How to Clean a Dog’s Ears With Infection at Home

Ear infections can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for dogs, so it’s important that you try to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Certain types of ear infections occur from dirt, mites, or wax buildup in your dog’s ear canal. It’s important to learn how to clean a dog’s ears with infection at home.

How to Clean a Dog's Ears With Infection

How to clean your dog’s ear infection

To clean your dog’s ears at home, you should avoid using cotton swabs or other objects in the ear canal as this can cause injury. Instead, take a cotton ball or cotton gauze pad dipped in the antibacterial cleaning solution and gently wipe around the inside of the ear flap.

If your dog’s ear is red and inflamed, your veterinarian can use an otoscope to examine the ear canal to determine whether your dog has a bacterial or yeast infection.

Your veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic for a bacterial infection. She may also prescribe oral medication for a systemic infection.

Clean your dog’s ears daily with a product designed for dogs. You can purchase these at pet stores or online.

If your veterinarian has prescribed an ear cleaning solution, you should use that to clean the ear. Your veterinarian will decide which is best for your dog.

10 Best ear cleaners for dogs

The following ear cleaners for dogs work well to clean your dog’s ears and are safe to use.

  1. Zymox Pet King Brand Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone
  2. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy – Medicated Ear Drops to Help Relieve Bacterial and Fungal Infections in Dogs and Cats
  3. ZYMOX Enzymatic Ear Solution with 0.5-Percent Hydrocortisone, for Dog & Cat
  4. Virbac EPIOTIC Advanced Ear Cleanser, Vet-Recommended For Dogs and Cats
  5. Pet King Brands Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution for Dogs and Cats to Soothe Ear Infections Without Hydrocortisone for Itch Relief
  6. Burt’s Bees for Dogs Natural Ear Cleaner with Peppermint & Witch Hazel – Effective & Gentle Dog Ear Cleaning Solution for All Dogs
  7. Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse for Dogs | Cleans & Deodorizes
  8. Banixx Pet Care for Fungal & Bacterial Infections
  9. NaturPet Ear Drops for Dogs & Cats | All Natural Herbal Drops
  10. TropiClean Ear Solutions for Pets – Removes Ear Wax and Debris – Helps Reduce Ear Infections

Is rubbing alcohol good to clean a dog’s ears?

No, rubbing alcohol is not good to clean a dog’s ears.

Rubbing alcohol contains denatured ethyl alcohol (or ethanol), which is capable of drying out anything it touches. Using it on your dog’s ears, where the skin is sensitive and thin, can mean extreme dryness and irritation. The skin can crack and peel, leading to secondary infections and additional problems. It may also cause itching or discomfort for your pet.

It will sting any cuts or abrasions present inside the ear canal. If your dog has any cuts or abrasions inside the ear canal (which are common in dogs with floppy ears), rubbing alcohol could be excruciatingly painful for them.

It can make matters worse if your dog already has an ear infection. Dogs with ear infections have inflamed tissues that are already sore, irritated and sensitive. Applying rubbing alcohol to these tissues will only exacerbate the problem by further irritating them.

Can I clean my dog’s ears with peroxide?

No. You should never use hydrogen peroxide or any other type of home remedy in your dog’s ears unless your veterinarian specifically tells you to do so. While hydrogen peroxide is sometimes used as a disinfectant, it can be dangerous for the delicate structures of the ear canal. If you want to clean your dog’s ears, use a gentle ear cleaner made specifically for dogs.

There are a number of different commercial ear cleaners for dogs on the market, including wipes and powders. There are also many homemade solutions that you may have read about online. Before using any product on your dog’s ears, check with your veterinarian to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for his specific condition.

Does vinegar cure a dog ear infection?

Vinegar can be used as a home remedy for certain types of skin problems in dogs, but it will do nothing against an ear infection.

The internet is full of home remedies for dogs. Dog owners use home remedies for many ailments including ear infections. Some websites claim that vinegar cures ear infections in dogs. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim and it’s unlikely that it will work. Vinegar may kill yeast, but leaves the ear moist. Moisture makes a perfect environment for future infections.

Can a dog die from an ear infection?

No, an ear infection will not kill your dog. If left untreated, an ear infection can lead to a number of problems including deafness.

In rare cases, the infection can be caused by a tumor causing the following symptoms: problems with coordination, seizures, or even death.

Can I use human ear drops on my dog?

No, you should not use human ear drops on your dog. Ear drops used by humans are not safe to use on dogs. Many of them contain antibiotics and other ingredients that can be harmful to your pet if they aren’t specifically formulated for canine use.

If you notice your dog shaking his head or scratching at his ears, he might be suffering from an ear infection. Before using any medication, take him to the veterinarian to confirm a diagnosis and get proper treatment. The veterinarian will probably prescribe medicated ear drops that are safe for dogs. Follow the veterinarian’s instructions carefully when administering the drops, and don’t stop treatment until the prescription is finished.

Can I give my dog human antibiotics for an ear infection?

No. Human antibiotics are not approved for use in animals. They could be dangerous to your dog’s health, even life-threatening. Your veterinarian has the right antibiotics for your dog’s ear infection. Follow his advice and directions closely to get the best results possible.

Conclusion of cleaning a dog’s ear infection at home

Ear infections in dogs are caused by bacteria, yeast, and mites. Ear infections can be treated with a topical ointment but if the infection has set in, an oral antibiotic or anti-inflammatory may be necessary. If there is a lot of excess wax or build-up, it may need to be cleaned out before treatment can begin. Home remedies for ear infections can be used as well if your dog is uncomfortable and you are looking for relief before heading to the vet.

To keep your dog’s ears healthy, use an ear cleaner like Vet’s Best Ear Relief Wash Cleaner for Dogs once a week to remove dirt and wax buildup that can lead to infection. If your dog is prone to ear infections, you can use it more often.

To apply the solution, follow the instructions on the bottle:

Gently hold your dog’s head still, and lift up his ear flap. Place a small amount of cleaner into the ear canal. Massage the base of the ear, as this will help distribute the solution inside.

Allow your dog to shake out any excess solution, then wipe away any remaining liquid with a cotton ball or soft cloth. Never insert anything into the ear canal!

Repeat for his other ear.

If there are no signs of infection and your dog does not scratch regularly at his ears, chances are he doesn’t have an allergy or condition that requires medical attention. But if he does have a problem, treatment is usually simple and straightforward — so don’t delay in getting him looked at by your veterinarian.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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