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7 Best Dog Ear Infection Remedies Without Antibiotics

Some of the best dog ear infection remedies don’t contain antibiotics. Ear infections are one of the top five reasons dogs see a veterinarian. Millions of dogs, especially those with floppy ears, suffer from ear infections. Most of those dogs are treated with antibiotics on a short-term or long-term basis, but it’s not always necessary.

Zymox makes some of our favorite dog ear infection remedies that don’t contain any antibiotics. As a dog mom to a Cocker Spaniel with floppy, long ears, I’ve tried dozens of ear cleaners, veterinarian-prescribed products, and finally discovered Zymox’s enzyme-based products. Amazingly, many veterinarians sell and recommend Zymox solutions so dogs don’t have to use repeated antibiotics in their ears.

To help you decide which product to use for your dog, we will discuss in this article each Zymox dog ear infection solution and cleaner. Each one is different with specific indications, so we’ll break each one down so you can decide which ones to have on hand for your dog.

dog with products to prevent ear infections

At A Glance: 7 Best Dog Ear Infection Remedies Without Antibiotics

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution with 0.5% Hydrocortisone

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution Hydrocortisone-Free

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Cleanser

Zymox PLUS Otic Enzymatic Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone

Zymox Plus Otic Enzymatic Solution

Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution without Hydrocortisone

Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone

Note: The links above will take you to the Zymox website. I am being compensated by ZYMOX to share our real-life experiences with their products. Fidose of Reality only shares information we believe is of interest to our readers. ZYMOX is not responsible for the contents of this article.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Dog Has An Ear Infection

First and foremost, a veterinarian should always determine if your dog has an ear infection. Ear infections present in a variety of ways in dogs from debris on the outer canal to an odor deep inside and even a waxy brown substance that won’t go away on its own.

Dogs will often paw at their ears, rub their head against furniture or the floor, and may even snap or bite from pain in their ears. Some dogs stop eat, don’t want to be touched, and wind up getting sad and depressed. Ear pain can be deep within the canal, so a proper diagnosis is necessary.

Once the veterinarian has determined your dog has an ear infection, you can incorporate Zymox products into your dog’s routine. Since many veterinarians use, sell, and recommend Zymox products, your dog might come home with one or more of the seven products we will discuss in this article. Keeping a dog’s ears clean is the best way to prevent an ear infection.

Chart of products for dog ear infections without antibiotics

Dog Ear Infection Remedies That Don’t Contain Antibiotics

The following seven Zymox ear solution and cleaning products for dogs are ones we have used, researched, and talked to other dog moms and dads about.

We chose these products for their efficacy, ease of use, Zymox’s reputation, pet parent reviews, long-term usage features, nicely priced, cruelty-free, made in the USA, and the Zymox LP3 patented enzyme system.

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution with 0.5% Hydrocortisone for dirty ears in dogs

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution with 0.5% Hydrocortisone

The Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution with 0.5% Hydrocortisone helps keep dog ears healthy, remove any waxy junk, and uses 0.5% hydrocortisone to relieve itching, minor skin irritation, and dermatitis. It is helpful for dogs with bacterial, fungal, and yeasty ears caused by Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Proteus and Malassezia.

Used primarily for:

  • Itch Relief
  • Irritated or inflamed ears
  • Removal of ear exudate
  • Promotes healthy ears
  • For dogs and cats
  • For pets who swim
  • Pets who live in moist or hot environments

It is soothing, non-toxic and requires no pre-cleaning of the dog’s ear. You apply it once a day into the ear, and like all the products on this list, it contains no antibiotics.

The patented LP3 enzyme solution means no pre-cleaning or digging around in a dog’s delicate ear or ear canal to use the solution.

How to Use: Apply liberally to the uncleaned ear, filling the ear canal. Gently massage and work into the infected area, wiping the excess. Use once a day for seven days, but up to 14 days for chronic infections.

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution for dog infection in ear

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution Hydrocortisone-Free

The Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution Hydrocortisone-Free is very similar to the above product but without the hydrocortisone. For dogs who are sensitive to hydrocortisone, this ear solution provides all the benefits with none of the worries.

Used primarily for:

  • Promoting healthy ears
  • For pets who swim
  • To remove ear exudate
  • Pets who live in moist or hot environments

It is free of antibiotics, hydrocortisone, and contains no corticosteroids. For dogs with sensitive ears, this is something we love, use, and recommend in conjunction with your vet’s approval.

How To Use: Apply liberally to the uncleaned ear, filling the ear canal. Gently massage and work into the infected area, wiping the excess. Use once a day for seven days, but up to 14 days for chronic infections.

Pro Tip: We use this at the first sign of any ear issues, especially in the warmer months. My dog tends to have sensitive ear folds, so I love the hydrocortisone-free Zymox solution for his ears.

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Cleanser to prevent dog ear infection

Zymox Enzymatic Ear Cleaner

For gentle cleansing of dirty ears, the Zymox Enzymatic Ear Cleaner gets the job done without harsh ingredients or detergents. It is gentle, nontoxic, and leaves ears smelling clean and fresh.

It may be used after your dog has completed a course of Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution with or without hydrocortisone. Since it is gentle, it can be used long-term for overall maintenance to keep dog ears clean.

Used for the gentle cleansing of dirty ears. I use this once a week when I brush my dog, perform 10 touches to keep him healthy, and check his nails.

Zymox Ear Products Veterinary Line

In addition to their consumer line, Zymox also makes a separate veterinary line. This line is just as effective as the consumer products, but they are more specifically targeted for certain issues. Here’s a detailed chart and information about each of these Zymox products:

Zymox PLUS Otic Enzymatic Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone for dog's infected ears

Zymox PLUS Otic Enzymatic Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone

Designed for the toughest chronic otitis externa cases that are due to resistant to organisms such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The results are antifungal, anti-yeast, and antibacterial for dogs who are having a tough time getting rid of an ear infection.

This Zymox formula also contains four additional biofilm-reducing enzymes to get to work on hard-to-penetrate biofilm in a dog’s ears.

Used primarily for:

  • Resistant otitis
  • Irritated or inflamed ears
  • Dogs who swim
  • Dogs who live in moist environments
  • Itch relief

Thanks to the 1% hydrocortisone, dogs with minor inflammation or dermatitis will benefit, too. Do not use in pets with suspected ear drum rupture or known suspected sensitivity to corticosteroids.

How To Use: Apply liberally to the uncleaned ear, filling the ear canal. Gently massage and work into the infected area, wiping the excess. Use once a day for seven days

Zymox Plus Otic Enzymatic Solution for dog ear infections

Zymox Plus Otic Enzymatic Solution

The Zymox Plus Otic Enzymatic Solution is very similar to the above product but without the hydrocortisone. For dogs who are sensitive to hydrocortisone, this ear solution provides all the same benefits with none of the worries.

Used primarily for:

  • Resistant otitis
  • Irritated or inflamed ears
  • Dogs who swim
  • Dogs who live in moist environments
  • Promotes healthy ears
  • Removal of ear exudate

How To Use: Apply liberally to the uncleaned ear, filling the ear canal. Gently massage and work into the infected area, wiping the excess. Use once a day for seven days.

Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution to help dog ears

Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution without Hydrocortisone

For both acute and chronic otitis due to bacterial, fungal, or yeast infections with antibiotics. Safe for extended use to manage or prevent the problem. Contains NO hydrocortisone.

Used primarily for:

  • Acute and chronic otitis (ear infection)
  • Irritated or inflamed ears
  • Pregnant or lactating female dogs
  • Pets who swim
  • Pets in hot or moist environments
  • Removal of ear exudate
  • Promotes healthy ears

How To Use: Apply liberally to the uncleaned ear, filling the ear canal. Gently massage and work into the infected area, wiping the excess. Apply once a day for up to 14 days.

Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone ear remedy

Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone

The Zymox Plus Otic Enzymatic Solution is very similar to the above product but WITH hydrocortisone. For dogs who are sensitive to hydrocortisone, this ear solution provides all the same benefits with none of the worries.

Used primarily for:

  • Acute and chronic otitis (ear infection)
  • Itch relief
  • Irritated or inflamed ears
  • Dogs who swim
  • Dogs who live in moist environments
  • Promotes healthy ears
  • Removal of ear exudate

How To Use: Apply liberally to the uncleaned ear, filling the ear canal. Gently massage and work into the infected area, wiping the excess. Apply once a day for seven days.

Of note, we recommend you purchase Zymox products direct from the Zymox website, your favorite pet supplier (click to find a retailer near you), or directly from your dog’s veterinarian.

Zymox or Antibiotics?

what to use to prevent dog ear infections

Disclaimer: Dogs are my life and career, but I am not your dog’s veterinarian. This blog is a balance of well-researched and hands-on tips and advice coupled with expert feedback and facts. Always check with your dog’s veterinarian before making any major changes to your dog’s regimen.

Best Dog Ear Infection Remedies Without Antibiotics

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for this very informative article!!! I use Zymox, but sometimes it is hard to know which one to use when. This article and the handy chart really help to clarify.
    We also love the Zymox Oratene tooth gel that we started using on your referral.
    My only wish is that Zymox shampoo and conditioner were not so heavily scented!!!! UGH! I cannot use them, they give me a migraine. If you have any pull with Zymox please ask them for unscented shampoo and conditioner.

    1. I am definitely going to pass that recommendation on, and I will show Zymox your comment. Thanks for stopping by. The tooth gel is something we use and love, too. So happy you found success with it, Diane.

  2. Also another great product to prevent the ear “yuck” misery that so many dogs suffer is: Hemp Eaze Pet Ear Drops. This melts the yuck. It is great as a weekly or bi-weekly ear yuck preventative. My Lab Heidi swears by it. I too use the cortizone free zymox when things get out of control, but the Hemp Eaze will keep the build up from driving your dog crazy. I’ve also used their therapy cream on dogs with itchy red rashes on tummies with great results. (And I personally swear by it for everything from bruises to muscle aches and bug bites.)

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