ear drops for dogs

The Best Ear Drops for Dogs Reviewed: Pros, Cons, and Ingredient Analysis

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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What Are the Best Ear Drops for Dogs?

Vets Preferred Dog’s Ear Wash Solution
  • Our Vets Preferred dog ear cleaning solution is both gentle and effective, so you can be sure you're providing your beloved pet with the best irritation relief for dogs.
  • With our Vets Preferred Dog ear cleaning solution, you're their savior! Provide irritation relief for dogs immediately by following the simple dog care instructions.
  • We formulate everything with safety and efficacy in mind, so your dog is always in optimal health.

Can I Use Over the Counter Ear Drops for My Dog?

Yes, you can use over-the-counter ear drops for dogs.

Ear cleansers and solutions do not require a prescription. However, it is always a good idea to consult a vet before medicating your dog.

Also, it is important to use ear drops meant for dogs. Human ear drops can make the dog ear problem worse.

What Are the Benefits of Ear Drops for Dogs?

Ear drops for dogs come with several benefits, including:

  • Cleaner Ears. Clean ears are healthy ears. Dogs with acute or chronic ear infections tend to be more uncomfortable, and keeping their ears clean helps to eliminate the cause of ear infections by removing the wax that promotes the growth of bacteria.
  • Fewer Infections: As stated above, bacteria and fungi like earwax. They can feed on it and thrive, especially if there is a bit of moisture. Using ear drops can reduce this by keeping the ear canal clean and dry.
  • Preventing Injuries. If a dog has an irritated ear, it may shake its head aggressively or scratch excessively. Ear drops soothe ear irritations and reduce the dog’s reaction to the irritation, thus reducing the chance of self-inflicted injury. Some ear injuries can lead to eardrum damage and even hearing loss.
  • Less Odor. If an ear is dirty or infected, it may begin to present an unpleasant odor. Ear drops can help clear out this smell and prevent it with regular use.

The Best Ear Drops for Dogs Reviewed

There are many ear drops for dogs on the market. Based on the active ingredient, they can be used for managing different ear problems – from regular ear cleaning to ear mite treatments.

Vets Preferred Ear Cleaner for Dog Itch Irritation Relief

Vets Preferred Ear Cleaner for Dog Itch Irritation Relief

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Summary: The formula in this ear cleaner is both gentle and effective on a dog’s irritated ears. Providing itch relief with the use of glycerin as a softener of ear wax buildup, this treatment is powerful against itchy ear flaps.

It provides antibacterial treatment to prevent ear infections and removes dirt and debris to promote healthy ears. It is made in the USA in a GMP-certified facility to ensure the best quality control and safety standards.

Features: Made with glycerin and isopropyl alcohol; Safe for regular use; Made in the USA

Pros
  • High-quality product that works for all dogs
  • Easy to use and fit for different ear issues
  • Non-irritating formulas
  • Keeps ear wax under control
  • Has a pleasant smell
Cons
  • The scent can be unpleasant to some

Ingredient Analysis: Glycerin is used to soften the ear wax for easy removal, while isopropyl alcohol helps to kill bacteria to prevent infection. Polysorbate 20 acts as an emulsifier and stabilizer, and deionized water provides the foundation for all ingredients. Artificial colors are used, which is not ideal as dogs do not care what color their ear drops are.

Review: Reviews of these ear drops for dogs were sparse but largely positive. Customers say it helped clean their pet’s ears with no side effects, and they had no problem using it.

Negative ratings only comprised 3% of total ratings, and no reviews were below four stars.

Zymox Otic Ear Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone

Zymox Otic Ear Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone

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Summary: These ear drops for dogs feature hydrocortisone to fight against inflammation and itchiness during an ear issue. There is no pre-cleaning of the area required when using these drops, simply fill the ear canal and let the solution do its work.

It uses a patented LP3 enzyme system to help clear secretions and promote healthy ears. This formula reduces bacteria and helps to clear hard-to-penetrate germy biofilms that can lead to infection.

Features: Hydrocortisone; non-stinging formula; patented LP3 enzyme system

Pros
  • Penetrates the biofilm made by germs in the ear
  • Easy-to-use formula that just needs to be wiped
  • Features hydrocortisone to fight itchiness
  • Uses LP3 enzyme system instead of harsh chemicals
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Often out of stock on online retailers

Ingredient Analysis: Benzyl alcohol is the first ingredient in these ear drops for dogs, and this makes it powerful against germs and bacteria. Glycerin is used to break up earwax buildup, while hydrocortisone reduces itchiness. Lactoperoxidase, lysozyme, and glucose oxidase are added as the enzymes in the patented system. These fight against fungi, viruses, and bacteria and offer the product its effect without requiring harsh medicines.

Review: With over 56,000 reviews, we get a great window into the experiences other customers have had with these ear drops for dogs. Most consumers say this product “absolutely works wonders’“ and call it “unbelievable.” Their pet’s ears are cleaner, and their otitis is cleared up.

Negative reviews were rather severe, however. Most complaints came from pet owners whose pets had developed an illness after using these ear drops for dogs. Their pet’s ears became red or bleeding, while others became disoriented or developed an apparent chemical burn.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy Medicated Ear Drops to Help Relieve Bacterial and Fungal Infections in Dogs

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy Medicated Ear Drops to Help Relieve Bacterial and Fungal Infections in Dogs

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Summary: These medicated ear drops for dogs and cats clean and deodorizes the ear by removing wax that can lead to ear mites and yeast infections. It is alcohol-free, so it is easy on sensitive ears and can be used regularly.

It can be used on animals older than 12 weeks and is made with veterinarian-grade ingredients to provide significant effect at a reasonable price. Each of the four active ingredients includes treatment for both the symptoms and the cause of ear issues, including excess moisture, wax, excess hair growth, and vertigo.

Features: Four active ingredients; easy-to-use applicator; removes wax and deodorizes the ear

Pros
  • Contains four active ingredients
  • Safe for both dogs and cats older than 12 weeks
  • Can be used weekly for preventative treatment
  • Fragrance-free
  • Suitable for otitis externa and smelly ears
Cons
  • Some dogs may react poorly to one or more of the active ingredients

Ingredient Analysis: There are four active ingredients in these ear drops for dogs. Lactic acid, the first, is used to control moisture inside the ear canal, and benzoic acid provides antifungal properties to fight against yeast infections. Salicylic acid relieves aches and helps to treat inflammation, while ketoconazole is used to supplement the benzoic acid to keep fungi at bay. This is a well-rounded formula that provides protection from all major causes of ear problems.

Review: Happy customer reviews say their dog’s ears have never been healthier after starting a regimen of ear cleaning. They were happy it was fragrance-free and that it worked well on their dog’s yeast infections and chronic ear infections.

Other customers were less than impressed. They complain mostly about the ear drops for dogs causing severe irritation to their dog or said the bottle arrived broken and leaking.

BEXLEY LABS Curaseb Dog Ear Infection Treatment

BEXLEY LABS Curaseb Dog Ear Infection Treatment

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Summary: This antiseptic flush is made to flush away dirt inside the ear and soften wax buildup to make it easier to remove. This action helps to deodorize the ear and relieve dogs of the sticky discharge associated with ear infections.

It is safe for regular use, especially after swimming or grooming. It is made in the USA with a no-sting formula that is safe for kittens and puppies as well as adult cats and dogs.

Features: Easy-to-use applicator bottle; large bottle; antiseptic effect

Pros
  • Provides antiseptic relief from ear buildup and discharge
  • Safe for cats and dogs as young as 12 weeks
  • Features a no-sting formula for easy use
  • Protects the cell membrane to prevent further infection
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Contains artificial fragrances

Ingredient Analysis: SDA-40 and benzyl alcohol are used as an astringent to help remove bacteria and viruses from a dog’s ear canal. Disodium EDTA helps to maintain the integrity of the cell membrane. Artificial fragrance is used, and this is a potential problem as many dog owners do not want artificial ingredients in ear drops for dogs. 

Review: Satisfied consumers loved these ear drops for dogs, and they said their dogs enjoyed it too. Other dog owners who left five-star reviews say their dogs hate the act of receiving the drops, although they work well for them.

While these buyers were happy their dog’s ears are healthy and clean, others were not as pleased. About 5% of all ratings were 1 and 2-stars. The primary complaint, by far, was that this product did not work for their dogs.

VETNIQUE LABS Oticbliss Ear Cleaner Flushes for Dogs with Odor Control and Itch Relief Reduces Head Shaking

VETNIQUE LABS Oticbliss Ear Cleaner Flushes for Dogs with Odor Control and Itch Relief Reduces Head Shaking

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Summary: The formula in these ear drops contains ketoconazole and chlorhexidine as active ingredients. These provide powerful effects on fungi and bacteria and help to clear out potential infections before they start.

It is available in a wipe and a flush to suit the needs of almost any dog. It is made in the USA, so the quality control and safety measures are top of the line.

Features: Two different strengths; available in a flush and wipes; ketoconazole and chlorhexidine

Pros
  • Available in two different strength formulas
  • Made in a flush and wipes
  • Features an antifungal & antibacterial
  • Safe for both dogs and cats
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Contains artificial fragrances

Ingredient Analysis: Ketoconazole provides antifungal properties, while chlorhexidine offers antibacterial effects. These work well together to prevent and treat ear infections. Aloe vera helps to soothe itchiness, and lactic acid provides a drying effect that helps to minimize excess moisture in the ear. The only negative in the ingredients list of these ear drops for dogs is the use of artificial fragrances.

Review: The happy buyers of these ear drops for dogs said it worked very well on their dog, and they were happy to see their dog quickly recover from an ear infection.

Critical consumers stated the scent was too much for them and said their dogs were not fans of the formula either. They say this formula did nothing to help treat their dogs.

VetWELL Ear Cleaner Otic Rinse for Infections and Controlling Ear Infections and Odor

VetWELL Ear Cleaner Otic Rinse for Infections and Controlling Ear Infections and Odor

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Summary: Veterinarian formulated to gently clean and deodorize ears, this product uses aloe vera to also provide itch relief to irritated ears. It helps to remove ear wax to prevent the buildup of debris and dirt that can cause ear infections.

These ear drops for dogs contain vitamins that help to heal skin and promote healthy ears, as well as alcohol to kill bacteria living in the ear canal. It is made in the USA in a federally regulated facility to ensure the highest levels of quality and safety during manufacturing.

Features: Aloe vera; denatured alcohol; easy applicator bottle

Pros
  • Works well against infections
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Cleans well just after the first use
  • Reduces bad odor
  • Has a great smell
Cons
  • May not work for all dogs
  • The smell can be too powerful for some

Ingredient Analysis: Propylene glycol is used to moisturize the ear and remove the earwax while providing a weak antifungal treatment. Vitamins A, C, E, and F are included to help heal the skin and promote healthy ears. Lactic acid and benzoic acid provide acid to the ear to help kill bacteria and keep the ear dry so it cannot grow back.

Review: Dog owners were largely happy with these ear drops for dogs. The top positive comment was simply titled “magic. Pure magic.” Other reviewers said their retrievers and dogs with floppy ears were finally relieved of their chronic ear infections after starting to use these ear drops for dogs regularly as a preventive measure.

Negative reviews only account for 3% of total reviews. Their complaints ranged from warnings about the dangers of getting these drops in their pet’s eyes to not trusting the product due to a typo on the label to the product not working altogether.

Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse for Dogs Cleans & Deodorizes

Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse for Dogs Cleans & Deodorizes

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Summary: These tear drops rely on only six ingredients to get the job done. It uses alcohol to kill bacteria and glycol to remove ear wax while also providing a weak antifungal.

It is made to clean earwax, deodorize ears, and prevent infections with a gentle formula that can be used on dogs of all ages. It is made by veterinarians in the USA to the highest standards of quality and consistency.

Features: Antifungal; aloe vera; antibacterial

Pros
  • A very gentle product for super sensitive dogs
  • Affordable and comes in a large bottle
  • Clears off wax effectively
  • Pleasant odor
  • Prevents infection and ear problems
Cons
  • Not effective against ear mites

Ingredient Analysis: There are only six ingredients in these ear drops for dogs, which is less than any other on this list. Propylene glycol helps to remove earwax, and aloe vera offers itch and pain relief to irritated ears. SDA alcohol and sodium benzoate offer antibacterial and antifungal properties, respectively. Finally, salicylic acid acidifies the ear to prevent future bacteria growth. Overall, this is a great ingredient list.

Review: Happy buyers say this solution is “gentle and cleans well.” While all five-star reviews were positive, there were some people who left five-star reviews but said it would have been better had the ear drops for dogs not been scented.

Negative reviews hit on this topic a bit, with numerous people expressing displeasure with the scent. Other complaints said it dried the skin around their dog’s ears out, and there is no drying agent in the solution, so it takes a while to dry out completely.

What Should I Look for in Ear Drops for Dogs?

When looking for ear drops for dogs, consider the following factors:

  • Active Ingredient. Medicated ear drops use antibiotics, while gentler drops made for daily use and regular ear cleaning can rely on mild antiseptics to prevent ear wax buildup.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents. Steroids significantly reduce inflammation that causes pain, swelling, and itching. The most common anti-inflammatory agent in ear drops for dogs is hydrocortisone.
  • Medications. If an ear infection is severe, you may need a prescription-strength prescription, perhaps something with ingredients like ketoconazole and chlorhexidine. If you only require ear maintenance drops, then something with isopropyl alcohol and sodium benzoate would be a great option.
  • Ease of Use. Some ear drops for dogs are meant to be used daily and others up to several times are day. Considering the frequency of use, it is best to find ear drops with an easy-use applicator.

How do I Use Dog Ear Drops?

Using ear drops in dogs can be tricky but does not necessarily have to be difficult.

Have dog treats on hand if your dog is not used to receiving drops in its ears so you can distract it. Here is a step-by-step process here:

  • Be Prepared. You will need dog treats, a towel, ear drops, and perhaps some cotton balls and warm water. Have everything within reach before starting the application process.
  • Clean the Outer Ear. Using ear wipes (warm water and cotton balls will work, too), lift the ear flap and clean it. It is important to clean the area – the ear drops need to be applied to clean skin (if used on top of cerumen, they will not work).
  • Drip the Er Drops into the Dog’s Ears. Once you have cleaned the outer ear, it is time to administer the ear drops. With one hand, move the ear flap out of the way and gently but firmly grasp the dog’s head and keep them as still as possible. Tilt its head to the opposite side, putting one ear canal to the floor and one to the ceiling. With the applicator, drip the solution into the ear. Use only as much as the label says to use.
  • Wipe Clean. Once the dog has shaken its head, massage the base of the ear and work the solution into the hard-to-reach places of the ear canal. Wipe dry with a clean towel.

How Often do You Put Drops in Dog’s Ears?

Read the manufacturer’s label to determine how often to give your dog ear drops.

Generally speaking, though, it is safe to give them ear drops 1-2 times per week for maintenance and daily treatment purposes.

If the ear drops are for treating an infection, then ear drops can be used 2-3 times per day for the first 2-3 days, then once per day after that until the infection is under control.