Best Cocker Spaniel ear cleaners
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Best Dog Ear Cleaners For Cocker Spaniels

Cocker Spaniels are known for their beautiful, long, flowing ears, which means dog ear cleaners are a must-have. Keeping a dog’s ears clean is one of the best ways to keep infections away.

Because a Cocker Spaniel’s ears hang low and don’t stand erect like other breeds, dirt, debris, bacteria, and yeast can build up. We’ve tested many dog ear cleaners over the last few decades. What works for one dog, may not work for another. Cocker Spaniel ears don’t allow enough air to circulate as it does in dogs with ears like German Shepherds or Great Danes.

Reliable dog ear cleaners for pendulous Cocker ears should keep debris, bacteria, or yeast from forming in the ear, but over-cleaning can also lead to ear infections. Using the wrong type of ear cleaner can cause a Cocker’s inner ear skin to become soft and weak, which you never want to happen.

Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly also lessens the amount of wax inside and makes it easier to smell or see an infection brewing.

Over close to 30 years time of being a Cocker Spaniel mom, dog writer, Cocker Spaniel expert, and talking to experts and fellow Cocker parents, I discovered the best dog ear cleaning products for Cockers. Always check with your dog’s veterinarian before starting any type of cleaning regimen, as putting ear cleaner in an infected ear can lead to more harm than good.

Why Dog Ear Cleaners Are Essential To Cockers

If Cocker Spaniels don’t have regular ear cleanings and maintenance to their ears, an ear infection often results. Ear infections may even go unnoticed to even the most experienced owner.

One of the most basic ways to stop an ear infection in its tracks is to prevent it from happening in the first place. It sounds like common sense and its, but there’s also a wrong way and a right way to clean the Cocker ear.

An ear cleaner isn’t a cure-all and complete solution to keeping ear infections away. With my first Cocker Spaniel, I did everything to maintain a proper balance in her ears and avoid infection. I kept her ears clean, had the hair at the outside of the canal trimmed, and regularly took her to the vet for checkups, but she still managed to get the occasional ear infection.

Cocker Spaniels need their ears cleaned because anatomically they are prone to ear issues. The Cocker’s inner ear is very deep and far down into the ear structure. A dog’s ear is composed of three areas: the outer, middle, and inner ear.

While humans have a shorter ear canal, dogs have a long narrow canal that starts to bend as it gets deeper and closer to the inner ear. Now imagine that ear is covered by a thick blanket and you’ve got the Cocker Spaniel ear.

Read more about the Cocker Spaniel ear anatomy and the best way to cure a Cocker Spaniel ear infection here.

dog ear cleaners for Cocker Spaniels
Preparing to cleanse my Cocker Spaniel’s ear.

What Type Of Dog Ear Cleaners Are Best?

The veterinarians and experts I’ve spoken to (including my own dog’s vet), all agree on the best type of ear cleaners to use. Liquid dog ear cleaners are the ones that are recommended over and over. Liquid cleaners are what I’ve used on my Cocker Spaniels’ ears for three decades.

Read the label of any over-the-counter or online ear cleaners, as some ingredients can be dangerous to a dog’s delicate ear canal.

Stay away from ear cleaning products that include:

  • Preservatives which may irritate an already delicate dog ear
  • Synthetic fragrances, which are there to mask odor but are unnecessary
  • Propylene glycol, like in antifreeze, can cause skin issues if used frequently
  • Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol which can irritate the ear further
  • DIY solutions (i.e., some oils, holistic, etc) that can harm your dog’s ears

Talk to your dog’s vet about a good ear cleaner and show the vet what you plan to use first. As we said before, Cockers, like people, are unique and what may work for one dog may not work for another. Dogs with an ear infection, perforated eardrum, or other severe ear issues will not be helped by an ear cleaner.

Here are our favorite dog ear cleaners for Cocker Spaniels followed by a step-by-step tutorial and video on how to clean your Cocker’s ears without stress.

Best Dog Ear Cleaner For Cocker Spaniels

Dog Ear Cleaners For Cocker Spaniels

Zymox Ear Cleanser

Ideal for regular ear cleaning and care

This gentle, non-toxic, non-irritating ear cleanser manages a dog’s dirty ears, helps maintain healthy ears, and is free of detergents while being veterinarian recommended. It receives a 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and we’ve been using it for years.

What We Like:

It is gentle on dog’s ears, made with Zymox’s patented LP3 enzymatic solution, and it can be used long-term for overall maintenance. It is made in the USA, is cruelty-free, and does not sting a dog’s ears.

Features:

  • Leaves ears smelling clean and fresh
  • Contains no harsh chemicals or detergents
  • Ideal for long-term cleaning of non-infected dirty ears
  • Suitable for dogs who swim
  • Gentle on your dog’s skin and ear canal

What Dog Parents Are Saying:

“I use it bi-weekly on my Cockapoo. I squirt it in his ear and wipe the insides of his ear canal with a cotton ball. I can see all the dirt and residue lifted onto the cotton ball.”

Best Herbal Cocker Spaniel Ear Wash

Dr Harvey's herbal ear wash

Dr. Harvey’s Herbal Ear Wash

Herbal solution made with witch hazel

This is a go-to in our household and I am never without it. Dr. Harvey’s herbal ear wash is unlike any other because it contains no chemicals and is made in a base of witch hazel. As a proud Dr. Harvey’s brand ambassador, I am thrilled to stand behind and use their products on my Cocker Spaniels for over 25 years.

What We Like:

This formula is anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral. It is gentle enough to clean dirt and wax from your dog’s ears without using drying chemicals. In a base of witch hazel, Dr. Harvey’s is a practical alternative to chemical ear cleaners and rinses.

Features:

  • Gently cleans Cocker ears without harsh chemicals
  • Soothing and healing herbal extracts that are gentle on ears and smell good
  • Based in witch hazel with organize aloe vera gel, golden seal extract, organic calendula extract, and more.
  • Helps promote healing of surface irritations in the Cocker ear flap

What Dog Parents Are Saying:

“This is a mild wash and our dogs tolerate it. They even like the smell and it soothes and cleans their ears very well. I am buying it again. “

Best Cocker Spaniel Ear Cleanser With Acetic and Boric Acids

Malacetic otic dog cleaner for ears

MalAcetic Otic Cleanser

Smells good and works like a charm

Several times in my lifetime of owning Cocker Spaniels, the veterinarian has sent us home with Dechra’s MalAcetic Otic Cleanser for regular aural care. The all-natural formula is patented to clean ears and skin as well as keeping yeast, bacteria, and microbes away.

What We Like:

One time my Cocker Spaniel had a bacterial and yeast infection, and before we treated his ears with antibiotics, the veterinarian had us use MalAetic Otic Dog Ear Cleaner. It cleanses and degreases and can be used for regular maintenance. The scent is not overpowering and smells very clean.

Features:

  • Pleasant apple scent
  • Works as a drying agent
  • Helps keep malassezia and pseudomonas staph at bay
  • Great for dogs with a chronic history of yeast infections in the ear
  • Cleansing and degreasing for dog with bacterial and/or fungal skin infections
  • Helps balance skin surface pH to prevent fungus or yeast overgrowth

What Dog Parents Are Saying:

“My wife’s cocker spaniel has had chronic and acute problems with ear infections. A constant battle and very costly trips to the vets to no avail. The meds and preparations provided by the vet did little to clear this problem up. Bought a bottle of this stuff. What a huge difference.”

Best Cocker Spaniel Ear Cleaner With Gentian Violet

K9 ear solutions Liquid Health

LiquidHealth Pets K9 Ear Solutions

Secret weapon for Cocker ears without the mess

Gentian violet is often called “the purple stuff” by Cocker parents, as it has been used for decades as a remedy for yeast infections. Gentian violet also works as an anti-infection agent, so coupled with other ingredients, it can works wonders in cleaning the Cocker ear.

What We Like:

Liquid Health Pets makes the K9 Ear Solutions ear cleaner, and I’ve talked with dozens of Cocker moms and dads who swear by this stuff. It can stain slightly, so it’s best used outside as your Cocker shakes his head after application. Some folks try to make their own version of this stuff, but there’s an easier way: buy it pre-made and avoid the mess.

Features:

  • Formulated with gentian violet to clean, dry, and deodorize the dog’s ears
  • Helps dry the ear canal and reduce ear odors
  • Will stain but does come off the ears; use outside or in a room where staining isn’t an issue
  • Some folks swear by it for hot spots on their dog – check with your vet to be sure

What Dog Parents Are Saying:

“It has now been 4 weeks since I started using this amazing product on my Cocker Spaniel, and his ear infection is gone. After one week of use the foul smell was gone, and the brown discharge significantly less. After two weeks the redness was all gone, no visible discharge.”

Best Cocker Spaniel Ear Wipes

Otic ear pads for dog's ear cleaning

Vetnique Labs Oticbliss Ear Wipes

Great for on the go dog ear cleaning

Formulated by veterinarians, sometimes you need a dog ear wipe on the go. Made in the USA, these all-in-one ear wipes are a handy addition to regular cleaning or while traveling or in between cleanings.

What We Like:

In between cleanings or when my dog has dirty ears on the go, a quality wipe like this is essential Wipes are safer to use than cotton-tipped swabs, which can damage a Cocker Spaniel’s delicate ear canal and eardrum. Each wipe contains Chloroxylenol for odor control, Salicylic Acid for drying, Docusate Sodium for the softening of ear wax, and more.

Highlights:

  • Made by the same company that makes Glandex
  • Contains soothing aloe vera leaf juice and nourishing vitamin E
  • 100 count container is easy to pack and go
  • Stayed moist in the jar for three months.
  • Lightly scented

What Dog Parents Are Saying:

“We have three rescues and there is constantly ear cleaning to be done. These make it so easy. We showed these to our vet for his approval and he gave us the sign off which made us happy. “

Best Ear Cleaner For Dogs Who Swim

Epiotic canine ear cleaner

Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner

Ideal for swimmers or dogs with wet ears

If water gets into your dog’s ears, Epi-Otic is a mild alcohol-free cleansing and drying solution for routine maintenance of otitis externa. It can also be used to keep ears clean and maintain overall ear canal health.

What We Like:

Some canine ear cleansers are recommended for dogs with chronic otitis externa, which is the chronic inflammation of a dog’s external ear canal. When I polled members of my Club Cocker Facebook group, dozens of pet parents recommended Virbac’s Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser. For dogs who swim or get water in their ears, keep a bottle of Epi-Otic on hand.

Highlights:

  • Non-irritating to prevent microbial issues
  • Good for sensitive ears
  • Helps remove excessive wax while drying the ear canal
  • Low pH so should not interfere with other ear medications (check with your vet)
  • Gentle for frequent cleansing use
  • Neutralizes bad ear odors

What Dog Parents Are Saying:

“A must for floppy ear dogs. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser is a gentle but effective ear cleaner. I have used this for years on my dogs and am quite happy with it.”

Best Cocker Spaniel Ear Flush with Ketoconazole

Triz Ultra dog cleaning solution

TRIZ Ultra + Keto

For dogs prone to infection

Ketoconazole is an anti-fungal, so Dechra combined it with their TrizULTRA formula to cleanse and target fungus. As directed by your dog’s vet, it can be used in most cases as a pre-treatment before applying a topical antibiotic.

What We Like:

The non-stinging formula is safe for long-term use and is veterinarian recommended. Again, members of my Club Cocker Facebook group recommended this formula for yeasty Cocker ears with success. Like people, dogs’ ears vary. What works for one dog may not work for another.

Highlights:

  • Dechra touts it as an “ideal cleansing solution for use with infections responsive to Ketoconazole and Chlorhexidene, such as ringworm and bacterial and Malassezia infections.”
  • Fragrance and dye-free
  • Contains chlorhexidine which Dechra says is synergized in their formula

What Dog Parents Are Saying:

“Guys, this stuff is liquid gold if your dog has allergies especially in the ears of yeast infections in the ears.”

Bonus Cocker Spaniel Ear Products

Sometimes despite the best of intentions, your Cocker Spaniel may get an ear infection. Here are some bonus ear products for Cocker ears without the use of antibiotics.

ZYMOX ear cleaner

How To Flush And Clean A Cocker Spaniel’s Ears

Humans have a very short ear canal, but dogs have a long and narrow ear canal. As the canal gets deeper, it bends at almost a 90-degree angle. On top of that, the Cocker ear is long and floppy, most often touching the ground as they sniff around, gunky and funky stuff can easily make its way into the ear canal and cause infections.

Follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding the frequency of cleaning your Cocker Spaniel’s ears. Some pet parents do it once a week, others twice, and my vet instructed me to clean Dexter’s ears three times a week. Every dog is different.

Here’s how to use an ear cleaner to flush and clean your Cocker Spaniel’s ears, which you can also follow along in the video below.

  1. Wash and clean your hands thoroughly before cleaning your Cocker Spaniel’s ears.
  2. Warm the ear solution by rubbing the bottle in your hands (you wouldn’t want a cold solution in your ear and neither does your dog).
  3. There are two schools of thought when it comes to using ear cleaner on a Cocker’s ears. The first is my preferred method. I prefer to insert the tilt the tip of the ear cleaning solution into the outer portion of my Cocker’s ear and squeeze gently so the solution goes into the canal. Massage the base of the ear so the solution gets into the base and allow your dog to shake his head. I then blot the outside area of the ear from any debris that may have been loosened. Repeat on the other ear.
  4. The other method of cleaning a Cocker’s ears involves the use of cotton balls. Pour the ear cleaning solution onto a cotton ball and squeeze the cotton ball into the outer canal so the cleaner gets down into the inner canal. Blot the outside area of the ear from any debris that may have been loosened. Repeat on the other ear.
  5. Use a cotton swab or cotton ball on the outer portion of the ear to clean out the folds. You wouldn’t believe how dirt and exudate or wax can build up in those folds.
  6. Remove any residue from the cleaner. I also use a cotton ball on both ears about five or ten minutes later to wipe out excess solution and clean out any debris that came out from the cleaning process.

Pro Tip: Don’t freak your Cocker Spaniel out or “hold him down” to clean or treat ears. You want the ear cleaning process to be a positive one. I keep the cleaner on my desk on ear cleaning days and reward my dog with a treat before and after cleaning. Good boy, praise, happy dance, etc!

Keep Track Of Dog Ear Cleanings

Keep track of the days and times you clean your Cocker Spaniel’s ears with our handy DogMinder Canine Health and Wellness Journal available for under $10 on Amazon.

prize holiday dog photo contest prize

Learn More About Cocker Spaniel Ears

Don’t stop now. Keep reading and learn more about the beautiful but delicate Cocker Spaniel ear in these articles:

The Best Way to Cure a Cocker Spaniel Ear Infection

Cocker Spaniel First Aid Kit 21 Emergency Item

Best Cocker Spaniel ear cleaners

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