How to Treat a Dog’s Ear Infection When You Can’t See a Vet


The Dreaded Ear Infection

Dog owners who have never had any issues with their ears can consider themselves lucky ones as this problem can be very troublesome.

When they take a look at Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever, many people consider them so cute with those floppy ears, but they do not know that those floppy ears are prone to ear infections.

The reason for this is that a floppy ear does not allow air to circulate, thus making the moisture increase.

These dogs frequently have bacterial and yeast infections and you can see them excessively scratching their heads.

Your task at that moment is to pay attention to whether there are odor and black wax in their ear canal, and if this is the case, you should get it to the vet.

Of course, if a vet is not near, you can research home remedies and here we have gathered all of them in one place.

Necessary Precautions for Pet Owners

You need to be aware of the fact that certain situations require a visit to a vet.

It is wise to take your dog to a vet, being that ear pain does not have to appear due to fungal, viral, or bacterial infections.

In case of not-so-serious ear infections, the products we will mention in our article are great to have at your disposal.

Zymox: Great At-Home Treatment for Ear Infections in Dogs

Zymox is an ideal solution for both acute and chronic inflammation of the external ear that is caused by bacterial, viral, and yeast infections.

Zymox contains antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral agents, and what is even better, this is an antibiotic-free treatment.

Zymox comes both with or without 1% hydrocortisone so you can decide which one to take.


  • Our suggestion is to always read the instructions on the product label before applying it.
  • There is no need to clean the ear before treatment
  • Use it once a day for seven days, but if the infection is chronic, you should use it for up to 14 days.

How Long Does It Take to Work?

So that ears get back to the normal pink color it takes three days.

You will notice that your dog is no longer scratching or shaking his head.

Also, the black gunk should disappear.

The Cons

  • This product cannot be bought locally but has to be ordered over the internet. You can find it at some vet’s offices. It can be much cheaper to be able to get this product elsewhere.
  • Being that the product leaves a bit of an oily residue, the hair around the ear will look dirty, but this also happens if you are using an antibiotic solution.

The Pros

  • It is highly effective.
  • It is not a prescription drug so paying prescription prices is not necessary.
  • It is money-saving as you do not have to drag the dog to the vet and it costs less than antibiotics.

Does It Really Work?

Yes, Zymox is amazing and it will help your dog if it is in extreme discomfort and if its ear is red and had a bad odor.

The difference before and after the treatment is amazing.

ACV Homemade Ear Cleaner for Dogs

Besides numerous dog ear cleaners that can be bought at the pet store, you can save a lot of money and time if you use apple cider vinegar (ACV).

However, you need to make sure that there are no open wounds in your dog’s ear before you apply it.

Also, the eardrum has to be intact before proceeding with using diluted vinegar.

This is important as it can cause pain and damage to the ear.


  • You should dilute one part ACV to one part distilled water.
  • Then, you need to place it in a clean squeeze bottle.
  • The next step is to gently pour it into the dog’s ear.
  • You will have to massage the ear after the fluid is in and gently wipe off any excess solution.
  • Do not take it as something strange if your dog shakes its head and the solution comes flying out.

The Symptoms of Dog Ear Infections

scratching of the affected area redness and swelling excessive head shaking or tilting
yellow, brown, or bloody discharge itchiness hearing loss
odor scaly skin loss of balance
black ear wax rubbing the ear on the floor or furniture pain when opening the mouth or reluctance to chew

What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?

Among numerous reasons that can cause an ear infection, we would like to mention these three categories: lifestyle, allergies, and genetics.

  • Lifestyle: according to certain statistics, those dogs that are frequently exposed to water are more prone to developing ear infections. so as to prevent the infection, the ear has to be dried after swimming and bathing. The moisture that remains inside can cause bacteria and lead to yeast growth.
  • Allergies: Underlying causes that are not noticeable can make issues and your dog can be allergic to environmental factors such as pollens, grass, or dust mites. There are also dogs that are allergic to food, and most of them are allergic to the primary protein source in their food (fish, beef, chicken, or soy).
  • Genetics: As we have already mentioned, dogs with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections. This is due to the fact that their ears do not allow enough airflow and create a dark and moist environment ideal for yeast and bacteria. Furthermore, breeds with hairy ears are also prone as the hair in their ear canal traps moisture and debris. Additionally, dogs that are born with or that later develop thyroid or endocrine disorders, autoimmune diseases (pemphigus), or meningitis could also be affected.

How to Prevent Dog Ear Infections

It is important to prevent your dog’s ear infection and this can be done with weekly cleanings.

So, we suggest that you follow these tips in keeping infections away:

  • You should always dry your dog’s ears after a swim or a bath.
  • Dogs with excessive hair around or inside the ear canal have to be taken to a professional groomer or at the vet’s office so as to clean it.
  • You must regularly clean your dog’s ear with a dog-safe cleaning solution. What you need to do is to soak a cotton ball with the solution and wipe around the inside of the ear, as well as massage the ear with the ear flap covering it. After this is done, you can let your dog shake his or her head and dry the ear afterward.

Zim Family Cockers” Ear Cleaner Recipe

The Zim Family Cockers website offers an ear-cleaning solution that was originally given to them by the former secretary of the Cocker Spaniel Club of San Diego county.

We need to mention that this recipe has not been advised by a veterinarian, but the Zims have used this on their Cocker Spaniels’ ears and have had great success.


  • Have in mind that boric acid can be toxic to dogs if inhaled and ingested.
  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) and white vinegar can be extremely painful so make sure you do not apply it to an open wound, damaged tissue, or into an inflamed ear canal.
  • Betadine cannot be used on wounds and should not be used in full-strength.
  • This can only be used if the eardrum is intact, as this can cause serious issues and your dog can be at serious risk of injury and going deaf.


  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl).
  • Boric acid powder. A prescription is not needed.
  • White vinegar.
  • Betadine antiseptic solution.
  • A bottle with an applicator at the end.

How I Made the “Zim Family Cockers” Recipe

What we have to mention first is to wear personal protective equipment when making it so as to avoid contact with boric acid powder and to avoid staining.

  • Pour 6 oz. (180 mL) of rubbing alcohol directly into a bottle.
  • Add 1 ½ tsp. (7.5 mL) of boric acid powder and shake the bottle well.
  • Added 2 oz. (60 mL) of white vinegar and shake the bottle again.
  • Lastly, add 1 tsp. (5 mL) of Betadine solution and shake the bottle.
  • Warm the solution slightly especially if your dog does not like cold liquids in its ear.


In just a few days of using it, dog owners were really impressed with the results and found it a terrific remedy.

How I Got Rid of My Dog’s Ear Infection

Step 1 Wipe the ear with a cotton bud.
Step 2 Pour in solution to fill the infected ear and make sure you hold the dog during this.
Step 3 Massage the ear until you can hear a swishing sound. Being that this product makes a stain, you should do it in an appropriate location.
Step 4 Used a cotton ball to clean out the ear and soak up the excess solution.
Step 5 Make sure you use the solution every day until the symptoms are gone. at first, once a week, and then once every two weeks.

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