The 7 Best Dog Foods for Ear Infections

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

Most dog owners can easily identify the signs that indicate an ear infection in their dogs.

Scratching, whining, constant head shaking are some of the first symptoms that appear as the telltale signs of the problem.

Dogs are easily susceptible to this problem, especially breeds with floppy ears like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds. Research shows that almost 20% of dogs develop some kind of ear disease in a lifetime.

You can help your dog by learning about preventative measures and the right treatment methods to reduce the severity and length of these painful episodes for your beloved canine buddy.

But why do dogs develop ear infections in the first place?

Here’s the fact:

There’s not one but many reasons why your dog may suffer an infection. And while it is essential to figure out the reason for the problem, it’s just as necessary to find ways to cure the condition.

In addition to a proper diagnosis and medication, experts suggest that giving the right food can also make a big difference to your dog’s condition. The right food not only helps to reduce the chances of developing an infection but also improves recovery if your best friend is getting the proper ingredients and a perfect blend of nutrition.

This article will guide you through your dogs’ ear infections, and the best was to deal with them. It will help you choose the right food for your pet to improve ear infections and help prevent them in the first place.

Let’s dig in right away!

The Best Dog Foods for Ear Infections

Top PicksRatingTop Ingredients
1. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food
(Editor’s Choice)
4.9Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Barley, Peas, Potato Protein, Canola Oil
2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP Dry Dog Food4.7Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Chicken Fat, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavors
3. Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Beef Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food4.7Deboned Beef, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Pea Starch, Potato Starch, Chicken Fat
4. Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Adult Salmon & Lentils Recipe Dry Dog Food4.5Salmon, Salmon Meal, Dried Potatoes, Lentils, Chickpeas, Dried Sweet Potato, Canola Oil
5. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food4.5Dehydrated Turkey, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Spinach, Dehydrated Carrots

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

1. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Barley, Peas, Potato Protein, Canola Oil

  • Limited-ingredient diet
  • Salmon-based meat protein
  • Includes prebiotics and probiotics
  • Wheat-free, gluten-free, grain-free
  • Help nourish healthy skin

This recipe by Wellness Simple is a highly-rated dry dog food loaded with all the essential nutrients without compromising on the quality of ingredients. The limited-ingredient diet contains salmon as the primary source of protein. It includes a variety of other healthy proteins such as duck, oatmeal, lamb, and grain-free turkey to ensure your sensitive dog gets all the right nutrition without increasing the symptoms of ear infections. Highly recommended!

2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Chicken Fat, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavors

  • Veterinary-exclusive dry dog formula with allergies and sensitivities
  • Supports GI health through prebiotics and fibers
  • Aids with reducing inflammation
  • Effectively reduces GI and skin reactions
  • Made from high-quality, easily-digestible ingredients

Royal Canin is one of the most trusted brands for sensitive dogs, and is one of the best sources of hypoallergenic food options. This recipe includes high-quality and is easy on your dog’s digestive system, promoting overall great health. The dry dog food contains only handpicked ingredients to relieve the symptoms of allergies in dogs and makes a recovery easier.  

3. Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Beef Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Pea Starch, Potato Starch, Chicken Fat

  • Deboned beef as the primary source of protein
  • Grain-free, gluten-free
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Free from poultry by-products, corn, soy
  • Helps maintain a healthy oxidative balance

If you’re mindful about feeding allergens to your dog with an ear infection, pick this high-quality dry food blend. This grain-free option works perfectly with allergic and sensitive dogs and offers them the right balance of healthy antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to promote overall wellbeing. This one’s a popular choice amongst animal nutritionist for including the perfect ingredients to support your canine’s immune health.  

4. Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Adult Salmon & Lentils Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Dried Potatoes, Lentils, Chickpeas, Dried Sweet Potato, Canola Oil

  • A limited-ingredient diet for sensitive dogs
  • Salmon-based protein
  • Boasts minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Grain-free, corn-free, soy-free

Nutro is another highly trusted brand offering only the best and high-quality food for your canine buddies. The grain-free recipe includes only ten ingredients or less, carefully picked with sensitive or allergic dogs in mind. Similar to other top choices in the list, this is a grain-free formula that boasts the best quality ingredients and natural flavors.  

5. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Dehydrated Turkey, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Spinach, Dehydrated Carrots

  • Cage-free turkey
  • Loaded with all essential nutrients
  • Grain-free diet
  • Includes a variety of vegetables and fruits
  • Highly digestible

This interesting dehydrated recipe by The Honest Kitchen is a good option for reducing yeast in dogs, which commonly leads to ear infections. The food works as a preventative measure to protect your dog from a painful ear infection. On top of that, it also offers a great variety of natural nutrients based on cage-free turkey and lots of fruits and vegetables, including carrots, spinach, and cranberries. The recipe is an excellent source of omega and antioxidants as well.

6. Farmina N&D Prime Lamb & Blueberry Medium & Maxi Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This brand has a reputation for providing the ideal blend of protein, fats, and advanced vitamins and minerals using high-quality ingredients. The grain-free formula by Farmina features 98% of protein from high-quality animal sources including lamb. Suitable for sensitive dogs, the delicious recipe is all about excellent nutrition to help your dog prevent allergies, infections, and other health problems.  

  • Limited carbohydrate recipe
  • 98% protein extracted from high-quality animal sources, including lamb
  • Low-glycemic formula
  • Grain-free, gluten-free
  • Non-GMO recipe

7. Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula Dry Dog Food

This excellent recipe by Natural Balance makes the ideal food option for dogs with meat-protein sensitivities. The formula is carefully crafted with only vegan ingredients to help promote your dog’s health and prevent infections. Not only the recipe boasts a great taste that your canine will fall in love with, but it also includes all the essential nutrition that makes it a complete and balanced diet for your dog.  

  • Special vegan diet
  • Excellent for dogs with meat-protein sensitivities
  • Antioxidant-rich formula
  • Features EPA and DHA for enhanced brain function
  • No artificial preservatives, colors or flavors


  1. Guide & Reviews of Dog Foods with Grains
  2. Foods for picky eaters Buyer’s Guide 
  3. Senior Dog Foods ultimate buyer’s guide

Best Dog Foods for Ear Infections – Buyer’s Guide

To help you make the right decision about which foods are best for your dog with ear infections, we have compiled some important information to help you make the right choice.

As far as ear infections in dogs are concerned, there are three different types – otitis externa (external), otitis interna (internal), and otitis media (middle). Otitis external is the most common type, in which the lining of the cells on top of the outer portion of the ear canal is affected by inflammation. The other two types refer to the infections of the inner and middle layers of the ear canal.

Infections of the middle and inner ear often start as an outer ear infection. These types of infections can be serious and can lead to deafness, vestibular signs, and facial paralysis.

Therefore, it’s crucial to pay attention to the signs and take immediate action to seek early treatment as soon as the problem arises.

Symptoms of Ear Infection in Dogs

Fortunately, ear infections are treatable if taken care of in time.

There are always symptoms to indicate a problem. However, sometimes it can be as vague as a buildup of wax in the ear canal. But if you notice wax or discharge in the ear along with certain behavioral changes or signs of discomfort, it could be the symptoms of ear infection in dogs.

Here are some of the most common symptoms that you shouldn’t overlook:

  • Scratching the ears more than normal
  • Excessive head shaking or constant head tilting
  • Weird odor in or near the ear
  • Yellow, brown, or bloody discharge from the ear canal
  • Hair loss around the ear
  • Loss of balance
  • Rubbing of the ear on furniture or floor
  • Scabs on inside or outside of the ear
  • Redness/swelling
  • Unusual movement of the eyes
  • Hearing loss
  • Walking in circles
  • Discomfort/pain

If you notice your dog doing any of the above, take a quick peek inside the ear. You can do a quick check-up before taking your dog for a proper evaluation.

Infections can happen rather quickly. So instead of waiting for more signs to appear, take your dog to a vet for an evaluation.  

Causes of Ear Infection in Dogs

The shape of a canine’s ear canal is quite different from that of humans. It’s more vertical, which is why it can hold fluid, which is another reason why canines are prone to ear infections.

Typically, the primary causes of ear infection in dogs are bacteria, or yeast, or both. For smaller pups, ear mites could be the culprit.

Here are some causes that may predispose your beloved pooch to ear infection:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Ear mites – can be identified by constant scratching.
  • Fleas – some dogs can develop an infection due to flea bites. In such a case, also treat the fleas as you treat your dog’s ear infections.
  • Yeast infections – this is more common in dogs who have big, floppy ears exposed to lots of moisture.
  • Allergens – allergens such as pollen, dust, mold, and even certain food ingredients can cause your dog to suffer ear infections.
  • Excess exposure to moisture – this creates the ultimate environment for yeast and bacteria growth.
  • Endocrine disorders – this includes thyroid disease
  • Excessive ear cleaning can too lead to ear infections
  • Injury to or near the ear
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • The buildup of excessive wax

It is recommended that you examine your dog’s ears regularly, especially if they’re prone to infections.

Best Ways to Treat Ear Infection in Dogs

Once you’ve detected the problem, you should take your dog to a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. The vet will clean the infected ear for further examination and prescribe oral antibiotics or topical medication for direct application. The vet may also suggest pain killers to help reduce the discomfort and ease the inflammation.

Usually, infections are treated with medication. Surgery is only indicated in server cases. In addition to keeping an eye on your dog’s ear health, you should also take note of their diet. If your dog is sensitive to certain ingredients, an unsuitable diet could lead to various health problems, including ear infections.

Here’s some important information that you should remember when choosing the best dog foods for ear infections.

  • Quality Ingredients Only – Never opt for a food option with low-quality ingredients. Saving a few dollars on low-quality ingredients isn’t worth compromising your dog’s health. If a food blend has ingredients of superb quality, it’s much less likely to cause allergic reactions in dogs. It’s important to note that allergies can lead to ear infections as well. Make sure you do your research and pick a dog food that’s highly regarded, or you can check out the top selection we’ve shared in this article.
  • Grain-Free Food Options – Prevent allergies in dogs by offering them a high-quality, grain-free diet. The benefits associated with these food options are worth considering.
  • Hypoallergenic Ingredients – These diets derive from ingredients that do not cause allergic reactions.
  • Additive and Preservative Free – An essential factor to consider. These are artificial ingredients that could easily lead to allergic reactions in dogs, especially if you have a highly sensitive breed.  

Choosing the right diet can help prevent infections in the future, as well.

Other Natural Ways to Treat Dog’s Ear Infection

And if you prefer a more natural approach for treating your dog’s ear infection, these tips might come in handy:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is the magic ingredient that could help kill bacteria and yeast and help your dog recover from an ear infection. The acetic content of the component can also help remove scale and dirt from the ears. However, be cautious before applying ACV on the ear if it appears too red or swollen. It can cause a lot of pain to your dog. Allow the infected area to dry up and gently apply the ACV with a cotton ball. See a vet if the problem persists.

Mullein and Calendula

The antifungal and antibacterial properties of these plants make them an excellent natural treatment for curing a dog’s ear infection.

Add a few leaves of these plants in separate jars with garlic and olive oil. Let calendula sit for four days and mullein for 2-3 weeks. Strain the mixtures and apply gently with a cotton ball to the infected ear.

Oregano Oil

The natural oregano oil can help treat ear infection as it has rich antibacterial properties. Apply the oil directly on the infected ear if it’s not too red or itchy. You can choose to dilute the oil to avoid pain or irritation when doing it for the first time.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil stands out for several benefits it possesses. The antifungal properties make it an excellent natural treatment for your canine’s ear infection. Heat two tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan. Add some garlic. Let the oil cool completely before applying the oil on the infected ear using a cotton ball.

Best Dog Foods for Ear Infections – FAQ

1. Can certain foods cause ear infection in dogs?

Yes, some diets can cause ear infections due to the wrong type of ingredients. Dog food options that are highly processed or contain a lot of grain-based ingredients, additives, preservatives, and fillers can cause allergic reactions and lead to ear infections in sensitive dogs.

2. Can medication cause my dog to suffer from an ear infection?

Some medications can lead to an unhealthy gut. Medications such as flea treatment, tick treatment, steroids, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and deworming drugs may cause infections, including the ear.  

3. What’s the best diet to prevent ear infections?

A good diet can help prevent an ear infection as it contributes to a dog’s overall health. A high-quality, grain-free, and hypoallergenic diet is ideal for this.

4. Can grain-free diets help prevent ear infections in dogs?

A grain-free blend contains more protein and fewer carbs, which aids digestion and benefits your dog’s health in many other ways – including reducing infections and allergies, which plays a crucial role in preventing ear infections in dogs.

5. Why does my dog keep getting ear infections?

You should take it very seriously if your dog repeatedly contracts ear infections. There are many reasons for this. The most common reasons are environmental and food-related allergies. If you fail to keep a check on your dog’s ear health or provide the right food, your dog may remain vulnerable to allergies and infections.


Ear infections are not uncommon in canines. However, they can be highly uncomfortable and unpleasant for your four-legged buddy. While the problem isn’t serious in itself, it can take a nasty turn if left untreated.

Use the information shared in this article in your best interest and learn all about identifying the symptoms of ear infection in dogs. Once detected, consult your veterinarian immediately and start the treatment right away.

Also, play your role as a responsible dog owner and make sure you offer the best and most suitable nutrition to your beloved pooch to prevent allergies and infections, especially if you have a sensitive dog. If your dog belongs to one of those breeds with large, floppy ears, be extra careful with their ear hygiene and care.

We have compiled the 7 best dog foods to help your dog prevent ear infections to help you make the right decision.

Got any questions? Feel free to reach out to us through the comments below!


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