One of the dog’s superpowers is his super hearing. Their hearing ability puts ours to shame, but to use their ears properly to alert you of a potential intruder or just hearing the cracking open of a can of food, they need healthy ears. A dog’s ear health is maintained through constant checking, monitoring, and of course cleaning. Usually, dogs with folded ears or hanging ears are the ones more susceptible to ear infections and other issues. Spitz-type dogs and others that have perky ears have less to worry about but still require monitoring. The best way to remember to clean your pup’s ears is to add it to their grooming routine.
Cleaning a dog’s ears does not take much time and it’s quite an easy process. Manufacturers are thoughtful in the production of dog care products and have made it easy for you with their products. We've compiled an extensive list consisting of the best and safest dog ear cleaners.
7 Best Dog Ear Cleaners
1 – ZYMOX Pet King Brand Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone
With over 9000 ratings and a five-star review, ZYMOX is by far the best pet ear cleaner we have come across. Their formula is patented and safe, keeping your dog's well-being into consideration. If you aren't a fan of over-medicating your pup (as you should be), this natural alternative is a great choice.
Dribble a few drops daily for it to take instant action and clean the infected ears. No more cotton swabs digging into the crevices, as that can be dangerous. Who knows what can happen with a slip of the wrist.
Generously apply a large amount into the ear, filling up the ear canal. Massage the root of the ear gently so the solution can begin to break down the debris and work its way down and soothe the infection.
ZYMOX ear treatment is made in the USA using safe ingredients without any antibiotics and is produced under good manufacturing processes. Their products are all cruelty-free and are not tested on animals.
If your pooch as inflammation or any type of infection, you can see a difference with just a few drops of ZYMOX. It's important to note that you should not clean the ears during or before administering the drops. Only do so afterward.
- The enzymatic solution breaks down infection and debris on a molecular level without the help of any anti-biotics.
- The ear drops are so gentle and natural they can be used for canines of any age.
- The drops are proven to be effective against pseudomonas, malassezia pachydermatitis, eschericha coli, candida albicans, proteus mirabilis, staphylococcus aureus, among many others.
- Gentle enough for daily use
- Better than traditional therapy, you can see results within a week!
- Made in the USA under good manufacturing practices in a standardized facility.
- All products are animal cruelty-free and not tested on animals.
- There are some claims from consumers that received bad batches.
- Some claim it didn’t work for their pets.
- May cause deafness (speculative) or aggravate illness.
2 – Vet Organics EcoEars | Natural Dog Ear Cleaner
This dog ear cleaner can tackle a variety of symptoms including itchiness, foul odors, and buildup. Watch the cleaner take action in just 7-10 days! These are over the counter and don't require a vet prescription, which means fast treatment. After repeated use, your dog's ears will smell fresh and clean.
It’s easy to use, as all liquid ear cleaners are. Simply fill your pup’s ear canal slowly, remember to do it slowly or it might be an unpleasant shock for them thus putting them off the process altogether. After his or her ears are filled, gently massage the ear for the liquid to sink deep and begin its work.
Made just for dogs, there are no steroids, antibiotics, solvents or synthetic chemicals involved in the manufacturing process. It’s an all-natural formula that eliminates odors, discharge or irritation.
Not only does it treat ear issues, but it also maintains and cleans by washing away grime, wax buildup and bacteria. The best part is it does all of this within 10 days!
Your purchase is protected by a 100% money-back guarantee for one full year from the purchase date.
- You will see and our dog will feel the difference within 10 days!
- The formula is gentle and all-natural, leaving the ears feeling fresh and smelling clean.
- Made just for dogs, there are no harsh and harmful additives such as steroids and antibiotics in the ingredients.
- Top rated by users and vets alike, it doesn’t only treat issues but also cleans and maintains your pet’s ears.
- 100% money-back guarantee for one year if the product doesn’t work (but it will).
- It’s easy to use and doesn’t make a mess or require you to dig in deep.
- It treats a variety of issues in one go.
- Made in the USA, the product adheres to all FDA guidelines for manufacturing safe products.
- The smell may be unpleasant.
- There were complaints that the product aggravated the situation further.
- It might not work.
3 – VetPro Complete Ear Cleaner for Dogs
Some may think in order for a product to work well it needs to be strong. That isn’t the case with a lot of medication and topical ointments, and ear cleaners for dogs are one of them. Your dog can get simple relief from itching, pain, or infections with vitamin E and aloe concoction. It soothes and deodorizes and is gentle enough and safe to use for all dogs.
Vets will recommend this product because it is formulated by one of their own. Dr. Joseph is a seasoned vet with over 30 years in the field. If you suspect your dog suffers from common ear infections, just a few drops of this ear cleaner will solve the problem. The liquid medication will relieve, clean, soothe and deodorize.
Your purchase comes with a bottle of medication and an applicator for easy use. It will smell good to you and your pet as well, the light scent won't irritate your dog's nose. Just dribble a few drops into your dog's ear, wait, massage gently, and voila!
Manufactured by a trusted brand by a vet for animals, you can rest assured your pet will be safe and healthy. The product is made in the USA, matches GMP (good manufacturing practice) standards, cruelty-free and non-toxic. Plus you get a 100% money-back guarantee!
- The formula is gentle but effective. Infused with vitamin E and aloe, it’s soothing and safe to use.
- Formulated by a vet with over 30 years of experience, you know only safe ingredients are used.
- Easy to use, the bottle comes with an applicator.
- It leaves a fresh and pleasant scent that isn’t overpowering for anyone’s nose.
- Manufacturing takes place in the USA, adhering to GMP and is cruelty-free and non-toxic.
- Protected by a 100% money-back guarantee, why haven’t you clicked “order” yet?
- No cons reported by anyone yet. We will advise pet parents that each situation is different, what works for another dog may not work for yours.
4 – Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner
Effective is the best word to describe this pet ear cleaner from Virbac. It effectively eliminates wax, buildup, and debris form your pooch. These ear cleaners are almost unanimously agreed upon by vets to be better than traditional medication. They are gentler for one thing and don't contain irritants or pesticides, etc.
Some pet ear cleaners could be hard to use without an applicator. A dog that resists and shakes his head means you have a mess in store for you. This bottle comes with an applicator nozzle to make the process easier.
The low pH anti-septic formula can be used frequently to maintain healthy ears or to treat issues.
The patented odor-eliminating technology will instantly cancel out all foul odors. No alcohol can be found in this formula, leaving eardrops you can use for dogs of any age.
The anti-adhesive properties will flush the bacteria out successfully without lingering bits clinging to the surface of your dog’s ears, therefore preventing reoccurring infections.
Although they don’t use natural ingredients in their formulation, it’s still effective and has been recognized and recommended by pet parents and vets alike.
- The low pH level of 2.2 is soothing to the ears without irritating or burning when administered.
- Although it isn't packed with all-natural ingredients, it is gentle enough for use up to 2-3 weekly.
- Virbac boasts the anti-adhesive properties of their eardrops. It prevents the reoccurrence of infections.
- The patented odor-eliminating function can be felt and smelled upon administration.
- Easy to use with the applicator nozzle, no more measuring caps and cotton swabs for your fur baby.
- It might not work.
- The concoction without any natural ingredients could be tough on some ears.
5 – Earthbath All Natural Specialty Ear Wipes
A different option that ear drops are ear wipes. This might not have the unpleasant feeling of a cold liquid making its way through your dog’s ears, but it does require some manual cleaning on your part.
Each sheet is natural, completely biodegradable and cruelty-free. Not to mention it is an Amazon's Choice product and the low price point. It can't get any better than this!
Use each sheet to wipe away any visible dirt, wax buildup or anything else. It also eliminates odors effectively. It’s so gentle you can use it anytime anywhere. It’s also worth mentioning that it travels well in the packaging.
The compact pop-up dispenser is convenient to carry around and holds in the moisture.
The clearly labeled ingredients are all-natural including water, witch hazel, cucumber extract, chamomile, and many others.
The wipes are not nearly as powerful as the liquid eardrops, so these wipes are more suited to everyday maintenance and cleansing rather than direct treatment of a serious infection.
- The ear wipes last long. Each sheet has the power to clean one of your pet’s ears.
- Daily maintenance of your dog’s ear health has never been so easy with wipes in a snap-close container.
- The convenient packaging makes the wipes perfect to take with you on the road.
- A great prevention method for pets who are prone to infections and unpleasant smells developing in their ears.
- It is an all-natural and gentle formula that is 100% biodegradable and cruelty-free. You protect the environment as well as your pet.
- The affordable price for a pack of 25 gives you taste of the easy treatment. If you like the product you can opt for the pack of 6 option.
- The lid may be flimsy and therefore dries the wipes out. Some even came without a lid.
- It’s difficult to administer the wipes in deeper crevices compared to the liquid forms.
6 – Doggie Dailies Pet Ear Cleaner
Another vet formulated option, Doggie Dailies pet ear cleaner is safe and gentle enough for routine ear cleaning. The plant-based treatment takes extracts from aloe vera, tea tree oil, witch hazel, and Echinacea to gently soak and loosen dirt and debris, cleaning the ears thoroughly.
The gentle formula will not sting or burn. The fresh scent is refreshing and soothing. The applicator bottle is easy to use, just tip your dog’s head, squeeze in a few drops and gently massage the ear.
Notice the difference right away after the first few uses. Your pet will love the Doggie Dailies ear cleaner because it works and helps them feel better immediately.
How safe is the product exactly? All made in the USA in an FDA approved and registered factory, each batch is tested (not on animals) for safety. An independent lab tests each individual batch before it’s certified and allowed for distribution.
Your purchase is again protected by their 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back!
- While this doesn’t have much to do with the product, but their passionate customer service representatives are next to none.
- A vet formulated solution, you know it’s made with safe ingredients you can trust.
- The pleasant scent and gentle ingredients will not burn or sting, but soothe your dog’s ears for a pleasant experience.
- The applicator bottle makes administration much easier. No longer will you have to chase your dog or see the fear on his face when you whip out the medication.
- Effective and safe, each batch of the formula is made in FDA approved facilities and independently tested before distribution.
- You are protected by a 100% money-back guarantee.
- 100% natural with clearly listed plant-based ingredients.
- Tea tree oil is safe for animals in small doses, but how much is used in this product is unclear.
- May worsen the situation.
7 – Vet’s Best Dog Ear Relief Wash
Are you sick of seeing your dog suffer from nasty infections? Is the smell overwhelming you? Get instant gratification when using Vet’s Best dog ear relief wash. It soothes and doesn’t irritate your pup’s sensitive ears and helps them feel better right away.
Plant-based natural ingredients including witch hazel, chamomile, clove oil, aloe vera, and tea tree oil are used for the soothing effects and odor control. The recipe is gentle enough to be used daily or as needed for maintenance.
Made in the USA, the ear wash is alcohol-free and safe. Just apply it directly into your dog’s ear canal, massage, and remove excess with a soft pad or tissue.
As a vet formulated product, the liquid medication is gentle and free of any parabens, dyes and added fragrance. You can use it in unison with other medications.
- Your pet will feel instant relief right when the liquid hits their ears.
- The gentle formula will soothe and not aggravate your dog’s ears.
- Plant-based natural ingredients work together to create a concoction that eliminates odors.
- Made in the USA, the product is paraben-free, alcohol-free and safe.
- No extra added dyes and fragrance are added.
- A vet formulated product that has your pet’s best interests in mind.
- The formula may cause more discomfort and irritation in some dogs.
- It doesn't smell great.
Our Top Pick: Vet Organics EcoEars | Natural Dog Ear Cleaner
Although ZYMOX is clearly the winner (but not by too much) in terms of rating, we chose Vet Organics EcoEars as our first choice because the formula is all-natural. Natural products are always preferable to synthesized or processed ingredients. ZYMOX contains a form of steroids that we would only opt for to treat more serious conditions.
Not only does it treat infections, but this is also a multi-symptom treatment that helps itching, odor, and buildup. You will see guaranteed results in a short time of about a week.
Aside from washing, cleaning, maintaining and treating, the dog eardrops also stops smells and breaks down anything that accumulates in your dog’s ears each time you use it.
More sensitive dogs will do well with the formula that doesn’t contain antibiotics, hydrocortisone (steroids), or synthetics.
Also, your purchase comes with a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee.
Check our list of the best dog nail grinders for more dog grooming tools.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Dog Ear Cleaners?
For something that will come in such close contact with your dog, it needs to be safe. Similar to food and other topical medication, certain ingredients are an absolute no-no. Perky-eared pups could develop more dirt buildup which requires cleaning, but droopy-eared pups are more prone to trapped moisture leading to infections. So you can see that ear cleaners are necessary for your pet care arsenal. Let's take a look at important things to look for in effective dog ear cleaners.
High-quality, safe and hopefully all-natural ingredients should be used to not cause any further irritation. Avoid harsh chemicals and definitely speak to your trusted vet and get their take if you don't know where to start. Harsh chemicals to avoid include parabens, antibiotics, steroids, dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, propylene glycol, and added fragrance and dyes. These are known to irritate your pup's eyes and lungs. Imagine the damage they could do with prolonged use.
Determine why your dog is in need of ear cleaners. Is it for everyday maintenance? Does he or she have a serious infection? Do you smell some unpleasant odors? Ear cleaning products will list the purposes of their drops. Some clean and deodorize quite well which is great for everyday prevention and maintenance. The more medicated and stronger formulas will treat infections and other specific problems.
Wipes or Liquid?
The next deciding factor would be the wipe or liquid form. You have two options on the market, the ear cleaning wipes or eardrops. Ear wipes are easier to use and your dog might be more accepting of them. They are usually for daily cleansing and wiping away dirt or gunk. For deeper cleaning, liquid form ear cleaners are the ones that fight infections, prevent against further occurrences and also cleans, leaving a fresh scent in its wake. If you’re not sure which it is you need, you should ask your vet.
Easy to Use
Dog ear wipes are easy enough to understand and use. As for liquid ear cleaners, it’s better to search for ones that have an applicator or applicator nozzle. Most are used the same way, dribble a few drops into your dog’s ear canal, massage the base of the ear gently for a few seconds allowing the liquid to do its job, then take a soft pad or tissue or cotton ball and wipe away the excess liquid and gunk.
Does My Dog Need an Ear Cleaner?
For responsible pet parents, the answer is yes unless you take your pooch to the groomers once a week to get it done. Even then we'd suggest checking and giving your dog's ears a once-over more often than that.
Ear infections are common problems that are bothersome, but rarely very serious. They are most commonly caused by moisture trapped in your dog’s ears, leading to yeast and bacterial infections.
There are a few ways to spot potential ear infections:
- If you notice your dog often shaking his head and scratching his ears.
- Upon inspection, if you spot redness and even swelling, chances are there is an infection.
- When it gets more serious, colored discharge could be leaking out and a foul odor is present.
- Sometimes your dog may even experience hair loss around the ear.
If you suspect your dog of an ear infection, action needs to be taken immediately so the situation doesn’t worsen.
How Often Should a Dog’s Ears be Cleaned?
For deep cleaning, we would suggest once a month or maybe even twice. For maintenance, however, it doesn't hurt to do it once a week. Contributing factors to the frequency of ear cleaning are your dog's age, health, breed (droopy-eared dogs may need extra attention), and level of activity.
Common Ear Problems
Ear allergies: Airborne particles could fly in and irritate your dog's ear canal. Giving your dog a wipe down after a day out easily prevents this.
Bacterial – This is a common problem often seen among dogs. Antibioticstics might be needed in curing bacterial infections.
Yeast – Yeast infections are fungal and could take a while to heal. Unfortunately, dogs such as the dachshund, beagle, and other floppy-eared dogs are more susceptible to this. It typically develops due to trapped moisture or high humidity. In this case, treatment with anti-fungal properties is the solution.
Mite infestation: These tiny parasites can burrow their way in and make a comfy home in your dog’s ear. This can be exceedingly annoying for your dog and drive him or her bonkers. In this case, you need to turn to antiparasitic medication.
- Avoid moisture or liquids coming in contact with your dog’s ears. This can be hard when giving them a bath and even harder to make sure the groomer complies. A good way to do this is to wash the fur on his head with a damp washcloth instead of spraying him with the showerhead.
- The hair on and inside the ears should be kept short or at least trimmed so it doesn't trap moisture.
- Administer anti-flea and tick drops or medication so they don’t migrate into your dog’s ears and cause mite infestations.
- Regular checkups and monitoring by you and your vet are important.
- It’s not the end of the world if you do get their ears wet. Just make sure you dry them thoroughly after, maybe with the help of a blow-dryer on a low heat setting.
- Supplements to boost your pup’s immune system could prove handy as well. Antioxidants and essential fats such as Omega 3 and 6 help with skin, coat and ear health.
Keeping your dog healthy might seem like a lot of work, but once you get into the groove of things and integrate these steps into your grooming routine it gets incredibly easy. Especially with the help of manufacturers constantly producing products to care for your pets as well as make your life easier, just like with these most recommended harnesses to deal with dog pulling. Remember, maintenance means regular checks and continued monitoring. Once you suspect an issue, treat it right away. When in doubt, always defer to your trusted vet.
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