Dog Ear Wax Color Chart – What Dog Ear Wax Colors Mean
Category_Dog Knowledge

Dog Ear Wax Color Chart – What Dog Ear Wax Colors Mean

by Andrew Ehlert

Ear wax is natural for dogs, just as it is natural for humans. Cerumen, commonly known as ear wax, is an integral part of maintaining ear health. It prevents debris from gathering in the ear and causing infections or build-ups that threaten the function of the inner ear.

Unlike humans, dogs have no way to treat themselves should a health issue appear. Checking what color ear wax a dog has can help owners determine what health issues the dog may be suffering. A dog ear wax color chart can help owners learn what the color of their dog's ear wax means.

When checking a dog's ear wax color, it is useful to know their natural ear wax color. Natural ear wax color is present when a dog is healthy and not suffering ear issues.

Owners can learn the natural ear wax color when their dog is young by checking their ears. For older dogs, periodically check their ear wax color to discover what is natural for them.

What Does the Color of Dog Ear Wax Mean?

Dog ear wax colors vary depending on many factors, and not all of them are a cause for concern. Some dogs will have naturally darker or lighter colored ear waxes, making it valuable to know what is normal for each dog.

Even if the color of the ear wax falls within the natural range, it is still possible that the dog may have an infection.

A change in ear wax color is usually a secondary sign of infection, accompanied by other symptoms such as abnormal amounts of ear wax and odors. Stay alert for these symptoms and pay attention to any signs of discomfort the dog may be showing.

Dog Ear Wax Color Chart

If you're unsure how to distinguish between wax colors or symptoms, use this dog ear wax color chart to help determine if your dog is showing signs of ear infection.

Ear Wax Color: Meaning of The Color:
Yellow - Among the natural range of color
- Look out for symptoms of infection
Brown - Part of the healthy range of colors
- Paired with other symptoms may indicate infection
Gray - Might be as a result of dust
- May indicate an infection
- Veterinarian assistance is recommended if it persists
Green - Indicates fungal or yeast infection
- Veterinarian assistance recommended
Red - Indicates blood in the ear
- May indicate an injury
- Might be the result of bug bites or ear mites
- Veterinarian assistance recommended
Black - Indicates ear mites (granular texture)
- May indicate a yeast or fungal infection
- Veterinarian assistance recommended

Here's an in-depth look at each type of ear wax.

Yellow Ear Wax

Yellow ear wax in dogs is perfectly normal and healthy. The inside of a healthy ear will be pink and show no signs of inflammation.

However, those worried that their dog might be suffering from a possible infection should look for other symptoms. These symptoms include- strong odors, discharge, and signs of discomfort. After noticing these signs, ask for a consultation with your veterinarian.

Brown or Dark Yellow Ear Wax

Dark yellow or brown ear wax colors are within the healthy range for dogs. However, particularly dark colors may be a sign of infection.

If your dog usually has a lighter ear wax color or you notice signs of infection, ask your veterinarian what steps you should take.

Gray Ear Wax

Gray ear wax may not always be a sign of concern, especially if your dog has recently been in a dusty environment.

Gray ear wax may be an example of the ear wax doing its thing- getting rid of dust and dirt that has made its way into the ear. That said, it may not be healthy if it persists for long periods.

If your dog has developed gray ear wax due to dust, it may be beneficial to clean their ears. The more exposure to debris, the more likely an ear can develop an infection.

Green Ear Wax

Green ear wax is not natural for dogs and indicates a fungal or yeast infection. If your dog has developed green ear wax, seek a consultation with your veterinarian.

Red Ear Wax

Red ear wax develops when blood is present in the ear. Irritation, itchiness, or inflammation may accompany red ear wax. Itchiness may cause excessive scratching by a dog, leading to cuts in the ear.

Cuts caused by scratching should receive treatment to prevent infection. It is essential to address the underlying causes of irritation as part of the treatment of red ear wax.

Common causes of red ear wax include bug bites, ear mites, or injury. If your dog has red ear wax, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the cause and find treatment.

Black Ear Wax

Black ear wax in dogs can mean several things. If the texture of the ear wax is granular, this is typically a sign of ear mites. Ear mites are more common in younger dogs, but older dogs may also catch ear mites if exposed to them.

Black ear wax can signify a yeast or fungal infection. If your dog has developed black ear wax, seek veterinarian assistance.

What Should I Do If My Dog Has an Ear Infection?

Common ear infection in dogs is known as otitis externa, where the outer (external) ear canal is infected. The main symptoms of otitis externa are ear discharge and foul odors emanating from the ear.

If you believe your dog has developed an ear infection, get them diagnosed by a veterinarian.

Without knowing what might be causing your dog's ear infection, most treatments will be ineffective. Delayed or incorrect treatment may cause your dog further harm and may cause them to develop a more severe condition.

A chronic ear infection may lead to more harmful conditions, and ear infections may be a symptom of a more significant issue. Ensuring your dog is appropriately treated by a veterinarian is integral to their long-term health.


Dogs cannot treat themselves, so their owners must recognize issues as they develop and seek treatment for them. Regularly checking your dog's ears may help prevent common problems such as ear infections.

Using a dog ear wax color chart is useful when checking your dog for signs of ear infection. If you find evidence of an infection, schedule a visit or have a consultation with your veterinarian.

Always stay alert to changes in your dog's behavior and environmental factors that may change their ear wax color.

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