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Brown Buildup in Ear

December 21st, 2011, 02:15 PM
Hi everyone! I have a question about my black lab, Zeus. I have not had him for very long (since May), and I regularly clean his ears. However, over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that there is a lot of brown buildup. I obviously would not normally clean his ears so frequently, but I sometimes notice him scratching at it, so I get some of the cleaning solution and a cotton ball to see if there is a problem. Each time there has been a lot of brown buildup (at first I thought it was dirt because that is what it looks like). It is only happening in one ear. There is a slight odour as well. His ear does not seem to be bothering besides the occassional time he will scratch it (he doesn't whine while doing this). I was just wondering if anyone here has any ideas what that problem may be. Thanks in advance! :)


December 21st, 2011, 02:32 PM
Hi Fiona, sounds like he might have a bit of ear infection. A visit to the vet is a good thing to do, have the ear checked out by a professional. The odor you speak of is a sign of infection as well as the brown "gunk".

You can put Coconut Oil in the ears to help keep them clean, just drop some in and let it melt. patti

December 21st, 2011, 02:53 PM
Definately an ear infection, my dog had them all the time. If it smells time for the vet, you will need an antibiotic drop. After you clear this up, use a good quality ear cleaner on a regular basis, this may keep it away.

December 21st, 2011, 03:17 PM
I quite like MalAcetic HC. Its a non perscription ear cleaning solution that you can purchase from vet clinics. Works great on infections and helps with the itching.

December 21st, 2011, 04:32 PM
Thanks for the advice, I just booked him in for an appointment for Friday. I just feel awful that I didn't clue in earlier- dogs do such a good job of hiding their pain :(

December 21st, 2011, 06:55 PM
Especially Labs! My Sasha has always been able to hide her pain. Broken leg, bah, dog bite, bah, stomach surgery, bah......glad to hear you have an appointment for Zeus he will be feeling better in no time. Nowwwww, we want pictures...please? :D patti

December 22nd, 2011, 01:01 AM
My experience is that chronic ear issues often have something to do with the diet or some supplement that is being given.

December 22nd, 2011, 06:55 AM
Maxa Lisa- I think that may be the what is happening with Zeus. We suspect he has an allergy to wheat, so very recently we switched his diet so that it contains no wheat. Hopefully after this infection is cleared up he will be much better :)

December 22nd, 2011, 07:05 AM
Put plain yogurt in his food, Bud had chronic ear problems this helps. Here is a good ear cleaner and costs very little to make you get the genitian violet at the pharmacy counter I get it at Shoppers drug everything is available there.


16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol

4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder

16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well.

Please shake this solution every time you use it to mix the Boric Acid Powder. Either a baby ear syringe or a plastic squirt bottle work well for putting the solution in the ear.


Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if the are inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Just flush and then wait until inflammation is gone, which will be about two days. Warm the solution and shake the bottle each time before using. The dogs will accept the treatment much better if you warm it up for them.

Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle).

Massage gently, wipe with 100% cotton pad.

On first treatment: flood the ear twice, wipe with a pad, and leave alone without massage.

The dog will shake out the excess, which can be wiped with a tissue. (Note: the Gentian Violet does stain fabrics so you're best to do this outdoors.)

Treat 2x per day for the first week to two weeks, depending upon severity of ears.

After the 2nd or 3rd day you can clean out the ear with a tissue or cotton pad.

Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks.
Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog).

December 23rd, 2011, 03:11 AM
Maxa Lisa- I think that may be the what is happening with Zeus. We suspect he has an allergy to wheat, so very recently we switched his diet so that it contains no wheat. Hopefully after this infection is cleared up he will be much better :)

What were you feeding, and what did you switch to?

December 23rd, 2011, 01:43 PM
Thank you so much everyone for all of the suggestions! :) I took him to the vet and got some drops. Hopefully it will clear up soon.

MaxaLisa- I was feeding him the President's Choice Nutrition Formula (Chicken and Rice). The reason I decided to switch was due to loose stool. I have since switched him to Taste of the Wild. I have noticed a large improvement.

December 23rd, 2011, 03:11 PM
Yep that's better food. :thumbs up

December 24th, 2011, 12:56 AM
Had to look it up:

The offending ingredient might be something you don't expect. A lot of dogs are sensitive to chicken too.

Hope the food change and the meds do the trick!