As the name implies, dog ear cleaners were made specifically for cleaning out the inside of canines’ ears. Besides ear wax and yeast that occurs naturally, dust, dirt, water, and other sorts of debris can get into your dog’s ears and cause irritation. Dog ear cleaners help you to cleanse and flush out this detritus so that your pup stays as healthy and comfortable as possible.
Why buy dog ear cleaners?
Even if your dog is 100% healthy, it’s important to clean out his or her ears when needed. Ear cleanings get rid of any excess wax, yeast, and other debris, allowing your dog to hear better, preventing foreign objects from getting into their ear canal, and avoiding irritation or infection. Since the inside of the ears is so dark and damp, it’s an easy environment for bacteria to grow in. Plus, ear wax buildup is an itchy nuisance, and unlike us, dogs can’t grab a cotton swab or ear wax remover and clean out their own ears. If your dog is prone to any sort of chronic ear infections or conditions, as many long-eared breeds like beagles and basset hounds are, it’s important that you keep their ears fresh and clean with regularity.
Dog ear cleaners are designed specifically to help with this task. The inside of dogs’ ears is quite delicate, and homemade ear cleaners may harm or irritate them. It’s much safer to stick to specially made dog ear cleaners that have been properly tested and have clearly listed ingredients.
What should you look for in dog ear cleaners?
- Type: Dog ear cleaners come in either liquid or wipes. Both will be effective at cleansing your pup’s ears. If your dog has a longer ear canal, liquid solution or drops are generally more effective since they can drip down deeper into the ear canal in a way that wipes can’t. Drops and solutions also tend to be better at cleaning out ear wax. But if your dog has a more shallow ear canal or gets anxious from deeper cleanings, wipes can be a helpful alternative. Wipes are also great for dogs with extra creases, crevices, or flaps in their ears. If you own a cat in addition to a dog, you can also keep an eye out for liquid cleaner or wipes that are listed as friendly to both dogs and cats.
- Sensitivity: Any dog ear cleaner you buy should be gentle, non-stinging, and non-irritating since the lining and insides of the ear are so sensitive. However, some cleaners are more soothing than others or are designed specifically for dogs with more sensitive ears or those prone to specific ear problems. Some may even be medicated against bacteria and yeast. If your furry friend has especially sensitive ears, you generally can’t go wrong with an all-natural cleaner. That said, it’s a good idea to check with your vet about the right cleaner for your dog if your pup has a chronic ear condition.
- Kit or Set: Buying in bulk is generally more cost-efficient in the long run, and dog ear cleaner is no exception. Once you find a dog ear cleaner you like, look to buy it in bulk or a set if possible. Not only is it more cost-effective, but you’re less likely to find yourself running low on cleaner at a crucial time. Dog ear cleaner kits are also a good value purchase since they tend to come with bonus supplies for a more thorough and/or more advanced clean. Also keep in mind that some cleaners are better at getting rid of wax and debris, while others are better at drying out ears after swimming. With a kit, you may be able to get both.
How often should you use dog ear cleaner?
Finding the right balance can be tricky for dog owners. While it’s important your dog’s ears are kept clean, especially if they’re prone to certain ear issues, overcleaning isn’t ideal either. The ears and eardrums are quite fragile, after all, and over-scrubbing or overcleaning may irritate the ear canal. How often you clean your dog’s ears will depend on their breed, ear shape, any medical conditions, and regular activities like swimming. Be sure to talk with your vet about how often you should clean out your dog’s ears, as they’ll be able to give you the best answer. That said, if you ever notice your dog constantly shaking its head from side to side or scratching its ears against the ground, that may be a sign of excess wax buildup that needs some relief.
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Pro Pooch All-Natural Dog Ear Cleaner Solution
If ear drops are your preferred form of dog ear cleaner, you can't go wrong with these all-natural drops.
Pros: Certain chemicals and additives can be extremely irritating to dogs’ skin, including the inside of their ears. That shouldn’t be an issue with these cleansing ear drops since the ingredients are all-natural and pH-balanced for your pup’s safety. The liquid drops are nice and gentle as a result and should feel soothing on red and inflamed ears. They’re not just a good option for soothing irritation, either. This multipurpose cleaner works for getting rid of wax buildup, dispersing odors, and getting rid of excess water. As a bonus, this cleaner is safe to use on cats as well as dogs.
Cons: Many dogs shake out the excess liquid after the drops are applied, but these drops can stain furniture when your dog shakes it out. You may want to apply these drops outside in the yard just to be safe.
Bottom Line: Liquid dog ear cleaner tends to be the more effective overall choice for cleaning inside your dog’s ear, and these ear drops are an especially great option. Since they’re both gentle and multipurpose, they can be a great asset for a number of common dog ear irritation issues instead of just one or two.
Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes
Deodorize and dry your dog's ears with these soothing, alcohol-free, disposable wipes.
Pros: Despite their slender, thin size, each of these 100 dog ear wipes is soft and well saturated with moisture; they’ll perform their job effectively without causing abrasion against your dog’s ears. They deodorize any odors caused by wax or yeast buildup and free ears of debris. The blend of aloe vera and eucalyptus provides a nice, clean, refreshing smell that is much more pleasant. One distinct advantage that these sorts of wipes have over solutions or ear drops is that they don’t come with the risk of wasting liquid by mistake. There’s no cap to leak excess liquid, no slip of the hand that leads to pouring too much solution in the dog’s ear, and no accidental spills. Overall, these dog ear cleaner wipes are a much less messy option.
Cons: Some users who owned extra-large dog breeds noted that these wipes weren’t large enough for their pets. Be careful whenever you pull out a new wipe, as they tend to stick together and are hard to separate. These wipes are less eco-friendly than ear drops or solutions since they get thrown out after a single use.
Bottom Line: If you find drops or solutions too messy or if your dog gets too anxious when you use liquid ear cleaner, these wipes are an excellent alternative. They’re also great to take on the go since they come in a secure container, and you don’t have to worry about them leaking or spilling.
Vet Organics EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner
If your pup has especially sensitive ears, this cleaner allows you to clean out his or her ears without causing irritation.
Pros: This dog ear cleaner solution is made with all-natural ingredients, free of most common irritants like solvents or synthetic chemicals. Yet it’s still quite potent and fast-acting. Many users reported that they saw a visible improvement in their dog’s ears in as little as a few days. You’ll also love how short the application process is, ideal for dogs who are extra squirmy or anxious about getting their ears cleaned out; all you have to do is pour the solution in, massage the base of the ear for 90 seconds, and then let your dog shake out the liquid. (You may want to use a tissue or cotton ball for more focused application or to help prevent some of the resulting mess.) If you tend to go through dog ear cleaner quickly or simply want a more cost-effective option, you have the option to buy this cleaner in packs of two.
Cons: Buying the two-pack is especially cost-effective in this case, as individual bottles of this cleaner are a bit pricier than most. If you’re constantly buying only single bottles, the cost will add up quickly. Also be very careful about applying this cleaner if your dog has spots on their ear that are visibly inflamed, raw, or have open cuts; even with the lack of chemicals, the mixture is potent enough that it may sting a bit.
Bottom Line: Some dogs have more sensitive ears than others, which makes it even harder to clean out excess ear wax, dirt, and grime. Fortunately, this all-natural dog ear cleaner was designed to allow you to give your pooch an effective, fast-acting relief from wax buildup that takes minimal time to apply properly.
Vet's Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit
Get more bang for your buck with this dog ear cleaner kit that dries and cleans for greater relief.
Pros: The great thing about this kit is that you get two different types of ear cleaners for the price it normally costs to buy one. So not only is it a good value, but the two cleaners together will help with just about every common dog ear ailment. The Ear Relief Wash clears out gunk and soothes irritation, itchiness, and rawness, while the Ear Relief Dry deodorizes and dries out wet ears. Both are nice and soothing and are completely alcohol-free, so they won’t sting, irritate, or dry out your dog’s skin.
Cons: Since it’s generally advised to use both solutions together, application takes twice as long. Your dog almost certainly won’t appreciate the extra wait time, and the length of application time means these cleaners are hard to impossible to use on super anxious dogs. The solution itself is pretty thick, so you may have trouble getting it out of the bottle during use.
Bottom Line: Some dog ear cleaners are ideal for cleaning out ears and treating infection, but don’t deodorize or dry your dog’s ears out after they’ve gone swimming. With the two different types of ear cleaner in this kit, your bases are covered.
Virbac EPIOTIC Advanced Ear Cleanser
This low pH dog ear cleaner simultaneously cleans and dries the ear canal, making it an ideal choice for dogs with certain chronic ear conditions.
Pros: This is a nice, multifunctional dog ear cleaner that both cleans out the gunk and dries out the ear canal. You don’t have to worry about rubbing your dog’s inner ears dry with a cloth or moisture getting trapped in their ear canals after use. The neutral pH is handy since it means this cleaner won’t interfere or react with other ear cleaning preparations. It’s especially helpful for battling certain chronic ear issues, like chronic otitis (inflamed outer ear canal). And unlike a lot of other dog ear cleaners, there are two size options available. You can spend less money to experiment with the small bottle and see if the product is effective for your pup before committing to the formula.
Cons: This particular cleaner is a little more expensive than other similar products. This product comes with a pretty strong smell, which some users may find unpleasant and will alert your dog when the bottle comes out.
Bottom Line: This is one of the more multifunctional dog ear cleaners since it cleans out wax and buildup and dries out the ears. This also makes it a great choice to clean your dog’s ears after swimming or to help prevent certain chronic conditions. It’s safe to use on cats as well.
While your dog may not thank you during the process, ear cleanings can go a long way towards keeping your furry friend healthy from head to toe. The right dog ear cleaner not only gets rid of excess ear wax and any foreign debris but can help support your pup’s overall health. Get started with our top picks.