Did you know that dogs can hear a range of sounds over three times larger than we can? So, it’s safe to say that your dog’s ear health is incredibly important to their wellbeing.
Unfortunately, many dogs are also prone to health problems affecting the ears, including infection and buildup of debris. Without proper care, your dog could be left with pain and itching that requires a trip to the veterinary clinic.
While at-home dog ear cleaning won’t prevent 100 percent of your dog’s potential ear problems, it can go a very long way in keeping your dog healthy. To help you narrow down the best dog ear cleaning solution out there, we’ve put together reviews of some of the top formulas currently available. After all, don’t you want your dog to be as healthy and comfortable as possible?
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (2022 Update)
The 10 Best Dog Ear Cleaning Solutions
1. EcoEars Natural Ear Cleaner for Dogs – Best Overall
If your vet has recommended cleaning your dog’s ears, then you probably want to jump straight to the best ear cleaner for dogs out there. The EcoEars Natural Dog Ear Cleaning Solution is our top pick when it comes to over-the-counter dog ear cleaning solutions. This formula uses all-natural ingredients to clean away dirt and irritants.
Along with washing away dirt or bacteria that may have found its way into your dog’s ears, this cleaner will also help manage wax buildup and odor. For clearing away mild symptoms, including bad smells, itching, or visible buildup, EcoEars recommends using this product for at least 7 to 10 days.
Because this dog ear cleaning solution contains alcohol, it’s not the best option for dogs with sensitive skin or open wounds around their ears. Some owners also disliked the smell of this solution.
2. Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse – Best Value
Oftentimes, we find ourselves in need of the best products for our dogs that also won’t break the bank. Our pick for the best dog ear cleaning solution for the money is the Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse. This formula is designed by veterinarians to be gentle on your dog’s ears.
Using this dog ear cleaning solution will clean and deodorize your dog’s ears, alleviating itching and foul odors. It can wash away dirt, natural wax buildup, and other debris that’s found its way into your dog’s ears. Whether your dog is big or small, this solution will work just fine.
While this formula is gentle to an extent, it does contain some ingredients that may irritate sensitive skin or open wounds. Because of this, some dog owners report issues. Some dogs are also afraid of the spray bottle design.
3. VetWELL Dog Ear Cleaning Solution – Best for Yeast Infections
Because of the shape of dogs’ ear canals, yeast infections are surprisingly common. These infections can lead to pain, itching, and other discomfort. Along with veterinarian-prescribed medications, the VetWELL Dog Ear Cleaning Solution is an option for treating your dog’s discomfort.
This ear cleaner for dogs helps wash away yeast, bacteria, and other fungi that might be irritating your dog’s ears. Using this cleaner can help relieve symptoms and get your dog feeling better. Every bottle of this dog ear cleaning solution is made in the United States.
Despite the active ingredients in this formula, many dog owners report zero results after using it to treat their dog’s yeast infection. Some also reported that while this solution helped alleviate symptoms and prevented the infection from getting worse, it did nothing to actually eliminate it.
4. Zymox Ear Cleanser
The Zymox 006PKB-4OZ Ear Cleanser is a simple, non-toxic formula that can help prevent dirty ears, especially if your dog’s breed is prone to them. It helps deodorize your dog’s ears without leaving behind a strong odor of its own.
This liquid ear cleaner for dogs is made without harsh chemicals and won’t leave behind a residue after use. It can also safely be used on cats.
While this formula relies on gentle ingredients, some owners report seeing redness or even an allergic reaction in their dog after using this product. It can also become sticky and create mats in dogs with long hair around their ears.
5. Virbac Epi-Otic Ear Cleaner for Dogs
The Virbac 3108 Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for dogs is an alcohol-free solution that can wash away dirt and dry up oil and other buildup. It is designed with a low pH that is perfectly suited to the natural state of your dog’s ears.
This formula is best used as a routine ear cleaner or as preparation for administering veterinarian-prescribed ear medications. This ear cleaning solution will easily remove wax, dead skin cells, and debris while simultaneously eliminating bad odors. It also contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial ingredients.
Unfortunately, some dog owners still report redness, swelling, and generalized irritation after using this product. The solution may also have a bad smell.
6. Vetoquinol Ear Cleansing Solution
The next ear cleaning solution on our list is another product that is safe for both cats and dogs. While the Vetoquinol 411441 Ear Cleansing Solution does contain alcohol and lactic acid to dry excess oil and moisture from the ear canal, it also contains aloe to soothe and soften the skin.
You can use this solution for routine cleaning or to alleviate itching and irritation from dirt inside your dog’s ears. It will clean and deodorize your dog’s ear canal, potentially preventing future infections.
The high concentration of alcohol in this solution can be an issue if your dog has sensitive skin or an open wound in or around their ear. If you notice redness or irritation after using this product, your dog may be reacting to the alcohol or lactic acid. It also has a very strong perfume scent.
7. Pet MD Otic Clean Dog Ear Cleaning Solution
The Pet MD 840235137528 Otic Clean Dog Ear Cleaner is veterinarian-formulated in the United States to clean, deodorize, and balance the pH of your dog’s ears. It will remove wax, moisture, dirt, and other unwanted debris from your dog’s ear canal.
This formula also contains aloe vera to help soothe redness and irritation in and around the ear. It is safe to use on adult dogs, puppies, and cats. This dog ear cleaning solution features a Sweet Pea Vanilla scent.
While many owners enjoyed the scent of this cleaning solution, others were unimpressed. Because this formula contains alcohol, it can cause pain and irritation in some dogs. The applicator is also difficult to use.
8. Doggie Dailies Pet Ear Cleaner
The Doggie Dailies Pet Ear Cleaner contains ingredients like witch hazel, aloe vera, tea tree oil, and echinacea to clean your dog’s ears while also leaving them smelling fresh. It’s designed with a mild scent that won’t irritate you or your dog. This ear cleaning solution is made in the United States and is also safe to use on your cats.
Routine use of this formula can help loosen and remove dirt, oil, and other unwanted substances from your dog’s ears. The bottle is specially designed to make administering the right amount of solution easier on both you and your pet.
One of the most important things to consider about this ear cleaning solution is its inclusion of tea tree oil. While this oil is safe for dogs and cats in small amounts — the amount within this formula is likely fine — many owners are understandably uncomfortable with its use. Smaller dogs may be at higher risk than larger dogs.
9. Mighty Petz Dog Ear Cleaner
If you want to maintain your dog’s ear health, the Mighty Petz Dog Ear Cleaner may be a good ear cleaning solution to try. This formula is safe for dogs and cats who are prone to ear infections and need a little extra TLC to stay healthy. It can alleviate itching and irritation within just 3 days of regular use.
This ear cleaning solution is made in an FDA-registered facility in the United States and goes through rigorous third-party testing. In other words, you can feel confident knowing you’re getting exactly what is advertised. Plus, this formula features a refreshing cucumber and melon scent.
Although this product’s scent sounds good in theory, there are still some owners who disliked it. The formula is gentle, but the results are less noticeable than those of stronger products.
10. PetHonesty Dog Ear Cleaner
The last dog ear cleaning solution on our list is the PetHonesty Dog Ear Cleaner. This formula can help prevent infections and generalized irritation in dogs prone to ear problems. It can eliminate dirt, wax, and symptoms like itching in as little as 7 to 10 days.
The salicylic acid and benzoic acid in this veterinarian-strength dog ear cleaning solution can help fight harmful bacteria and microbes present in your dog’s ears. It also promises to balance the pH of your dog’s ears and is safe for sensitive skin.
Sadly, some owners report burning and redness in their dog’s ears immediately after using this ear cleaning solution. Some dogs even developed scabs. This product seems to work better for maintaining healthy ears than for fixing irritated or infected ones.
Buyer’s Guide – Finding the Best Ear Cleaner for Dogs
As with any medical issue, we always suggest consulting with your veterinarian if you have any concerns. With that said, knowing the answers to just a handful of questions can make shopping for the best ear cleaner for dogs significantly easier.
Is your dog at risk of ear infection?
When bringing home a new pup, it’s important to know what health conditions they’re at an increased risk of developing. Here are some of the breeds most at risk of ear infection:
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retrievers
- Pit Bulls
- Cocker Spaniels
As a general rule, floppy-eared dogs are more likely to develop ear infections than those with erect or semi-erect ears. However, some breeds are naturally more likely to experience ear infections than others regardless of their ear type.
Other risk factors include the amount of fur around your dog’s ears and the presence of skin folds. Dog breeds with plenty of fur growing in and around their ears are more likely to develop ear problems because this fur traps dirt and bacteria inside the ear canal. At the same time, breeds with skin folds, like the Shar-Pei, tend to experience the same problem because of their skin type.
What do the ingredients in your dog’s ear cleaner actually do?
Different ingredients accomplish different things, so knowing what the most popular ear cleaning solution ingredients do can be extremely helpful.
You may wonder why alcohol is present in your dog’s ear cleaning solution, but it actually plays an important role. Because bacteria needs moisture to flourish, drying ingredients like alcohol help turn your dog’s ears into a less habitable home for these harmful organisms.
Of course, alcohol and similar ingredients can also dry out your dog’s skin.
Increasing the acidity of your dog’s canal can help prevent the growth of bacteria, which is why you often find ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoic acid, and lactic acid in these products.
This ingredient is a popular choice for fighting fungal infections, especially in dog ears. Many formulas with this ingredient require a vet’s approval to purchase.
These ingredients are extremely effective at breaking up natural wax buildup in your dog’s ears. While some earwax is normal, excessive wax production can increase the risk of infection or irritation.
When should you see a vet about your dog’s ears?
If you notice any changes to your dog’s ear health, including itching, head shaking, or visible irritation, it’s time for a vet appointment. Once your vet has taken a look at your dog’s ears, they can offer suggestions for how to manage the issue at home. If necessary, they will also provide a prescription for stronger ear medication.
Remember that while routine use of ear cleaning solutions can help maintain your dog’s ear health, it is not a replacement for veterinary care. What may look like mild irritation to you could actually be the start of a serious infection. It’s always best to get your vet’s opinion for attempting an at-home treatment plan.
For many dogs, ear cleaning is a regular part of their day-to-day grooming routine. Finding the right ear cleaning solution for your pup isn’t always the easiest task, though.
After reviewing some of the best solutions out there, our top pick is the EcoEars Natural Dog Ear Cleaner. This solution is formulated with natural ingredients and helps alleviate some of the most common ear issues. Once you add this formula to your dog’s daily care, you can expect to see results in 7 to 10 days.
If you want to test out a regular ear cleaning schedule with your dog but don’t want to spend a fortune, the Nutri-Vet 1001044 Ear Cleanse is one of the best options available. This formula is created by veterinarians to clean and deodorize the ears of any size dog.
Last but not least, there’s a good chance you’re looking for an ear cleaning solution specifically targeted toward yeast infections. In these cases, we suggest the VetWELL Dog Ear Cleaner Solution. This cleaner can help eliminate ear mites, yeast, and bacteria while alleviating pain and itching.
If you have any questions about your dog’s ears or which cleaning solution is best, we recommend getting in touch with your veterinarian. Otherwise, we hope our reviews have helped eliminate some of the mystery around choosing an ear cleaning solution for your furry friend!
Featured Image Credit: mantinov, shutterstock