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Basic grooming is something all dedicated pet parents do for their dogs regularly. That being said, how often and when to clean a dog’s ears is sometimes overlooked as part of regular grooming and maintenance. Even if your pooch isn’t prone to ear infections, keeping their ears clean is of utmost importance.
Ear infections rank among the top 10 reasons people take their dog to the veterinarian (1). The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) says that ear infections in dogs and cats can become painful and inflamed when left untreated. The ear canals become thickened, which makes future ear cleaning very difficult. Thankfully, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
As a lifelong Cocker Spaniel mom, I’ve dealt with many dog ear infections. I prefer to keep their canals clean with a natural ear cleaner for dogs. But no two dog ear cleaners are created alike, and we’ve tried dozens over the years. A reliable dog ear cleaner should keep debris, bacteria, or yeast from accumulating inside the ear.
I decided to put Great Pet’s Great Ears Multi-Symptom Dog Ear Cleaner to the test. I asked one of my dog-loving besties, Christine Aiello of Massapequa, New York, if she would try Great Ears on her 2-year-old Cocker Spaniel, Holly Noel. Learn more about the benefits of using a dog ear cleaning solution, and find out how Holly fared after using Great Ears.
Why Use a Dog Ear Cleaning Solution?
A dog’s ear consists of an outer, middle, and inner part (2). The outer portion funnels sound down into the ear canal. Humans have a shorter canal, but dogs have a longer and narrower ear canal that bends as it gets deeper and closer to the inner ear.
You can imagine how the vertical canal travels downward and suddenly makes a 45-degree turn to move horizontally toward the eardrum (3).It’s a dark, moisture-attracting location in that cavernous area. The sheer anatomy of a dog’s ear makes it difficult to see. If you’ve ever watched your veterinarian examine your dog’s ears with an otoscope, now you know why.
Floppy-eared dogs, like Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, and Basset Hounds, tend to have more ear infections than their pointy-eared counterparts, like Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers. No matter what shape or size, all canine ears deserve cleaning on a regular, veterinarian-recommended basis.
Dirty ears can progress to infected ears, which can start a cycle of ear infections that can be difficult to cure and uncomfortable for your dog. Some reasons dogs get dirty ears that can lead to ear infections include:
- Lack of cleaning with a high-quality dog ear cleaner
- Not enough airflow in the canals (anatomic)
- Dietary issues
- Swimmer’s ears
- Food sensitivities
- Medication side effects
- Hair in the ear and flap that impedes airflow
- Ear mites
- Cysts or growths in the ear
- Foreign object in the dog’s ear
Take a whiff in your dog’s ear (and reward him for being a good boy). There are many reasons dogs have smelly ears. Before you begin any dog ear cleaning regimen, ask your veterinarian to examine your dog’s ears to ensure the canals look good, and there are no underlying issues.
A quality dog ear cleaning solution should clean, dry, acidify, and deodorize your pup’s ear canal. There’s a wrong way and a right way to clean your dog’s ears, so always use caution and patience.
Great Ears Multi-Symptom Dog Ear Cleaner: Features
If I’m putting something into my dog’s delicate ears, I want to be sure it’s safe, gentle but effective, and won’t deplete the skin’s natural lipid barrier. I shared all of this information with Holly’s mom before using the Great Ears product.
Great Ears is made to:
- Gently remove dirt, ear wax, and debris from ear canals
- Clean, dry, deodorize, and acidify the ear
- Soothe minor skin irritations
- Feel soothing without stinging or burning
Here are a few of Christine’s favorite features when she used Great Ears on Holly’s pendulous Cocker ears:
Made in the United States
Made with pride in America, Great Ears natural ear cleaner for dogs does not contain alcohol, parabens, sulfates, or phosphates. It feels good knowing 99 percent of the ingredients in Great Ears are derived from natural sources.
Gentle Enough for Regular Usage
Since all of the ingredients are plant-based and natural, your dog’s ears won’t be irritated by any harsh and hard-to-pronounce fillers or additives.
Suitable for Puppies and Adults
Great Ears is designed for all life stages, whether you have a 12-week-old spunky puppy or a sweet senior. Ear care and maintenance are for life, and Great Ears is there every step of the way.
Derived From Coconut
In this natural ear cleaner for dogs, coconut helps condition and moisturize your dog’s ears, eliminate odors, and not strip away the natural lipid barrier. Peace of mind is something every pet parent cherishes.
Generous 8-Ounce Size
Many dog ear cleaners are packaged too small in a 4-ounce size or too big, making it awkward to use in a dog’s delicate canal. Great Ears natural ear cleaner for dogs is perfectly sized in an 8-ounce bottle for ease of use.
Natural Ear Cleaner for Dogs: Putting Great Ears to the Test
Showcasing features is fun, but the proof is in the testing. Holly Noel is accustomed to having her ears flushed because her mom makes it a regular part of home grooming and maintenance.
After shaking the Great Ears bottle and getting Holly prepped for ear flushing, her mom Christine gently placed the bottle near Holly’s outer canal and lightly squeezed some solution inside. Christine gently rubbed at the base of Holly’s outer ear to massage the product down deep. After a few seconds, Holly shook her head, as she should, and Christine wiped her dog’s external canals with a cotton ball. Although Holly did not require a second application, dogs with excessive build-up can have another treatment.
Some pet parents prefer to apply the product to a cotton swab and gently wipe it on the inside of the dog’s ear flap. Never go down deep into a dog’s canal with a cotton swab, as you can cause damage and eardrum rupture.
Christine loves the light scent of the product that deodorized Holly’s ears and flushed out a bit of dirt she accumulated playing outside. Christine repeated the process on the other ear and rewarded Holly with one of her favorite doggy treats.
Here’s what we liked and things to consider about Great Ears natural ear cleaner for dogs:
- Part of weekly grooming: Christine plans to use Great Ears every week when she performs regular home maintenance on Holly. Holly had no redness or irritation after using it.
- Helps loosen and remove dirt and wax: Dirt and debris came out of Holly’s ears with very little effort.
- Can be used daily if desired: Christine indicates she would use the product on a cotton ball or wipe if she were to use it daily on Holly’s ear canals.
- Easy to travel with: Christine likes taking Holly on day trips and vacations, and Great Ears is super portable and generously sized.
- Smells good: The lack of a vinegar or heavily perfumed product is a bonus for Christine.
- Formula available for cats too: If you live in a multi-pet household, Great Pet also makes a cat ear cleaner made specifically for our feline friends.
Things to Consider
- Clean the tip: If you have multiple dogs, be sure to clean the product tip thoroughly to avoid transferring bacteria or debris between ears.
- One size available: Some big dog or multi-dog households may prefer a larger sized bottle
- Lightly scented: Some pet parents may prefer an unscented dog ear cleaner.
Great Ears: Our Verdict
Great Ears natural ear cleaner for dogs packs many benefits for pet parents like Christine and her dog, Holly. Whether your dog has floppy ears or is more of the stand-up variety, this gentle but effective dog ear cleaner is safe for any pup over 12 weeks of age. While a natural ear cleaner for dogs won’t cure an ear infection, it will work within the ear to prevent the gunk that causes ear infections.
Pro tip: Try rubbing Great Ears between your hands back and forth to “warm-up” the solution. Don’t trap your dog or scold her for not cooperating. Regular ear flushing and maintenance should be a positive experience. Clap like she just won Best in Show after the ear flushing process.
Since Great Ears is non-stinging and non-irritating, Holly and Christine give it two ears and four paws up. Consider it worth trying on your canine best friend.