Best Dog Ear Cleaners - Comparison and Reviews

Becky - author

Author: Becky Roberts
Last Updated: September 2020​

Happy dog with clean ears

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.

Owners can clean a dog’s ears with warm saline, but you’ll find a challenging job easier when you use a specialized ear cleaning product. Some of the dog ear cleaners are designed to treat ear infections, but they can also offer a beneficial protective effect if used regularly. We have reviewed some of the best dog ear cleaners in the market to help you choose the right cleanser for your dog ears.

Our Top Picks

1. Zymox Otic Dog Ear Cleaner

ZYMOX Ear Solution | The Only No Pre-Clean Once -a-Day Dog and Cat Ear Solution | Natural Enzyme Formula | Veterinarian Recommended | Patented Enzyme Formula | Contains Hydrocortisone for Comfort

  • Highly recommended by Vets
  • 1% Hydrocortisone for itch relief

2. Vet Organics Natural Dog Ear Cleaner

Vet Organics Dog Ear Cleaner. Natural Multi-Symptom Formula. for Itch, Head Shaking, Discharge & Smell. Naturally Cleanses Away Common Problems. 100% Guaranteed | EcoEars

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Multi-symptom formula

3. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for Dogs

Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner, 8 oz

  • Best for routine ear cleaning
  • No chlorhexidine or alcohol

Best Dog Ear Cleaners 2020 - Reviews

1. Zymox Otic Dog Ear Cleaner

Zymox Otic enzymatic ear cleaner is a robust solution that is used to treat ear infections and heavy wax buildup. It’s able to combat even antibiotic-resistant bacteria, viral and yeast infection 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.

Zymox is the best product to treat dog ear infections. The cleanser works quickly and effectively and doesn’t require any pre-cleaning that can traumatize your pet. All you do is pour the drops 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 cleaner 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 its products are Animal Cruelty-Free certified.

If your dog suffers from chronic ear infections or has excessive wax or debris 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 the bacteria and yeast infections.

ZYMOX Ear Solution | The Only No Pre-Clean Once -a-Day Dog and Cat Ear Solution | Natural Enzyme Formula | Veterinarian Recommended | Patented Enzyme Formula | Contains Hydrocortisone for Comfort

Pros

  • Best for treating dog’s external ear inflammation caused by bacteria and yeast infection
  • 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 in ears

Cons

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

2. Vet Organics Natural Dog Ear Cleaner

Vet Organics EcoEars eliminates pathogens, dirt, grime, and other foreign substances that invade your dog’s ears. You can use it to treat one-time ear infections, yeasty ears, or chronic ear problems, and the results are long-lasting.

Wax buildup and dirt aren’t the only problems that affect your dog’s ears; Yeast infections can cause inflammation and redness. Both can make your dog feel uncomfortable, and instead of sleeping and playing, they’ll be scratching their ears incessantly. EcoEars offers much-needed pain relief, clears up the Yeast, and removes itching.

EcoEars contains safe and natural ingredients, including witch hazel, vegetable glycerin, rosemary extract, and deionized water. These ingredients, along with others, work together to fight off infections and promote clean and healthy ears of your dog.

For the best results, the manufacturer recommends that you treat the dog’s ear twice a day for 10 consecutive days. You will start seeing the good results in just a couple of days.

Vet Organics Dog Ear Cleaner. Natural Multi-Symptom Formula. for Itch, Head Shaking, Discharge & Smell. Naturally Cleanses Away Common Problems. 100% Guaranteed | EcoEars

Pros

  • Multi-symptom formula
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Fast-acting and effective

Cons

  • Contains alcohol

3. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for Dogs

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 dogs are 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.

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.

Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner, 8 oz

Pros

  • Best for routine ear cleansing of dogs
  • 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

Cons

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

4. Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes

If you’re looking for veterinary-formulated cleansers for your pets, you won’t go wrong with Pet MD Ear Cleaning Wipes. It’s manufactured in the USA in small batches, ensuring you get fresh and pure wipes. Pet MD Ear Wipes contains aloe vera and eucalyptus, two ingredients that promote healthy, clean, and fresh-smelling dog ears.

When the dogs’ ears start itching, these wipes will help to soothe the redness and itchiness. You can use it to fight infections without resorting to harsh medications, and each application curbs yeast and mites that cause painful itching. The wipes are gentle and effective for everyday use.

Every pet owner wants convenient and easy-to-use wipes. These hygienic wipes don’t have messy liquids and are premoistened, helping to keep the dog’s ears clean and free of wax and discharge.

Pet MD - Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes - Otic Cleanser for Dogs to Stop Itching, Yeast and Mites with Aloe and Eucalyptus - 100 Count

Pros

  • Extremely safe and effective
  • Alcohol-free formula
  • Very convenient

Cons

  • Wipes tend to stick together

5. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy for Dogs

When your dogs and cats get plagued with regular ear infections, only an effective and affordable solution like Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy can bring lasting relief. It treats bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections in your pets, but it goes beyond only treating infections. This cleaner will also cleanse, disinfect, and deodorize the ears, three attributes that you should look in the ear cleaner of dogs.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care is gentle on the ears of your pets. Since it’s alcohol-free and all-natural, it has a mild scent and is 100% safe. Although it comes in a small bottle, a little goes a long way with this treatment. It is easy to apply, and you can use it on your cats, dogs, and other small animals over 12 weeks.

Who says ear cleaners should be expensive? Veterinary Formula Clinical Care is a premium medicated product with veterinary-grade ingredients, and the manufacturer offers the product at a price that most pet owners can afford.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy, 4 oz. – Medicated Formula Treats Bacterial, Fungal and Yeast Infections in Dogs and Cats – Cleans, Disinfects and Deodorizes

Pros

  • Medically formulated therapy
  • Cleans and deodorizes
  • Mild scent

Cons

  • Not suitable for all dogs

6. VetWELL Cat and Dog Ear Cleaner

Developed by vets in the USA, VetWELL Cat and Dog Ear Cleaner is a mild cleanser that helps you fight stinky and uncomfortable ears. It cleanses the ear canals of your cats and dogs, helping to keep them clear from wax, debris, and dirt. With every application, you can expect less scratching, head shaking, and fewer infections. It’s specially formulated to keep ears free from yeast, moisture, and harmful bacteria while reducing swimmer’s ear.

The other good thing about VetWELL Cat and Dog Ear cleanser is that it’s odor-free. It keeps the dog’s ears odorless but fresh-smelling for those reassuring hugs and kisses. Made with Aloe Vera, it’s also safe and gentle enough for daily use.

VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats - Otic Rinse for Infections and Controlling Yeast, Mites and Odor in Pets - 8 oz (Cucumber Melon)

Pros

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Cleanses & soothe ears
  • Dries out moisture-affected ears

Cons

  • NA

7. Burt’s Bees Dog Ear Cleaner With Natural Ingredients

Burt’s Bees Ear Cleaner is a powerful and safe way to clean a dog’s sensitive ears. Made from all-natural ingredients, it’s gentle to your pet and doesn’t have chemicals, colorants, or sulfates that could cause irritation. Like other ear cleaners, its pH is balanced for most puppies and dogs.

It’s natural ingredients contain Peppermint which soothes irritation, and witch hazel to remove excess buildup. As well as clearing out the ear canals, it soothes pain and prevents ear infection.

Made in the USA, Burt’s Bees Ear Cleaner is an easy-to-use product with a veteran-recommended formula. Place the ear cleanser at the ear canal entry, then squeeze two drops and massage gently.

Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Ear Cleaner with Peppermint and Witch Hazel | Solution for Dogs Or Puppies, 4oz

Pros

  • All-natural ingredients
  • pH balanced for dogs
  • Dries out moisture-affected ears

Cons

  • Not suitable for treating an ear infection

8. Mister Ben’s Dog Ear Tonic with Aloe

If you’re looking for an ear cleanser 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’s the best ear cleaner to stop itching, scratching and head shaking in dogs after a few treatments. Mister Ben’s ear tonic will offer immediate relief from infections, inflammation, swelling, redness & irritations in dog ears. It’s one of the most effective treatments available for dog ear infections.

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 and debris 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.

MISTER BEN'S Original Ear Tonic w/Aloe for Dogs – Most Effective Dog Ear Cleaner Drops – a Cleanser & Treatment Providing Fast Relief from infections, itching, Odors, Bacteria, Mites, Fungus & Yeast

Pros

  • Best for immediate relief from itching in dog ears
  • 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

Cons

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

9. Vet’s Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit

Dog’s ears get dirty and itchy from time to time, and your treatment plan will determine whether your furry friend will get lasting relief or endure pain and discomfort. A solution like Vet’s Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit can help. This two-step solution uses a potent blend of natural ingredients ranging from aloe vera to clove oil. The combination of veterinarian-formulated ingredients works together to reduce itching and discomfort.

Vet’s Best Dog Ear Cleaner provides fast and effective relief from itchy, red, raw, and greasy ears. The results are long-lasting, so you don’t have to worry about traumatizing your dog in between ear cleanings.

This ear cleaning kit eliminates the hassle of cleaning your dog’s ears, keeping them fresh, dry, and clean. Once you get your package, shake well and apply it to the ear canal openings. Massage the base of the ear to distribute the solution, which will dry into a soft powder.

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

Pros

  • Suitable for all dogs and breeds
  • Veterinarian formulated
  • Alcohol-free formula

Cons

  • Powerful odor

10. Lively Pets Dog Ear Cleaner and Ear Infection Treatment

Lively Pets Ultra Otic is a non-stinging soothing formula that cleanses the ear canal and removes ear wax. It also controls mites and prevents serious problems from developing in the pet’s ear. Made from natural and safe ingredients, Ultra Otic effectively cleanses, soothes inflammations, and deodorizes ears.

Yeast and fungal overgrowths are both painful and the #1 cause of ear infections. This cleaner contains ear antiseptic and antifungal treatments, which are necessary to fight bacterial/fungal growth in cats and dogs effectively. It is recommended you consult your vet before using it.

Lively Pets Dog Ear Cleaner and Ear Infection Treatment - Stops Ear Mites, Yeast & Fungal Infections - Broad Spectrum Veterinary Formula

Pros

  • Non-irritating antiseptic
  • Soothes damaged tissues

Cons

  • Strong scent

11. Miracle Care Dog Ear Powder

Some dogs have hairy ears that can trap ear wax and debris. 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 for 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 the 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.

Miracle Care Ear Powder Step 1, 96 grams

Pros

  • 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

Cons

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

How to Use Dog Ear Cleaners

Dog’s ear is incredibly sensitive to 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 dry. It also helps to regularly remove debris, grit, and grime that could lead to infections in the long run.

healthy dog

DIY Ear Cleaning vs Going 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 using one of the budget-friendly dog ear cleaners. 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 Use Dog Ear Cleaners?

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 and get medical insurance for your dog to cover vet bills.

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.

Are Dog Ears 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 best 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.

But, there are so many ear cleaners available that can help you properly clean out the wax and debris from the dog ear canal and prevent infections. The ear cleaners are easy to use and come in the shape of liquid droppers or wipes. If you want to get into the routine of cleaning your dog’s ear regularly then the liquid cleanser is the best option for you. 

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. Here are simple steps of using a dog ear cleaner properly:

  1. 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.
  2. If you’re using a liquid ear cleaning solution, you simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Pour couple of drops of liquid cleaner 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.
  3. Once the cleaner 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 cleaner that dries quickly in order to prevent a buildup of moisture in your dog’s ear canal.
  6. 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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