Best Dog Ear Cleaners - Comparison and Reviews

Becky - author

Author: Becky Roberts
Last Updated: October 2019​

One of the scariest things for a dog owner is the idea of cleaning their dog’s ears. Unfortunately, cleaning the ears is something that every responsible dog owner should do. It helps prevent ear infections by reducing the number of bacteria and yeast in your dog’s ear canal.

Dog on grassThe main difficulty is that most dogs really don’t it when people touch or handle their ears, which makes the process seem impossible. If you have a rescue dog, for example, the chances are they weren’t handled much. This isolation means they tend to react negatively to people touching their sensitive spots.

The best way to make sure that ear cleaning is simple and easy is to start slowly and get your dog used to being handled before trying to clean their ears. If you have a puppy, get them used to having their ears cleaned with plenty of handling, rewards, and praise.

If you’re nervous about cleaning your dog’s ears, your pooch will quickly pick up on your nerves and that will make the entire process even trickier than before. If you’re in doubt, speak to your vet and get their advice and recommendations. A good vet will even take the time to walk you through the process and let you try it out under their supervision. This will allow you to get comfortable with the process when you have to do it alone at home.

Owners can clean a dog’s ears with warm saline, but you’ll find the challenging job easier when you use a specialized ear cleaning product. Some of these products are designed to treat ear infections, but they can also offer a beneficial protective effect if used regularly.

Best Ear Cleaners for Dogs 2019 - Reviews

1. Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution is a robust solution that is used to treat ear infections and heavy wax buildup. It’s able to combat even antibiotic-resistant bacteria thanks to its enzymatic solution that is antibiotic-free. The solution is a patented formula that is designed to be easy to use and effective.

If your dog has problem ears, Zymox Ear Solution may be the right product for you. It works quickly and effectively and doesn’t require any pre-cleaning that can traumatize your pet. All you do is pour the solution down the pet’s ear canal, massage under the ear and let the pet shake the solution out. It’s a stress-free solution for both owners and pets and can be used daily or when needed.

Zymox Ear Solution is manufactured in the United States and complies with good manufacturing practices to ensure that you get a high-quality product every time. The solution is not tested on animals, and Zymox makes sure that all their products are Animal Cruelty-Free certified.

If your dog suffers from chronic ear infections or has excessive wax buildup, Zymox Ear Solution is safe. It’s an effective and easy way to treat the problem. It’s gentle enough to be used daily, yet strong enough to kill off even antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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  • Safe for both cats and dogs
  • Works as both a treatment and preventative cleaner
  • Easy to use with clear instructions on the packaging
  • Approved and recommended by most vets
  • Hydrocortisone helps reduce inflammation and itchiness


  • You may find yourself using a lot of product to clear out severe infections, making it one of the more expensive options available

2. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner

If your dog doesn’t have a severe ear infection, it may be a smart choice to stick to a gentler formula that works as a maintenance solution. Virbac Epi-Otic is an alcohol-free ear cleaner that is gentle and contains no antibiotics.

Virbac Epi-Otic is designed as a routine ear cleaner, and every aspect of its formulation reflects this. It has a low pH designed to discourage bacterial and fungal growth and contains salicylic acid to protect your dog’s ears from infections. It’s designed to remove stubborn ear wax and dry the ear canal to protect it from pathogenic fungi and bacteria.

There are two different Virbac Epi-Otic ear cleaners available, the regular and advanced versions. The advanced version contains an additional ingredient, salicylic acid which helps prevent fungal and bacterial infections. It helps keep the ear canal dry which makes it an unsuitable habitat for pathogens.

The regular version of the Virbac Epi-Otic ear cleaner is still an effective ear cleaning solution. Which one you choose will depend on how prone your dog is to ear infections. If they’re heavily prone and get ear infections regularly, get the advanced solution which will do much to prevent further infections.

If you want to get rid of ear wax and other debris, the regular version is enough.

As you’d expect from a routine ear cleaner, the Virbac Epi-Otic ear cleaning solution is straightforward to use and contains clear instructions on the packaging. All you have to do is apply some to your dog’s ear, massage and let them shake out the excess. The non-irritating formula means that your dog won’t itch afterward and will be protected against ear infections.

However, while the product is a great maintenance solution, you’ll need something stronger if your dog does develop an ear infection. Luckily, Virbac Epi-Otic won’t interfere with any other treatments you’ll be using, making it an excellent supplement to any treatment program.

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  • Gentle formulation that can be used on adult dogs and puppies
  • Salicylic acid prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi in the ear canal
  • Won’t interfere with any other ear treatments
  • Good value for money


  • Can’t be used as a treatment for ear infections

3. Mister Ben’s Ear Tonic with Aloe

If you’re looking for a product made with natural ingredients, without synthetic enzymes, steroids, and compounds, then Mister Ben’s Ear Tonic is the right choice. All of the ingredients in this tonic are derived from natural sources and are certified organic.

Mister Ben’s Ear Tonic contains five ingredients that address the root causes of ear infections: boric acid is an astringent, vinegar is a cleaning agent to remove wax, iodine is an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial compound, isopropyl alcohol is an antimicrobial.

It also contains cold-pressed aloe vera that has been proven to soothe and reduce inflammation. It also helps protect the dog’s ear canal and can prevent itching and redness.

The tonic can be used to address any ear problems your dog may have. As a routine ear cleaner, it can get rid of wax buildup and keep your dog’s ears clean and fresh. It can also be used as a treatment against ear mites and ear infections. It can be used on a daily basis, and you should see results within several days.

If you’ve ever been worried about whether you’re using too much or too little ear cleaning solution, Mister Ben’s tonic comes with a convenient dropper that allows you to measure the right dosage for your dog precisely.  

When you buy this tonic, you also receive a free booklet that addresses dog ear health. It advises what you can do to keep your dog’s ears in perfect condition. It answers most questions that dog owners have and will give you a step-by-step guide on how to effectively clean your dog’s ears.

Every purchase of this product also results in a donation to the Last Chance Animal Rescue in New York, so not only are you giving your dog the best natural treatment possible, but you’re also helping less fortunate dogs as well.

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  • Contains only naturally derived, organic ingredients
  • Is gentle enough to use on a regular basis, yet strong enough to be used to treat various ear problems
  • The dropper helps you measure the right amount of tonic to use
  • Affordable


  • Contains alcohol which may not be suitable for dogs with sensitive ears
  • Some people prefer synthetic products which do the same job more effectively

4. Miracle Care Dog Ear Powder

Some dogs have hairy ears that can trap ear wax and other junk. This hair provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which is why certain breeds, like poodles and Havanese dogs, get frequent ear infections. There are several options to remove this hair, some of which can be incredibly painful and stressful to the dog.

Ear powder is often used to remove hair quickly and painlessly. Miracle Care dog ear powder happens to be the premium hair removal powder for hairy dogs on the market. It’s easy to use, and a little goes a very long way with this product.

By killing off the hair at the root, the powder gives you enough grip to be able to remove any hairs from your dog’s ears without it hurting them. If you have a dog that suffers from chronic ear infections due to excessive ear hair, this product is a necessity.

Miracle Care Dog Ear Powder contains zinc oxide, silicon dioxide, methyl salicylate, rosin, and bentonite. These ingredients help remove hair from the inner ear and ear canal quickly and easily. The residue that’s left behind will help protect your dog’s ears from fungal and bacterial infections, too.

The manufacturers of the Miracle Care Dog Ear Powder recommend using the product as the first step in their ear care regimen. As such, we would recommend Miracle Care dog ear powder as an excellent supplement, but not as a replacement for traditional ear-care methods such as wipes and solutions.

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  • Helps remove ear hair painlessly and easily
  • Helps prevent ear infections by removing ear hair and keeping the ear canal dry
  • Only a little is required to get results, so that a 12g container will last you a good while


  • Can be incredibly messy to use
  • Doesn’t replace other ear care methods

How to Clean a Dog’s Ears!

Dog ears are incredibly sensitive to ear infections as their ear canal is moist and warm, a perfect place for fungi and bacteria to grow. Ear cleaning solutions can prevent infections from starting by keeping the environment in the ear canal dry. It also helps to regularly remove grit and grime that could lead to infections in the long run.

healthy dog

Why Can’t I Just Go to the Vet?

Nothing is stopping you from letting your vet handle your dog’s ear hygiene, but you may find that your bills will rack up quite quickly. If your dog is healthy and doesn’t get ear infections, then it may be worthwhile to have the vet check their ears on a monthly basis.

If you’ve got a dog that gets frequent ear infections, you’ll quickly reach the point where it’s easier just to do it yourself, not to mention cheaper. By doing it yourself, you’ll find that your dog is less stressed, which will also allow them to bounce back quicker. You’ll quickly get into the habit of regular ear cleaning maintenance, and soon it will just become a normal part of the weekly routine for both of you.

How Often Should I Clean My Dog’s Ears?

To keep your dog’s ears free of infection, the experts recommend you clean their ears using a maintenance solution around once a week. If you have a dog that has clean ears that don’t get dirty, you can extend this to twice a month instead. Alternatively, if your dog is prone to ear infections, you can clean their ears on up to a daily basis.

If you notice early signs of an ear infection, it’s a good idea to use an ear cleaning solution on a daily basis for a couple of days to see if it clears up. If it doesn’t, consult with a vet before the problem gets even worse.

Some signs that you should watch out for is your dog shaking its head, scratching one or both ears incessantly and having a red and painful-looking inner ear. You may also notice a bad smell coming from their ears as well as an unpleasant discharge.

Why are Dog’s Ears So Hard to Clean?

Many dog owners have the perception that cleaning their dog’s ears is a difficult and challenging task. The main reason is the dogs are unaccustomed to having their ears handled. It can terrify the poor dogs when you pour something into their ear canal, causing panic and defensive aggression.

Dog with ownerThat’s why it’s essential to start an ear cleaning routine as early as possible with your puppy. They will learn that there is nothing to worry about, and the entire process can conclude in a couple of minutes.

If you’ve adopted an older dog or were lax with your puppy, you can use several training techniques to get your dog comfortable with having their ears handled, and eventually cleaned. This patient approach will help both you and your dog relax, making the process much easier for everybody involved.

Another reason why a dog’s ears are so hard to clean is due to their physiology. Dogs have an L-shaped ear canal that is much more difficult to clean than our straight one. You can’t simply insert an earbud and expect to clean the dog’s whole ear canal. You shouldn’t be using an earbud in your ear canal either, by the way.

That’s why various other methodologies have been invented to properly clean out the entire ear canal and prevent wax buildup and infections.

What are the Steps for Cleaning My Dog’s Ears?

Now that you understand why it’s important to keep your dog’s ears clean, you can try out the process yourself. It’s actually surprisingly easy, and you’ll be amazed that you’ve never tried it before.

The first step is to ensure that your dog is relaxed. Ideally, your dog should be sitting or lying down, and you should be rewarding them every step of the way. Make sure your dog is calm before starting, as any movement will make the process much more difficult and frustrating.

If you’re using a liquid ear cleaning solution, you simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Most will have you pour a couple of drops of liquid into your dog’s ear canal. You can warm the solution up in your hands before starting to reduce the shock of getting cold stuff in their head.

Once the solution is in, massage your dog’s head directly under the ear base. Most dogs will love this unless they have an ear infection, which may make the process painful. If your dog looks uncomfortable or in pain, stop massaging, and just let the liquid sit in their ear canal instead.

After around two minutes, you can let your dog go. Their natural instinct will be to shake to get rid of the liquid in their ears. Be prepared for flying gunk, particularly if you haven’t cleaned their ears in a while. If you don’t want your walls coated in dog earwax, consider doing the entire exercise outside.

Once you’ve caught your dog, you can gently use cotton swabs or ear wipes to clean out the outer ear and as much of the vertical ear canal as you can reach. If you see a lot of gunk remaining in your dog’s ear canal, repeat the entire process the next day, until the cavity looks clean and healthy. Try to use a product that dries quickly in order to prevent a buildup of moisture in your dog’s ear canal.

Apply any follow-up treatments if necessary. If your dog has an ear infection, you can then apply the ointment or treatment once the wax buildup has been removed. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the fact that cleaning your dog’s ears is actually surprisingly easy.

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