How to Clear Up A Dog's Ear Infection Without Medication

© shoutingforha
I've talked about our loveable mutt, Brick, quite a bit here on the old blog.  One thing I haven't told you is that the beast's ears are prone to growing that smelly, black funk that is associated with doggie ear infections. 

Our veterinarian isn't sure why Brick's ears are so susceptible to yeast infections.  Most likely it's a combination of an unknown allergy (one that can only be diagnosed with high-dollar blood tests) and the likelihood that one of the dogs in his mysterious gene pool had some wacky ears.

During Brick's early years, I would drag the poor dog into the vet's office every time his ears became gunky.  The solution was always the same - an expensive and ridiculously tiny bottle of Mometamax. Unfortunately the drops never worked and it would usually take two or three treatments to kill the infection once and for all.

At one point, the infection was so severe that the insides of poor Brick's ears had become red and raw.  It was obvious that my poor dog was in pain.  In an effort to ease his suffering I decided to try and clean some of the black gunk from his ears.  

I armed myself with three things...  A bottle of witch hazel, some Q-tips and a few wet wipes. Witch hazel seemed like a good choice because I knew it wouldn't sting Brick's sores and it's anti-inflamitory properties certainly wouldn't hurt.  

I poured a little witch hazel into a dish and placed the ends of a small handful of Q-tips in to soak.  I began by taking one of the wet wipes and tried to gently wipe away some of the goop inside Brick's ears.  

Next, I tackled the maze of nooks and crannies that make up my dog's outer ear canal.  Dogs have some crazy ears!  Using one of the witch hazel soaked Q-tips I would gently clean each crevice, being careful to get a clean swab any time one became visibly dirty. 

It was tedious work but I was surprised by how quickly the skin changed from an angry red to a healthy pink color just by removing the gunk.  Once Brick's ears were sufficiently cleaned, I used another wet wipe to give his ears one last wipe.  I repeated this process daily until any sores or signs of redness were completely gone.   

To my surprise, Brick seemed to enjoy having his ears cleaned and the infection didn't come back within a few days like it did with the medication.  In fact, his ears stayed healthy and yeast-free for several months. 

I use witch hazel to clean Brick's ears on a as-needed basis.  The telltale sign that some ear funk might be brewing is a sudden increase in scratching.  As soon as I notice that back paw clawing away at an ear I know it's time to break out my tried and true home remedy.  

If your dog suffers with occasional or even severe ear infections, I hope you will give witch hazel a try.  It might just be the solution you've been looking for.


I am not a veterinarian and I make no promises or guarantees that this treatment will work on your pet.  I am simply sharing something that has helped my dog in the hopes that it might help yours as well.  


This post is part of Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family.  Pop by for some more handy tips. 

19 comment(s). Leave yours!:

Maxine McCray said... Best Blogger Tips

I have been having the same sort of problem with my pug. I went and got witch hazel today and we are going to give it a try. I will come back and let you know how it went.

shoutingforha said... Best Blogger Tips

@Maxine McCrayBest of luck, Maxine. I hope the witch hazel brings your dog some relief.

Janelle Bennett said... Best Blogger Tips

Do you use the same witch hazel that you can find at Walgreens that is also for use as a astringent?

shoutingforha said... Best Blogger Tips

@Janelle Bennett Yes, Janelle. I use the same witch hazel that you can buy at Walgreens or any other store. Best of luck!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

can you pour the witch hazel down into the ear to take care of a deep infection. Thanks

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I was told you can pour some witch hazel on a cotton ball like soak it and put it in the dogs ear....is this true? They say to NEVER use Q tips because to might hit his or her ear drums

Ear Doc said... Best Blogger Tips

Good Post Look about More Ear Infection Treatment

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm going to try this, I'm tired of crying all night because I can't afford to take my girl to the vet at the drop of a hat. Thank you for this advise.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Do any of your dogs flip out and rub their ears on the floor after you've cleaned with the witch hazel? (Also, just a side curiosity, have you noticed any loss of hearing, mostly regarding use of the witch hazel more inside the ear? I haven't, just being cautious though.) Anyway, I used a solution of witch hazel, cider vinegar, oregano essential oil, and tea tree oil on a cotton ball to wipe everything clean. A few drips probably make it to the inner ear in the process. After doing each ear, my dog runs around the house like crazy and rubs the side of his head on everything, as if his ears are on fire and he's trying to put it out. So I thought maybe the astringent properties of the witch hazel were hurting the inner ear. Any thoughts on this behavior? He is a 5-month old pup, so they just do weird things sometimes...

Dog's Best Friend said... Best Blogger Tips

Its me again, and I figured out why he was flipping his lid. I believe the oregano essential oil, which I used for its anti-fungal properties, is too "spicy" for such sensitive tissue like the inner ear. I advise that no one cleans ears with it.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Would Tea Tree not burn the eyes perhaps, maybe you are using too much? I know I use tea tree & witchazel on my face and if it gets close to my eyes it burns, even the fumes from the smell makes my eyes burn and drives me crazy. Perhaps use less, of all the oils. I only use 2 drops of Tea tree with 20 drops witchazel for the face just so you have a comparison to what ever your mix is. :)

T Montano said... Best Blogger Tips

Mix 3 drops Witch Hazel and 2 drops baby oil. WORKS WONDERFUL

fluffycutiee said... Best Blogger Tips

I don't know how old this is but you are not alone. It's hard.

Perrie Jinnie said... Best Blogger Tips

Nice one. You people can take help from the Pet Grooming Tips too to know what to do while you are having a pet as these tips can help you to know about the best ideas regarding your healthy pets and keeping them happy.

SmurfLilly said... Best Blogger Tips

I am having the same problems with my yellow Lab.It been a long time time I been looking for a home remedy for her ear problem.she gets this all the time.I just try the witch hazel. I will let you know if it works.I like home remedy better then going to the vet and paying so much.My lab had some fatty lumps and I gave her diffrent spices from the house and some of the lumps are gone.I also gave her this Remy I got for my husband when he had cancer and that help her

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

It's the teatree that is causing him to run around like that. My dog does that when I just apply it topically.

Jennifer Knotts said... Best Blogger Tips

It's definitely not the witch hazel. It is 100% the tea tree oil! It burns really badly on any open skin; cracked, flaky, scratched, etc.
Witch hazel is soothing but, not enough so, to combat the ill effects of the tea tree oil. You have to be really careful using essential oils, IN the ear. You can use it outside the ear, or near the base, where there is still plenty of fur, to rub it into.
I made the mistake of using tea tree oil on a cotton ball, in my huskies, constantly itchy, ears. He flipped, as you described. I immediately called the emergency vet and, was informed that he was having a reaction to the oil. The thinner membrane in the ears, is not like the outer skin. *I had used it on sores before but, never on the ears or anything similar. She said that it would not cause long term problems, from doing it just once but, to never do it again because, it can be very painful for your fur baby!

Mandee Rose said... Best Blogger Tips

@Maxine McCray

Someone else with a pug problem! We've noticed our pug scratching his ear lately, and last night he lost his balance and had a head tilt. Knowing those are signs of an ear infection, I grabbed the Witch Hazel immediately and cleaned his ears out. He's great this morning, though I'll keep up with the witch hazel. Good luck with your pug! They're so damn cute even if they're a pain sometimes x_x

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Good stuff. Never let me down. I use it for a first flush out slightly diluted with warm water drop of tea tree oil and couple of drops of any olive or almond oil. With spray bottle. And then let the dog shake it outside. Dry them after just gently pressing towel. Reduce amount of the hair in and out if ears are floppy xxx

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