Cleaning your dog’s ears is not an easy task unless you use one of the best dog ear cleaners available today. This is because canine ears are a sensitive spot so dogs tend to either move or get anxious. Using an adequate ear cleaner for dogs is what will save you from a lot of trouble!
What Does Cleaning a Dog's Ears Mean?
Cleaning dog ears essentially means reducing the risk of infection of a dog’s eardrum by keeping a dry environment in the ear canal and ear flap. By reducing humidity in the ears, we prevent yeast and bad bacteria from growing and starting an infection.
If your dog already has an ear infection, the ear cleaning routine will often be the same as the maintenance cleaning routine, just more often until the infection disappears. Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution is perfect to get rid of yeast, bacterial and fungal infections.
Why Are Dog Ears Hard To Clean?
Many reasons make cleaning dog ears a harder task than it seems and to illustrate it, let’s compare human ears and dog ears. Humans have a short straight canal so we can just insert a cotton bud and remove any excess ear wax rather easily.
On the other hand, dogs have an L-shaped ear canal making it a lot more difficult to properly clean. It starts with the long vertical canal followed by a 90-degree angle leading to the long horizontal canal, eventually ending with the eardrum (tympanic membrane).
Because of this L-shaped ear canal, we cannot really clean a dog’s ears using cotton buds only — we would simply not reach far enough to properly clean the canal as we would stop at the 90-degree angle.
Finally, because puppies aren’t generally used to ear cleaning, they tend to become anxious later in their life when their owner starts doing ear cleaning routines to them. If you have a puppy, start early even if just to touch your dog’s ears.
How To Clean Dog Ears
Now we know what the anatomy of dog ears is, we can talk about how to clean dog ears safely and efficiently. The method is quick, simple and not painful at all for the dog.
- Make your dog sit down — if they aren’t familiar with ear cleaning, dogs can start moving which makes the whole maneuver trickier (and potentially dangerous) so calm them down before starting anything.
- Apply the dog ear cleaner as directed in the product’s instruction — the exact quantity always depends on the product! Most recommend 8 to 10 drops. Pull your dog’s ear flap up to straighten the ear canal and facilitate the runoff.
- Massage the ear canal for two minutes — a circular massaging movement will help with breaking down excess ear wax in all areas of the ear, the vertical and horizontal canals, as well as near the eardrum.
- Let your dog go — after properly massaging your dog’s ear, the ear wax will dissolve and it is then time for the liquid to get out. The best and easiest solution is to release your pet so they can shake their head and get rid of the liquid.
- Use cotton balls to wipe the ear clean — clean up the outer ear as well as the vertical canal as much as you can and repeat the whole routine a day later if you notice a lot of debris remaining. Make sure you remove as much humidity as possible.
- Apply a dog ear powder or ointment — dog ear powder is to remove any excess moisture so bacteria and yeast cannot grow; ointments are used for dogs suffering or recovering from an infection or allergic reaction.
Expect your dog to roll on the floor and rub his head against your furniture after the cleaning; it’s normal as they still feel some liquid in their ears.
Below is a 5mn video showing you how to clean your dog ears step by step and in details:
How Often Should I Clean My Dog's Ears?
As a maintenance routine, ear cleaning should be done weekly or, if you notice your dog doesn’t tend to get dirty ears easily, twice a month.
If you notice a lot of red or dark earwax, especially in your dog’s outer ears, you do want to do a full ear cleaning and then consult a vet if it comes back. Red earwax can be a symptom of a fungal or bacterial infection of your dog’s ears. There can also be ear discharge visible.
If your dog scratches one or both ears often, you may want to also do a full ear cleaning over two consecutive days. If it carries on, you may need to consult a vet as it could be a sign of ear mites or foreign matter lodged in your dog’s ear canal.
Top 5 Best Dog Ear Cleaners In 2017
Because dog ears are so sensitive, it is vital that you buy and use a safe ear cleaning solution for dogs. Never use any household solution or DIY miracle remedies.
We’ve listed the best ear cleaners for dogs available in 2017, so take your pick!
1. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner
Ear cleaners have different strengths and properties but stronger is definitely not better when it comes to maintenance dog ear cleaning. The Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced cleaner for dog ears is the perfect maintenance ear cleaners for dogs. No alcohol in the solution whatsoever so it offers a gentler cleaning experience for your dog’s ear canal, making the perfect ear cleaner for puppies, too.
Don’t get me wrong, Virbac is not just packaging water and selling it as ear rinse! The salicylic acid at 0.2% has known anti-adhesive properties to prevent bacteria from sticking to the ear surface. It does not just clean, it also prevents bad bacteria from growing inside your dog’s ears.
So the Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner is great for routine cleaning but won’t be potent enough to treat an existing ear infection, be it fungal or bacterial.
2. Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution with Hydrocortisone
Unlike our #1 Virbac routine cleaner, Zymox offers us a product that is a lot stronger. It doesn’t mean it is a better product, it just means you can use it to get rid of debris and pus. Surprisingly, it also kills antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.
Made in the USA, Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution works great on curing your dog of ear infections (bacterial, fungal, and yeast) including the dreaded staphylococcus, Malassezia, proteus, and pseudomonas.
It’s an antibiotic-free medication and ear cleaning rinse that requires no cleaning before or after use. The dosage depends on the use you have for it:
- As a treatment: use daily for 7 or 14 days
- As a cleaning: use weekly or twice a month
The Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution is safe to use on cats and dogs but should not be used along with any other ear cleaner.
3. Mister Ben's Ear Tonic With Aloe
Some people don’t feel great pouring drops of any ear cleaning solution in their dog’s ears. If you’re one of them, you will love these convenient dog ear cleaning drops to clean, disinfect, and soothe itchy dog ears. It is without too strong synthetic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, steroids or antibiotics. Instead, its five potent ingredients are the germ-killing aloe vera, pet-safe astringent boric acid, natural cleaning agent vinegar, antiseptic povidone-iodine, and the strong antifungal isopropyl alcohol.
Mister Ben’s Ear Tonic gets rid of wax buildup and reduces ear redness. It successfully fights against discharges, itchiness, bad smell and head-shaking resulting from ear mites and infections (yeast and bacteria.) If your dog had an ear condition, expect his ears to be back to normal after 7 to 10 days of use.
It’s a great product overall, slightly more expensive than a few other ear cleaning solutions, but it is totally worth it if you feel more at ease with an easy-to-use product for your dog’s ears.
4. PetPost Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes
Completely alcohol-free, these luxuriously soft dog ear cleaning wipes are packed with soothing coconut oil and aloe vera. They succeed at cleaning dog ears infected by ear mites or bacteria. It gently wipes off all earwax, debris, and pus and leaves fresh and dry ears behind.
I would probably recommend you to have these at reach after long walks in the forest or after your dog goes swimming. I wouldn’t use these wipes as primary ear cleaning solutions for my dogs but they definitely are a good punctual solution.
5. Miracle Care Dog Ear Powder
Dog ear cleaning powder is vital to use after a cleaning session in order to keep the dog’s ears dry and avoid the build-up of earwax. Don’t expect dog ear powder to actually clean up your dog’s ear canal; this is not its purpose.
The ear powder from Miracle Care does fulfill its promises: nothing fancy, minimal packaging, yet the results are here and those fantastic reviews on Amazon can attest to this.