One of the most important things you can do while grooming your dog is to clean his ears. It will reduce his chances of contracting an ear infection and remove the excess wax buildup that collects in his ears over time. You can save yourself some money by making homemade dog ear cleaner, and it will be safer to use on your pet than store bought cleaners that can be full of chemicals.
Routine cleaning and inspections are also great ways to detect ear issues early on so you can get them taken care of. If untreated, ear problems can cause permanent damage to the ear canal and may also lead to hearing loss.
Dog ear cleaning solutions can be made cheaply and easily from products that many of us have on hand. These money-saving combinations are safe, convenient and work quite well. Homemade dog ear cleaner will save you from an unnecessary shopping trip too, meaning your pet will get relief from the irritation immediately instead of having to wait.
How to Make Homemade Dog Ear Cleaner
A Good, Basic Combination
This homemade dog ear cleaner helps stabilize the pH of your dog’s ears while cleaning them. It will also reduce bacteria which will give the dog some extra ear-infection protection.
- Pour 4 tablespoons of white vinegar into a re-sealable bottle.
- Add ½ teaspoon of boric acid, three to four drops of Isopropyl rubbing alcohol and three to four drops of povidone iodine to the white vinegar.
- Seal the bottle and shake well until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Providone iodine is just the generic name for Betadine. It has antiseptic properties that will attack the bacteria in your dog’s ears. It does not have to be added to this homemade dog ear cleaner if you are concerned about red staining. The solution will work very well without the providone iodine.
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A Soft, Supple Solution
For a homemade dog ear cleaner that leaves your dog’s ears soft, supple and protected, use glycerin. Mix 1 tablespoon of glycerin with 2 tablespoons of boric acid.
The boric acid breaks up waxy build-up while reducing moisture and the possibility of an ear infection. The glycerin coats and sooths the dog’s skin to keep it from getting too dry.
A Witchy Combination
Use a homemade dog ear cleaner made from vinegar and boric acid to clean the dog’s ears and help maintain a healthy pH. Pour ¼ cup water and ¼ cup vinegar (either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar) into a container. Add 1 tablespoon of witch hazel and 2 tablespoons of boric acid to the water and vinegar and shake well.
The witch hazel helps soothe the dog’s ears. As an alternative, you can simply mix 2 tablespoons of boric acid in ½ cup of water and use that if you are in a fix and do not have the other ingredients on hand.
Mild but Effective
A mild homemade dog ear cleaner can be made with just vinegar and water or vinegar and water along with some Isopropyl rubbing alcohol.
- Pour 4 tablespoons of plain water into a sealable bottle.
- Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a few drops of Isopropyl rubbing alcohol.
- Seal the bottle and shake well.
For an even milder solution, leave out the Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. The vinegar and water will still help clean the dog’s ears and stabilize the pH.
Ultra Mild and Ultra Simple
Apple cider vinegar can be used as a very mild homemade dog ear cleaner solution. Simply mix together 2/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of cider vinegar. This is a good solution to use on floppy-eared dogs that need to have their ears cleaned often.
A variety of oils work well as homemade dog ear cleaners as well. They should be used for dogs with a wax build-up problem. Almond oil, olive oil, mineral oil, tea tree oil, vitamin E oil and coconut oil can all be used to clean your dog’s ears. The oils can be used to gently flush the wax out of your dog’s ears.
Simple but Effective
Hydrogen peroxide is also a useful tool against waxy build-up. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide for your dog’s ears. Mix together 2 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of the hydrogen peroxide.
This hydrogen peroxide mixture can be used to flush the wax out of your dog’s ears. When the hydrogen peroxide starts working it bubbles the dirt right up out of the ear canal. It feels tickly to the dog, though, so be prepared for lots of head shaking.
Hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar and Isopropyl rubbing alcohol can be mixed together for an effective homemade dog ear cleaner too. Pour 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide into a container and add a few drops of Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. This solution is good for flushing dirt out of the dog’s ears and cleaning the more visible parts.
Soothing and Natural
Witch hazel is a soothing, natural dog ear cleaner for dog’s that have problems with ear infections and ear mites.
The witch hazel evaporates quickly so the dog’s ears will dry right away. It can be put into the dog’s ear with a dropper to help flush out dirt within the ear and used to clean visible parts of the dog’s ears.
ADVICE: How To Clean Dog’s Ears 101
Using Homemade Dog Ear Cleaners
Never use cotton swabs in your dog’s ears. Use only your finger wrapped in gauze or cotton balls.
Dip the cotton ball or gauze into the solution or squirt it on and then gently wipe your dog’s ears clean.
Dogs with floppy ears like cocker spaniels and basset hounds need to have their ears cleaned about once a week, while pit bulls and German shepherds with ears that naturally stay dryer can go longer between ear cleanings.
A dog’s ears should be cleaned at least every time he gets a bath.
When dirt and waxy build-up need to be flushed out of your dog’s ears, use a bulb syringe or a bottle with a squirting tip similar to those used to apply hair dye. Gently squeeze the solution into the dog’s ears, lightly massage the base of his ears, let him shake his head to bring out the dirt and wax naturally then wipe the remaining residue off with gauze or cotton balls.
When possible, do ear flushes outdoors and let your dog shake his head to his heart’s content. That way, you will not have to take time to wipe down the walls. Warm the homemade dog ear cleaner to at least room temperature or a little warmer before using it. This is especially important when using oils, which should be warmed to body temperature.
Set the container of oil in a cup or bowl of hot water to warm it up. Test the temperature of the oil or homemade dog ear cleaner on the inside of your wrist before using it to make sure it is not too hot. It should feel barely warm on your wrist.
A Word to the Wise
Take your dog into his veterinarian right away if you see any signs of redness and irritation or smell a foul smell while cleaning your dog’s ears. Ear infections are very painful and must be treated right away with antibiotics.
You should NEVER try to treat an ear infection with a homemade dog ear cleaner.