How to Get Rid of a Smell in a Dog's Ears

Floppy ears trap moisture and bacteria.

Floppy ears trap moisture and bacteria.

The inside of a healthy dog's ear should be soft and pink, with a thin coating of earwax to prevent debris from entering the ear canal. While no dog's ear is entirely odorless, musty, yeasty or pungent smells are a sign of infection or infestation, and require immediate veterinary attention.

Flip over your dog's ear and squeeze a few drops of mineral oil inside the canal. Return the ear to its original position, and gently massage the base of his ear for 15 seconds. Although a buildup of earwax doesn't smell foul or yeasty, it can cause an unpleasant odor. Mineral oil softens the consistency of earwax, which allows it to drain and makes it easier for you to clean. Let the oil sit for at least 30 minutes before you begin cleaning his ear.

Flip the ear open and sweep the outer curves and ridges with a clean, dry cotton ball. Never force the cotton completely into his ear canal, and never use cotton swabs or sticks, which could accidentally puncture your dog's inner ear. The earwax on the cotton ball should be light yellow in color, anything darker indicates infection.

Clean the outer ear with a clean cotton ball dipped in hydrogen peroxide. While mineral oil helps soften hard earwax, it doesn't clean the bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide disinfects and dries the skin inside your dog's outer ear.

Squirt a few drops of ear drying solution inside your dog's ear canal. Ear drying solution, available at any major pet store, encourages the evaporation of moisture trapped inside the ear canal. Reapply this solution after your dog goes swimming or plays in water.

Items you will need

  • Cotton balls
  • Mineral oil
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Ear drying solution


  • Prevention is the best medicine. Keeping your dog's ears clean and dry with weekly cleanings will prevent unpleasant odors and infections from forming in the future.
  • For floppy-eared dogs, flip the ears open after each cleaning so they can completely dry.


  • Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if you notice him frequently scratching his ears or rubbing them against the floor. Other signs of infection include yelping whenever you touch his ears.

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About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.

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