Best Dog Ear Cleaners

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Dog ear cleaners make it easy to keep your pooch tidy and healthy, and prevent painful ear infections. Read on to learn which of them work best and how to properly use them!

From nail clipping to teeth brushing, there are plenty of responsibilities when it comes to keeping your pet tidy and clean. Of course, while no pet parent wants their pooch to look (and smell) like a dirty little gremlin, making sure your pet’s hygiene is up to standards is about so much more than that. By taking care of your pet on time, you can prevent a myriad of health issues down the road. Unfortunately, there are a lot of “little things” that can easily be overlooked until they become a problem, and of those essential steps that many dog owners tend to skip is keep their dog’s ears clean. Not many know that cleaning dog’s ears is a requirement in the first place, and those that do might deem it not important enough for fussing over or simply be intimidated to do it on their own.

The reality is that you need to clean your pet’s ears–and it’s nothing to be afraid of. With the right equipment and just a bit of practice, cleaning a dog’s ears is actually quite easy. The first thing you’ll need to do, though, is to get all your supplies together. Luckily, it doesn’t take much to keep your pooch’s ears spotless- a cotton ball or gauze, and an ear cleaning solution. The gist of it is that you have to pour the solution in the ear and massage it in so it can do its magic. Essentially, the most complicated thing about it will be finding the right type of cleaning solution, as the process of cleaning is pretty straightforward and quick.

Dog ear cleaners are not all made alike and it’s important knowing exactly what you need before you start pouring stuff into your pet’s ears- that goes without saying. There are different formulas out there, some meant for treating issues others to prevent them and it matters which one you pick. Not to mention that dog ear cleaners don’t even have to be liquid solutions in the first place–even though they are the most common option- but can instead come in the form of wet wipes. Needless to say, there are plenty of factors to consider before you get a product to clean your four-legged bestie’s ears and we’re here to help.

If you are looking for dog ear cleaners that can be used to keep your pet’s ears healthy and clean, you’re in the right place. Our list of best dog ear cleaners includes various types of cleaning products for canine ears, all of which have been praised by countless pawrents and backed by experts as an excellent preventive. However, if you suspect your pet is having ear trouble and he shows signs of ear infection, it’s crucial to take him to the vet’s office first–before you try doing anything on your own.

1. Editor’s Pick: ZYMOX Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone

Designed to treat otitis externa, this dog ear cleaner is ideally suited for dogs whose ears are inflamed. The safe and gentle formula relies on the powerful enzymatic action of patented LP3 Enzyme system to treat a broad range of bacterial, fungal and yeast infections of the ear. Highly efficient for dogs with problematic ears! It’s not easy keeping the ear clean without irritating it if it’s already inflamed but this bestselling product manages to do it–and resolve the problem in the process. And in case your pet doesn’t have inflammation or an infection, the company produces a hydrocortisone-free version that’s meant to be used just like a dog ear cleaner for preventive purposes.

2. Runner Up: Pet MD – Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes

The gentle, everyday formula of these ear wipes is mild enough not to irritate your pet’s sensitive skin and yet potent enough to remove all dirt and debris–and even offer natural antiseptic properties. Alcohol-free, they contain eucalyptus essential oil and aloe vera to soothe and cleanse, with natural miticide and insecticide function. Made in the USA, these ear wipes are suitable for dogs over 12 weeks of age. Easy to use and budget-friendly, these wipes are a great way to keep your pooch’s ears spotless. They are especially great for travel and when you need something mess-free, as you can use them literally anywhere without your dog making a fuss.

3. Best Natural: EcoEars | Natural Dog Ear Cleaner

With no pharmaceuticals, synthetic chemicals, hydrocortisone (steroids), solvents or antibiotics in its formula, EcoEars cleaner can really call itself natural. Don’t be fooled by its mildness, though–the gentle formula based on extracts of beneficial plants is surprisingly effective. The herbs and plants with medicinal properties used in this product such as witch hazel, tea tree oil, rosemary, and many others, will help keep your dog’s ears clean, odor-free, and healthy. The proprietary blend reduces inflammation in the ears, offers relief from itching and removes all the dirt, grime, and pathogens.

4. Best for Sensitive Ears: Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser For Dogs

Ideally suited for sensitive ears, this dog ear cleaner can also be used on cats, so it’s perfect for multi-pet households. After all, when you have more furkids, you have to be mindful of the budget, so one bottle for every pet is a money-saving and convenient solution. This dog ear cleaner is soothing and regular use will prevent debris and dirt from sticking to the external part of the ear thanks to the anti-adhesive properties of the formula. The addition of salicylic acid to provide a non-irritating antiseptic function, working to get your pet rid off the build-up of dirt and dead cells, as well as any bacteria and yeast that could occur as a result of it.

5. Best Soothing: Petpost Ear Cleaner for Dogs

With its special plant-derived formula, this ear cleaner will help prevent ear infections and mite infestations. The “secret” is in the soothing aloe and coconut extracts that not only cleanse the ear but kill pathogens behind bacterial and yeast infections, as well as ear mites. In addition to being a good preventive cleaner, it will also soothe existing symptoms such as itching or inflammation. This is not always the case, some dog ear cleaners contain alcohol–so Petpost’s product is considered completely non-irritating because of its plant-derived formula.

6. Best Preventative: Well & Good Dog Ear Cleaner

Made in the USA, this gentle dog ear cleaner is a fantastic choice if you need something to keep your pooch’s ears clean as prevention for health issues, and not treat existing conditions. The formula reduces odor and dissolves wax in ears, as well as help clean any dirt and debris. Regardless of its effectiveness, though, it’s still mild enough for most dogs to use without having to worry about a reaction. Plus, the value size of the bottle doesn’t hurt, either!

7. Best Kit: Vet’s Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit

This ear cleaning kit is designed for coordinated treatment–it’s a two-step process that’s guaranteed to keep your pet’s ears clean and healthy. First, you use the wash and then use the drying agent which will remove all the moisture from the ear, minimizing the chance of bacteria and yeast developing AND extending the time between the ear cleanings. The formula is alcohol-free and natural for both products–it relies on natural remedies such as chamomile, clove oil, tea tree oil, and aloe vera to cleanse and soothe.

8. Best Plant Based: Bodhi Dog Natural Pet Ear Cleaner

A natural, eco-friendly alternative to medicated dog ear cleaners, this product uses aloe vera and eucalyptus to achieve the same potent results without causing irritation. The alcohol-free formula with soothing agents is ideal for inflamed ears, be it an infection, flea bite, or mites that are causing the issues. The unique plant-based formula will quickly clear up the problem and make sure your doggo’s ears stay clean, odor-free and healthy as can be. Enriched with natural antiseptics, this dog ear cleaner contains does not contain parabens, sulfates or SLS.

9. Best with Silver: PetSilver Antimicrobial Ear Wash

The use of silver in medicine dates back thousands of years and scientists agree that silver has potent antibacterial qualities. So, while the formula is non-toxic for your dog it is lethal to over 650 bacteria. The silver cuts off the oxygen the pathogen needs, and they die off in as quick as four to six minutes. This pain free and odorless formula can be used for general ear infections, quickens healing, and stops your dog from scratching. And you thought silver just made pretty jewelry! PetSilver products are all proudly made in the USA.

10: Best Multi-Pet: Pro Pooch Dog Ear Cleaner Solution

Easy to use and fast acting, this Pro Pooch Dog Ear Cleaner Solution makes sure that your four legged friend’s ears are clean and healthy without relying on the use of harmful chemicals.

Free of alcohol, parabens, silicones, DEA and enzymes, this non-toxic formula was made from 100% natural ingredients to provide both dogs and cats with a safe and effective ear cleaning solution. This fast acting cleaner was created to help relieve itchy ears or any discomfort related to a buildup of earwax. Not only that, but it can also aid in soothing irritation and redness, ear odors, scratching and excessive head shaking.

The importance of cleaning your dog’s ears

You might wonder what’s all that fuss about–how dirty can your dog’s ears actually get? Well, you’d be surprised. They might be floppy, erect, or something in between, they might be hairy or hairless, but it’s all the same–dirt, and as a result, bacteria, and fungi, easily find their way to your dog’s ear canal. To make sure that this doesn’t lead to a painful ear infection, you will have to regularly clean your pet’s ears, making sure that debris and moisture don’t create a perfect environment for all kinds of nasty microorganisms to thrive. However, there’s a fine line between good hygiene and going overboard, and in this case, crossing it could actually cause health problems and not prevent them. The majority of dogs won’t have to have their ears cleaned more than once or twice a month, at the most. The breeds that are more at risk for ear infections are those that have floppy risks or hair growing inside them (such as Poodles, for example). Essentially, if the airflow inside the ears isn’t constricted, it’s more difficult for the infection to develop, but in either case, without proper hygiene, it’s only a matter of time before bacterial overgrowth.

When hygiene is neglected, the ears get infected and inflamed–there are 3 types of ear infections. The most common, otitis externa, affects the external part of the ear canal, and otitis media and interna occur when the infection spreads from the exterior to the middle and interior part of the ear canal, respectively. The symptoms and the severity of each vary, from painful irritation to a chronic condition that can lead to deafness, facial paralysis, and vestibular disorder.

Needless to say, failing to clean your pet’s ears can lead to condition(s) that are painful and dangerous for your pet, and can cost you thousands in vet bills to boot. Luckily, prevention is simple and inexpensive.

How to clean your dog’s ears

I admit that I haven’t had a clue about the importance of cleaning your pet’s ears with my first dog- that is, until he got a nasty ear infection that cost a lot of $$$ to treat and caused a lot of pain to my pooch. After that, I made sure to incorporate ear cleaning into all of my dogs’ “beauty routine”- the supplies are inexpensive, it’s not too complicated to do, and it doesn’t take too much of my time. And it certainly pays off! You should clean your dog’s ears once or twice a month, depending on his age, breed, and how dirty he gets. These are the steps you need to take:

  • Gather the supplies. You’ll need some cotton balls (NOT Q tips), and a dog ear cleaner of your choice. Oh, and don’t forget a few treats- to put your pooch in a good mood.
  • Pour the ear cleaner into your pet’s ear canal, then place a cotton ball over the canal as a lid, to prevent the liquid from spilling out. Gently massage the base of the ear, for about 30 seconds, to break down the dirt and make sure the cleaner circulates in the canal evenly.
  • Use the cotton ball to gently wipe the canal, being careful not to go in too deep and risk hurting your pet. Continue doing this until the cotton ball comes out clean.
  • BONUS TIP: If your dog has hair growing out of his ears, you should pluck it before cleaning- both to make it easier for the cleaning liquid to reach the canal and to prevent hair from obstructing airflow and creating the ideal environment for bacteria and yeast. While it seems painful, it’s at best irritating and your dog won’t feel discomfort because of hair plucking. It’s best to use your fingers for this, although a dog grooming hemostat is also suitable. If the skin appears red and irritated after plucking, don’t start cleaning right away- wait a few hours or a day for it to settle.

What to look for in dog ear cleaners

Dog ear cleaners- it sounds pretty self-explanatory, but not all of them are made alike and offer the same scope of effectiveness. There are different formulas and methods of delivery, and not every type will do the job for your dog. If you want to make sure that you’re using the right dog ear cleaners to keep your pet’s ear spotless, this is what you have to pay attention to:


You might prefer mild, natural solutions that gently clean or want something heavy-duty with targeted action against bacteria or yeast. Different situations call for different measures! In most cases, regular formula made from non-toxic materials with proper pH value will do just fine for preventive measures, and the details such as deodorizing properties or similar depending on your own preferences. In case your dog already has an ear infection, you’ll have to consult with a vet to see which type of dog ear cleaners are safe for them to use until the problem clears up.

Wipes vs liquid cleaners

Dog ear cleaners are usually liquid, although there are cream and powder options, too. There are also dog ear cleaning wipes that make the process much more convenient- but can’t quite reach all the little nooks and crannies that liquid cleaners can. In most cases, liquid dog ear cleaners are the most appropriate option for dogs prone to ear infections as they are easy to use and clean most thoroughly. Wipes are excellent for milder cases and cleaning of the superficial dirt and debris.


While dog ear cleaners don’t require a vet’s prescription, it doesn’t mean that you can put just anything in your pet’s ears. There are a lot of internet ideas about homemade dog cleaners or “tips” on how to clean your dog’s ears with natural remedies that haven’t been supported by vets and can actually do more damage than good. Stick to dog ear cleaners that have passed inspections and are made from dog-safe, non-toxic materials safe and gentle enough to use in their ear canal. Everything else can be dangerous to use!

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Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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