regular ear cleanings. However, liquid ear cleaners are more effective in getting debris, wax, fluid, and dirt from your dog’s ears because they can reach further to their ear canals.
Ear Cleaning Wipes
There are also ear-cleaning wipes that are not as messy as liquid ear solutions. The wipes can function independently, so you won’t need additional tools like a cotton ball or cloth. One downside is ear wipes don’t reach as deep as a liquid cleaning solution, which may not be ideal for dogs with droopy ears like Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, and Bassett Hounds.
Homemade Ear Cleaning Solutions
Another option is to use homemade ear cleaning solutions. You can use ingredients that you can easily find in your homes. These ingredients are white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, glycerin, boric acid, witch hazel, and the most commonly used hydrogen peroxide.
Important Note: Using hydrogen peroxide on a dog with a serious ear infection or yeast infection is not advisable. Hydrogen peroxide is only recommended on dirty ears or a mild bacterial infection.
Why Dogs Need Regular Ear Cleanings Things
A dog’s ears are just like ours, need regular cleaning and check-ups. Think about how much bigger they are than ours! With so much surface area and a much wider opening, dogs’ ears are more susceptible to bacteria and other harmful infections. Surface cleaners such as this one are a great way to prevent any infections or chronic ear conditions from occurring.
Prevents Ear infections
Like us, dogs can get ear infections in various ways. Excess moisture is one of the easiest ways for them to get infections. Think about it, bacteria grow best with three things: 1) moisture, 2) darkness, and 3) oxygen. All of those are present in a dog’s ear! Other causes include wax buildup, ruptured eardrums, and fungal growth. Dog ear cleaners can clean, deodorize, acidify, and dry your doggo’s ears, essentially lessening the risk of ear infections.
Removes Wax Buildup
Wax buildup in a dog’s ear can cause all sorts of pain, blockages, loss of hearing, and infections. Dog’s ears can get some seriously gross buildup over time if you haven’t maintained them. Having a routine ear cleaning will help eliminate the buildup of wax, dirt, fluid, and other debris.
Sometimes when you’re injured or sick, the inflammation causes more pain than the illness itself. The same thing applies to your dog, which is why some liquid ear solutions like Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone include hydrocortisone to reduce swelling. Once the swelling is down, the medicine can really get to work and cure your dog’s ear pain.
View The Best Dog Ear Cleaners Below
1. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Liquid Ear Cleaner
- Brand: Virbac
- Lifestage: Adult
- Total Weight: 4 fl. oz.
Looking for the best of best dog ear cleaner? This vet-recommended Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner is a perfect liquid ear cleaning solution. Although it’s not meant to treat infections or bacteria, it can push debris out and remove excessive wax build-up. It helps maintain healthy ears and keeps your dog’s ear canal dry, preventing bacterial infections.
It’s a non-irritating liquid solution and uses anti-adhesive glycotechnology to prevent bacterial action. This dog ear cleaning solution keeps your pooch’s ears cleaned and odor-free with its patented anti-odor technology and mild citrus aroma.
Disodium Edta, Docusate Sodium, Pcmx, A Monosaccharide Complex (L-Rhamnose, D-Galactose, D-Mannose), and FD&C Blue #1.
+ Cleanses the ear canals
+ For routine cleansing of sensitive ears
+ Non-irritating solution
+ Low pH of 2.2
+ No chlorhexidine or alcohol
+ Recommended for chronic ear infections
– For ear maintenance only and not for curing severe ear infections
Why We Liked It – It’s important to keep up on cleaning your dog’s ears. Although this won’t kill off any active infections, it will help prevent them! Many pet parents have used this product and highly recommend it to clean your dog’s ear canal and prevent ear infections and ear mites.
2. VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats
- Brand: VetWELL
- Lifestage: Adult
- Total Weight: 8 fl. oz.
Do you see your dog constantly shaking their head or scratching their ears? These may be telltale signs of a bad ear infection. VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats is a vet-formulated ear cleaning solution that helps reduce itching, scratching, and irritation caused by an ear infection.
It contains aloe vera gel which gives that soothing and healing effect of treating irritations on your pup’s ears. It also cleans, dries, acidifies, and deodorizes your dog’s ear canal without the risk of burning or stinging your fur baby. Lastly, the cucumber-melon scent allows your pup’s ears to have a fresh and pleasant smell.
Deionized Water, Propylene Glycol, Aloe Vera Gel, SD Alcohol 40, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Salicyclic Acid, Vitamins A, C, E & F, Fragrance, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol.
+ Eliminates wax, dirt, fluid, and debris buildup
+ Stops itching, scratching, and irritation
+ Cucumber-melon scent
+ With aloe vera gel for a soothing effect
+ Lowers risk of getting Otitis externa
– Strong smell
– Contains alcohol
Why We Like It – The VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats is one of the best dog ear cleaners around that you can say is worth every penny. It’s great for dogs with floppy ears and bigger ear openings. Say goodbye to dirty and itchy ears with this dog ear cleaner.
3. Zymox Veterinary Strength Dog & Cat Ear Cleanser
- Brand: Pet King Brands
- Lifestage: Adult
- Total Weight: 4 fl. oz.
Zymox Veterinary Strength Dog & Cat Ear Cleanser is one of the best dog ear cleaning solutions that use the power of bio-active enzymes to eliminate dirt and wax in the ears in a non-toxic way. The gentle plant-based surfactants and bio-active properties prevent bacterial growth and keep your doggo’s ears smelling fresh.
This liquid solution is good to use for your dog’s frequent ear cleanings, promoting ear health. No harsh chemicals, artificial cleansers, or other irritants are used to formulate this product, making it completely safe for dogs with sensitive ears.
Purified Water, Glycerin, Coco-Glucoside, Propylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Lactoperoxidase, Lactoferrin, Lysozyme, Glucose Oxidase, Zinc Gluconate.
+ With bio-active enzymes for effective microbe control
+ Prevents dirt and wax build-up
+ No harmful chemicals
+ Provides soothing relief from ear infections
+ Non-toxic, non-irritating, and gentle formula
+ Leaves fresh smell on the ears
– According to some reviews it makes their pup’s ears sticky
– Not recommended for treating yeast infections or bacterial infections in the ear
Why We Liked It – Using enzymes is possibly the most genius method of breaking down ear wax and other buildups in the ear. They’re also plant-based, so it’s natural and super effective!
4. Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone
- Brand: Pet King Brands
- Lifestage: Adult
- Total Weight: 1.25 fl. oz.
There is no need to pre-clean your dog’s ears with this Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone. It’s a 2-in-1 liquid solution that can be used for cleaning and treatment against Otitis externa or other chronic ear issues. It contains 1% Hydrocortisone that reduces itching caused by ear irritation or inflammation and provides relief.
Prevent infections using this ear cleaning solution with three active enzymes that possess antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It’s the ultimate ear cleanser and treatment for fighting chronic ear infections due to bacterial, fungal, or yeast infections.
Active Ingredients: Hydrocortisone 1%.
Inactive Ingredients: Benzyl Alcohol, Dextrose, Glucose Oxidase, Glycerin, Hydroxypropyl Cellulose, Lactoferrin, Lactoperoxidase, Lysozyme, Potassium Iodide, Propylene Glycol, Purified Water.
+ With Hydrocortisone that helps relieve itchiness
+ Reduces swelling and inflammation
+ Acts both as a cleaner and treatment
+ Treats acute and chronic Otitis externa
+ Effective against bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections
– Not for pregnant or lactating dogs
– Not allowed to be used with other ear cleaning products
– Not recommended for dogs with punctured eardrums
Why We Like It – Where most dog ear cleanser requires pre-cleaning to prepare the surface, this cleanser and disinfectant get straight to work without needing a clean surface. It’s very simple to use with just 6 easy steps providing quick relief for your dog and all the while promoting ear health.
5. Pet MD Aloe Vera & Eucalyptus Dog Ear Wipes
- Brand: Pet MD
- Lifestage: Adult
- Total Number of Wipes: 100
Pet MD Aloe Vera & Eucalyptus Dog Ear Wipes are made for daily use and regular cleaning of your pooch’s ears. It’s designed to gently wipe off any dirt, wax, or debris buildup in the ear canal. Keeping your canine’s ears cleaned and dried will prevent odors and infections. It’s an alcohol-free and sting-free formula, so it’s safe for dogs with sensitive skin.
Additionally, it has aloe vera, which provides a soothing effect for your dog if they have any ear inflammation or irritation. While the natural eucalyptus oil helps your pooch’s ears to smell fresh after a quick clean-up.
Purified Water, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Polysorbate 20, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance, Red 33, Blue 1.
+ Gentle and safe to use for regular ear cleanings
+ Helps prevent ear infection
+ Alcohol-free, sting-free formula
+ Reduces wax buildup and removes debris
+ Aloe leaf juice with soothing and healing effect
– Small-sized wipes which may not be enough for dogs with floppy ears or a large ear opening
– Has a strong smell your dog may not like
Why We Like It – These wipes are simple and straight to the point to use. Another great thing about it is the natural ingredients such as aloe vera and eucalyptus oil. Instead of adding all kinds of extra ingredients, they use what’s necessary to clean and freshen your dog’s ears.
6. Pet MD Otic Clean Dog Ear Cleaner
- Brand: Pet MD
- Lifestage: Puppy, Adult
- Total Weight: 8 oz.
The Pet MD Otic Clean Dog Ear Cleaner is debatably the best dog ear cleaning solution on the market. It’s scented with a sweet pea aroma to fully freshen and deodorize your dog’s ears. Reduce ear odor and eliminate wax, dirt, fluid, and debris buildup with this dog ear cleaner. You don’t have to worry about your dog’s safety because this one doesn’t sting, burn, or aggravate your dog, and it also contains soothing aloe vera.
Deionized water, Propylene Glycol, Aloe Vera Gel, SD Alcohol 40, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Salicylic Acid, Fragrance, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol.
+ With aloe vera for a soothing effect
+ For deodorizing, cleaning, acidifying, and drying ears
+ Removes build-up of wax, fluid, dirt, and debris
+ Pleasant sweet pea scented drops
+ Gentle, no sting, and no burn
– Not recommended to use dogs with an inflamed ear canal as it contains SD Alcohol 40 which may cause further irritation
– Not for getting rid of ear mites
Why We Liked It – Again, almost any pet owner goes crazy over all-natural products, and we’re no different! The use of Aloe Vera and sweet pea in this formula is a genius combination to fully treat and clean your dog’s ears.
Frequently Asked Questions
∘ How do you clean dog ears?
The ear cleaning process for dogs is a delicate task and can be risky if not cleaned properly with the right tools. Before buying dog ear cleaning solutions, you should consult your vet first and ask for their recommendations on the best dog ear cleaner to buy for your dog. All you’ll be needing is a good cleaning ear solution, cotton balls, or gauze to clean your fur baby’s ears.
Using a liquid cleaning solution doesn’t require much effort. Still, you need to make sure you apply it carefully with your dog’s head at the right angle so the solution will not escape their ears as you apply it. All you need to do is hold their ear flap, squirt the solution, and let it fall deep down on your fur baby’s ears.
Then, massage the area near the ear opening, and you can easily wipe away the wax or any debris you see with a clean cloth or cotton ball. Lastly, let your dog shake their head to remove any remaining dirt from their ears.
Check VCA Hospital’s article about Instructions for Ear Cleaning and Administering Ear Medication in Dogs if you want a detailed step-by-step guide for dog ear cleaning.
∘ How often should I clean my dog’s ears?
Some dogs will need their ears cleaned more than others, depending on their breed, activity level, and earwax production. Sticking to a monthly routine of dog ear cleaning is the most recommended. You may do it as frequently as once a month or once a week for dogs with floppy ears or dogs who are constantly active, especially with swimming.
If your dog swims a lot, it’s highly recommended to clean their ears 3 to 4 times a month to prevent yeast or bacterial infections. Swimming can trap water on your pupper’s ears attracting yeast and bacterias, which may eventually cause an active infection and bad ear odor.
∘ Can I use rubbing alcohol to clean my dog’s ears?
Don’t use any harsh chemicals or alcohol to clean out and dry your dog’s ears. If moisture begins to build up, it can cause serious pain, so it’s important to keep your dog’s ears dry at a comfortable level. Alcohol can cause rashes and pain if your dog is sensitive, so it’s important to try out low-alcohol or alcohol-free liquid ear cleaners. Otherwise, it might cause their ears to burn, causing pain and discomfort for your dog!
In the end, finding the right dog ear cleaning products can be a real challenge. How do you know what to choose from with so many options out there? Had you not come across this page, you might be using alcohol wipes or drops to clean out and dry out your dog’s ears.
Hopefully, we’ve given you a better understanding and a stronger grasp of what you desire for cleaning out your dog’s ears. All-natural ingredients have always made us pet owners feel better about using them, especially with all the harsh chemicals in some other brands!
Cleaning out your dog’s ears with wipes or drops regularly is an excellent way to prevent problems in the future. There are all kinds of pollutants and bacteria floating into your dog’s ear, so routine maintenance is key to a happy and healthy dog!
Did You Know?
Up to 20% of dogs have ear problems caused by excess moisture, wax buildup, and bacterial or fungal growth. Clean those ears and keep your pup out of that statistic!
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