Cleaning a dog's ear with vinegar and water is a simple and effective method to maintain their ear health. Before starting, it's important to gather the necessary supplies, such as white distilled vinegar, warm water, a soft cloth or cotton balls, and possibly a squeeze bottle or syringe if desired.
To begin, prepare a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. This concoction helps eliminate excess earwax, soothes itchiness, and prevents infections. It's important to use white distilled vinegar as other types may irritate the dog's ear.
Next, gently restrain your dog and inspect their ears for any noticeable redness, discharge, or foul odor. If you notice these signs, it's advisable to consult a veterinarian before proceeding with the cleaning.
Once you have confirmed that the dog's ears are healthy, moisten a soft cloth or cotton ball with the vinegar and water solution. Be cautious not to soak the cloth or cotton ball excessively, as it may cause discomfort to the dog.
Gently hold your dog's ear and clean the visible part, also known as the outer ear or pinna. Avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal, as this can potentially damage the eardrum. Use the cloth or cotton ball to wipe away dirt, wax, or any debris on the outer ear.
If your dog has a particularly dirty or infected ear, you can use a squeeze bottle or syringe to gently flush the ear canal with the diluted vinegar. Maintain a careful and steady flow to prevent discomfort. However, it's advised to consult a veterinarian before attempting this procedure, especially if it's your first time or if your dog has a history of ear problems.
After cleaning, gently dry the dog's ears with a clean cloth. Some dogs may shake their head vigorously, so be prepared for a little splatter.
It's important to note that while vinegar and water solution can be helpful for routine cleaning, it is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. If your dog displays signs of discomfort, persistent discharge, or any concerning symptoms, it's always best to consult a qualified veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Best Dog Ear Cleaners of 2023
Rating is 5 out of 5
Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser for Dogs & Cats, 8 oz
- Non-irritating solution
- Use during routine cleansing of sensitive ears
- Removes debris and excessive wax and dries the ear canal.
- Recommended for pets with chronic otitis externa which is chronic inflammation of a dogs external ear canal.
- It has a low pH, so it shouldn't interfere with other ear preparations.
Rating is 4.9 out of 5
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy, 4 oz. – Cat and Dog Ear Cleaner to Help Soothe Itchiness and Cleans The Ear Canal from Debris and Buildup That May Cause Infection
- HELPS ALLEVIATE – This dog and cat ear cleaner was formulated with properties to help promote healthy ear canals. Rinse pet's ears daily with solution and massage area.
- DAILY MAINTENANCE – Helps breakdown buildup in the canal that may be causing foul odors and itching, scratching, and head shaking. Excellent for daily care and maintenance.
- GENTLE FOR SENSITIVE EARS – Alcohol-free, mildly scented, and a non-irritating formula, this cat and dog ear wash is suitable for sensitive ears and gentle enough for frequent use.
- FOR YOUR PETS – Clinical Care Ear Therapy is great for dogs, cats, and small animals over 12 weeks for daily care and to maintain the ear health of your pet.
- EFFECTIVE & AFFORDABLE – Our premium products are high-quality at an affordable price. Store original container in a cool, dry place away from the sun, below 86°F or 30°C.
Rating is 4.8 out of 5
Pet MD - Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes - Otic Cleanser for Dogs to Stop Ear Itching, and Infections with Aloe and Eucalyptus - 100 Count
- Advanced Formulation Designed to Gently Clean, Deodorize and Dry Your Pets Ears
- Gentle and Safe for Regular Use which Prevents Ear Infections, Reduces Wax Build Up and Removes Debris in and Around the Ear
- 100 Convenient, Alcohol Free, Soothing and Non-Irritating Disposable Ear Wipes for Dogs. For Dogs Over 12 Weeks Old
- Reduce Foul Ear Odor and Prevents Infection to Keeps Your Dog Happy and Healthy without Medication
- Made in the USA in Federally Regulated Manufacturing Facilities to Ensure Quality and Safety
Rating is 4.7 out of 5
Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution for Dogs and Cats to Soothe Ear Infections with 1% Hydrocortisone for Itch Relief, 1.25oz
- Ear care for dogs and cats - soothes ear infections, redness and inflammation for pets of all ages
- Gentle, no-sting formula helps ease painful ear infections caused by germs, fungi and yeast
- Solution provides a safe, natural alternative to oral medication with 1% Hydrocortisone for itch relief
- No pre-cleaning of painful ears required - fill ear canal and let powerful solution get to work
- Patented LP3 Enzyme System helps clear ear secretions and promotes healthy ears
Rating is 4.6 out of 5
Vet's Best Ear Relief Finger Wipes | Ear Cleansing Finger Wipes for Dogs | Sooths & Deodorizes | 50 Disposable Wipes
- GENTLY CLEANSES – Vet’s Best Ear Relief Finger Wipes single-use finger wipes gently and effectively removes dirt and dissolves waxy build-up.
- SOOTHS & DEODORIZES - Regular use of our wipes will help to safely & gently remove build-up and discharge that can cause odor.
- NATURAL INGREDIENTS - Our wipes are free from Parabens and made with all-natural ingredients like Witch Hazel, Aloe Vera and Tea Tree Oil.
- FOR REGULAR USE – Use as needed until wipes are free of visible wax or build-up after use. Use 1-2 times weekly on a routine basis to maintain clean ears
- EASY TO USE – Simply rub the accessible portion of your dog’s ears with our pre-moistened wipe and dispose after use.
Rating is 4.5 out of 5
VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats - Otic Rinse for Infections and Controlling Ear Infections and Odor in Pets - 8 oz (Cucumber Melon)
- Veterinarian Formulated to Gently Clean, Deodorize, Acidify and Dry Your Pets Ears
- Safe And Gentle Ear Cleanser with Aloe Vera for Daily Use. Won't Sting, Burn or Aggravate the Ear Canal
- Eliminates Build Up of Wax, Fluid, Dirt & Debris to Stop Itching, Scratching, Head Shaking and Irritation.
- Helps Relieve Ear Infections Caused by Growths, Buildup, and Itching.
- Made in the USA in Federally Regulated Manufacturing Facilities to Ensure Quality and Safety.
Rating is 4.4 out of 5
Zymox Ear Cleanser Solution for Dogs and Cats, 4oz
- Cat and dog ear cleaner – quickly and effectively clean non-infected ears in pets of all ages
- Gentle, non-toxic and non-irritating solution free from harsh detergents, veterinarian recommended
- Patented LP3 Enzyme System helps to gently maintain healthy, fresh smelling ears
- Cat and dog ear cleaner solution to manage dirty ears, safe for flushing the ears after an infection
- Proudly USA made in a Federally Regulated Manufacturing Facility, cruelty-free and easy to use
Rating is 4.3 out of 5
Vet's Best Ear Relief Wash Cleaner for Dogs, 16 oz Refill
- IMMEDIATE RELIEF - Vet's Best Ear Relief Wash Cleaner for Dogs cleans and soothes raw, itchy, smelly, or greasy dog ears.
- NATURAL INGREDIENTS - Vet’s Best Ear Relief Wash uses a carefully formulated combination of natural ingredients, including witch hazel, chamomile, aloe vera, clove oil, and tea tree oil to help control unpleasant odor and itching.
- AS NEEDED - May be used daily or as needed to clean ears and control wax build-up.
- TOTAL CARE - Vet's Best Ear Relief Wash Cleaner is part of our complete treatment system for raw, itchy, and smelly dog ears. Use with Vet’s Best Dry Ear Relief.
- MADE IN THE USA - Alcohol-free and non-stinging. Used to refill the Vet's Best 4 oz ear cleaner wash.
Rating is 4.2 out of 5
Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner, 8 oz
- Epi-Otic may be used for routine ear cleansing in healthy ear canal or prior to administration of other ear preparations
- A mild alcohol-free cleansing and drying solution for routine maintenance of otitis externa
- Epi-Otic has a low pH of 2.2 and contains no chlorhexidine or alcohol
- Packaging May Vary
How long should I leave the vinegar and water in my dog's ear?
When using a mixture of vinegar and water to clean your dog's ears, you should only leave it in for a short period of time, typically less than a minute. Gently insert the mixture into your dog's ear canal, and then massage the base of the ear for about 20-30 seconds. After that, allow your dog to shake their head to help remove any excess liquid. Finally, use clean and dry cotton balls to wipe away any remaining liquid or debris on the outer part of the ear. It's always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian for specific instructions and to rule out any underlying ear issues.
What should I do if my dog's ear starts to bleed during cleaning?
If your dog's ear starts to bleed during cleaning, it is important to take immediate action. Here's what you should do:
- Remain calm: Panicking can further stress your dog and make the situation worse.
- Stop cleaning: Cease cleaning the ear immediately to prevent any further irritation or damage.
- Assess the situation: Carefully inspect the ear to determine the source and severity of the bleeding. Note whether it is a superficial or deep cut.
- Apply gentle pressure: Use a clean cloth or sterile gauze pad to apply light pressure on the affected area. This can help slow down the bleeding.
- Contact your veterinarian: Reach out to your vet and inform them about the situation. They may provide specific guidance based on the severity of the bleeding. They might advise you to bring your dog in for an examination or provide instructions for at-home care.
- Follow vet instructions: Whatever your veterinarian advises, make sure to follow their instructions carefully. They may recommend you bring your dog in for treatment or provide guidance on how to clean and care for the ear at home.
In general, be cautious while cleaning your dog's ears, as excessive force or improper technique can cause injury. If you are unsure about cleaning your dog's ears properly, consult your veterinarian or a professional groomer for guidance.
Is it necessary to dilute vinegar with water before applying it to the dog's ear?
While vinegar can be used to clean a dog's ears, it is generally recommended to dilute it with water before applying it. Diluting vinegar helps prevent any potential irritation or discomfort that might occur if used undiluted. It is also important to consult with a veterinarian before using any substance on your dog's ears, as they can provide specific recommendations based on your dog's needs.