What is The Black Stuff in My Dog's Ear?

black stuff in dog's ear - Rockwell Pets Pro

Do you notice a black, waxy substance in your dog’s ears? Are you concerned that it could be a sign of infection or some other medical condition?

Identifying the cause of this dark, oily buildup is important to determine if and how to treat it. It could be anything from an ear infection to a harmless build-up of dirt and wax.

There are many different possible causes for black stuff in a dog's ear, but whatever the reason, there are treatment options available. In this article, we will look at the common causes of dark material in your pup's ears as well as potential treatments.

Causes of Black Stuff in Dog's Ear

Seeing black stuff in your dog's ear can be concerning, especially if you don't know what it is or why it's there. In this article, we'll discuss what could be causing the black stuff in your dog's ear and how to treat it.

The common causes of black stuff in a dog’s ear include:

Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are one of the most common causes of an excess of dark thick discharge from a dog’s ears. When yeast becomes overgrown in the ears, it can cause inflammation, redness, and an unpleasant smell along with a dark-colored discharge. This type of infection is often caused by allergies or other skin sensitivities, but it can also be a sign of ear mites or bacterial infections.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are small parasites that live inside a dog’s ears, feeding on oils and debris found within them. They are very difficult to spot as they're very tiny; however, they can cause itching and irritation as well as dark discharge in the ear canal itself. Treatment typically includes using prescription medication or medicated drops to kill the mites and prevent reinfestation.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are another common cause of dark discharge from a dog’s ears. These types of infections usually occur when something foreign such as dirt, grass clippings, or even water enters the ear canal and disrupts its normal flora balance resulting in an infection. These types of infections will require antibiotic treatment from your veterinarian to properly resolve them and stop further damage to your dog's ears .


Allergies are another possible cause for dark discharge from a dogs' ears. When allergies flare up, they can cause inflammation which results in extra fluid production being secreted from the surface of their skin. This fluid is usually darker than normal due to increased concentrations of proteins like histamines released during an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of Infection that Accompany Black Stuff in my Dog's Ear

Certain infections can cause black, waxy buildup in a dog's ear. It's important to understand what these symptoms of infections in dogs look like and how to properly respond to them. 

Black stuff around the ear is a sign that your pup may have an infection. If you notice the presence of black gooey material, it’s likely a bacterial or fungal infection has started on the inside of the ear canal. The material itself could be wax, debris, blood or pus.

Itchy Ears

Another sympton of ear infections in dogs is excessive scratching at their ears as if it's uncomfortable for your dog. Sometimes this is indicative of an underlying ear problem and not just because they want relief from itching caused by seasonal allergies or other skin irritations.

Head Shaking

If your pup has been shaking their head frequently or you notice that they suddenly do so after being outside or around dust particles, this could be one of the symptoms of infection associated with black stuff in their ear canals and needs immediate attention from your vet.


If a strange smell starts coming from near your dog’s ear canals, it could also indicate an infection and should be addressed by speaking with a vet as soon as possible. Often bad odors will accompany bacterial build-up within people’s ears as well and is indicative that there has been some kind of breach within their protective mechanism which needs resolving quickly– otherwise the situation can worsen over time without treatment.


To figure out if an infection is present, touch either side of their head gently near where their outer ear flaps start – you might find tenderness or evidence that something is wrong when doing this simple process depending on how far advanced it is. Whatever it’s redness, swelling/discomfort when touching and similar reactions should ring alarm bells! This will require immediate vet attention. 

Hearing Loss

One common symptom associated with an ear infection accompanied by black stuff inside the canal are changes to your pup's hearing capabilities; you might notice decreased sound output or even difficulty maintaining focus when they are listening intently to sounds outside their domain (like barking noises). This could also be caused by age-related hearing decline but nonetheless one must investigate further if suspicious - perhaps taking them along for a checkup at local animal hospital where expert opinion lies lurking!

If any – or even all – of these symptoms have started showing up in relation to each other then there is until good chance that something more serious could be occurring beneath which requires medical attention ASAP before risking permanent damage when ignoring it.

Treatments for Black Stuff in your Dog's Ear

While mild cases of black stuff in your dog's ears are often just wax buildup, more severe cases can be a sign of a medical issue. Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause, but may require cleaning and medication by a veterinarian. In some instances, the affected ear may need to be flushed or have debris removed surgically due to infection. Keeping your dog’s ears clean is an important preventive measure against buildup of black discharge as well as infections. If you haven't already done so, it's beneficial to schedule regular checkups for your dog with your veterinarian. That way you can catch any ear issues early and avoid potential complications down the road.

Here's some advice on how to treat black stuff in your dog's ear and when to seek veterinary care.

Keep Your Dog's Ears Clean

Regularly cleaning the ears with a gentle solution is important for preventing infections. You can make your own solution using apple cider vinegar and water or purchase an over-the-counter cleansing solution from a pet store. To clean, use a cotton ball to gently wipe away without going too deep into the ears. Natural ear cleaners are ideal to keep your dog's ears healthy.

Here are our is our list of best ear flush products for dogs. 

Rockwell Pets Pro Dog Ear Cleaner


Is a Vet Visit Needed?

If cleaning the ears with wipes or medicated drops isn't helping, it may be time to take your pup to the veterinarian for an examination and possible treatment plan. Your vet will examine the ears and may prescribe antibiotics if there is an infection present or recommend further treatments such as surgery if needed.

Home Remedies and DIY Options for Treating Black Stuff in Dog's Ear

Dog owners face many challenges when it comes to the health and well-being of their pet; and one of them is dealing with the dreaded black stuff in their pet’s ear. While this may look a bit scary, it is fairly common – and can be easily treated at home with some simple remedies. Some of these include regularly cleaning their dog's ears, adding some mineral oil drops in each ear to reduce smelly waxy buildup, adding some apple cider vinegar to the ear which will reduce bacteria and fungus, or adding some garlic powder to the mix which helps naturally kill parasites and fungus. So, by following these easy DIY steps, owners can take matters into their own hands without relying on harsh medications or expensive vet visits.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide Mixture

A mixture of apple cider vinegar and hydrogen peroxide is one of the most popular home remedies for treating the black stuff in your dog’s ear. Combine equal parts of each ingredient and put it in a dropper to administer into your pup's ear. Let him shake his head and massage the solution into his ear until the black stuff has been removed.

Essential Oils Mixture

Another effective home remedy for treating black stuff in dog’s ears is an essential oils mixture. Mix together four ounces of olive oil with two drops of lavender oil and two drops of tea tree oil. Put 3-5 drops into your pup's affected ear twice a day until all traces of the black stuff have been eliminated.

Dental Floss Solution

If your pup still has visible evidence inside his ear canal after using these two home remedies, you can use dental floss to create a stronger solution to help remove the last bit of dirt residue or parasites. Take a pinch of dental floss, wet it with warm water or an herbal tea, then swirl it around inside your pup’s ear several times until no more debris can be seen coming out from within the opening at the base of the inner ear flap. To sweeten the deal for your pup, make sure to give him a treat afterwards as positive reinforcement!

Glycerin Solution

Another great home remedy for treating black stuff in dog’s ears is glycerin – specifically raw organic glycerin derived from coconut oil which helps protect against inflammation and dryness due to its natural antimicrobial properties. Combine equal parts unflavored glycerin with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar then add eight ounces of warm water into the mix before putting it into a spray bottle to administer directly into your pup's affected area twice daily until all signs of any infection have disappeared completely without leaving any red or inflamed areas behind as well as preventing further infestation if applicable as well.



More Serious Cases That Require Vet Care

Finding black stuff in a dog’s ear might have pet owners worried, as this can be an infection or irritation. But more serious cases of black stuff in a dog's ear may require vet care. Therefore, it is important to take note of the symptoms and consider when it is time to talk to your veterinarian.

Watch for Symptoms Such as Whining and Shaking the Head

If your dog starts whining, shaking its head, or scratching at one side of its head consistently it could indicate that something is wrong. If you see black stuff present in the ear, then clean out the excess material gently before calling a veterinarian for assistance.

Consider if There is Any Discharge from the Ear

If there is discharge from the ear that appears thick, yellow or green it could indicated that there might be an infection present. An infection can cause pain so closely watch for signs like loss of appetite and avoiding usual activities such as playing. If you notice any strange discharge coming from the dog’s ear and sign that he/she might be having pain, make sure to get checked out by your veterinarian right away.

Observe if Your Dog Has an Unusual Odor Coming From His/Her Ears

A bad smell coming from both ears can point to a deeper issue than just having normal wax buildup or dirt accumulation in their ears. Your vet will likely do a culture and sensitivity test to determine what bacteria may be causing the issue. The results can help determine what type of antibiotic should be administered to treat it properly.

Pay Attention If You See Blood or Striking Red Coloration Inside The Ear Canal

If you see either blood or striking red coloration inside your pet's ear canal then these are symptoms that should never go ignored since these can signify serious underlying problems such as traumatic injuries or tumors inside part of canine’s ears that may need immediate medical attention. Make sure to contact your veterinarian right away if you observe something like this going on with them so they can provide appropriate treatment for your pet’s problem as soon as possible before it escalates even further.

How to Prevent Future Occurrences of Black Stuff in Dog's Ear

One of the best ways to prevent future occurrences of black stuff in your dog's ear is by regularly cleaning out the wax and debris they accumulate. This includes wiping down the inner surfaces with a warm, damp cloth or cotton swab. Additionally, it’s a good idea to check your pup’s ears on a weekly basis for signs of irritation or infection such as redness or inflammation. Keeping the area around their ear clean, dry and free from dirt can also help to keep any uncomfortable buildups away. For added protection, you may choose to offer your pet a natural supplement designed to promote healthy ear care. 

One of the most common canine health problems is an accumulation of black stuff in a dog's ear, an indication of infection caused by mites. It can also be caused by excessive wax buildup or impaction of foreign bodies such as grass seeds and dirt. Regardless of its cause, having black stuff in a dog's ear is both uncomfortable and unsightly. Here are some tips to prevent future occurrences:

Keep Ears Dry

Moisture trapped in a dog's ear is the perfect place for bacteria and yeast to thrive, leading to infection. Make sure your furry friend's ears stay dry after baths and during long play sessions outdoors by gently patting them dry with a clean towel or cotton balls. If infections are recurrent despite keepings the ears dry, you may need to consult your veterinarian. There could be underlying gut health issues that cause the infection to resurface regularly. You could try natural dog probiotics to strengthen your dog's natural gut health. 

Trim Ear Hair Regularly

Dogs with excessively hairy ears are more prone to infections due to the extra layers that trap moisture and debris – trimming their fur regularly can help reduce the incidence of infections. Take care not to use scissors for this as even a slight puncture would immediately expose your pup to potentially harmful bacteria. Instead, use specialized pet clippers or electric razors that are designed for delicate areas like around the face and ears.

Check After Outdoor Play Sessions

Throughout their adventures, your pooch is likely picking up all kinds of dirt into his ears from plants like grasses and weeds which could lead to impaction if its size gets stuck behind or wedged in between parts inside his flap-covered canal. Establishing a solid routine where you check each ear after every play session will help you detect these foreign bodies early so they can be safely removed before complications arise.

Monitor Your Dog's Behavior Closely

Changes in habits can be indicative of underlying issues such as infection – look out for signs like pacing, light scratches near one side of their head or tufts trying hard to reach their inner ear – if noticed early enough itching can cease, giving it time heal naturally. If suspicious activity doesn’t decrease over time despite home remedies then visit a vet at once - never delay treatment when dealing with infections not only do timely treatments yield best results but certain instances might require medical attention if left unattended any longer!


Black stuff in a dog’s ear can be worrying. It is often a sign of infection, either bacterial or fungal. In some cases it could also be a reaction to something like an insect bite or allergic sensitivity. Regardless of the cause, if black stuff is visible in your dog’s ear then it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment are critical for preventing any complications that may arise from the underlying issue. A veterinary examination is recommended as soon as your find black stuff in your dog's ear to ensure your fur baby receives the appropriate treatment.


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