Many new dog owners often forget about checking their dog’s ears are clean and free of any dirt or wax buildup. Having a clean dog ear is a great way to reduce the chance of any possible ear infections. Often when we notice our dog tilting his head to one side or else shaking his head from side to side this is a tell-tale sign that all is not right. It could possibly have something to do with the ears but the veterinarian would be the best person to advise you on this.
Dog Ear Cleaners can come in several forms; liquid, foam, cream, and wipe. Many of these dog ear cleaners can contain anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, or anti-bacterial properties, and sometimes they can contain all three.
Dog ear cleaners should only be used for the purpose of cleaning ears and are never to be used to treat an infection. If your dog develops an ear infection always seek the advice of your vet as every dog is different. If you decide to treat an ear infection yourself then you could only make matters worse. In this article, we have listed our top selections for the best dog ear cleaners.
Quick Pick - Best Dog Ear CleanersBelow we have listed our top choices for best dog ear cleaners. Further down the page there are more detailed descriptions on each cleaner and we outline the features and the pros and cons of each one.
|Dog Ear Cleaners||Our Rating|
|Vet's Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit.|
|Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner|
|Zymox Ear Solution|
|Amora Care Ear Wipes|
Best Dog Ear Cleaners
Below we have listed our top picks for the best dog ear cleaners.
No.1 Vet’s Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit
Our number one pick is the Vet’s Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit. This is a Vet Formulated Dog Ear Cleaner Kit and it comes in two bottles which are both in liquid format. One bottle washes and soothes your dog’s ear while the other one dries the ear. One bottle is used immediately after the other one.
What we really like about this product is that these vet formulated solutions use a blend of natural ingredients such as aloe vera, echinacea, chamomile, tea tree oil, calendula, and cove oil. They do not contain any harsh chemicals Also, they do not contain alcohol, and are non-stinging. The non-stinging factor will help during the ear cleaning as there will be less discomfort for your dog which makes it easier for you to complete.
Vet formulated with a blend of natural ingredients
No Hydrogen Peroxide
Made in the U.S.A.
Not for use on cats as it contains tea tree oil.
The liquid drying agent can leave some residue behind but this can be easily cleaned from the ear canal with a soft napkin.
No. 2: Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner
The Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner is another great option for cleaning your dog’s ears. This ear cleaner can be used in conjunction with other ear preparations prior to their administration and also for normal routine cleaning of healthy ear canals.
What we like about this dog ear cleaner is that it is a mild alcohol-free cleansing and drying solution. It comes conveniently in one bottle so there is no messing about with extra bottles for drying. This ear cleaner is not a medication for treating infections as it’s just a cleaner to get rid of gunk from your dog’s ears so any medication required can get into your dog’s ears and treat and clear the infection.
Mild Alcohol free cleansing solution
Convenient as comes in one bottle
Can be used in conjunction with other ear medications
There is an artificial fragrance added to the solution – no real need for this.
No 3. Zymox Ear Solution
The Zymox Ear Solution is suitable for both cats and dogs. It’s not just an ear cleaner but also soothes ear infections, any redness, and inflammations. It can also provide itch relief as it contains 1% Hydrocortisone. As Zymox is more than an ear cleaner, make sure to consult the veterinarian before using it.
We particularly like the non-sting formula as it’s bad enough for your dog to have an infection without inflicting more stinging pain. And it is also very effective in the management of acute and chronic ear infections due to bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections. It has a special enzyme that has been patented so that it naturally cleans and disinfects while destroying even the most resistant microbes.
Suitable for both cats and dogs
Ear cleaner as well as combating ear infections caused by bacteria, fungus & yeast.
Itch relief as it contains 1% Hydrocortisone
Good value for money.
Can be a bit messy especially if your dog shakes his head
No.4 AromaCare Ear Wipes
Amora Care Ear Wipes are disposable wipes that you can use frequently to prevent any ear infections. These wipes are very easy to use and the great thing is that they contain natural Aloe Vera and Eucalyptus Oil for clean, healthy, and fresh-smelling ears. They are only for use on adult dogs and like all other ear cleaners, it is best to spot test before using as some dogs can have allergic reactions to solutions and wipes.
Each wipe is 2.5″ in diameter and it is thin enough to get into those little ear folds but durable so as to not tear. One recommendation is to wrap the wipe around your fingers to enable you to get into the ear canal but as always you must be careful not to go in too deep. You can also use them for daily use and quick clean-ups.
Not for use on young puppies.
May need to use 2 wipes on larger dogs as they are 2.5″ in diameter
Do You Know What A Healthy Dog Ear Looks Like?
Before you start cleaning your dog’s ears you should have a look at them to see what a healthy ear looks like. It’s a good way for your dog to get used to you handling his ears. Start gently stroking the ears and then slowly and in a non rushed way examine the inside flap and the canal of the ear. A healthy dog’s ear is normally pinkish in color and should never smell or have a strong odor and of course, be free of any dirt or debris.
Healthy Dog’s Ear should be:
- Pinkish in color
- Not dirty – no debris etc
- No odor or smell
Dog Ear Wax Color
All ears have ear wax as we know and it the same with your dog. In your dog’s ear, there will be ear wax. The normal color of this ear wax will vary from yellow to light brown but sometimes it can be even darker especially if some dirt or debris is present.
Anatomy of Dog’s Ear
All dog owners should be aware of the basic anatomy of their dog’s ear. It can only help you and your dog in the long run. The shape of your dog’s ear varies from our own ears. Your dog’s ear is composed of three main parts.
Dog’s Outer Ear
Please note to only ever clean your dog’s outer ear. The outer ear contains the ear flap and they can vary depending on the breed. Floppy ear dogs include spaniels and hounds, some have pointed ears like German Shepherds while others are somewhere in between.
The ear canal is part of the outer ear and bends to an approx 90-degree angle before the eardrum which is in the middle ear. Consequently, dogs’ ears canals are more vertical and form almost an L-Shape. This shape gives it the ability to hold more fluid which can result in a higher chance of ear infection than humans.
Dog’s Middle Ear
This contains the eardrum which is the barrier between the outer and middle parts of the ear. Never attempt to clean eardrums as they can be easily perforated and damaged.
Dog’s Inner Ear
This contains the cochlea and nerves.
Tips To Clean Your Dog’s Ears?
Early Introduction & Practice
The earlier you start with ear cleaning the better for everyone. When your dog is a young puppy get him used to his ears being handled and then gradually over time it will become the norm. However, if you have adopted an older dog then this is not possible. The best approach is to start gradually and slowly. I always find that it’s beneficial for your dog to get used to the sensation of having his ears rubbed and handled. Some dogs have sensitive ears so you need to judge each dog individually.
Walk/Exercise Before Starting
Before you begin cleaning your dog’s ears it’s a good idea to walk your dog so that he can relieve himself. If you have a dog with an urge to pee then this makes the job almost impossible. You really want to have your dog relaxed and comfortable.
Have plenty of space when you start the process of dog ear cleaning as it can become quite messy. If you have outdoor space available it can help cut down on the cleanup process, however, make sure there no major distractions there too.
Teats & Positive Encouragement
Ideally, you have one person hold the dog leash but this is not always possible so you may find using treats and encouragement. There is also the option of using a lick pad (smother the pad with his peanut butter) and stick it on the wall or nearby fence. As your dog enjoys licking the pad clean you can then start the job of cleaning those ears.
Have all the necessary supplies on hand – clean towel, ear solution, those tasty treats, and that lick pad.
Spot Test All Dog Ear Cleaners
We would strongly recommend that you spot test any dog ear cleaner before using it. Just like humans every dog is different and can have allergic reactions to various solutions. So better safe than sorry and cause any unnecessary suffering or pain.
Steps in Using A Dog Ear Cleaner
- The first thing you need to do is avoid cross-contamination by not letting the tip of the solution touch the ear itself.
- Carefully fill the ear canal with the solution and try and make sure that the liquid does not pour back out so you may need to hold the ear up – this depends on the type of ear your dog has as not all ears are the same!
- Gently massage slowly into the base of the ear for approx 30 seconds. When the solution is in the ear you will hear a swishing sound. This is the sound of the wax and any buildup of debris dislodging.
- Next, give your dog a chance to shake his head and get ready for a bit of a mess
- The excess solution may fly out with this shake so take cover.
- Then simply wipe the outside of the ear with a cotton ball.
- Now if your dog will not tolerate liquid being poured into his ears I usually soak a cotton ball in the solution then carefully place the cotton ball into the outer ear and massage the ear canal.
- After the massage, you remove the cotton ball. You have to be careful so as not to push the cotton ball into the inner ear as it could damage the eardrum.
- And finally, never ever use cotton swabs in your dog’s ears.
How To Tell When Dogs Ears Need Cleaning
Before starting the process of ear cleaning it is important to check if they need to be cleaned in the first place. You have to be careful not to over-clean your dog’s ears as this can be just as bad as not cleaning at all and could also lead to an infection.
As we mentioned some dogs have healthy ears and consequently they rarely if ever need to be cleaned. I’ve had Kerry Blue Terriers all my life and on average I would have to clean their ears every 6/8 weeks. As this breed of dog does not lose hair there would often be a build-up of hair on the outer ear which if not checked and trimmed could lead to a build-up of wax and debris and ultimately an ear infection. By keeping the outer ear clean it helps reduce the risk of infection. Some dogs may require more frequent ear cleaning. It can depend on many factors from the type of breed, type of coat, age, and if your dog likes to swim a lot.
Signs to look out for:
- If you notice an odor coming from the ears
- If your dog shakes his head and leans to one side or the other. Ear infections can be painful and often your dog will try to scratch his ears too
- If his ears look inflamed or reddish in color
Our top pick for the best dog ear cleaner goes to Vet’s Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit. This cleaner has been formulated by veterinarians and contains a blend of natural ingredients and does not contain any alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. It’s also non-stinging. If your dog does have an ear infection consult your veterinarian first before using anything on those ears.