Published on: 10/28/2019, updated on: 10/15/2021

Top-Rated Ear Cleaners to Keep Your Pup’s Ears Clean and Healthy

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It's suggested that dogs hear about four times better than we do—which isn't exactly accurate. They actually just hear a higher frequency range than we do.

However, their excellent hearing can deteriorate like anything else, and the most common culprit behind hearing loss in dogs is improper care.

Admittedly, cleaning a dog’s ears can be a daunting task, especially if your pooch is moving around a lot. Plus, it’s a very delicate process that can lead to damage or even loss of hearing.

That’s why you should use an ear cleaner. It will make it much easier to break up the dirt and wax in your dog's inner ear, allowing you to remove it safely. To help you pick the best dog ear cleaner for your best bud, here are our top recommendations.

Our Top Pick

Hands down, our top pick is ZYMOX Pet Kind Brand Otic Ear Cleaner. It’s extremely effective, gentle, and affordably priced.

Here are some other great options:

  1. Pet MD Otic Clean Ear Cleaner
  2. EcoEars Natural Dog Ear Cleaner
  3. Curaseb Dog Ear Treatment
  4. Doggie Dailies Pet Ear Cleaner
  5. Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes
  6. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner
  7. Burt’s Bees for Dogs Ear Cleaner
  8. Pups and Pounce Dog Ear Cleaner

The Best Dog Ear Cleaners Reviewed

Pet MD Otic Clean Ear Cleaner - Best Ear Wax Removal

Pet MD Otic Clean Dog Ear Cleaner for Cats and Dogs - Effective Against Infections Caused by Mites, Yeast, Itching and Controls Odor - 8 oz (Cucumber Melon)

Pet MD Otic Clean Ear Cleaner is designed to blast ear wax in your dog's ear for a more productive, deeper clean.

Key Features

  • Veterinarian approved formula that cleans, dries, and acidifies ears
  • Infused with aloe vera for safe and gentle cleaning
  • Pleasant sweet pea scent leaves your dog’s ears smelling great

What We Like

Pet MD Otic is a very gentle ear cleaning solution that’s safe to use on your dog’s ears. We tried it using it in one of our dogs, who we know has very sensitive skin. He went through this cleaning solution without a hitch—no redness or itchiness or whatever.

Our friend, who has a dog with serious ear cleaning problems, reported this product works really well for him. He used it for five days straight, with a substantial amount of wax being removed in the first two days. Now, his dogs are hearing and responding much better.

What We Didn’t Like

Despite being advertised as effective against infections, this is mostly a cleaner for earwax build-up. For infections, there are many more effective cleaners out there.


  • Gentle on your dog’s skin, so it’s safe for all breeds – even puppies
  • This cleaner is excellent at melting and dislodging earwax from your dog's ears
  • Safe enough for daily use


  • Some dogs find the scent unpleasant
  • Not that effective against infections

Despite its limited effectiveness versus infections, Pet MD Otic is one of the best dog ear cleaners when it comes to removing earwax build-up.

Overall Rating - 4.4 / 5.0

ZYMOX Pet King Brand Otic Ear Cleaner with Hydrocortisone – Best Overall

Zymox Plus Otic-HC Advanced Formula (1.25 oz)

ZYMOX Pet King Brand Otic Cleaner is the best dog ear cleaner trusted by veterinarians since 1998.

Key Features

  • Unique ZYMOX formula instantly cleans up ear wax and debris build-up
  • Effective at treating inflammation caused by bacteria, viruses, or yeast
  • Quick and fasting acting without the need for pre-cleaning

What We Like

One of the most well-loved ear cleaners, ZYMOX Pet King Brand Otic Cleaner, certainly takes a top pick in our book. We've used it personally on our Golden, who recovered after three days of using this cleaner. And mind you, we've already tried Consulting with several vets and bought many products. Nothing worked, but this.

The reason it works so well is that it includes all-natural enzymes. This makes ZYMOX as effective in treating the infection as it is in cleaning your dog's ears. Just a few drops will begin clearing any build-up in the ear, no wiping/scrubbing needed.

What We Didn’t Like

Honestly, there's nothing to complain about this product. Our only issue might be the slightly higher price.


  • Extremely effective at treating infections versus other treatments
  • Fast-acting cleaning that requires no wiping or scrubbing to remove
  • Gentle on skin, even on painful infections


  • No major complaints at all

Hands down, ZYMOX Pet King Brand is the best dog ear cleaning solution of its kind. It's super useful, very versatile, and trusted by vets. What's not to like?

Overall Rating - 5.0 / 5.0

Zymox Ear Solution for Dogs and Cats | Chewy

EcoEars Natural Dog Ear Cleaner

EcoEars | Natural Dog Ear Cleaner - Infection Formula For Itch, Head Shaking, Discharge & Smell. Multi-Symptom Ear Treatment Cleans Away Most Dog Ear Problems.No Chemicals or Drugs-100% Guaranteed

EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner is an all-natural, multi-symptom, dog ear cleaning solution.

Key Features

  • All-natural formula free of pharmaceuticals and chemicals
  • Tackles a wide range of ear problems
  • US FDA Approved

What We Like

EcoEars touts itself as an all-natural solution to a multitude of ear problems, and fortunately, it gets the job done. This is an ear cleaning solution that simultaneously deep cleans your dog’s ears and cures ear issues at the root cause.

Despite using natural botanicals, this ear cleaning solution is surprisingly effective. A friend’s dog, who had ear infection its entire life, was good to go within two days of using EcoEars. I personally saw the amount of gunk and wax this cleaning solution forced out that dog’s ear—and it was just one session!

It’s perfect for vegan dog owners or for those who want a more environmentally responsible product.

What We Didn’t Like

We’re a little bit concerned that “denatured alcohol” is the first ingredient in the formula. Alcohol can be drying, and the ear canal does require some moisture to stay healthy.


  • Treats a wide array for ear problems
  • Fast and effective at clearing away ear wax and debris build-up
  • All-natural formula that's safe and environmentally friendly
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  • Contains grain alcohol as one of its ingredients

While not as effective as the ZYMOX when it comes to treating infections, EcoEars is nevertheless one of the better dog ear cleaners you can buy.

Overall Rating - 4.8 / 5.0

Curaseb Dog Ear Treatment - Best for Yeast

Curaseb - Dog Ear Infection Treatment - Treats Ear Mite, Yeast & Fungal Infections - Cleans & Flushes Away Sticky & Smelly Infected Ears - Broad Spectrum Veterinary Formula, 12oz

Curaseb Dog Ear Treatment is extremely potent, and the best dog ear cleaner for yeast, bacterial, and fungal infections.

Key Features

  • The proprietary formula contains Ketoconazole to fight fungus and yeast, and Tris-EDTA to battle bacteria.
  • Topical solution is effective with skin, not just on ears
  • The aloe-infused, water-based formula gently cleans and flushes ears of debris and build-up

What We Like

Curaseb Dog Ear Treatment, as the name suggests, is one of the more effective counters to infections due to yeast, bacteria, and fungus. And true enough, my friend's Cocker Spaniel's almost 3-year ear infection was relieved by Curaseb when no other medication could.

But more than just medicine, we found Curaseb to be an effective cleaner as well. Great at flushing out debris and wax, and it doesn't even need to be used every day. Our friend initially used it every day, but gradually weaned off, save for a few maintenance drops. It still works like a charm!

What We Didn’t Like

Some users report having problems with Curaseb being overly drying for breeds that have a really deep ear canal.


  • Handy counter against yeast, fungal, and bacterial infections
  • Gentle formula cleans really well yet still remains safe on dog's skin
  • It still works even when not applied daily


  • May potentially have drying problems for dogs with deep ear canals

Overall, this is a fantastic option to treat ear infections, while giving it a gentle clean at the same time.

Overall Rating - 4.4 / 5.0

Doggie Dailies Pet Ear Cleaner - Best All-Natural

Doggie Dailies Pet Ear Cleaner, Tea Tree Oil, Witch Hazel and Soothing Aloe, Vet Formulated Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats, Gently Removes Wax and Debris, Reduces Odor, and Maintains Ear Cleanliness

Doggie Dailies Pet Ear Cleaner is an all-natural cleaning solution that's based on a veterinarian-approved formula.

Key Features

  • All-natural formula that includes witch hazel, aloe vera, and tea tree oil
  • Easy to use applicator tip makes it easy to apply drops to your dog’s ear
  • Effective at removing foul ear odor

What We Like

For those who want a gentle, all-natural ear cleaner, Doggie Dailies is a great fit. This formula was made with recommendations from veterinarians, so you know it's entirely safe for use.

Despite its gentle nature, it’s still fast-acting and eliminates wax build-up in no time. This will loosen up even the most stubborn of gunk and debris.

Some more astute owners might find the addition of tea tree oil concerning, as it can be harmful at high dosages. Fortunately, after much research, we concluded that the amount contained in Doggie Dailies is relatively harmless. My dog is a living testament to this, who’s fine after repeated usage of this product.

What We Didn’t Like

Tea Tree Oil CAN be harmful at high dosages, so you still have to be cautious when using this cleaner.


  • All-natural ingredients that are perfect for the more environmentally Conscious dog owner
  • The narrow applicator tip makes it very easy to apply and use this product
  • Works as advertised: gunk and debris melts at contact, making it easy to clean up afterward
  • Completely removes any foul odor after only a few uses


  • Tea tree oil can be dangerous at high dosage, so watch how much you use

Despite the controversial ingredient, Doggie Dailies is still a safe and effective cleaner that you can quickly get used to.

Overall Rating - 4.4 / 5.0

Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes - Best Dog Ear Cleaning Wipes

Pet MD - Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes - Otic Cleanser for Dogs to Stop Itching, Yeast and Mites with Aloe and Eucalyptus - 100 Count

These Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes are an easy and effective way to clean and deodorize your dog's ears.

Key Features

  • Uses an advanced veterinary formula that cleans, deodorizes, and dries your pet’s ears
  • Safe enough for everyday use
  • Uses all-natural ingredients with zero alcohol
  • Deodorizing properties helps eliminate foul odors

What We Like

For a quick and convenient way to clean your dog’s ears, ear cleaner wipes are your best friend, and the Pet MD Cleaner Wipes are one of the best in the bunch.

These wipes have the same cleaning and germ-preventive action as the liquid cleaners, with less mess. Personally, during our regular ear cleaning sessions, we prefer this one as it is so convenient to use. We generally save the cleaning solution for the more intense once-a-week deep cleaning.

What We Didn’t Like

These wipes are generally ineffective at treating infections; they are strictly just for cleaning.


  • Safe enough for daily use, allowing you always to keep your dog's ears clean
  • It's simple and completely mess-free, for those days that you just want a quick clean
  • All-natural ingredients make for a very gentle cleaning session


  • Doesn’t treat infections
  • Can’t be used on puppies under 12 weeks

With its convenience and ease of use, Pet MD brand is our go-to ear wipes for daily ear cleaning tasks.

Overall Rating - 4.6 / 5.0

Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner

Virbac Epi Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner

Virbac Epi-Optic Advanced Ear Cleaner uses a powerful formulation to thoroughly clean and deodorize your dog’s ears, without any harshness.

Key Features

  • Alcohol-free formula with a low 2.2 pH to prevent irritation
  • Contains 0.2% salicylic acid for a powerful deep clean
  • The keratolytic formulation helps remove debris and dead cells
  • Promotes drying to help avoid infection

What We Like

Virbac Epi-Optic Advanced Ear Cleaner is a versatile ear cleaning solution that can help lead to a thorough clean of your dog’s ears. The active ingredient here is salicylic acid, a keratolytic agent that scrubs off dead skin cells and wax.

Its gentle formula makes it perfectly safe for daily use. Its antiseptic qualities make it an ideal cleanser to prep for ear treatment medication, and it’s also an approved treatment against severe otitis externa.

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What We Didn’t Like

Unfortunately, this cleanser is chock full of chemical ingredients, which also gives it an unpleasant medicinal aroma.


  • The salicylic acid formulation is powerful at removing dirt, debris, and dead skin cells from your dog's ears
  • It’s effective at treating otitis externa
  • Gentle enough to be used as an everyday cleaner


  • Contains a lot of chemical ingredients

For stubborn ear infections and severely blocked dog ears, Virbac Epi-Optic's robust formula will prove to be the perfect foil.

Overall Rating - 4.6 / 5.0

Burt’s Bees for Dogs Ear Cleaner

Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Ear Cleaner with Peppermint and Witch Hazel | Solution for Dogs Or Puppies, 4oz

Burt's Bees for Dogs Ear Cleaner is a gentle, all-natural cleaner from the well-known Earth-friendly skincare brand

Key Features

  • Specially pH balanced formula for gentle cleaning
  • Uses 97% natural ingredients with zero parabens, petroleum or synthetic fragrances
  • Contains witch hazel that helps break up excess build-up
  • Soothes irritated ears with peppermint oil

What We Like

Known for their natural skincare products, Burt's Bees goes into dog territory with their dog ear cleaner. This is a very gentle and soothing cleanser—but don't let that fool you! It still has ingredients that can quickly sweep up excessive build-up and leave a pleasant scent.

The gentle pH-balanced formulation makes this dog ear cleaner ideal for regular use (up to twice per week). Best of all, it’s environmentally responsible, something an environmentalist or vegan will appreciate.

What We Didn’t Like

While effective at cleaning, this is not an ideal product for ear infections.


  • pH balanced formula means you can use this cleaner more regularly than more harsher products
  • Uses naturally sourced ingredients that are still surprisingly effective
  • Helps dry your dog’s ear to prevent infections


  • Not ideal for ear infections

Burt’s Bee has delivered another winner with this dog ear cleaner that is actually effective and inexpensive at the same time.

Overall Rating - 4.4 / 5.0

Pups and Pounce Dog Ear Cleaner - Gentlest Dog Ear Cleaner

VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats - Otic Rinse for Infections and Controlling Yeast, Mites and Odor in Pets - 8 oz (Cucumber Melon)

Pups and Pounce Ear Cleaner is a gentle product that can be used for both dogs and cats.

Key Features

  • Users 100% all-natural ingredients, including coconut and palm oil
  • Contains no harsh chemicals; 100% alcohol-free
  • Stops and heals irritated skin

What We Like

As far as gentle cleansers go, the leash goes on the Pups and Pounce Dog Ear Cleaner. Its chemical-free formulation makes it the ideal cleaner for routine ear maintenance (up to twice a week usage)

This dog ear cleaner is also effective at soothing and hydrating even the harshest of infections. It can stop irritation and provide some relief, especially if it’s painful for the dog. It also has deodorizing properties that help reduce foul odors.

What We Didn’t Like

While it can provide relief from infections, it can’t treat them on its own.


  • Uses only natural ingredients with no harsh chemicals
  • Provides instant relief from infection symptoms or irritated skin
  • The formula is very gentle and can be used even by puppies.


  • It can’t treat infections on its own

Pups and Pounce Dog Ear Cleaner might be a gentle cleanser, but it does the job exceptionally well. We particularly liked the instant relief from infections.

Overall Rating - 4.3 / 5.0

All About Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

Like humans, a dog’s ears are sensitive. However, a dog’s ear canal is tilted down at a steeper angle. This makes it extra hard for any debris or foreign material trapped there to be expelled out. Over time, this builds up and becomes ear wax.

This is made worse when the earwax becomes wet, which happens quite often. It then becomes a dangerous breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, which will eventually lead to ear infections. The more wax build-up there is, the harder it is to treat them.

So, cleaning this wax build-up before it becomes unmanageable should be part of your regular dog hygiene routine.

Aside from wax build-up, there are lots of potentially dangerous objects that might be living inside your dog’s ears. Weed and other plant matter can find its way to your dog’s ear, and small twigs or grass can damage or even puncture your dog’s ear canal.

One of the more dangerous threats to your dog’s ear health is ear mites. These nasty critters feed on the wax and oil inside your dog's ear. They are highly contagious and are invisible to the naked eye. One way to test for them is to take a sample of your dog's ear wax. If there are tiny white specks, then that indicates the presence of these mites.

These are all serious problems that can become significant health risks for your dog. Fortunately, all of them are easily avoided, as long as you clean your dog's ears regularly enough.

Why Get an Ear Cleaner?

Ear cleaners are a fast and effective way to clean your dog's ear thoroughly. Typically, it's challenging to reach that far down into your dog's ear canal, where most of the earwax and bacteria build-up is located. And using Q-tips or anything long and pointed is dangerous and can risk puncturing your dog’s eardrum.

By using an ear cleaner, you loosen up the wax build-up so it can be expelled more easily. Not only that, but individual ear cleaning solutions are formulated especially for specific situations. For example, certain ear cleaners are solely for treating yeast infections. Some have deodorizing properties that help remove any foul smell, while others excel at removing wax build-up.

Most ear cleaners come in one of two forms: ear wipes and ear cleaning solutions. Wipes are a convenient way to clean your dog’s ears on the go, but for thorough and deep cleaning, an ear cleaning solution is preferred. Only a liquid can go deep and work its way into the ear canal. In addition, it has a lasting effect on helping prevent further accumulation of wax and bacteria.

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You should always check the ingredients list of your ear cleaners. Some ingredients, like alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, should be avoided. These have the potential of irritating the lining of the inner ear and worsening any inflammation present.

Again, when in doubt, Consult with your veterinarian. They can advise you on the best type of ear cleaner for your dog.

Dog Ear Cleaning Guidelines

A common question most owners ask is how often should ear cleaning be done. The short answer is, only when it’s absolutely necessary. It’s recommended that you clean your dog’s ears when you notice signs like a foul odor or discharge coming out from their ear canal.

Overcleaning is a common mistake that owners make. This may seem counterintuitive, but excessive cleaning can cause irritations to occur in your dog’s ears.

Of course, this varies from breed to breed. Some dogs, in fact, don’t even need to have their ears cleaned at all. Dogs with erect ears are usually in this group. Since there is healthy airflow into their ear canal, it tends to dry up pretty quickly, stopping any infection from developing. Conversely, those with drooped down ears are more prone to this and might need more regular cleaning.

To be sure, your veterinarian should give you ear cleaning guidelines specific to your dog. Also, don’t attempt to clean your dog’s ears if they are inflamed or painful.

Other Dog Ear Maintenance Tips

When it comes to your dog’s ear health, prevention is definitely better than cure. To help prevent complications, here are some tips that you can easily incorporate into your dog’s daily routine.

The easiest preventive measure is by having regular checkups with your veterinarian. They can spot infections before they spread and can recommend steps to help cure this.

Make sure to keep the hair inside and near your dog's ear as short as possible. This prevents excessive moisture from building up, which is a significant risk for infections. You can either cut it yourself or, if you’re feeling nervous, just pluck a few. You can also ask a dog groomer to do this for you.

Always dry your dog's ear after taking a bath. A clean towel will do the trick, but a hair blower on a low heat setting also works, plus it's fast and easy to do.

Incorporate some vitamins and minerals in your dog’s diet that can promote ear health, such as Omega-3 fatty acids. There are lots of dog feeds that have this, and it is an easy way to make your dog’s ears more resistant to infections and problems.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Cleaning your dog’s ears is a relatively straightforward process. All you need is a dog ear cleaner and some cotton balls.

It’s NOT recommended for you to use cotton buds or Q-tips to clean your dog’s ears. You run the risk of damaging or even puncturing your dog’s eardrums, impairing their hearing. This is especially true with dogs that have a hard time keeping still while you’re in the process of cleaning.

Also, by using Q-tips, you tend to push the wax deeper into the ear canal, which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. This can make things worse by actually contributing to the ear wax build-up.

Make sure you have everything on hand and easily reachable, then follow these simple steps

Have your dog lie down on your lap, in a position where you can quickly see his ears. Alternatively, for larger breeds, you can have him sit up against the corner of the room. Make sure your dog is comfortable, or else he will fidget a lot and make cleaning unnecessarily harder

Using one hand, lift your dog’s earflap to expose their ear canal.

With your other hand, grasp the ear cleaning solution and squeeze a few drops to fill your dog's ear canal. Be careful not to let the tip of the bottle touch any part of your dog's ear to prevent potential bacteria from lodging in there.

Still holding the earflap up, massage the base of the ear near the opening with your other free hand. This is to let the cleaning solution work its magic throughout the ear canal.

Using a cotton ball, wipe the outer part of your dog’s ear. You can also clean the ear canal, but only up to what your fingers can reach. Don’t force it.

Have your dog stand up and shake this head. This allows the cleaning solution and dirt to move out of the inner canal, where you can reach it.

Clean the ears again using the cotton ball. Repeat this process until no more cleaning solution or debris remain.

Repeat the above steps with the other ear.

If your dog is feeling uncooperative, have some treats on hand to appease them. If your dog is feeling any pain, stop immediately, and Consult with your veterinarian.

Final Thoughts

In this roundup, we've tackled several dog ear cleaners. A lot of them pretty much do the same thing as the others or operate on the same level. Don't get us wrong, though – all of these are fantastic cleaners that you can't go wrong with. However, one stands out from the crowd.

If there’s one cleaner that dominates this review, it’s ZYMOX Pet King Brand Otic Ear Cleaner with Hydrocortisone. It's a super effective, fast-acting dog ear cleaner with a thousand satisfied customers backing it up. Most importantly, it’s effective at curbing almost any ear infection with ease.

For reviews of other excellent grooming products, you may view our top list of best dog teeth cleaners in the market.

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