Brown Earwax in Dogs

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Healthy ears equal a healthy dog. Naturally, dogs should have wax in their ears like humans, but sometimes, this wax and the smell can be telltale signs of trouble. Generally, dogs with floppy ears such as Labradors, spaniels and beagles have the worst trouble with earwax that can lead to infection or infestation of ear mites.


Brown earwax can mean just dirty ears, possible ear mite infestation or infection. The best way to treat the latter two is to take your dog to the veterinarian.

Identifying an Infection

If you look in your dogs ear and there is brown earwax, first smell the ear. If there is a yeasty or foul smell to the ear, this means there is probably an infection. Then, clean the ear out with a paper town or cotton swab. If there is oily, fluid-like wax, this is another sign of infection.

Identifying Ear Mites

If there is not a foul smell to the dog's ear, but, instead, the ears are itchy and the brown wax is extremely dark and built up, it means there is a possibility of ear mites. Clean it all out with a paper towel or cotton swab, and save the wax to take it to your veterinarian for him to look at under the microscope.

Identifying Dirty Ears

If the ears neither smell nor have excessive buildup of dark ear dirt, then your dog probably just has dirty ears. The best way to keep these ears healthy and free of infection or infestation is to clean them on a regular basis using baby wipes.


The best prevention of ear mites and ear infections is to clean or dry your dog's ears after swimming, playing in mud or dirt and playing with other dogs. Using a paper towel, cotton swab or baby wipe is generally the best method.


If you find any of these problems, schedule a veterinarian appointment and have the proper medication distributed to you. Otherwise, the problem may continue and create further problems that can be very costly.