Best Dog Ear Cleaner: Keep Those Ears Clean & Infection Free

Latest Update: August 30, 2018

Best Dog Ear Cleaners on the Market

Notice a funny odor coming from your dog's ear? Do you see wax building up inside? Maybe your veterinarian recommended you begin a cleaning regime to prevent your dog from suffering from ear infections.

Whatever the reason is, it is crucial that you find the best dog ear cleaner for your four-legged family member. We curated a list of our top five picks for the best dog ear cleaners along with creating a buyer's guide to ensure that you find a product that meets your canine's needs.

Our Top Picks for the Best Dog Ear Cleaner

What is a Dog Ear Cleaner and Why Do I Need to Clean My Dog's Ears?

As the name implies, a dog ear cleaner removes excessive wax and debris from your dog's ear to prevent infection and promote good hygiene.

Cleaning your canine's ears is a proven method to decrease the chances of your dog developing excess wax, debris build-up, and ear infections. If these issues are left untreated, they can result in soreness and severe health issues such as deafness.

A good ear cleaning regimen can save you money on antibiotics and vet bills, as it prevents future problems.

Good ear hygiene is essential for dogs since they have deep ear canals with plenty of nooks and crannies; which make for an excellent spot for yeast, bacteria, and parasites to grow.

Poor ear hygiene can make your dog's ears smell terrible, feel itchy, and result in further health issues. Your dog can even do more damage if he scratches excessively.

Check your dog's ears often for any indication of ear-related issues.

Signs of an ear infection or an ear-related issue include:

  • Abnormal odor coming from your dog's ear
  • Ear discharge
  • Excessive ear wax
  • Swelling or bumps on ear
  • Ears turn red on the inside
  • Hair inside your dog's ear starts falling out
  • Ear wax is darker in color, comparable to coffee grounds

Common Ear Problems in Dogs

Vet checking dog's ears

A good ear cleaning regimen is vital to your dog's overall health. There are many common ear problems that are avoidable by regularly cleaning your dog's ears.

Foreign Body Obstruction

Small rocks, plant debris, and other tiny particles can get stuck in your dog's ears, which can result in a painful obstruction and hearing problems. Cleaning your dog's ears can remove any particles that may get lodged in your dog's ears.

Mite Infestations

Pests, like mites, spread easily through contact with other infected animals. These parasites can live off the oils and built-up wax in your dog's ears.

You can detect them by the dark discharge that they produce; it is dark and resembles coffee grounds. This discharge can obstruct your canine's ear canals, causing more health ailments down the road.

Mites cause itchiness and irritation; however, your dog may make it worse when he scratches or shakes his head. Ear cleansers help reduce symptoms of ear mites, but your vet will need to prescribe medication to get rid of them entirely.

Yeast Infections

Fungal infections are not easy to treat as the microorganisms are much sturdier than bacteria. This results in a longer treatment process.

Regular cleaning your dog's ears with an otic solution that has antifungal properties help prevent yeast infections.

Bacterial Infections

Staphylococcal infections are surprisingly common among dogs, as bacteria multiply in their ears quickly. Using an otic solution that has antibacterial properties helps prevent bacterial infections while removing debris.

Airborne Ear Allergies

Airborne allergens such as dust and pollen can cause your dog to have allergic reactions. A good ear cleaning after a bath can help remove the dust and pollen from your dog's ears, as it is easy for them to get stuck in there and go unnoticed.

Types of Dog Ear Cleaners

There are two types of dog ear cleaners, and each one of them has advantages and disadvantages.

  • Otic Drops
  • Otic Wipes

Otic drops resemble eye drops; however, they are designed for ear use. The pet owner places a few drops inside the ear canal, leaves it in for a few seconds, and then massages the base of the ear.

Massing the base of the ear breaks up ear wax and loosens particles and debris. An otic solution is ideal for cleaning the innermost parts of the ear; however, it can become very messy if your dog shakes his head to get the remaining excess fluid out.

Canine otic wipes resemble wet wipes. They are often made from soft cotton so that they do not irrate your dog's ear.

They are convenient for daily use and easy to use; however, wipes are only ideal for cleaning the outermost parts of the external ear.

Liquid vs. Wipe Ear Cleaners: Which is Best?


Pros: Wipes do not require any additional purchases, as the wipe is infused with the solution making it very convenient. Ear wipes are not as messy as liquid ear cleaning products.

Cons: Wipes are ideal for the outermost parts of the external ear, as they do not go deep into the ear canal. Wipes cannot loosen wax buildup and debris that are deeper in the ear.

Liquid Solutions

Pros: Liquid solutions loosen up wax and debris that are deep in the ear canal, as the solution drips inside the ear and is then massaged from the outside to loosen it.

Cons: Liquid products can be messier than wipes, as your dog will shake his head to remove excess liquid. To clean the tops of the ears more effectively, you may want to purchase cotton pads or wipes.

How to Clean Your Dog's Ears

  • Make sure your pet is calm before beginning the ear cleaning process.
  • Bring your pet into a well-light area. Enlist the assistance of a helper if your pet is a little feisty.
  • Start with wet wipes. Use them to clean the outer portion of your pup's ears, working from the outside in.
  • Straighten your dog's ear before slowly inserting the tip of the dropper. Squirt one to two drops into the ear canal.
  • If the manufacturer or your vet recommends another amount of drops, follow their advice.
  • After removing the dropper, leave the solution in your dog's ear for 60 to 90 seconds. During this time, massage the outside of your dog's ear at the base.
  • After 90 seconds, encourage your dog to shake its help to remove any excess liquid.
  • Use another otic wipe to clean the rest of the ear.
  • Repeat this process on the other ear.
  • Give your four-legged friend hugs and treats once the process is complete!

Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Dog Ear Cleaners

1. Zymox Ear Cleanser with Bio-Active Enzymes

Zymox Ear Cleanser with Bio-Active Enzymes

The Zymox Ear Cleanser with Bio-Active Enzymes is a liquid dog ear cleansing solution that comes in a 4-ounce bottle. It is free of harsh chemicals and harsh cleaners.

This product is best used weekly as a preventative treatment against wax build-up and infections. It efficiently manages your dog's ear hygiene without using any strong chemicals that often cause skin irritation.

This ear cleanser can be applied to a cotton pad and rubbed onto your dog's ear or dripped in the ear canal before massaging the base of the ear.

Some owners report using this ear cleanser injunction with the Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone for the best results possible. Buyers have also stated that this product smells fresh, unlike other dog ear cleaners.

Things We Liked
  • Fairly easy to use
  • Does not contain harsh chemicals, making it great for sensitive skin
  • Effective at dislodging wax build-up
  • Has a pleasant smell
Things We Didn't Like
  • Will not treat an ear infection that has already developed
  • Works best as a preventative measure
  • Can be messy, since it is a liquid

2. Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone

Zymox Otic Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone

This ear treatment by Zymox contains three natural anti-microbial enzymes which are lactoferrin, lysosome, and lactoperoxidase. It also contains 1% hydrocortisone, used to calm itchy skin.

It comes in three sizes - 1.25 ounces, 4-ounces, and 8 ounces. Unlike other products, this formula improves acute infections and chronic infections within a few days after the treatment is complete.

Many pet owners adore this product because their dogs will not develop antibiotic resistance since it does not contain any antibiotics. It is not a drug-based treatment, meaning that it will not disrupt your pet's body system.

Some pet owners stated that this product cleared cases of external ear infection, otitis extrema, and ear mites that their dogs had been battling.

One buyer stated that the hydrocortisone in this product worsened her dog's rental problems and cataracts. A few buyers also noted that this product did not clear their dog's ear infection and that it is too harsh for their dog's ears.

Things We Liked
  • Made with three natural anti-microbial enzymes
  • Contains 1% hydrocortisone
  • Available in three sizes - 1.25-ounces, 4-ounces, and 8-ounces
  • Customers love that this product does not contain antibiotics
Things We Didn't Like
  • One pet owner stated that this product worsened her dog's renal problems and cataracts due to the hydrocortisone in this formula
  • A few owners reported that this product did not clear up their pet's ear infection
  • Some people have stated that this product is too harsh for their dogs' ears
  • Expensive

3. EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner and Dog Ear Infection Formula

EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner Infection Formula

EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner and Dog Ear Infection Formula is an ear cleaner and infection medicine in one bottle. This formula is made from natural ingredients including extracts from tea tree oil, rosemary, and mullein left.

The natural ingredients in this formula were used due to their healing properties and their ability to soothe inflammation while removing wax buildup. Ideally, use this ear cleaner on your dog once a week to remove dirt, gunk, and wax while protecting the ear from mites and microorganisms.

To clear ear infections, use this product twice daily for seven to ten days. Odors, redness, and itchiness subside after two to three days of application.

Owners of pets that suffer from chronic ear infections rave about this product as it works to clear irritations and prevent ear infections from occurring.

One buyer stated that her two dogs had adverse reactions to this product and were taken to the ER because this product made their ear infections worse. Other dissatisfied customers reported that this cleaner helped remove the odor in their pet's ears, but did not clear up their ear infection.

Things We Liked
  • Made with natural ingredients such as extracts from tea tree oil, rosemary, and mullein leaf
  • No antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, or hydrocortisone
  • All-in-one treatment and ear cleaner
  • Made in the USA
Things We Didn't Like
  • Only one size bottle
  • One customer's dogs had adverse reactions and made their ear infections worse
  • Some customers noted that this product removed the odor from their pet's ears but did not clear their ear infections

4. Pet Aroma Care Ear Wipes

Pet AromaCare Ear Wipes

Pet Aroma Care Ear Wipes prevent ear buildup and infections in your dog's ear, in a simple and convenient way. These disposable wipes are ideal because they are mess-free and keep your dog's ears super clean.

This product comes with 100 wipes in each container. Each wipe has aloe vera and eucalyptus to clean and deodorize your pup's ears.

Many owners reported that their dogs do not mind having their ears cleaned with this affordable product. They also stated that the wipes are very durable and smell pleasant.

In rare cases, a few owners noted redness and breakouts after using this product on their dogs. The most common complaint among customers is how small the wipes are.

Things We Liked
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use and mess-free
  • Made with aloe vera and eucalyptus
  • Customers noted that wipes are very durable
Things We Didn't Like
  • In rare cases, customers noticed redness and breakouts on their dog's ears after using this product
  • This product is meant for preventative care and cleanings, but it will not cure current ear infections
  • Many people complain that the wipes are too small and not ideal for dogs with larger ears

5. Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes

Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes

Pet MD Cleaner Wipes are another excellent option to remove wax, debris, and odor from your dog's outer ears while discouraging infections. Each container has 100 disposal wipes.

This US-made product is free of alcohol and non-irritating. It can be used on puppies over twelve weeks old.

Each wipe contains aloe vera extract, purified water, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and eucalyptus oil.

Dog owners reported that these wipes are easy to use daily and also reduced how often their dogs suffered from ear infections. However, wipes do not work for all cases as they do not wash the ear canal like liquid cleansers.

A few customers were dissatisfied with the scent of these wipes and how thin they are. Even positive customers stated that the wipes did not hold liquid well and left their dogs' ears wet after each use.

Things We Liked
  • 100 wipes per container
  • Alcohol Free
  • Made in the USA
  • More convenient than liquid solutions and it is easy to use
Things We Didn't Like
  • May not work well in cases where the dog needs a liquid cleanser to wash his ear canal
  • Some customers didn't like the wipe's scent
  • Customers noted that the wipes were thin and did not hold the liquid well

Our Top Pick

Overall, the best dog ear cleaner is EcoEars' Dog Ear Cleaner and Dog Ear Infection Formula. It is an all-in-one product that provides long-lasting results as a treatment and cleaner. Unlike other products, it clears up infections and rids your dog's ears of mites without antibiotics. It is also safe to use as a part of your dog's daily ear cleaning regimen after the treatment is complete.

Best Dog Ear Cleaner: Keep Those Ears Clean & Infection Free
Best Dog Ear Cleaner: Keep Those Ears Clean & Infection Free
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