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Best Dog Ear Cleaners

Let’s face it. Ear allergies and infections in dogs are common, and routine ear issues like accumulation of dirt and gunk in your dog’s ears are even more common.

And of course, visiting the vet is not an option every time it happens, as it can be outrageously expensive and time-consuming.

But what if you could treat the infection or clean your dog’s ears better than the vet (in most cases) while spending a fraction of the money you would spend on the visits?

Yes, the 8 best dog ear cleaners we reviewed below will help you do exactly that.

Budget Conscious Pick

Curaseb Antiseptic Dog Ear Cleaner

Our Top Pick

ZYMOX Otic Pet Ear Treatment

READERS PICK

VetWELL Otic Rinse Dog Ear Cleaner

01 ZYMOX Otic Pet Ear Treatment h Hydrocortisone

This canine ear cleaner is absolutely the best dog ear cleaner on the market simply because it works every single time. No matter the type of ear infection your dog is dealing with – ranging from ear mites to yeast infection to something like staphylococcus aureus – it just wouldn't fail to amaze you with the results it would get.

The effectiveness of this ear cleaner is clearly reflected in the fact that it has gotten almost universally positive reviews – which is not often seen on online selling platforms like Amazon – least of a product in the pets category.

What's even better is that it manages to be so effective without containing an antibiotic, so it would also work just as effectively against infecting agents that may be resistant to antibiotics.

It boasts a powerful, patented LP3 Enzyme system that ensures fast, effective and safe treatment, regardless of how resistant the microbes affecting your dog's ears are.

You may start seeing the results literally in a few hours, and the infection would likely be a thing of the past within a week or less.

Pros
  • This dog ear cleaner has worked for infections where most other ear cleaners failed. It has been approved by tens of thousands of dog owners.

    It can be used with hydrocortisone for treating an ear infection for faster results, and without it when you're just using it for routine ear cleaning.

    Don't forget to follow all instructions and warnings to ensure a completely safe treatment though.

02 Curaseb Dog Ear Cleaner

While the above ear cleaner is the best you can buy, it's a bit expensive. And given that you need to use a dog ear cleaner very liberally for best results, the cost can add up.

So some dog owners may want to go for a more budget-friendly product, which is exactly what Curaseb is.

It works very effectively as well and treats a variety of dog ear infections. However, it can take longer than the above ear cleaner for it to make a significant difference, but that's a bit of a trade-off for the lower price.

It comes with a unique formula that's a combination of antifungal, anti-yeast and antibacterial ingredients.

It also has an edge over other canine ear cleaners as it can be used on skin too for issues like skin rashes, without posing any safety risks.

Pros
  • It offers a great bang for your buck, especially for routine cleaning, as it's impressively effective but priced much lower as its peers.

    It contains .1% ketoconazole, which is known to be hard on different types of agents that cause ear allergies in dogs.

03 VetWELL Dog Ear Cleaner

This is one of the cheapest canine ear cleaners you will find for cleaning your dog's ears, but its low price tag doesn't take anything away from its effectiveness.

It works great for routine ear cleaning and helps get rid of all the dirt and gust in no time.

It also turns out to be effective when treating ear infections, but we would only recommend it for some of the more common ones like yeast and mites.

It does contain alcohol but that makes up less than 5% of the product. Regardless, some dog owners would want to take this into consideration, although it shouldn't turn out to be a problem unless your dog has sensitive ears or skin.

Pros
  • It's low price tag and effectiveness against some common ear infections and for routine cleaning is impressive. You do need to use it a lot though, especially when treating infections.

04 Pet MD Otic Clean Dog Ear Cleaner

Another budget-friendly ear cleaner that's ideal for routine ear cleaning. If your dog has a lot of wax, dirt and debris buildup in their ears, you will find the little guy shaking their head after you apply this directly into their ears.

Let your dog do that as the dirt, debris and fluid would start coming off, and it would fall around on the ground when they shake their head.

Now, truth be told, it's very effective at keeping ear infections at bay, but not as effective for treating them if your dog has already fallen prey to them.

It also contains alcohol which can make your dog's ears burn if they are sensitive to it.

All said and done, it would serve you well for routine cleaning and preventing ear infections without burning a hole in your pocket.

Pros
  • Despite being priced so cheap, it works surprisingly effectively for the most stubborn of wax and dirt buildup. It also starts showing results fairly quickly and works well for light ear infections as well, although you would want to get one of the first two canine ear cleaner above for serious infections.

05 Cardinal Gold Medal Groomers Ear Powder

Here's a more unique ear cleaning product specifically designed for treating ear irritation and itchiness. It also helps deal with other minor issues like wetness in ear and odor.

It's particularly useful for clipping out unwanted hair in and around your dog's ears. It allows you to do that by gripping hair in their ear area.

A particular customer mentioned how it helped them treat their dog that would scratch their ears until they started bleeding.

It also goes a long way in making the usual grooming a lot more comfortable for your dog.

Pros
  • It comes with some unique properties that works great for treating extreme irritation and itching.

    More importantly, you would be hard-pressed to find a more affordable way of handling tricky grooming issues for your dog.

06 NaturPet Dog Ear Drops

If you're one of those dog owners that like to go all natural for your dog, then this is the ear cleaner for you.

It's 100% natural, and only contains herbs and roots that come with antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral properties. It also doesn't contain cortisone like some other ear cleaning solutions, which is basically a steroid that's not recommended to be used liberally on your dog.

It works particularly well for pain relieving and ear inflammation or scratching but isn't the most effective solution for the more serious infections like a fully grown yeast infection.

It's also pretty effective for gunk and dirt, while also helps prevent the swimmer's ear in dogs by keeping them dry.

Pros
  • The fact that it's completely natural is its biggest selling point.

    It does work well for minor infections and routine gunk and dirt issues, so unless your dog is dealing with a more serious infection, you may find it to be well worth its cheap price tag.

07 Vet's Dog Ear Cleaner Kit

Here's another ear cleaner that only contains natural ingredients. It's actually also a kit and not just a cleaning liquid, so you get a bottle for "wash" and another labeled as "ear relief dry."

The first liquid helps to offer fast, effective relief from painful, irritated ears and itching, while the second one helps keep the ears clean for longer.

As it's completely natural, it would be a better choice for puppies and dogs with large or sensitive ears.

The "dry" solution is really useful, as it helps prevent the discomfort to a great extent that may be caused to your dog when using the cleaning solution.

It does have a smell though so make sure your dog isn't allergic to it or dislike it.

Pros
  • The "coordinated" treatment is a pretty unique feature and it does turn out to be more effective than just using a cleaning liquid.

    It wouldn't be shipped in California though, as it contains lead which is banned in the state.

08 Vetoquinol Ear Cleansing Solution

This dog ear cleaner is one of the few products in this price range with almost universally positive ratings and reviews, which speaks volumes about its effectiveness.

A particular customer has been using it for about 12 years, and it hasn't let them down a single time. It works against many different types of allergies, while also being a great choice for the usual cleaning.

It also helps keep the dog's ears dry, so it will also come in handy to protect your dog's ears before getting wet.

While it's fairly gentle for most dogs, it does contain alcohol so it may not be a good fit for dogs with sensitive ears.

Pros
  • It's one of the most effective dog ear cleaners in this price range. It does have alcohol but surprisingly, it manages to be mild enough to not make your dog object to it.

Buyers Guide

Dog Ear Cleaners Buyer's Guide

Ear infections in dogs can be a result of a variety of factors but are mainly related to either bacteria, fungi or mites.

What Causes Ear Infections?

Bacterial infections are the most common though, with the most common ones affecting dogs being Pseudomonas AeruginosaProteus Mirabilis and Escherichia Coli. Based on feedbacks from dog owners, our top pick dog ear cleaner is effective against all of them, and many more.

Then comes the fungi, which are primarily the culprit as far as the yeast and other similar infections are concerned.

One of the most troubling of fungi is Malassezia Pachydermatis, which can multiply to worrying levels if not dealt with in time. Infections caused by Malassezia Pachydermatis are usually marked by serious irritation and inflammation of ears.

Ear mites, on the other hand, are basically eight-legged tiny insects that are notorious for entering dogs' ears and causing great discomfort to them. When infected with ear mites, a dog would usually be found pawning at ears every now and then, and in many cases, end up pawning it to the extent of bleeding.

Ear mites are much more common in puppies than large dogs due to the former's immune system not being as strong as the latter. However, large dogs, too, can fall prey to ear mites, especially if they tend to roam around outside.

It's important to note that these infections, if not taken care of in time, can lead to a bruised or broken skin, or even ruptured ear canals. This would not only make it more painful for the dog, but also harder to treat the infections.

Many dog ear cleaners cannot be applied directly on bruised or broken skin (or when treating ruptured ear canals for that matter), so you may have to follow a more complicated treatment option.

Finally, it's also not uncommon for dogs to end up catching a dog infection due to a foreign element making their way to your dog's ear. In such cases, it would be even more important to make sure that the cleaning solution reaches the ear canal of your dogs for a fast treatment.

Common Symptoms Of Ear Infections

Here's a quick list of symptoms that may mean that your dog is dealing with some kind of ear infection.

  • Shaking head much more often than they usually do
  • Constant pawning at the ears, sometimes to the extent that it makes their ear red and swollen, or makes them bleed
  • Flapping of ears
  • A bad odor coming off from their ears
  • A discharge from the dog's ears
  • Whining when pawning the ears, or doing it with frustration
  • Irritated or inflamed ears
  • Unusual itchiness at the ear area, making them do things like scratching their ears or rubbing them against the ground
  • In many cases of ear mite infection, the mites are clearly visible
  • Others that may suggest something is wrong with their ears

Should You See a Vet?

When doing research for the canine ear cleaners which we reviewed in this post, we found many dog owners saying that they first went to their vet before buying a particular dog ear cleaner. Some of them mentioned that they used to always visit a vet before until it got too expensive for them to do so and they decided to try out a dog ear cleaner instead.

Furthermore, some even said that their vet's treatment didn't turn out to be effective enough for them, but using one of the dog ear cleaners above did.

So, to answer your question, no, it's usually not necessary to visit a vet for treating an ear infection. In fact, our best dog cleaner reviewed at the top is effective enough for treating most types of ear infections.

That said, if you find that your dog is showing no signs of improvement even after 5 to 7 days of using one or two of the dog ear cleaners above (not all products work for all dogs or all cases), then you must visit a vet immediately.

In very rare cases, an ear infection may not just be an ear infection, but also something much more serious such as a tumor.

Similarly, if your dog also has a bruised skin with an ear infection, then you may want to seek the help of a vet instead of trying to treat it yourself. It's not easy to treat ear infections with bruised skin due to reasons discussed above.

Finally, if your dog has never had an ear infection before, then it makes sense to visit your vet just to confirm that it's actually an ear infection that your dog is suffering from. For recurring infections or routine ear cleaning, however, treating it using one of the ear cleaners reviewed above may very well turn out to be both ] effective and much more economical.

Things to Keep in Mind When Using a Dog Ear Cleaner

Apart from the fact that most dog cleaners shouldn't be used for dogs with bruised skin, there are other things to keep in mind as well. Let's take a quick look at them.

  • Many dog ear cleaners like the ZYMOX ear cleaner require that you do not clean your dog's ears before applying the ear cleaner for best results
  • Similarly, some of them require you to flush your dog's ears after use, or letting your dog shake their head
  • You also need to remove the excess, especially what doesn't manage to get to your dog's ear canal
  • The frequency of use must be higher than when only using the ear cleaner for routine cleaning
  • Almost all ear cleaners require to be used in generous quantities
  • You need to shake them well before applying into your dog's ears
  • Never let the cleaning solution go into your dog's eyes; if it does, you may have to visit your vet immediately
  • If the irritation increases after using the canine ear cleaner, you need to stop using it and visit your vet
  • The ear cleaners containing alcohol are typically not recommended for dogs with a sensitive skin
Conclusion

There would be few dogs our best pick wouldn't work well for. That's not saying the other ear cleaners don't work well, but the ZYMOX dog ear cleaner works for pretty much every type of ear infection, and more importantly, doesn't take long to get rid of the infection completely.

If you're after a fast and effective treatment without exposing your dog's skin to antibiotics or leaving a lingering smell behind, you will be hard-pressed to find anything better than the ZYMOX dog ear cleaner.

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