Pesky Parasites 101: Ear Mites in Dogs

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By: Verina Hassett Updated: April 21, 2021

golden retriever puppy getting checked for ear mites on dogs earIs your dog is continuously scratching their ears? Do they have a discharge from their ear canal, or do their ears seem irritated and inflamed? They may have ear mites! Ear mites in dogs are no fun at all! If left untreated, they can cause permanent ear problems and infections in the future.

The good news is that ear mites are relatively easy to eradicate, and you can build in preventative measures to stop these pests from becoming a recurring issue. Read on about what mites are, how they affect your dog and how dogs catch them. More important: learn about the symptoms and treatment options of ear mites in dogs.

Introducing the Odious Otodectes Cynotis Ear Mite!

The official term for ear mites in dogs is “otodectes cynotis mites” and this species is relatively common. Mites are very small parasites, barely visible to the human naked eye. Nonetheless, while they may be tiny, they do cause a lot of discomfort to your pet.

These small eight-legged creatures live and feed off the ear wax and oils in your pet’s ears. They can cause irritation, inflammation, and infections in both the internal and external ear canals of your pet.

illustration of dog ear mites otodectes cynotis

The Best Offense is a Good Defence! How to Keep Up Your Dog’s Defences!

Prevention is always better than cure! If you do have an ear mite infestation in any of your pets, it is always recommended that you treat all the members of your furry household to prevent the problem passing between each of them. You will need to use different products developed for different pets, so look for a treatment developed specifically for ear mites in cats!

Mites don’t live long on an animal’s body, but you should also wash all the pet bedding or furniture that your pets may come in contact with, to remove any potential eggs and stray mites.

A dog with a healthy and strong immune system is better equipped to fight off any potential infections and inflammation from mite infestations. You can help them with this by ensuring you feed them a nutritionally balanced diet.

You can also consider supplementing their diet with additional immunity boosting products such as:

Vets Preferred Premium Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil to Stop a Dog Scratching Ear!

Vets Preferred Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil
Vets Preferred Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. Rich in Omega 3 & Omega 6 Fatty Acids - Promotes Heart Health, Healthy Skin, & Healthy Coat.

Vets Preferred Premium Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is a product developed to help dogs have a healthy coat, skin, heart and give them an immune system boost. This vet approved product contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and it comes in a handy dispenser pump for you to add to your dog’s regular food.

Honest Paws CBD Oil for Dogs: Treating the Effects of Ear Mites: Dogs Worst Enemy

Honest Paws CBD Oil For Dogs
Honest Paws CBD Oil for Dogs features 100% Full Spectrum CBD Oil, straight from the sun-grown Colorado hemp farms. Available in 125, 250 and 500 mg potency solutions.

Honest Paws CBD Oil for Dogs is a natural product developed to help your dog with pain and inflammation, skin and allergy problems, and much more. Drops of the tinctures can be added to your dog’s food as a natural supplement and alternative to other types of medications.

Yummy Restore CBD Dog Treats: To Help Restore Skin After Having Mites on Dogs!!

Honest Paws Wellness Coconut Flavored CBD Dog Treats
Wellness CBD Dog Treats are rich in Omega 6 and fatty acids and perfect for your irritated dog's dry, itchy skin. Made with 100% Pure CBD Oil & Luscious Coconut Oil, our treats contain only the best, all-natural ingredients.

Yummy Restore CBD Dog Treats are an all-natural tidbit you can feed your dog. It has the added bonus of being good for any irritated and dry skin. These treats contain CBD and coconut oils, barley, butter, and eggs. All the best things for helping to restore your dog’s damaged skin!

Dog Ear Wax and Dog Shaking Head? Dog Ear Mites are NO Fun!

Ear mites in dogs are certainly not fun for anyone!

Here are a few reasons these pesky mites cause your dog such grief:

  • They will cause itching in your dog’s ears and can result in bacterial infections if not treated and eradicated. At worst, a dog continuously scratching can rupture blood vessels in their ears which can result in hematomas.
  • Some dogs are hypersensitive to ear mites. For these pups, this means that an infestation can be extra intense in terms of painful and irritating skin reactions and inflammation.
  • When left untreated, prolonged ear mite infestations and bacterial infections can result in deafness in your dog.
  • The mites can also spread to other parts of their body, especially around the folds in their head and neck area and tail, causing further inflammation, irritation, and discomfort in these areas.
  • If a dog’s immune system is weakened, a mite infestation can result in otodectic mange. Mange also results in hair loss and is highly contagious among dogs.

A Look at the Potential Causes of Ear Mites in Dogs

Ear mites are transmitted through physical contact with other infected animals. Especially any cats or dogs that spend time playing or living outdoors.

These little parasites easily spread between various types of host pets! Your dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, mice, and ferrets are all vulnerable to ear mites.

dog keeps shaking head receiving ear mite treatment for dogs

6 Signs Your Pup May Have an Infection Caused by Ear Mites on Dogs!

There are a few symptoms ear mites infestations that may indicate your dog has been affected by an ear mite infection. These include:

  1. Frequently scratching and rubbing their ears, neck, and head. The scratching may be so aggressive that it causes hair loss and broken skin or blood vessels.
  2. Head shaking a lot for no apparent reason. The saying “got a flea in your ear” isn’t far from the truth.
  3. Black or brown waxy secretion from their ear canals.
  4. A discharge or debris visible in their ear flap and ear canal, that looks similar to tiny coffee grounds.
  5. Their overall ear area, or any discharge you find from the ear canal, may have a strong odor.
  6. Your dog’s ears may be red, swollen, and inflamed.

How to Get Rid of Ear Mites in Dogs: Ear Mite Treatment Options 

Depending on your dog’s symptoms, the medical treatment options for ear mites in dogs that a vet may prescribe or recommend include:

Veterinary Ear Mite Treatment for Dogs

  • Topical medications: Ointments, drops or tinctures may be used to treat any irritations and skin conditions.
  • Antiparasitics: Pesticides such as milbemycin oxime may be used as this kills ear mites and any other internal parasites such as worms.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: Anti-inflammatories can help to reduce any swelling and inflammation.
  • Antibiotics: Your dog may need antibiotics to treat any bacterial infections.
  • Cleaning or flushing: Products developed specifically for canine ears, such as Zymox Otic, may be recommended to clean or flush debris and contamination from your dog’s ears.
  • Treating all pets individually in your house: These little critters are highly contagious and will move from one host to another! Your vet may recommend treating all your pets, cats and dogs included, to prevent any further spread of mites in your pet family.

Home Remedies for Ear Mites in Dogs

If you like to take a natural approach to your dog’s health and any flea or mite infestations, research home remedies for fleas. You can give these a go to remove and prevent mites as well.

Many types of herbs, essential and mineral oils, olive oil, and other natural products, when used in appropriate quantities and applications, can help control mites and fleas. If you do use home remedy ear mite treatment options always ensure you use a soft cotton ball or a cotton swab to clean and apply solutions.

You can also buy over-the-counter medications for treating ear mites. These remedies for ear mites include topical applications, drops and ointments, and pesticides. If you opt for a store-bought treatment, ensure you use the medication as directed.

Do be aware that ear mites are very difficult to see and diagnose correctly. The symptoms of ear mite infections can be very similar to other ear conditions such as yeast infection, bacterial infections, and other dog ear infections.

A veterinarian assessment with the proper equipment and diagnostic tools is the best way to confirm an ear mite infestation and the best treatment method.

vet learning how to get rid of ear mites in dogs

Don’t Trust a Home Remedy for Ear Mites? Dogs May Need Real Ear Mite Medicine!

If you think your dog has an ear mite infestation, get them to the vet! Because ear mites are so microscopic, you need a vet to confirm that the mites are the cause of the infection or irritation.

Veterinary Treatment

Your veterinarian will recommend a method to treat ear mites that is suited to your dog and the level of infestation. Treatment methods are usually applied for around 10 days and then repeated a couple of weeks later.

Mites have a three-week lifecycle, so ensure you use medications as directed and for the full duration specified. This ensures that you eradicate all mites and eggs from your dog at every stage of their life cycle.

Common Questions on Ear Mites in Dogs

Do stores sell treatments for ear mites?

Can ear mites cause a dog to go deaf?

Can other types of pets, such as cats, get ear mites?

Should you see a vet if you think your dog or cat has mites?

Is head shaking a symptom of ear mites?

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