Smelly Black Tar Buildup in Dog's Ear?

November 28, 2007

A dog scratching its ear.My dog has black tar stuff in his ear and it smells, what is it?

Kim from Eugene, OR



By SH (Guest Post)
November 29, 20071 found this helpful
Best Answer

My black lab gets that too. The vet says it's an ear infection. When she gets this I take her in to have her ears cleaned (I would clean them myself but she is too big and strong for me). If it still smells after that I have some antibiotic drops that help.

December 3, 20075 found this helpful
Best Answer

The black smelly stuff is a yeast infection. Dogs get this when they are having some type of allergic reaction (ears, nose, throat are all interconnected).

My 1 year old Golden is under veterinary care right now for this problem. The dog gets a medication in the ear twice a day. Also, we use a special ear wash twice a day to wash and help cleanse the area. That wash is an antifungal/antimicrobial solution prescribed by the vet. After we use the wash, we carefully wipe any of that gunky black stuff away.


Once the ear has dried, we use the medicine which is rubbed into the ear.

Golden Retrievers are one of the dog breeds that are susceptible to this type of a yeast infection. Our vet told us that it'll probably re-occur off and on, so I would imagine this would be true for your dog, too.
If you check your dog's ears every couple of days, you should be able to control the problem before it becomes inflamed and uncomfortable for your dog.

October 14, 20133 found this helpful
Best Answer

This is either a yeast or bacterial infection & requires a trip to a vets office. You will need an ear cleanser & antibiotic.

April 14, 20142 found this helpful
Best Answer

Just got back from the vet. My plott hound has an ear infection, same signs black tarry looking stuff in his ears and head shaking. He was given an anti histamine shot, antibiotic pills, and drops for his ears.


The vet also gave me a prescription ear cleaning solution to use once a week after we get the current problem solved.

Answer this Question

6 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

March 30, 2013

I have a 2 year old black Lab Golden Retriever mix and she has this stuff in her ears that is black and smells bad. I tried to clean them with this stuff called Clean Ears and also put 2 different kinds of drops in them. It works for a day or 2, but then the smell comes back. She also scratches them a lot and now the pink part is starting to turn scaly and red. Sometimes the insides of her ears bleed! I cannot afford to take her to the vet, as vets around here cost too much. What is wrong with her and what can I do for this to make it go away?

By Amanda


March 31, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

Golden Retrievers are one of the breeds prone to ear infections & the symptoms you mention are all symptoms. I personally would recommend you contact your vet to have the poor dog's ears checked before it gets too far out of hand.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 226 Feedbacks
April 1, 20132 found this helpful
Best Answer

It does sound like an ear infection, which can be from fungus or bacteria or both. If it is not treated effectively is can result in much pain for your dog, along with loss of hearing or inner ear damage leaving the dog in a state of constant dizzyness for the remainder of its life. At that point you would have no choice but to have your dog euthanized. You cannot afford not to treat this.


Look for a local Vet who will take payments, or has a fund for those who cannot afford treatment. There are several in my area. If you cannot find treatment, take your dog to a local rescue or shelter where it can get treatment. It is sad to not be able to afford a pet, but there are many in that situation these days. It is illegal not to treat a sick pet.

May 31, 20164 found this helpful
Best Answer

that is a chronic ear infection. need to clean with organic apple cider vinegar and water. mix 1/2 and 1/2 and apply 10 drops in each ear. massage up and down the back of ear to spread it and then let her shake it out. wipe out anything with cotton ball or kleenix. never use paper towel as it's too rough. do this 2x a day till gone. if it's not cleared up after 2 weeks then go to the vet.

Answer this Question

August 28, 2011

My dog has smelly black tar in his ear. I would like to know what it is. How can I treat it?

By gypsygirl


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 162 Posts
August 28, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

My dog had that. It's an ear infection, probably a yeast infection. I got an ear solution from the vet that cleared it right up. Since then, I've seen lots of posts on ThriftyFun from people who've had success with homemade ear washes using vinegar or women's yeast infection treatment.


You could probably try one of those. Just use the google search option in the orange bar at the top of the page and you should find them.

August 29, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Go to a feed store, pet store, tractor supply, ect. Buy a cleansing ear wash. It's ear wax that can be caused by an infection, mites, or just getting dirty! I have a Bassett and I clean that out of hers every few days! If they are itching badly or the canal is red you might think about a vet. but since you didn't mention her shaking her head a lot or scratching doggie should be fine, but clean them often.
Good luck

August 30, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Most likely a yeast ear infection. My female pugs has had it a few times. You should take her/him to the vet to get a medicated ear wash.


Then after it is treated wash her ears every few days to keep it under control.

Answer this Question

May 13, 2013

My neighbor's dog has had this smelly black looking tar like ear infection for about a year now. I don't know why she hasn't taken her to the vet yet. I was curious what it could be and if it can harm the dog?

By Nonname


May 14, 20130 found this helpful

I found these answers for you...I am sad that the neighbor doesn't take the dog to the vet.

Blessings, Robyn


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 226 Feedbacks
May 15, 20130 found this helpful

Sounds like this may be a yeast infection or a bacterial infection. If it is a bacterial infection there is a risk that it will go into the inner ear. If it does it can destroy the animals balance mechanism. This cannot be repaired and almost always requires euthanasia because the animal cannot stay upright. I would warn your neighbor that the consequences of ignoring this can be awful for the animal.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 226 Feedbacks
May 15, 20131 found this helpful

I should have mentioned that you should remind your neighbor that she can be legally prosecuted for not getting medical care for a sick animal.

August 8, 20162 found this helpful

All of you are real quick to criticize!!!! I understand her my dog has chronic ear problems and I spend about 700 a year!!!! If someone can help great and if not keep uYour comments to yourselves...

July 7, 20175 found this helpful

True while understanding that I have to also say I have six dogs I don't have six dogs because I'm some greedy Glutton Pig I have six dogs because I've adopted them because I'm afraid of them being put down for no reason just cuz they exist. I can only afford minimal care which means I feed them and I do take them to the vet but anything that's several hundred dollars would probably result in having to put them down. I look for home remedies for lots of things I have one dog that is 11 years old another that is 8 years old another one that is 6 years old one that is 2 years old and two puppies.. I do the best that I can none of them have serious medical conditions.. all of them I have had since they were puppies..

so that at least does not say something about the way I raised them and the way that I take care of them I don't know what does I'm very cautious of what they do they do not go outside of the house they are all potty trained to use TT pads. I do so to make sure I limit the cases of my animals becoming severely ill or injured..

So I would have to say just because someone cannot afford to drop several hundred dollars on a dog per visit per case does not mean that they are a crappy person there's plenty of people with a big heart that is trying to save these animals from being euthanized..

Not everybody is bankrolling and if everyone had the mindset that you do there would be a lot more animals being put down if not everyone can afford vet care then all these animals would be dead all mine are rescues..

October 3, 20172 found this helpful

My father has a cocker spaniel. She has been treat twice by the vet and she still had the ear infections. The vet prices are high. The best thing you can do is buy organic garlic and organic olive oil and cook it for 20 min. Let it cool and then use a dropper to put it in the deep hole in their ear. Do you research on line. I use my gut i instincts with the amount. I also flush her ears with hydrogen peroxide. It took me a month of cleaning her ear daily using the drops twice a day. I have no clue where the back stuff was coming from but it was a lot. Finally her one ear cleared up well. She still smelled and her other ear didnt look infected on the outside but it smelled horrible. I started the garlic and olive oil in that ear. Her poor ear inflamed and was so red. Obviously she had major yeast going on. Going on week three it is starting to get better. While we still have the internet watch videos and do your best to do it safely. I do use Q tips with caution. Make sure they are Q tips because they are soft and strong enough to put pressure. I only clean the outsides of the ear canal. Once the inflammation is down and the ear canal is wider, you need to use the Q tip to get at the opening of the ear. They have so many grooves you need to get those all clean and keep them clean. I do the H2O every 3 Days. You need to hold their heads so they do not shake it out. It takes time. But once you truly treat it it shouldnt be as bad. Keep the insides of their ears clean and trimmed. The other thing is starting them in a good probiotic.

I do not do this every day. I am just sharing this so please do not ask questions. Just research

March 5, 20180 found this helpful

My dog use to get ear infections all the time and here it was allergy related. After getting an allergy test done and seeing what all she was allergic too, I changed her dog food to a no grain and I had to look for dog food that didnt have what she was allergic too in it. She was also allergic to a lot of trees and grass too but that caused her skin issues. I was able to get her allergy issues under control which helped keep her comfortable. So try going to a grain free 5 ingredient dog food. I know Rachel Ray makes one but Im sure theres more out there. Oh and the ear infections would occur about every 2 months or so in my dog. Thats when I knew she was allergic to something.

March 19, 20180 found this helpful

I agree 100% my dogs are like my children I do the best I can on my social security check monthly you work all your life and pay in and then you still don't get enough to live off of and before some starts that I should have saved money for retirement I did but when a emergency happens all of that can be gone and I love my dogs and do the best I can they are well fed and everything but vet bills are real expensive I'm lucky if I go to Dr what I need help with is something I can try for my Yorkie Poo her ears have a black discharge I wanted to know maybe if anyone knew some home remedies I could try first and if not I will figure out a way to get her to a vet.

April 19, 20182 found this helpful

Zymox Otic HC 1% Enzymatic Solution, Clinic size 8oz, stuff ever!!! Follow directions on dog has never needed antibiotics or additional vet treatment.

July 13, 20180 found this helpful


Read More Answers

February 27, 2019

I have a Boxer cross Bull Mastiff dog and he has black tar coloured buildup in his ear. What could this be? He is constantly itching.


February 27, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer


It is an ear infection, and possibly yeast infection, and also possibly ear mites. It is best to see the vet for this type of infection. It will not take a lot of tests to find out what is wrong.

It is likely that if you try to clean your pets ears, yourself, you could get bitten, since an ear infection is very painful. Additionally, the meds that a vet will give you work better and faster than any home remedy.

Sometimes, after this clears up, you might find success in offering your dog grain-free food and often giving your pet boiled chicken.



Answer this Question

August 23, 2017

I have a Pom Chi (Pomeranian Chihuahua mix) That has black smelly tar stuff in both ears and I cannot afford the vet. Now before the judging starts, I would just like to say I wasn't looking to get a dog I know I can't afford one but I found this poor tiny puppy in a trash can. No, I wasn't digging in a trash can, I was walking by and heard it crying, there was no way was I going to just keep walking. Smelly Black "Tar" in a Dog's Ears


I found him in a fast food bag, along with food wrappers, he was dehydrated and very sickly.

He looked about 6 weeks old. I got him his shots and healthy again, I even brush his teeth. He's now 2 years old and this is the first health issue I have had with him. If anybody knows a way I can fix his ear infection, please tell me. He cries when I touch his ear and it's all packed deep down in his ear, black tar stuff. I tried ACV and water and it didn't do any good. I clean his ears regularly and dry them so I don't know how this occurred, I can't stand seeing him like this.


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
August 23, 20170 found this helpful

It's probably a fungal infection that needs topical antibiotics


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
August 23, 20170 found this helpful

You could try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in each ear for a couple days. If it doesn't get better and the dog is uncomfortable, call the vet.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
August 23, 20170 found this helpful

It most likely will require a vet trip. We often fill prescriptions for dogs where I work. Often a steroid and antifungals, either oral or a cream are used. The medications are cheap. Some vets have the medication on hand and give it to you at the office. If left untreated, it can spread to their feet (from scratching) and to the entire body, and then the antifungal shampoos have to be used and they are not so cheap.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
August 24, 20171 found this helpful

I have one Bichon that seems to get this in his ears all the time. It is a simple treatment that you can do at home. You will need some baby oil and a syringe. You will put a little bit of the oil in the syringe and put this in the dog's ear. You will need to repeat this for 3 days. Then after this you will do it every 3 days for 3 more weeks. Use a Q-Tip to clean the outer edges of the dog's ear. Do not dig deep into the ear. Only clean around the surface of the ear.

Your dog has ear mites and if left untreated, can cause damage to his hearing. I also have rabbits and this happens to them. A while back, I wrote an article about how to treat ear mites in a rabbit's ear. It is the same with a dog.

When adding the baby oil to the ear make sure you don't add too much. Only a drop or two is plenty. You don't want to soak his ear. You just want to kill the mites in his ear. I have to do this to my dog about once every 9 months. I only have one dog that gets these in his ear. It is foul smelling and really looks like tar.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
August 29, 20170 found this helpful

It does sound like an ear infection, which can be from fungus, ear mites, yeast infection, bacteria or both. If it is not treated effectively it can result in much pain for your dog, along with loss of hearing or inner ear damage leaving the dog in a state of constant dizziness for the remainder of its life.

Since the problem you describe can be a number of things you may really need to have a vet diagnose the problem. Do you have any pet clinics in your area? Usually they are much, much cheaper than a vet visit. Or have you called your local humane society? They usually have some services available for nominal fees. Try Google with pet clinics and your zip code and maybe there is one near you.

Yeasty ears: mix 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and organic apple cider vinegar into a small spray bottle. Spray the mixture into ear daily until the yeast buildup dies away; it usually takes 2-3 days. After spraying the mixture into the ears, allow it to set for 15 minutes, then gently clean her ear using a damp (very damp) tissue. Then massage coconut oil (or olive oil) - just a small amount - into ears. Continue this mixture for 2-3 more days.

If it is yeast, normally ear problems go hand in hand with a food allergy....That said, if you are feeding a high grain diet (Grocery store diet), then it could be part of the problem. Grains (Carbohydrates) turn to sugar in the system and Yeast feeds off of sugar. If this is the case, a change of diet will be of benefit for him.

If treating for ear mites and you need to do something right now then what poehere recommended is a good start but you can also use coconut oil or olive oil (olive oil is very good) as the oil will bring the mites out and it smothers them.

Please do not use Q-tips as these can damage your dog's ear canal & use cotton balls to wipe around the inside (gently).

There are a couple of good products available from pet stores, Wal-Mart type stores and on-line. The most often used for all types of ear problems are Wally's ear oil and Zymox. (Affiliate Link) (Affiliate Link)

October 3, 20170 found this helpful

Try antibiotic cream fusibet it's cheep and just use dry clean cotton wool to clean them out other than that canastan cream what u can get for thrush if it's a yeast build up it will do same thing try olive oil drops if it's just wax to flush it out if none of that works then it has to be the vet

February 14, 20180 found this helpful

Listen everybody that can't afford to take their dog to the veterinarian my Yorkie had the same thing it is a yeast infection that is what the black stuff is you do not have to take him to the vet you can order the exact medication online for $15 I paid the vet $80. Save yourself some money you can buy the product on line otibiotic ointment. Also if it's not treated as soon as possible the dog could get internal ear infection and would have to be put down from this he would lose all movement of his bodily functions. Due to the inner ear canal being totally damaged so please keep posting this if anybody is reading it to other people know they can afford to get the medication they need thank you Maggie Reygers

February 22, 20180 found this helpful

I have 2 dogs. Black lab who gets eye infections once in a while and a beagle who gets the ear infections. At least once a year for both. I used to run to the vet which usually was $160 by time your out the door for check over and meds. Someone turned me on to colloidal silver. $20 for a bottle and problem solved. Initially put an eye dropper full right in infected ear or eye and then on food for about a week. Clears it up guaranteed

May 16, 20180 found this helpful


July 26, 20180 found this helpful

Zymox can be bought through Amazon or at some local pet stores. You can get the one with 1% hydrocortisone. Its good for bacterial and yeast infections in ears. Has worked great for my dog for years. You have to catch it as early as you can. Zymix also has an ear cleanser to use one the infection is cleared up. Help this helps

Read More Answers

September 8, 2018

My dog has black stuff in his ears. After 3 vet trips and meds it's still there. I can not afford to play games with vets. Why can they not fix the problem on the first visit? I am almost thinking these vets keep us coming back to fuel their pockets.

Anyone know of any home remedies that will help because it doesn't seem like the vet is helping any other then draining me dry. And do not tell me to go to another vet. Because they should all care for animals the same.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
September 9, 20180 found this helpful

Your dog either has an infection or ear mites. If the dog isnt better, the vet should not be charging you anymore, if it was a misdiagnosis on his or her part. I would discuss it with him or her


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
September 9, 20180 found this helpful

This is just like with people doctors...sometimes it takes a few times to figure out the exact problem and the vet (in this case if he/she is ethical--which I hope he/she is) is starting out with what he/she hopes is a one and done cure...but if it doesn't work, he/she has to try other things.

Sadly I have learned from my own health conditions that medicine is part art and part science and part luck that they can figure out what is what.

If you feel you aren't getting good care (there are unethical, money grubbing vets out there) then ask your friends who they use and if their vet cures things quickly. You said you don't want to have to do that...but if you are having doubts about your vet, maybe that is the best solution. You have to be the voice for your pup as he can't speak for himself!

As for home remedies....those and dog's ears do not mix. I would not try anything from the internet or any home remedy in my dog's ears...ever. Too much of a chance of making things worse, or causing serious damage to the ear drum and causing permanent hearing loss. Not worth the risk. The only thing you may want to think about is trying a different food...but even that I wouldn't do without talking to the vet.

Sometimes chicken and gluten free diets make all the ear related issues go away--in our world doggy ear issues were always allergy driven.

I will send up lots of healing prayers and wishes for your pup!!


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
September 9, 20180 found this helpful

Here is a useful discussion here on Thrityfun regarding tar buildup in dog's ear. It's an infection.

Was a dog ear wash a medication you had? They also sell over the counter ones at the pet store but I would go back to the vet and ask them about it.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
September 9, 20180 found this helpful

There are some safe home remedies but the biggest problem with them is that most people either do not use them correctly or think that everything should be cured in a day and so they go on to something else.

I really like going to PetSmart as you can take your dog with you and they usually have a vet or a vet's assistant in the store (at least they do in my area) and they have helped with problems like this many times.

Sometimes they even clean the dog's ears and may recommend a wash or cleaner. They can also recommend a special dog food to try just in case it is an allergy. I know that some people are totally against home remedies but not everyone can afford to keep going to a vet while they do test after test and maybe order prescription medicine but sometimes nothing they do seems to help.

I believe that I can purchase a mild cleaner, read the instructions and at least try something on my own. The farm supply stores sell all kinds of home remedy products that people have been using for many years and I truly believe some of them must be helping eliminate the problems - safely.


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 111 Answers
September 26, 20181 found this helpful

My dog makes excessive wax triggered by a fungal infection call malassezia. I've treated it for years without success until I learned from a youtube video that a biofilm is protecting the infection from treatment. The biofilm needs to be broken up first. I'm having great success with an ear wash called TrizCHLOR flush for dogs and cats. It has EDTA which breaks up the biofilm and an antimicrobial. I bought it from the Chewy web site. If your dogs ear wax is sticking to the fur outside his ear you can soften it with petroleum jelly, and then comb away most of the gunk, then wash away the rest with a dog shampoo. I also give my dog fish oil capsules, one a day. I make pill pockets by cutting a hot dog in three or four pieces, and making a whole in each with a hard straw.

October 18, 20180 found this helpful

Try zymox ear solution!

Read More Answers
Pets Dogs HealthJanuary 2, 2017
St. Patrick's Ideas!
Birthday Ideas!
Valentine's Ideas!
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2024-02-05 17:12:47 in 13 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2024 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.