How to Clean Your Dog's Ears With Apple Cider or White Vinegar
Homemade Dog Ear Cleaner and Treatment
From the moment you start the bonding process with your new puppy, grooming should be a daily activity. Taking care of her ears is part of that process because sometimes they get dirty and even infected. The ear cleaner you can buy at your local veterinarian's office is effective but expensive.
Making an ear cleaner is really easy. All you need is regular white vinegar or an organic apple cider vinegar and water. This is a recipe for an ear cleaner you can make at home.
How to Make Dog Ear Cleaner
- You only need to use a half a cup of apple cider vinegar (ACV) or white vinegar and mix it with a half a cup of water. Be sure to take a look at your dog's ears first to see if they are red and inflamed. If so, you need to make the cleaner with a lot less vinegar.
- The quantities do not need to be exact. Some vets recommend using only a 10% solution. If it is too strong and your dog has been scratching a lot because of allergies, ear mites, or some other infection, the vinegar can sting.
- Use up all the solution and don't save any for next time— just mix it again the next time you need it.
This method is effective in removing the excess wax. It will diminish the effects of an infection and since the solution is acidic will kill a lot of the bacteria; if the condition is severe and has been going on a long time it will probably only be cleared up with other treatments, maybe even antibiotics.
Ear Problems This Cleaning Solution Can Be Used For
Vinegar and water cleaning solution can be used for:
- Ear mite infections
- Dogs with inhalant allergies
- Food allergic dogs
- Dogs with normal but dirty ears (excessive wax production)
- Dogs with wet ears canals after swimming or bathing
How to Clean Your Dog's Ears With Vinegar
- Be sure to take a look at your dog's ears first to see if they are red and inflamed. If so, dilute the recipe by using less vinegar.
- Wipe the heavy wax from the inside of the ears with a cotton ball and then fill the ear with the cleaning solution (see recipe above), usually only a small amount but it depends on the size of the dog.
- Massage the ears, especially the base of the canals all the way down to the head. You should hear the liquid as you move the solution around in the ear.
- Stand back—your dog is going to shake her head and the wax and other gunk in the ear canals are going to be loosened by the vinegar and will go everywhere.
- If your dog does not make a mess, even with an ear infection, you might need to repeat this. Make sure to give the ear canals a deep massage.
- Wipe the excess out with a dry cotton ball. I do NOT recommend you stick a cotton swab down into the ear canal.
What Kind of Vinegar Should I Use?
For ear infections, some people who are in favor of natural care recommend using apple cider vinegar in place of antibiotics. Apple cider vinegar may make the environment in the ear hostile to the bacteria and the issue might clear up without you having to resort to antibiotics or other products that are not natural.
If your dog has smelly earwax and you want to try the vinegar before taking him in to the veterinarian, clean the ears then apply a few drops of the apple cider vinegar to each ear once a day. Ear infections are hard to clear up so try this at least two weeks before giving up.
If your dog has ear mites, she will have a lot more wax and will need to be treated more vigorously.
If the dog's ears smell normal but her ear canals remain swollen and itchy despite being cleaned, she may have an allergy. Food allergies commonly present as ear swelling and itching. This is a problem you need to tackle as soon as possible. Chronic ear infections in dogs with floppy ears require expensive surgery.
How Often Should I Clean My Dog's Ears?
Using vinegar and water to clean your dog´s ears is a simple and effective way you can keep her healthy. Some vets and breeders complain that excessive cleaning will lead to new infections.
Cleaning does not need to be done every day. Use it every time you give her a bath, every time you take her swimming, or about least once a week when you are giving her a brief physical exam.
More Information to Help Your Dog With Ear Problems
- Why Does My Dog's Ear Infection Keep Coming Back?
Ear infections in dogs are so common that about 16% of dogs that go into the vet are dealing with this problem. Many get better with treatment but come right back. What can you do to stop this?
- How to Use Olive Oil to Get Rid of Ear Mites Fast at...
Treating ear mite infection in dogs in simple, but there are side effects of a bad infection when not treated. Find out what you need to do.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
How do I look into my dogs' ear for mites?
You can take some of the wax out of the ear, put it on a wet paper towel, and if this black wax "bleeds" red onto the towel that means that it is blood.
Blood is usually caused by ear mites, but that is not a definitive test. If your dog has an ear infection and has torn the inside of the ear with their nails, they will bleed a little.
The only way to be absolutely sure if your dog has an ear mite infection is to take the ear wax and examine it under a microscope. The ear mites will be visible.Helpful 28
I just treated my dog's ear with peroxide solution but it doesn't seem to be helping, can I go ahead and put apple cider vinegar water solution in now or should I wait until tomorrow?
Were you trying to pour peroxide in there as a cleaner or to clean up an infection? Yes, you can go ahead and clean the ear with vinegar, but I am not sure if you are expecting an immediate solution to a problem. It is an effective cleaner.Helpful 21