Cleaning your dog’s ears on a regular basis is an important part of helping them maintain a good hygiene regimen. Regular ear cleanings remove dirt and debris and can prevent infections. Many pet parents use an ear solution. Though effective, some pet parents have trouble getting the product in their dog’s ear, especially if their pet squirms. A veterinarian may recommend ear wipes.
There are many highly-touted products on the market, and it can be tough to figure out which one is the best choice for your pet. We tested these products against the following criteria: safe ingredients, when pet parents should use them, how well they clean, smell, and packaging.
Ear wipes we loved
Our top pick
A naturally bewitching choice
Earthbath Pet Ear Wipes
Earthbath Pet Ear Wipes contains aloe and witch hazel, a natural cleanser and deodorant that’s gentle on your dog’s skin. These wipes steer clear of parabens, synthetic dyes, sulfates, or phthalates.
- Safe ingredients. Earthbath Pet Ear Wipes are safe and include cucumber extract and witch hazel. The brand avoids irritating elements like parabens and phthalates.
- When should you use them? These wipes are great for regular cleanings but shouldn’t be used to treat infections. Regular cleanings can help prevent ear problems, though.
- How well do they clean? Earthbath’s option effectively removes dirt and debris from the outside of a dog’s ear.
- Smell. The pleasant smell isn’t overpowering. The wipes leave a dog’s ears smelling fresh and clean.
- Packaging. One big drawback: Our reviewer said getting the wipes out of the green and white packaging is a challenge.
What our vet thinks
Dr. Irish recommends these wipes for mild cleanings around the ear, such as the outside of the flaps. She doesn’t recommend using them in the ear canal, and the label has the same warning. Since it’s best people apply these wipes to their dog’s ears externally, Dr. Irish says they aren’t a good choice for pups who need help with ear wax buildup.
Our editor's pick
The Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes contain soothing aloe vera and gently get rid of dirt and debris. They’re not medicated, but they’re an excellent choice for regular ear cleanings. And cleaning your dog’s ear can prevent you from needing to invest in medicated wipes.
- Safe ingredients. Pet MD’s wipes contain ingredients safe to use on dogs at least 12 weeks old. The gentle formula — which includes aloe, eucalyptus, lactic acid, and salicylic acid — shouldn’t cause irritation. However, the product notes that you shouldn’t use these on your dog if they have broken skin, a ruptured eardrum, or if blood is present. As always, we recommend checking with your dog’s vet before using this product.
- When should you use them? These dog wipes are best used for general cleanings to remove dirt and debris. Since they’re not medicated, pet owners will want to look into other options if their pup has an infection.
- How well do they clean? Pet MD’s ear wipes do an excellent job of cleaning the outside of a dog’s ear.
- Smell. The wipes have a smell, but it’s not overpowering. It didn’t bother our reviewer’s dog.
- Packaging. It’s a cinch to remove these wipes from the container. The wipes remained moist even after our reviewer removed the protective covering.
What our vet thinks
Dr. Irish likes that Pet MD’s wipes contain aloe and that previous buyers have given the product good reviews. She loves recommending them to pet parents for general cleanings but not ear infections. You’d need a medicated wipe for those.
Best for infections
Extra cleanings may be part of your dog’s regimen if they have an ear infection. Veterinarians may recommend using a bottle of medicated ear cleaner and a wipe. As an easier alternative, they may suggest getting TrizChlor 4 Wipes for Dogs and Cats, which contain infection-fighting chlorhexidine.
- Safe ingredients. TrizChlor’s wipes are safe to use in infected ears. The ingredients include antibacterial agents TrizEDTA and chlorhexidine.
- When should you use them? These wipes are designed for infection treatment. Use them on the affected area at a vet’s discretion.
- How well do they clean? TrizChlor’s product does a good job cleaning the infected area and getting your dog back on the mend.
- Smell. These wipes have a strong, medical scent.
- Packaging. Though the wipes are simple to remove from the package, our reviewer noticed the top few dried out a week after opening.
What our vet thinks
Dr. Irish loves recommending these wipes to dog owners when their pet has an ear infection because they contain chlorhexidine and TrizEDTA. The wipes are simple to use. She warns that the wipes aren’t best for pets with perforated (or ruptured) eardrums. Chlorhexidine could exacerbate issues. Virtually anything (except saline) can cause ototoxicity when it gets past the eardrum. Ototoxicity can lead to deafness if you’re not careful.
Best antifungal wipe
Say farewell, fungus
Curaseb Antiseptic Ear Wipes
Yeast infections can be a pesky and painful medical condition for dogs. Curaseb Antiseptic Ear Wipes have antifungal ingredients that help your pet feel better sooner. The wipes also deodorize your pet’s ear.
- Safe ingredients. Ketoconazole, an active ingredient in these wipes, is safe and boasts antifungal benefits.
- When should you use them? These wipes are designed to treat infections. They aren’t appropriate if your dog has a ruptured eardrum. Though they are over-the-counter, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian first to make sure they’re safe for your dog.
- How well do they clean? Curaseb’s wipes effectively clear up infections.
- Smell. Our pet reviewer’s pups didn’t love the medicinal fragrance, but it’s not too overpowering.
- Packaging. Getting these wipes out of the container is easier than 1-2-3, and they stay moist.
What our vet thinks
Dr. Irish loves recommending these wipes for bad yeast infections because of the ketoconazole. She doesn’t advise pet parents to use them for everyday cleanings. She suggests speaking with your vet first, as the label indicates some ingredients may conflict with other ear products you use.
Our research process
Why you should trust our reviews
- Dr. Erica Irish helped us formulate this list — It’s always a good idea to talk to your veterinarian before using a product, so we turned to one of ours. Dr. Irish reviewed every single wipe on our list, divulged her likes and dislikes for each, and ranked her favorite.
- We ordered and paid for these products — These reviews and recommendations come without strings attached. None of these wipes were gifted to us or sponsored, so you can trust they’re objective.
- We sent them off with our product researcher to test in the field — Once we got the OK from our vet, we put in our orders and shipped the wipes to our product review expert Christy Caplan, CVT.
- We trialed and tested these products — Christy tested these products on her own dogs against our criteria. She carefully evaluated each one and gave her honest opinions, and even let us know what her dogs had to “say.”
How we picked
We put our ears to the ground as we searched far and wide for the most popular ear wipes on the marketplace. We steered clear of ear wipes with questionable or potentially toxic ingredients. To be sure the products were safe, we had our veterinarian evaluate our choices. Then, she helped us narrow down our list before we ordered them and mailed them to our product reviewer. After a thorough evaluation, our expert chose a “top pick.” This selection is the product that ranked the highest in all of our criteria.
There are times when we review a product in person and decide we don’t want to recommend it to pet parents. This popular ear wipe didn’t make our list, and we think it’s important for pet parents to know why.
At first glance
On paper, here’s a glance at how the ear wipes stack up against each other based on prices and quantity.
Wipes ranked according to the price per wipe, from lowest to highest
|Product||Price*||Amount||Price per wipe|
|Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes||$12.50||100 wipes||$0.13|
|Curaseb Cat & Dog Ear Infection Wipes||$13.99||100 wipes||$0.14|
|TrizChlor 4 Wipes for Dogs and Cats||$10.50||50 wipes||$0.21|
|Earthbath Pet Ear Wipes||$9.99||25 wipes||$0.40|
*Price on Amazon or Chewy at the time of our review
How we tested these products
Dog owners are a conscious bunch. We wanted to be sure we were bringing you the safest and most effective wipes for your pet’s ears on the market. To accomplish this feat, we worked with our product expert and veterinarian to determine the top criteria to review these products against.
- Safe ingredients. Safety is a top priority for dog owners when searching for pet care products. We had our experts evaluate the label to ensure the ingredients were safe to put in your dog’s ears. We also asked about the potential for irritation.
- When should you use them? Different ear wipes serve different purposes. Some are designed for general cleaning, while others are recommended for infection prevention or treatment.
- How well do they clean? You want a product that works. We asked our experts if they cleaned the ear well or caused irritation.
- Smell. Some dogs find strong scents irritating and may prefer fragrance-free items. We asked our reviewer what the wipes smelled like and whether it was overpowering.
- Packaging. Are the wipes easy to get out of the container? Are they moist? Do they hold their moisture well so you can easily clean ears? Our experts spilled.
A popular product we don’t recommend
Reviewers rave about these popular ear wipes. After taking a closer look, we decided not to include this product on our list. Here’s why.
- Vet’s Best Ear Relief Finger Dog Wipes. Dr. Irish recommended removing this product from our list because it contains tea tree oil. In high concentrations, tea tree oil is toxic to dogs. We want your dogs to have healthy ears. So, for the safety of your furry friends, we decided not to include these on our list.
What else should pet parents consider?
Does your dog need ear wipes?
Every pup needs to have their ears cleaned. Regular cleanings prevent problems that affect the health of your dog, like ear infections and wax buildup. Ear wipes are a convenient way to get the job done.
Whether you choose to use a combination of ear wipes and liquid ear cleaners is up to you. Your dog’s veterinarian can recommend the best products for your dog’s ear type. Dog ear wipes are designed to clean the flap of a dog’s ear and not the inner ear. If your vet recommends cleaning your dog’s inner ear, you’ll also need a liquid cleaner.
If your dog hates having their ear cleaned, ear wipes can also help your best friend get used to the sensation.
When to use an ear wipe
Dogs with long, floppy ears, like cocker spaniels, may need their ears cleaned more often than dogs with tall ears that stand up. Breeds with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections. You should clean your dog’s ears with a wipe:
- After a bath or swim. Water can enter the dog’s ear during swims and baths and become trapped. Topical ingredients found in wipes can keep ears dry.
- On hot, humid days. Summer days can be prime time for ticks. Using a wipe to clean away waxy debris can make ticks easier to see. Your dog also may be outside more during this time of year. Be sure to inspect and clean their ears.
- If they keep shaking their head. Call your vet if your pet is shaking their head more than usual. They may recommend an ear wipe to reduce irritation caused by dirt.
- If they’ve been outside in the mud. Dust and mud can irritate a pup’s ear. You’ll want to clean it out so they can stay comfy.
- For odor control. If you notice an unpleasant scent coming out of your dog’s ear, it may be time for a cleaning. Inspect the ear for other issues and talk to your vet first, though.
- Fido has ear discharge. Discharge can be a sign of an ear issue. Talk to your vet. Cleaning the ear with a wipe may help.
- For infection treatment, as prescribed by a vet. Medicated ear wipes can help fight infections.
👉 Routine ear cleanings can protect against bacterial infections, ear mites, and more.
How to use an ear wipe on your pup
It’s important not to stick wipes down in your dog’s ear and only to use it to clean the ear flap. Your dog may not love having their ears cleaned at first, but patience and persistence should help.
Get your dog to sit — Offer a treat to put them in a good mood. It will help them associate the ear cleaning with good things.
Gently lift up their ear flap — Your own touch should make this process a little easier for your pet — they love their humans.
Clean the ear — Use your hand to wipe the ear gently. Make sure to get the entire area that needs cleaning or treatment.
Reward their patience with a treat — A little positive reinforcement goes a long way.
👉 Be sure to keep wipes away from your dog’s eyes and out of reach of children.
Alternative to ear wipes
Ear wipes don’t work for every family. If you’re looking for another effective way to clean your dog besides wipes, you can opt for a liquid ear cleaner instead. Like ear wipes, these solutions serve various purposes, depending on your pet’s needs. They can help prevent infections, nix dirt, and relieve allergy symptoms like inflammation. Since they’re not single use, they tend to be better for the environment.
You can use liquid ear cleaner with gauze or a cotton ball. Never use these cleaners with a Q-tip, which could harm your dog’s ear.
When your dog needs to see a vet
If your dog shows signs of an ear infection, you need to take them to a vet for examination. A veterinarian will diagnose your dog’s ear troubles and recommend treatment. It’s time to schedule an appointment if your dog shows these signs.
- Itchiness and excessive ear scratching
- A red or swollen ear canal
- Dark brown discharge, scabs, or crusting in ears
- Excessive head shaking or tilting
- Foul odor
- Sudden loss of hair inside of the ear
👉 See your veterinarian if you think your doggie has an ear infection. They can help you find the best treatment, including medication and cleaning.
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Frequently asked questions
Are ear wipes good for dogs?
Ear wipes are generally a good idea for dogs, as long as they’re made with safe ingredients. They’re a convenient way to get rid of dirt after a hike in the mud and while still on the go.
Some ear wipes are ideal for regular cleanings, while others are best used only in cases of infections. You’ll want to speak with your vet and read the instructions on the product label. Not all wipes can go inside a dog’s ear, and some can’t be used if a pet has a ruptured eardrum.
What can I wipe my dog’s ears with?
It depends on your pet’s issue. If it’s dirt, choose an ear wipe with natural and gentle ingredients like aloe and witch hazel. Dogs with infections will want medicated wipes. For example, ketoconazole is an antifungal ingredient that treats yeast infections, while chlorhexidine is antibacterial.
Can you use baby wipes on your dog’s ears?
Leave human products to the humans and invest in wipes specifically made for dogs. Baby wipes can irritate your pet’s ears and be toxic if licked or ingested.
Can I use witch hazel wipes on my dog’s ears?
Witch hazel is a safe and natural ingredient that you can use on a dog’s ears. It serves as a cleanser and may help fight odors.
Can dog wipes be used on other pets?
You can use some dog wipes on other pets, such as cats. It depends on the product. Pet parents should follow the instructions and warnings on the label. Your pet’s vet can also help you figure out the best products for each of your furry friends.