Strange and unusual odors are just part of the territory when you're a dog owner. Dogs produce all sorts of smells, occasionally from their ears. Smelly dog ears may simply be a sign that you need to give your dog's ears a good cleaning. However, ear odor may also be a symptom of a more serious condition such as an ear infection, parasites in the ears or even a yeast infection (which can affect the dog's entire body if left untreated). There are some simple home remedies you can try to rid your dog's ears of the stink, but if the problem persists or worsens, it's a good idea to contact your veterinarian.
Home Cures for Smelly Dog Ears
Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol Ear Wash
Dilute one part vinegar in two parts rubbing alcohol, and make sure the mixture is thoroughly combined. Dip cotton balls or swabs into the solution, then gently dab and rub the cotton ball/swab in your dog's ear. This cleans away any ear wax or debris in the ear. Be prepared, this may take a lot of solution and a lot of cotton balls/swabs depending on how much work your dog's ears need.
Garlic Ear Oil
Drop a clove of garlic into some olive oil, allowing it to remain in the oil overnight. The following day, remove and discard the garlic clove. Using a medicine dropper, place two drops of the oil into each of your dog's ears. If your dog has ear mites, this will smother them, while the garlic aids in the improvement of your dog's immune system.
Mineral Oil and Vitamin C
Drop a spoonful of vitamin C powder into a cup or bowl of mineral oil. Stir thoroughly to combine. Place two drops of this mixture into your dogs ears and massage, working the mixture into your dogs ears. This procedure also kills ear mites which may be the cause of your dog's smelly ears.
Hydrogen Peroxide Cleanse
Soak a cotton ball or cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide. Use the cotton ball/swab to clean the inside of your dog's ears. Again, be prepared to use a lot of cotton balls/swabs if your dog's ears are dirty.
Vinegar and Water Wash
Another ear cleaning solution can be made up of one part vinegar to five parts water. Fill a turkey baster with the solution, then squirt this solution into your dog's ears. Use the turkey baster to suck the solution back out again, then discard. This is an effective home ear flush that rids the dog's ears of any odor causing debris or parasites. Be sure to wear old clothing if you try this procedure, as it tends to get a little messy.
Possible Cause for Smelly Dog Ears
A common cause of strong smelling or stinky dog ears are ear infections. While parasites like mites, or even yeast infections, can also be the culprit, an ear infection is something to look out for. If you notice your dog scratching or rubbing their ears or lots of head shaking and tilting along with the odor, and the above treatments didn't do much to help, consider making an appointment with your vet. Some signs to look out for include: brown or yellow discharge, redness and swelling in the ears, scabs or crustiness in the ear, loss of hearing or balance. Luckily, most ear infections clear up with a good cleaning and some antibiotics.