Family Veterinary
Mobile Clinic

Call or Text 1-800-993-7941

Serving the Sanford and 

Southern Pines areas of North Carolina

Category: Ear Treatments and Cleaners for Dogs

If I had a dollar for every time a client tried to treat their dog’s ear infection with mite medicine, I could have retired to the beach already.

Adult dogs rarely get ear mite infections.  They almost always have a yeast (fungal) or bacterial ear infection.  Ear mite medicine won’t help.  I promise.  I don’t even have any ear mite medicine on this website because that is so rare it’s not worth it.

Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear infections are caused when the environment in the ear canal is right for the overgrowth of bacteria and/or yeast.  Those conditions are warm and wet.  Lots of things can cause a warm wet environment in the ears:

  • Being born with stenotic (narrow) ear canals and other abnormalities- floppy ears are NOT an abnormality or cause of ear infections!
  • Inflammation due to allergies- fleas, environment, or food
  • Polyps or masses in the ear canal trap heat and moisture
  • Foreign bodies in the ear (foxtails, q-tips, etc.)
  • Irritation due to over-zealous or inappropriate ear cleaning or plucking
  • Immune compromised patient
  • Excessive hair in the ear canals

How to care for your dog ears

Leave them alone.  Seriously.  If your dog is not scratching their ears or shaking their head, if there is no redness or discharge, don’t do anything.

Don’t clean your dog’s ears unless they are very dirty.  I promise you I have dogs whose ears have literally never been cleaned and they have never had an ear infection.   A little wax is normal.  NEVER use irritating solutions such as hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, oils of any kind, witch hazel, etc.  We sell gentle ear-cleaning solutions that won’t cause inflammation and risk infection.

Never pluck the fur out of your dog’s ears- the inflammation caused by yanking the hair out may cause an infection.  If your dog has super-furry ears, use a pet detail trimmer to shave the hair out.  Otherwise, don’t worry about it.

Treating Infection

Ear infections are painful.  Our recommended ear infection treatments require no cleaning of ouchy ears and are applied only once every 24 hours.  That makes treating ear infections much easier for everyone.  If the infection hasn’t improved within 3 days and resolved within 7 days, see a veterinarian.  They may have a deeper infection or other problems.

Preventing Infection

Preventing ear infections is all about treating the underlying cause- warm, moist ears.  That means treating allergies, having masses or foreign bodies removed, maintaining proper ear hygiene with the correct products, but mostly leaving the ears alone. Your dog can shake their head to remove water, so there is no need to clean the ears just because they took a dip in the lake or was bathed.

End-Stage Ears

Dogs with chronic or recurrent ear infections are at risk for end-stage ears.  That means the ear canals have been so inflamed for so long that they become calcified.  These ear canals will never function normally and have to be surgically removed for the dog’s comfort.  The chronic infections have already caused irreversible deafness.  Removing the ear canals for these dogs means ending suffering.