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12 Best Dog Ear Cleaner Products With Reviews

Last Updated - May 20, 2022

Cleaning your dog's ears is an essential part of a regular grooming routine. Regular ear cleaning helps remove debris and wax-build-up, minimize odors, and fight off painful ear infections. It's particularly important for breeds with long hair and floppy ears. In this dog ear cleaner guide, we'll answer common questions about cleaning your pup's ears and highlight a few of the best ear cleaners on the market.

What Is A Dog Ear Cleaner?

Dog ear cleaners are designed to safely clean your dog's ears to maintain clean, healthy ears. It also prevents and treats common ear infections caused by yeast, bacteria, and fungus. These wipes and washes will help remove debris and excess wax build-up from the ear canal. Plus, they help reduce odors caused by chronic ear issues.

What To Look For In The Best Dog Cleaner

Vet Approved Solution

While you can find plenty of recipes online for homemade ear cleaning solutions, it's best to stick with store-bought products that are proven to be safe and effective. Homemade ear solutions can cause harm or irritation, especially if your dog with sensitive skin.

Check Ingredients

Always check the ingredient list to make sure there isn't anything that may be harmful. This can be essential if you have a dog with sensitive skin or prone to allergies.

The active ingredients will give you an idea of what the clean does

  • Salicylic acid— An antimicrobial that helps prevent yeast and bacterial infections
  • Lactic acid— An antimicrobial that prevents bacteria, fungus, and yeast from growing in the ear canal
  • Hydrocortisone— helps minimize itchiness
  • Ketoconazole— an antifungal that minimizes fungal growth that leads to ear infections
  • Witch hazel— a natural anti-inflammatory that minimizes bacteria growth

And if you are a pet owner who is all about being natural, avoid ingredients like fragrance and artificial colors.

Liquid Vs. Wipe

Liquid Solution

Liquid solutions are the most common ear cleaning method you will find on the market. They can help loosen up wax and deep debris inside the ear canal. A gentle massage from the outside of the ear can help solution down to the bottom of the ear canal and shake up any excess wax. Then your dog will do the rest by shaking its head to remove excess liquid, which can get messy. Once your dog is done, gently wipe away any debris using a cotton ball or gauze.

Ear Wipes

With wipes, you don't need additional cotton balls or gauze, and it is less messy than a solution. However, you can't get deep into the ear canal to loosen up wax and debris that you can't reach.

Consider Your Dog's Specific Needs

Before purchasing a dog ear cleaner, consider your dog's specific needs. Different breeds and lifestyles can influence which cleaner is better for your dog. Some cleaners work best at removing wax, while some are better at drying an ear after swimming. Some are medicated to prevent ear infections. If you are unsure which one is best for your dog, discuss it with your veterinarian.

12 Best Dog Ear Cleaners For Healthy Ears

Every dog ear cleaner is different, so you'll need to find one that's well-suited for your dog's specific needs. While some focus on removing wax, others are medicated to prevent yeast, bacteria, and fungal growth. Not sure what product to pick? Your veterinarian can help you find the perfect ear cleaner for your pet.

overall 

4.9/5

Price

$$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

Tomlyn Veterinarian Formulated Dog Ear Cleaner Drops

Keep your pup's ear clean and healthy with this Veterinarian-Formulated Dog Ear Cleaner Drops from Tomlyn. The lab-tested formula has been shown to fight yeast infections, kill bacteria, and create a pH-balanced environment that inhibits microbial growth. Not only will it help prevent ear infections, but it'll also keep your dog's ears dry and odor-free. Gentle enough for daily use, they're a great addition to your everyday grooming routine.

Size

4 oz

What We Like

  • Formulated by veterinarians
  • Protects your pet's ears against yeast and bacterial infections
  • Ideal for daily use 
  • Superb antimicrobial activity against bacteria and yeast infections was demonstrated by independent lab testing
  • Smells good

What We Don't Like

  • Does contain alcohol 

Vet Organics EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner

Best Herbal and Botanical Dog Ear Cleaner

overall 

4.8/5

Price

$$$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

Vet Organics EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner

Avoiding harsh chemicals? Give your dog's ears the relief they deserve with Vet Organics' EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner. Instead of harsh chemicals, antibiotics, cortisone, steroids, or enzymes, it's formulated with 100% natural ingredients. The all-natural cleaner helps treat discharge, odor, and itchy ears caused by common bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections. Within 24 to 48 hours, it'll reduce pain and itching to leave your pet's ears feeling better than ever.

Size

8 oz

What We Like

  • 100% natural ingredients. Contain no artificial preservatives, harmful chemicals, hormones, enzymes, or antibiotics
  • Contains witch hazel extract, tea tree oil, organic mullein leaf extract, rosemary extract, and fingerroot extract
  • Aids in the treatment of acute and chronic odor, itching and discharge
  • Provides relief in 24 to 48 hours with a 93.7% success rate using safe ingredients
  • Made in the USA in an FDA-registered facility

What We Don't Like

  • Strong medicine smell that could be offensive for some 

overall 

4.6/5

Price

$$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats

If your pet has sensitive skin, you'll need to choose a product with gentle ingredients that won't cause further irritation. Be sure to consult your vet before using anything inside your pet's ears. They'll be able to offer specific product recommendations and tell you what ingredients to steer clear of.

One product your vet may recommend is this versatile Virbac Advanced Ear Cleaner. The non-irritating ear cleanser is ideal for regular maintenance cleaning for dogs with sensitive skin. Its gentle cleaning solution contains 0.2% salicylic acid to remove wax build-up and dry the ear canal. Patented anti-odor technology and a mild citrus scent eliminate icky ear odors. The pH balancing product comes in both 4-oz and 8-oz options.

Size

4 oz

What We Like

  • Non-irritating solution prevents microbial action
  • Removes debris and excessive wax and dries the ear canal
  • Recommended for pets with chronic otitis externa 
  • It has a low pH, so it shouldn't interfere with other ear preparations

What We Don't Like

  • The smell isn't for everyone
  • Expensive

overall 

4.6/5

Price

$$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

Pet MD Advanced Anti-Microbial Ear Wipes

These Ear Cleaning Wipes For Dogs from TropiClean will gently clean and freshen your dog's ear while preventing irritation. Less mess compares to its counterpart of drops while it will gently lift away wax, debris, and odor. Gently enough to use on your pet's ear weekly to help reduce the risk of ear infections and irritation. It is formulated with propylene glycol, witch hazel, and aloe ingredients that are gentle and soothing on your pet's ears. And if you or your dog is sensitive to fragrance, these wipes do not contain any fragrance or dye.

Size

50 wipes

What We Like

  • Can be used weekly to reduce any risk or ear infections or irritations
  • Gently removes wax and debris
  • Made with propylene glycol and witch hazel. Non-abrasive
  • Contains soothing aloe for healthy skin
  • Gently clean and freshen your pet’s ears with less mess and easy to use
  • Doesn't contain fragrance or dye but does have a light coconut scent
  • Wipe is soft and cool

What We Don't Like

  • Do not recommend for deep cleaning
  • May feel "dry"
Pet Honesty Otic Ear Cleaner Ear Cleansing & Drying Cucumber Melon Scent Dog Ear Cleaner

This wonderfully scented dog ear cleaner offers a gentle formula that helps most ailments and issues that affect ears, including ear infections, ear odor, and an itchy ear. Gentle enough to use on dogs with sensitive skin. It is super easy to use with just a squirt tip cap to fill your dog's ear canal with the solution and gently massage at the base of their ear. The exact right pH balance and a gentle amount of Salicylic Acid help with itchiness, smell, odor, inflammation, redness, and build-up by washing away pathogens, dirt, excessive wax, and bacteria.

Size

8 oz

What We Like

  • Affordable
  • Smells amazing
  • Easy to use and helps stop ear infections, ear itching, ear odor and other common ear ailments
  • Contains a gentle amount of salicylic acid
  • Formulated with added aloe
  • pH balanced
  • A great option for dogs with sensitive skin

What We Don't Like

  • Smell can be strong but pleasant

overall 

4.8/5

Price

$$$$$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution with Hydrocortisone

If your primary concern is itchiness, try this Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution with Hydrocortisone. The gentle, non-stinging formula is made using a patented LP3 Enzyme System that clears ear secretions and promotes ear health. It'll help soothe redness, inflammation, and itching caused by an ear infection. There's no pre-cleaning required. Just fill the ear canal and let the powerful product get to work. You'll notice a significant change in no time at all.

Size

4 oz

What We Like

  • Soothes ear infections, redness and inflammation for pets of all ages
  • Gentle, no-sting formula
  • Powerful solution
  • Solution provides a safe, natural alternative to medication with 1% Hydrocortisone for itch relief

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

overall 

4.9/5

Price

$$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

Professional Pet Products Ear-Dry Solution with Aloe Vera

If your pet likes spending time in the water, you'll want to follow up each swim with a quick ear cleaning session. This Ear-Dry Solution from Professional Pet Products is specially formulated to dry the ear canal, and it'll help reduce common ear issues caused by moisture and damp ear conditions. Apply the solution liberally to your dog's ear canal and massage gently for routine cleaning. Clean the ear opening with cotton balls to remove excess debris, wax, and wetness.

Size

16 oz

What We Like

  • Can be used for both dog and cat
  • Affordable
  • Specially formulated to clean and dry the ear canal
  • Designed to help reduce common moist ear problems associated with yeast, fungal or bacterial conditions

What We Don't Like

overall 

4.4/5

Price

$$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

Burt's Bees Care Plus+ Relieving Dog Ear Rinse

Keep your pet's ears clean and pH balanced with Burts Bees' Care Plus+ Relieving Dog Ear Rinse. The all-natural ear rinse is formulated with chamomile and rosemary extracts that soothe irritation and minimize itch. It's made without sulfates, colorants, and added fragrances too. Squeeze in a few drops, gently massage the liquid around thoroughly, and clean the ear opening with a cotton ball. Use the gentle ear cleaner regularly to keep your pet's ears clean, healthy, and infection-free.

Size

4 oz

What We Like

  • Natural ear rinse soothes and cleanses itchy, irritated ears
  • Easy-to-apply formula
  • Contain no sulfates, colorants or added fragrances
  • pH balanced just for dogs to take care of their special skin needs
  • Smell amazing

What We Don't Like

  • May need to re-apply often to see result

Price

$$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

Vet's Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit with Multi-Symptom Ear Relief Wash & Dry Treatment

Breeds with long, hairy ears (think, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and Basset Hounds) are more susceptible to ear infections. Using this Multi-Symptom Ear Relief Wash and Dry Treatment from Vet's Best between baths can help keep your pet's ears clean and healthy. The coordinated treatment system comes with an all-natural ear relief wah and an ear relief drying agent that extends the time between ear cleanings. To soothe raw, itchy, irritated ears, they're formulated with all-natural ingredients like chamomile, clove oil, tea tree oil, and aloe vera.

Size

4 oz (2 bottles)

What We Like

  • Helps cleans and soothes raw, itchy, and smelly dog ears
  • Keeps dog's ears fresh and dry between baths
  • Ear Relief Wash provides fast, effective relief from red, raw, greasy, itchy, and irritated ears
  • Ear Relief Dry helps to extend the time between ear cleanings
  • Both formulas contain natural ingredients in gentle and soothing combinations
  • Smells nice

What We Don't Like

  • Scent is not for everyone

overall 

4.4/5

Price

$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

Nutri-Vet Ear Cleaning Solution for Dogs

You don't need to spend a lot of money on ear cleaners. And this Nutri-Vet Ear Cleaning Solution for Dogs is proof. The affordable dog ear cleaner helps remove wax, dirt, and debris buildup in your dog's ear canal. Plus, it helps stop itching caused by eczema, insect bites, fleas, contact dermatitis, and chronic ear issues. Its gentle formula is made using science-backed, veterinarian-approved ingredients that work fast.

Size

4 oz (2 bottles)

What We Like

  • Aids in the removal of wax, dirt and other buildup to clean and soothe dog's ears
  • Stops itching from eczema, fungal infections, insect bites, fleas and contact dermatitis
  • Combination of gentle yet effective ingredients that work together to soothe irritated ears and is suitable for all dogs and puppies
  • Formulated by veterinarians
  • Smells nice
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Scent is not for everyone
  • May need to use it more than one time to see result

overall 

4.8/5

Price

$$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

TrizUltra + Ketoconazole Flush for Dogs, Cats & Horses

This TrizUltra + Ketoconazole Flush is a multipurpose antimicrobial and anti-fungal flush that's safe for dogs, cats, and horses. The non-stinging solution contains powerful anti-fungal ingredients— ketoconazole and trizedta— to treat infections caused by yeast and bacteria. Fragrance-free and non-stinging, it's a veterinarian-approved choice for long-term use. Choose the 4-oz bottle for a quick remedy or stock up on the 12-oz bottle for longer treatments.

Size

4 oz; Multiple size available

What We Like

  • Anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-fungal ear and skin flush and cleanser for pets prone to infections caused by yeast and bacteria
  • Fragrance-free
  • Soothing solution can be used as a pretreatment applied 15-30 minutes before applying a topical antibiotic treatment
  • Gentle, non-stinging formula that is safe for long-term use
  • Formulated for dogs, cats, and horses
  • Veterinarian recommended
  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like

  • May need to use it more than one time to see result 
  • Expensive

MalAcetic Otic Cleanser for Dogs & Cats

Best for Bacterial Ear Infections

overall 

4.7/5

Price

$

Ease Of Use

Scent

Value

MalAcetic Otic Cleanser for Dogs & Cats

Treating bacterial infections can be challenging, but this MalAcetic Otic Cleanser is up for the task. Its patented formula features an acetic and boric acid-base that cleans and dries the ear. The cleaning solution also helps balance pH levels to minimize further yeast, bacteria, and fungal growth. Plus, it's got a pleasant apple scent both you and your pet will love. Pet parents can choose from 4-oz, 8-oz, and 16-oz bottles.

Size

4 oz; multiple size available

What We Like

  • A natural medicated solution that cleans and dries the ear for dogs and cats
  • Antimicrobial
  • Cleansing and degreasing solution supports healthy skin for animals with bacterial and/or fungal skin conditions
  • Helps balance skin surface pH making it unfavorable for the overgrowth of fungus and/or yeast
  • Formulated for dogs, cats, and horses
  • Veterinarian recommended
  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like

  • Strong smell and may not be for everyone

FAQs

How To Clean Your Dog's Ears With Liquid Ear Cleaners?

Before dripping liquid ear cleaner into your dog's ear, first, make sure they are feeling comfortable and relaxed. Also, make sure you are in a place where you don't mind ear solutions going everywhere as they may shake their head later on. Be sure to read the instructions of the solution first before applying. And lastly, if your dog appears to be in pain during the cleaning process, stop and talk to your veterinarian.

Step one: Wipe away any visible debris with a clean cotton cloth or pad.

Step two: Tilt your dog's head to one side, lift their ear flap, and apply the solution to the inner ear. Never insert cotton swabs or cotton balls into the ear.

Step three: Massage the base of the ear opening to let the solution do its magic. You may hear a squishing sound as the solution dislodge debris and build-up.

Step four: Let your dog shake away the excess. You may want to have a towel on hand as it will go everywhere.

Step five: Use a cotton pad, ball, or swab to clean any visible part of your dog's ear canal and outer ear.

Once you are done, you can reward your dog with a treat like peanut butter or chew toy.

Do All Dogs Need To Have Their Ears Cleaned?

While all pets benefit from having their ears cleaned from time to time, most dogs don't need frequent ear cleanings. In fact, cleaning your pet's ears too often can lead to irritated ear canals and potential infections. If you're got a particularly temperamental pooch, you may want to leave ear cleaning to a veterinarian or professional groomer.

Liquid ear cleaners are usually the most effective solution than wipes as dogs' ear canals are quite long and narrow. Wipes are perfect for regular maintenance to remove any noticeable odors, excess wax, and brown discharge. You should only apply medicated ear cleaners in case of bacterial, fungal, or yeast infections. Consult your vet to help find the best product for your pet's needs.

What Are Some Benefits Of Cleaning Your Dog' Ears?

Aside from yeast, wax, and fungal build-up, ear mites and trapped water from swimming can cause inflammation and lead to infection. Dogs prone to allergies, have hormonal conditions, or certain breeds can have irritated skin in their ear and make them prone to infection. Cleaning your dog's ears frequently can keep infections at bay.

Here are some common reasons why your dog needs its ears cleaned:

  • Allergies- Seasonal allergies, food allergies, and airborne allergens can cause debris build-up and irritation in a dog's ears. To keep the dog away from these irritants, ear cleaners can help get rid of debris build-up and soothe your dog's ear.
  • Infection- Aside from using antibiotics or topical ointments to treat bacterial and yeast infections, an antibacterial or antifungal ear cleaner can prevent flare-ups. But keep in mind ear cleaner does not treat an existing infection. If you suspect your dog may have an ear infection, take your dog to the vet.
  • Ear mites- Ear mites can cause itchiness, dark discharges, and a foul smell. Using ear cleaners with antiparasitic properties can help remove mites. In addition, you will want to visit the vet for additional medication.
  • Dog breed- Hair or floppy ears dogs are prone to ear issues that can lead to infection due to trapped moisture in their ear and creating an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Cleaning your dog's ear regularly with a cleaning solution can help prevent infections.
  • Hormonal Imbalance- Dogs can undergo hormone changes throughout their lifetime. Hormonal imbalance can cause raw, flaky, discolored, and itchy skin.

How Often Should You Use A Dog Ear Cleaner?

Each product is a bit different, so be sure to read the label carefully — especially if you're using a medicated product. If your pet suffers from chronic ear infections, choose a product that's gentle enough for daily use. Otherwise, use an ear cleaner as part of your weekly or monthly grooming routine. If you're treating an ear infection, you'll want to apply the product at least once per day. Consistency is key to fighting fungal and bacterial growth.

How To Get Your Dog To Get Used To Ear Cleaning?

It's normal for your pet to be reluctant about ear cleaning. There are a few ways you can build trust and help your dog get used to the idea of cleaning their ear.

Touch their ears more often- Get your dog used to the idea of getting their ear touched, especially if they have sensitive ears. To do so, start by touching their ears often and rewarding them with treats to have a positive association experience.

Use a saturated cotton pad- It's normal for your dog to freak out when a liquid cleaner goes inside their ear canal. To get around this, you can use a saturating cotton pad with liquid ear cleaning solution and let it sit at their ear opening. Do not push on it! Massage the opening so the liquid can slowly drip into their ear canal. Then remove the cotton pad and wipe away any gunk.

What Is The Brown Stuff In Your Dog's Ears?

If you notice any dark brown excretions that look like ground coffee, waxy, and yeast-scented substance in your dog's ear, it may be a sign of ear mites or a yeast infection. To correctly diagnose, call your dog's vet to schedule an examination.

lara grisko the pet staff

About the Author

Lara Girsko

Doctor of veterinary medicine with extensive experience in animal welfare with a strong interest in feline medicine and plans to pursue ABVP-Feline specialty board certification. A key member of many local veterinary associations and avid reader of animal related science journals and studies.

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