If you don’t clean your dog’s ears, you increase the odds of them ending up with an ear infection. Most of the time, water and a wet cloth are all that you need. Sometimes, though, you will need an ear cleaning solution specifically designed for pets.
There are many types of ear cleaning solutions for dogs. Some of them are medicated, and others are not.
We created reviews of 10 different ear cleaning solutions, so it will be easier for you to clean your dog’s ears.
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The 10 Best Dog Ear Cleaning Solutions
1. Zymox Ear Solution With .5% Hydrocortisone for Dogs & Cats — Best Overall
If your dog already has an ear infection, you can use Zymox Ear Solution With .5% Hydrocortisone for Dogs & Cats to treat it. This ear solution contains a treatment for bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections. The solution is designed to remove pus and debris, making it easier for the body to clear the infection. It is completely non-invasive and doesn’t require heavy cleaning because it disrupts the enzyme activity over the microorganisms.
This formula includes three different bio-active enzymes, which react to various microorganisms. It is entirely safe for dogs and cats of all ages.
This solution works on antibiotic-resistant strains because it doesn’t use antibiotics to kill them.
Since it actively kills microorganisms, this formula is easily the best overall dog ear cleaning solution.
2. VetWELL EarWELL Otic Cleansing Solution — Best Value
VetWELL EarWELL Otic Cleansing Solution is explicitly designed to clean your dog’s ears. Since it isn’t medicated, this formula is inexpensive, making it the best dog ear cleaning solution for the money.
If your dog just has dirty ears, this formula might be your best option. It is designed to clean out dirt and debris, including waxy buildup. It may help control discharge and odors. However, odors are often a sign of ear infections, which this formula doesn’t treat.
It is made with cucumber melon and aloe vera leaf, which can help soothe your dog’s ears and encourage natural healing. The melon scent is also quite lovely.
3. Zymox Plus Advanced Formula 1% Hydrocortisone Otic Dog & Cat Ear Solution — Premium Choice
If your dog doesn’t seem to respond well to anything else, you may want to consider the Zymox Plus Advanced Formula 1% Hydrocortisone Otic Dog & Cat Ear Solution. This formula has a high amount of medication and is a bit expensive. But it works quite well.
It utilizes naturally occurring enzymes to help fight the microorganisms that may cause ear problems in dogs. For this reason, it can be effective against bacterial, fungal, and yeast ear infections.
It also includes an anti-inflammatory that can soothe your dog’s ears and help counteract their painful symptoms.
4. Vetoquinol Ear Cleaning Solution for Dogs & Cats
The Vetoquinol Ear Cleaning Solution for Dogs & Cats is not medicated. Instead, it is specifically designed to clean your pet’s ears. This formula is gentle enough on dogs to be used regularly for maintenance. If your dog’s ears regularly get dirty, this formula is perfect for them.
It includes both denatured alcohol and lactic acid to help dry the ear canal, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms that may cause problems for your canine.
You can even use this solution multiple times a day for a week to help keep your dog’s ears clean. Over time, you should need to use it less often.
Since this formula helps clean your dog’s ears, it can also prevent external ear infections from occurring.
That said, many people found this formula to be overly fragrant. Not only can this be a problem for the humans trying to apply it, but it can also be an issue for the animals themselves.
5. Zymox Plus Advanced Formula Otic Dog & Cat Ear Solution
Zymox Plus Advanced Formula Otic Dog & Cat Ear Solution is similar to another formula by the same company. However, it has additional enzymes that work against biofilm specifically. If your dog has a layer of waxy slime on its ear, this formula may be the best option to help clean them out. The LP3 Enzyme System is quite effective.
You do not have to scrub your dog’s ears for this solution to work. Instead, the enzymes work directly on the slime, gunk, and dirt in your dog’s ear.
This formula is safe enough for nursing and pregnant pets. You can even use it on sensitive exotics in some cases.
Since it doesn’t include antibiotics, this formula is an excellent option for repeated infections because it prevents the bacteria from developing antibiotic resistance.
However, this formula does not include anti-inflammatories, so it won’t be as effective at treating symptoms such as itching, inflammation, and pain.
6. Pet Honesty Otic Ear Cleaner
The Pet Honesty Otic Ear Cleaner has a relatively basic cleansing formula. Salicylic acid is utilized to help prevent infections and fight against microbes. Aloe vera is also included to soothe your dog’s ears and offer them instant relief. All ingredients help remove inflammation, odor, redness, and pain. However, they are not strong enough to fight active infections or anything of that sort.
This formula is pH balanced to improve your dog’s overall ear health.
That said, this formula is not heavily medicated and does not include any anti-inflammatories. Therefore, it may not work quite as strongly as some other cleaners. Plus, in following the directions, you might have to do a bit of scrubbing of your dog’s ears.
7. Liquid Health Pets K9 Ear Solutions Dog Ear Cleaner
Compared to many other ear cleaners, Liquid Health Pets K9 Ear Solutions Dog Ear Cleaner has a unique formula. It includes things like colloidal silver to help control microorganisms and isopropyl alcohol to help dry out the ear canal, which is vital when you’re trying to prevent ear infections from occurring.
This formula can be used to help remove dirt and debris from your pet’s ear. It is also beneficial after your dog gets wet because it is specifically designed to help dry the ear canal. The liquid formula is easy to apply.
You can also use it on toes and nailbeds that your dog seems to be licking excessively, as well as on hot spots and minor skin issues.
While this formula is easy to apply, it also stains heavily. Therefore, if you get any on your carpet or furniture, you likely won’t be able to get it off.
8. Miracle Care R-7 Ear Cleaner Step 2 for Dogs & Cats
The Miracle Care R-7 Ear Cleaner Step 2 for Dogs & Cats is a gentle formula that is designed to clean the ears of both cats and dogs. It can prevent ear infections, however, this product’s only purpose is to cleanse the ear, not treat an infection. It is effective against odor control.
This formula is mainly designed to be a preventative measure. It is excellent if your dog has minor problems or if you’re looking to prevent future problems from occurring.
However, it isn’t heavily medicated and doesn’t have anything to help fight against microbes. Instead, it simply cleans your dog’s ear.
Unfortunately, the bottle tends to leak, which means it is leaking money. It also makes quite a big mess and has an alcohol smell that may be off-putting to some pets and people.
9. Miracle Care R-7 Step 1 Dog Ear Powder
The Miracle Care R-7 Step 1 Dog Ear Powder is not a liquid — as the name suggests, it is a powder. However, you can use it alongside the liquid ear cleaner that this company makes (hence the “step 1” in this product’s name).
While this powder isn’t specifically made to clean, it is designed to help by improving the grip when getting rid of the ears’ excessive hair using forceps or tweezers. Hair can make cleaning more difficult because it holds onto dirt, dust, and microbes. This can be a severe problem when you’re attempting to clean your dog’s ears.
This solution is antimicrobial, so it will kill bacteria before you start cleaning. It is also designed to remove excess moisture from your dog’s ear, which may cause bacteria growth. In this way, it can also reduce odors.
However, this formula isn’t made to be used by itself. Instead, you will need to clean your dog’s ears right after applying it. Preferably, that should be done with another ear cleaner, though water may work too.
10. Wysong Otisol-O Otic Solution for Dogs & Cats
This tiny bottle of Wysong Otisol-O Otic Solution for Dogs & Cats contains antiseptic ingredients and is designed to clean ears that seem to be always dirty. It is for the prevention of ear infections only. It isn’t designed to attack microbes directly. Instead, it is a regular cleaning aid.
This formula includes various extracts that may help keep your dog’s ear clean. It works by strengthening the skin’s natural defenses, creating an unfavorable environment for pathogens. The recipe is designed to be soothing and combat any discomfort that your pet has.
That said, the instructions for this formula are unclear and confusing. The bottle itself doesn’t come with instructions, and any that you find online aren’t necessarily how the solution was meant to be used. This can cause problems.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose The Best Dog Ear Cleaning Solutions
Choosing an ear solution for your canine can be a serious matter. After all, no one wants to see their dog in pain. Many of these solutions can help prevent infections. However, which one you choose is vital to your success.
For this reason, knowing what to look for is crucial. This section will review the essential features to keep in mind.
Prevention vs. Treatment
There are two main types of ear solutions available. Some are only designed to remove dirt. These are best used for preventative measures or as regular cleaners. If your dog is getting constant ear infections, you might want to utilize one of these options to clean their ears extra well. However, they aren’t going to help in the case of an ear infection.
Treatment-oriented solutions are suitable for just that: treatment. They usually do not contain antibiotics, as those require a vet’s prescription. However, they do contain anti-inflammatories and similar ingredients that can help treat your pet’s symptoms and even remove the source of the discomfort.
Both types of ear solutions can be important. However, they are different from each other. If you’re looking for a treatment option, a preventative option probably isn’t going to help you much! For this reason, be sure you know what you’re looking for before you make a purchase.
The ingredients in one of these cleansers are easily the most important things that you need to consider. Anti-inflammatories are great for reducing redness, swelling, itching, and pain. However, they are also expensive ingredients. Therefore, many companies skip them and use other, “natural” ingredients instead.
Some of these natural ingredients are helpful. For instance, aloe vera can calm your dog’s ears and works as an anti-inflammatory. Colloidal silver also falls into this category, though it is used in many medical situations.
Some cleaners include ingredients that attack microbes directly. Since vets must prescribe antibiotics, these over-the-counter medications often use enzymes or similar ingredients. These can affect microbes, though not in the same way as antibiotics. For this reason, they may be able to treat slight infections and are good at preventing future ones. Furthermore, microbes cannot develop resistance against these ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about overuse.
No one wants to invest in a dog ear cleanser only for it to irritate their dog’s ears. For this reason, you must choose a gentle formula for your canine.
It can be challenging to figure out what formulas are gentle and which ones are not. You can generally assume that formulas with more natural ingredients are gentler, but that rule doesn’t always apply. Sometimes, natural ingredients are the tough ones.
You can also look at how long and often you can use a formula. If you can use it multiple times a day according to the instructions, it is probably on the gentler side. It probably isn’t the best option if it includes a warning not to use it after a certain amount of time.
The primary purpose of these cleansers is to clean, of course. Therefore, you must choose an option that is good at doing that. Any sort of liquid will be good at cleaning. However, some options are better than others.
For example, those with enzymes are ideal. These ear cleansers don’t require extensive amounts of scrubbing because they work chemically. They are also often easier to use.
The formula that you use must be safe. You don’t want to choose a formula that may potentially harm your dog, after all. You can often look at reviews for safety information. If many people report reactions, it may not be the safest option.
You can also look at the ingredients, though this can be more challenging. If there is an active ingredient you haven’t heard of before, you may want to research it further.
We highly recommend that you take your time choosing a cleaner. They can vary quite a bit, despite all being used for the same purpose.
We highly recommend the Zymox Ear Solution With .5% Hydrocortisone for Dogs & Cats. It is safe for dogs of all ages. It has enzymes that actively fight microbes, like bacteria and fungi. Therefore, it is one of the better options out there. However, it can be expensive. So, you may want to try VetWELL EarWELL Otic Cleansing Solution if you are looking for something cheaper. It is a basic cleanser, but it is a solid option if that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
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Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one day!