One of the side effects of a day at the spa was the discovery that Gibbs ears are not looking good. Bring on the blue stuff! If you don’t know what blue stuff is, allow me to introduce you to the world’s best cure for whatever is bothering the dogs’ ears (other than mites).


16 oz. Isopropyl Alcohol (or 16 oz. Witch Hazel if ears are very inflamed or sore)
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%
Mix together in plastic bottle and shake well.

You will need to shake the solution every time you use it. Purchase a “Clairol” type plastic bottle to dispense solution to affected ears. These bottles can be found at beauty supply shops.

I make half this amount, then I warm it to body temperature in the microwave.

NOTE: If you don’t own one, buy a dropper. The gentian violet does not come with its own.


If you aren’t absolutely sure what you are dealing with, a trip to the vet is your best start.

Warm the solution and shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle). Massage gently to the count of 60, wipe with a tissue. On first treatment, flood the ear twice, wipe with a tissue, and leave alone without massage.

The dog will shake out the excess, which can be wiped with a tissue.

NOTE: Gentian Violet STAINS fabric and FUR! Be careful. The stains are impossible to remove.

Many people ask why this miracle preparation isn’t commercially available. The answer is, it is available. You can buy it on Amazon for $20 per 8 ounce bottle. Or buy the ingredients from your pharmacy, which is a lot cheaper. You used to be able to buy gentian violet in the pharmacy any time. These days, you have to order it and it cost more than it used to. It’s still much less expensive than buying the solution in a bottle. I’m betting you can also get it from your veterinarian. Vets have come a long way in dealing with using non-antibiotic ingredients.


For a long time, it wasn’t available anywhere unless you made it yourself. That never made sense to me. I had hounds with long, floppy ears. Infected ears are extremely common in long-eared dogs. We were back and forth to the vet over and over until someone in my hound group introduced us to the blue stuff.

It worked.

It still works.

Gibbs is a most unhappy dog. It’s not that this stuff hurts. It doesn’t. It’s just the Gibbs has strong feelings about being treated. For anything. Ever. For a relatively small dog, he is surprisingly strong and it is a serious job to hold him still. As far as he is concerned, treating his ears is an insult. He isn’t even speaking to us until he is sure a treat is in the works. He softens in the face of treats — what a surprise.

Gibbs’ thinking about forgiving us. Until tomorrow.

How do you explain medical treatment to a dog? Or any animal? Or for that matter, a baby? I always tell them this is for their own good. Infected ears are definitely worse than any amount of blue stuff, but they don’t listen. Gibbs is seriously upset with us. The worst part of this is we are going to have to do it again tomorrow.

I hope he is still talking to us when his ears are cured.

43 thoughts on “GIBBS’ EARS”

    1. Hey, lwbut! Gibbs is already handling this better. Marilyn figured we should do Gibbs’ ears at night when we do Bonnie’s eyes. Treats always follow these treatments. Gold star to Marilyn.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ani has been lucky with her ears so far… but I’m keeping this recipe just in case. I haven’t heard of gentian violet for years but was only thinking about the stuff yesterday and wondering if it was still available.

    Liked by 1 person

            1. Sue, I still see kids with purple hair, fingernails, etc. Teenage boys and girls, this generation’s rebels without a cause.


  2. Having only a cat, we are not confronted with doggie ear problems up to now. We have enough trouble giving her frontline drops against tics etc., and they are only liquid drops on the fur


  3. We have to disbud our baby goats. It’s an awful procedure and the kids start screaming long before the heating iron touches their “nubs” (the places horns with grow from). People want hornless goats for good reasons but it’s still horrible. When the dirty deed is done some kids forget all about it, but others shiver and cry for a while. I’m seriously thinking of getting out of the business.


  4. My Dad was a vet. I once watched him pull porcupine quills out of Labs face. And the dog barely whimpered. They seem to know he was a healer. ? Never heard of this Blue stuff though. Not questioning that it works.


    1. It’s pretty simple. Instead of antibiotics which work only if they are on the right infection (hard to figure in a dogs’ ear), its gentian violet (antiseptic), and boric acid (cleanser) and 70% alcohol (another cleanser). I think it works because it’s broad spectrum. It isn’t looking for a specific germ, but ANY germ gets knocked out. I’ve used this with the floppy-eared hounds and Bishop and Bonnie. It works. Makes a bit of a mess because the not only does the gentian blue stain, but the boric acid and alcohol bleach, so don’t wear anything you may want to wear again. Works, I am told, in human ears, too. Haven’t needed to try it, but there was a time when I would have because I had very long-standing ear infections that started in my teens and went on for YEARS. They only cleared up when I was in my 40s and I found a doctor who created an antibiotic specifically for that ancient antibiotic immune infection. I still don’t hear well out of my left ear from all the scarring.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wrote down the recipe and treatment Marilyn, in case our daughter’s dog may need it someday. I wouldn’t blame Gibbs for being a little touchy when his ears are bothering him.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Last night he “took it like a man” and waited at the cookie jar. We do Bonnie’s bad eyes at night (she has some kind of allergic thing in her eyes and we have to clean and put drops in them daily), so we just added Gibbs to the process and it must have seemed “normal” to him, since he has watched us do Bonnie every day of her life. I hoped that would happen, that it would become “normal.”

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Ears have been a problem in many of my dogs, though the hounds with those longs trailing ears, were definitely the worst. I have no idea how they pick this stuff up since they aren’t in the company of other dogs pretty much ever, unless it’s a trip to the vet or the groomer. I suppose its fungal or something. I hate having to treat them. They don’t understand and they get really miserable.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. With my springer/lab and my golden retriever, it was almost always fungal. I think it’s really hard on them because the problem itself is uncomfortable and the treatment is no fun. 😦 Poor little guy.


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