If you’re the proud pet parent to a lovely dog, you’ve probably heard a lot about ear infections by now. They’re uncomfortable for your pet to deal with, and they can even produce some nasty health outcomes if left untreated.
Luckily, just with a little diligence, you can protect your pup from ever having to deal with them in the first place. As the saying always goes, the best offense is a good defense. In order to protect your pooch, you’ll need a quality dog ear cleaning solution at your side. But, with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the best one for your pet.
That’s why, in the following blog, we’ll break down what we like the best about five options available, how to tell when your dog has an ear infection, how to clean your dog’s ears, and how to apply medicated ear drops to your dog’s ears if they do get an infection.
Best Dog Ear Cleaners 2021
Banixx Dog Ear Infection Cleaner
Banixx’s Dog Ear Infection Cleaner can effectively be used to both prevent and treat ear infections in dogs, making it one of the most versatile dog ear infection treatment solutions on the market today. It is most effective when it is used 2-3 times per day.
Best of all, it provides instant, sting-free, odorless relief to your pup without relying on pesky antibiotics or steroids. In addition to this, it’s not oily or sticky like so many ear infection medications. To treat your dog’s ear infection with
Banixx, coat the inside of their ear with the solution and then gently massage it into their ear tissue. If your pup is new to Banixx, it’s a good idea to apply Banixx via a well-moistened cotton ball. Be sure to close the ear flap and keep it gently closed with your hand as you massage it into the ear tissue.
In just a few days, you should notice that any head shaking or discomfort your dog may have been feeling will have subsided – all from just a couple days of applications with our clinically-proven solution. With Banixx, relief really can be that simple. 8oz Av retail $14.99 (June 2021).
Zymox Ear Cleanser with Bio-Active Enzymes
Zymox’s Ear Cleanser with Bio-Active Enzymes is most effective when used on a weekly basis as a preventative measure against the build up of bacteria or moisture. Many owners have reported greater success when pairing this with Zymox’s Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone. Owners say that this solution also leaves a pleasant, fresh scent. 4oz Av retail $11.99 (June 2021)
Zymox Veterinary Strength Dog and Cat Ear Cleanser
Zymox’s Veterinary Strength Dog and Cat Ear Cleanser is most effective at preventing ear infections when used on a twice-weekly basis. It’s made of a unique blend of lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, and lysozyme that help inhibit microbe production within the ear canal. Users also report this solution leaving a mild scent after each cleaning. 4oz Av retail $11.99 (June 2021)
Burt’s Bees for Dogs Ear Cleanser
Burt’s Bees for Dogs Ear Cleanser is primarily used to prevent the development of ear infections. It is most effective when applied to your dog’s ear canals at least once per week. Many consumers laud this particular brand of dog ear cleaning solutions due to its heavy emphasis on using natural ingredients in its formula, particularly witch hazel which has been advertised as being able to prevent the buildup of debris. 4oz Av retail $11.98 (June 2021)
Pet MD Aloe Vera and Eucalyptus Dog Ear Wipes
Pet MD’s Aloe Vera and Eucalyptus Dog Ear Wipes are primarily used to make your dog’s ear and ear canals an unwelcoming habitat for yeast, bacteria, or other microorganisms. They are recommended for use twice per week. These wet ear wipes are infused with aloe vera and eucalyptus oil to provide your four-legged friend with a relaxing, natural solution for ear care. Additionally, these wet wipes are formulated to deliver lactic acid in order to preserve your dog’s skin’s natural acidity. 100 Wipes Av Retail $12.99 (June 2021)
When Should You Clean a Dog’s Ears?
A thorough cleaning of a dog’s ears is imperative to ensuring they’re in good overall health, but, you don’t have to drop everything right now to go spelunking in their ears.
Instead, just make ear cleaning a part of your dog’s routine grooming; that way you’re more likely to be consistent with doing it. A good rule of thumb is to clean your dog’s ears at least once per month, and check them for signs of infection, irritation, or parasites at least every other week.
However, please note that this advice may vary between breeds. Some breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds will require more regular ear cleaning. Their droopy ears allow for less air flow than their counterparts who have much shorter ears, so moisture, dust, dirt and other debris can easily build up in their ear canals which may lead to a yeast infection.
Additionally, dogs that love to spend time in the water should also have their ears checked and dried frequently. The extra moisture from the water in which they swim can create optimal conditions for fungal infections to begin and spread.
Signs That Your Dog Has an Ear Infection
While some dogs may display no signs of suffering from an ear infection, other dogs may exhibit severe discomfort. If your dog is suffering from an ear infection, you may notice that they’re tilting their head more than usual (note: ignore this advice if you’re holding a milkbone, then they’re tilting their head for a different reason).
You may also notice them shaking their head a lot, or perhaps you’ll see them stumbling around as if they’re unable to get proper footing. Ear infections affect balance with dogs just as they do with humans. Dogs with ear infections may also aggressively scratch or rub their ears against hard objects or show a reluctance to chew.
Of course, dogs with ear infections may also present more…obvious signs of ear infections. The area around their ears may lose its hair or may develop crusts or scabs. This area might also begin to swell or become very red. A foul odor emanating from your dog’s ears is a sure giveaway sign that infection is lurking!
If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, it is advisable to visit a veterinarian. There are three types of ear infections: otitis externa, media, and interna. Otitis externa refers to a type of inflammation that affects the layer of cells lining the outside of your dog’s ear canal. Otitis media and interna, however, refer to infections that affect the middle and inner ear canal.
Given that otitis media and interna can be very serious and result in deafness, facial paralysis, and vestibular disorders, it is important that you seek out professional veterinary advice before treating your dog’s ear infection. While cases of otitis externa can be treated with over the counter solutions, it is difficult for the untrained eye to accurately diagnose the severity or depth of an infected dog’s ear. So, remember: if you suspect your dog has an ear infection, get them assessed by a vet to ensure the infection’s root cause is taken care of.
A visit to your veterinarian is costly and time consuming which is why we advocate for dog owners to take a proactive approach. This involves a focus on minimizing the potential for dog ear infections to occur in the first place by using one of the solutions that we discussed above.
How to Clean a Dog’s Ears
For starters, you have to remember that any dog who isn’t used to getting their ears touched may be a bit skittish at you grabbing their ears. You may have to bribe them to embark on this journey with you. And, DO make sure that the solution you choose to use is at least room temperature. If unsure, run the bottle under warn water to warm the liquid. Imagine if some.one put something COLD into your ear? Not Fun! Particularly if your ear was infected??
Offer them treats, toys, belly rubs, or whatever it is that’s going to help them relax. Making this a calm, semi-enjoyable experience for them will make this whole process go much smoother. Also, organize your supplies so that they are close by once you have embarked on the ear cleaning process; this keeps it short and sweet. That’s a winner for every-one!
Once your pup is relaxed, go ahead and proceed with the cleaning. There are two common ways to do this.
First, wet a cotton ball or gauze with an ear rinsing solution and wipe it around the outer flap of your dog’s ear. Be calm and slow with this step. Then, take a freshly moistened cotton ball/gauze and work your way from the outside of the ear in towards your dog’s ear canal, making sure not to go too deep or be too aggressive. Finally, wipe away or clean out any remaining wax or other junk from their ear canal with a third, fresh cotton ball.
The other method involves placing a small amount of medicated ear cleaning solution in your dog’s ears, closing the
ear flap gently with your hand and then massaging the base of their ears. This action induces them to shake their heads, which is both adorable and will loosen the debris inside of their ear canals. Once this waste material has been loosened, you can gently
remove it from the inside of their ear canal with cotton or gauze. Repeat this process with a fresh cotton ball/gauze until you can wipe out the inside of their ear canal and come out with a clean cotton ball.
After you finish cleaning their ears, make sure to spoil them with treats, belly rubs, and lots of “good boys”. Enough positivereinforcement will make even the most skittish dogs receptive to modifications in their grooming habits.
If your dog has an ear infection and requires medication to be applied to their ears, complete the above process before proceeding with the following instructions.
How to Apply Medication for Dog Ear Infections
To apply medication to your dog’s ears, gently grasp the tip of their ear and pull the ear flap straight up to expose their ear canal. Then, administer the number of drops of medication your veterinarian has prescribed.
Next, while still holding the ear flap up vertically, begin to massage the base of the ear below the ear opening for approximately 30 seconds. This will allow the medication to coat your dog’s entire ear canal. Repeat this process with the other ear as needed, being sure to wipe away any debris or waste that accumulates on the flap of your dog’s ears.