Join Date: May 2011
Location: Northern California
Zymox is a really good ear cleanser. Alternatively, you can make a good one at home mixing approximately equal parts of isopropyl alcohol and vinegar. This is a good solution for ears that are dirty or waxy, or for routine ear maintenance if the dog has a predisposition for ear infections. The alcohol kills microorganisms and helps to dry the ear, and the vinegar leaves an acidic residue that inhibits yeast and bacteria. Some like to add water to the mix, but personally, I don't like putting any more water in the ear than necessary--the alcohol and vinegar you buy at the store is already diluted with water. Don't use this solution in ears that are infected or raw, as it will sting broken skin--go to your vet.
Another really good ear cleaner that does NOT sting is Vet Solutions. It's as good as Zymox, in fact I think it's better for ears that are very waxy. It smells good, too.
The Epi-Otic ear cleaner that they sell at Costco is pretty good, but it has a really awful mediciney smell.
I have heard you can use contact lens solution for cleaning the eyes, but hadn't heard of it for cleaning ears. I don't suppose it would hurt, especially if the ears are raw and tender, but I don't know how it would help that much with curing or preventing infection. As far as I know, contact lens solution is simply a mild enzyme cleanser, in a pH-balanced base that will not sting or irritate tissue.