My dog is constantly digging at her ears. Sometimes I think she’s going to dig out the left side of her face. Is it ear mites? No. The veterinarian says it’s nothing but a little extra ear wax. The veterinarian told me if it were ear mites, my dog would have a lot of dark brown stuff coming from her ear canal and her ears would be red and sore.
The veterinarian actually took some time to give me a little tutorial on ear mites and I thought I’d share what I learned with you.
I’ve broken down the information under categories to help you find what you’re looking for.
Signs and Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs
- excessive, rough scratching at the ear
- blood blisters from so much scratching
- fur loss around the site
- walking in circles
- buildup of brown waxy secretions
- ruptured blood vessels
Take a few minutes to hear what the doctor in this YouTube video has to say about ear mites in dogs.
FACTS ABOUT EAR MITES
- Ear mites live on your dog’s skin and inside the ear canal.
- Ear mites go through an entire life cycle safely within the comforts of your dog’s auditory system.
- Mites are arthropods, which means they have jointed legs and skeletons on the outside of the body.
- These microscopic creatures are distant cousins to spiders and insects.
- They’re like hippies…free-living.
- Watch out for them! These guys are pretty contagious. If you have one animal with ear mites, there’s a good chance that any other animals you have, also have ear mites.
- Under a microscope, ear mites look like tiny white moving specks.
- Untreated ear mites can eventually lead to deafness.
- Scabies are the kind of mites that humans can get. They live on the outer-most layer of the skin and cause extreme itching.
- Mites date back 145 – 166 million years.
- Ear mites are called Otodectes cynotis.
- You’re more likely to find ear mites in stray dogs, or in dogs who live with a lot of other animals.
— ben eng ming (@benzeetme) April 3, 2012
How to Get Rid of Ear Mites in Dogs Naturally
I just want to take a second to say that I’m a firm believer in good ole’ pharmaceuticals. They’re proven and they get the work done. That said, I realize there are a lot of people who prefer to try homeopathic methods first. So, with that in mind, here are a few things you can try, once your dog has been accurately diagnosed with ear mites.
TIP: These methods work best after the dog’s ears have been cleaned. When cleaning the ears, be careful not to get into the dog’s ear canal. It’s easy to forget until your dog gives a yelp!
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of warm water. Soak your dog’s ears using a cotton ball.
- Combine 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of warm water. Carefully fill the dog’s ear with half of the mixture. Gently massage the dog’s ear to make sure the solution gets everywhere. When you’re finished, your dog will want to shake his head so look out. Take a dry cloth and wipe the dog’s ears dry afterwards. Repeat daily for three weeks.
- Take 9 drops of yellow dock root extract and mix it with 1 tablespoon of warm water. Using a dropper, gently add a few drops to your dog’s ear and massage. It’s suggested you do this every other day for about six weeks.
- Use green tea. You’ll need to steep the tea until it’s very strong. Once cooled, use cotton balls to swab the dog’s ears. You could also use a dropper.
These are just a few methods to try. It’s important to remember not to miss a day of treatment. Those mites are going through an entire life-cycle that takes 3 weeks to complete. If you’ve ever had a flea infestation, you know how hard it is to get rid of them.
How to Get Rid of Ear Mites with Medical Intervention
- One drop of medicine on the dog’s skin.
- A medicated wash to flush out your dog’s ear.
That’s it. It’s not even a list! Bring your dog to the veterinarian and get a topical treatment. It’s fast, easy, effective, and probably cheaper in the long run. Some medications like Revolution and Advantage Multi also treat other problems like heart worms and fleas, American dog tick, and mange.
Your veterinarian will likely suggest the drug Ivermectin, a broad spectrum anti-parasitic, for immediate treatment and a long-term preventative like Revolution.
Ivermectin is used to treat head lice, scabies, and other parasites.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ear Mites:
- Where do ear mites come from?
If your dog suddenly has ear mites, he or she probably got them from another animal. Ear mites are very contagious.
- Can I get ear mites from my infected dog?
It’s possible, but unlikely. Wash your hands after handling your dog and make sure to wear gloves when cleaning around the infected ears.
- What do ear mites look like?
Ear mites can be seen under a microscope. They look like white dots against a backdrop of a dark brown substance. That substance is what’s left-over after the mites have chewed into your dog’s skin. It’s essentially a buildup of dead skin and blood.
- Will ear mites go away on their own?
Ear mites must be treated. They will not go away on their own. In fact, a long-term infestation of ear mites can cause permanent damage to the ear and/or deafness.
- Can I stop it from ever happening again?
You can! Talk to your veterinarian about topical solutions that you can apply monthly. These medications sometimes work to prevent other problems like worms, fleas, and ticks.
In my opinion, it’s best to have your dog’s ears treated by a professional. You never know what underlying conditions your dog might have. Pharmaceutical treatments are very safe when used as directed. More doesn’t equal better.
If you’d prefer to use home-based treatments, monitor how well it is working and don’t miss a treatment. If the treatments aren’t working, bring your dog to the veterinarian. Likewise, if you use at-home treatments successfully, but the mites come back, bring your dog to the veterinarian.
It’s important to treat and then prevent ear mites, fleas and ticks. Keep reading for more information on all of these issues.
Please share with other dog-lovers like you!