Ear mites are a relatively common issue in pets.
These nasty buggers hang out in your dog’s ears causing them a ton of irritation and discomfort.
The irritation is usually mild. But, if left untreated, ear mites can lead to much more severe infections.
In this article, we’re going to break down what ear mites are, what causes them, the symptoms, dangers, treatment options, and more.
What Are Ear Mites?
Dog ear mites are tiny parasites that make their home in the outer part of the ear and internal canal.
The most common form in dogs is otodectes cynotis. This eight-legged mite is found throughout the world and is common in other animals as well. The mites are non-burrowing, which means they can be seen by the naked eye, although barely.
What Causes Ear Mites in Dogs?
Ear mites are usually caused by exposure.
Once exposed in their external environment, either through another animal, poorly hygienated area, or an object containing the mites, the mites then transfer to the poor dog and multiply. They are highly contagious.
While causing discomfort, they are also one of the most common causes of canine ear infections.
The Symptoms of Dog Ear Mites
Here are some of the most common symptoms of ear mites in dogs:
- Frantic scratching of ears
- Head shaking
- Dark discharge or residue around the ear
- Obstruction of the ear canal with dark discharge
- Scratches on the back side of the ear
- Hair loss around the ears
- Red ear flaps
Diagnosing Ear Mites
Luckily, this infection can often be diagnosed with a physical inspection. You will either see the mites themselves, the redness, or the dark discharge they leave behind.
However, even if you believe your dog has ear mites, it is still imperative that you take him or her to the vet and get a professional opinion. They will perform lab tests to make sure it is actually ear mites and they will check for other diseases as well that may have arisen as a result.
The Dangers of Ear Mites
Ear mites themselves typically only cause itching and irritation, but they can lead to more serious bacterial or fungal infections.
Itching and scratching can lead to open sores. These sores are the perfect avenue for more serious infections to take hold.
The discharge that ear mites leave behind can also become so prevalent that it partially or completely blocks the dog’s ear canal, leading to hearing problems.
Which Dogs Are Most Prone?
Ear mites can affect any dog, despite age or breed.
The Best Treatment Options for Dog Ear Mites
If you believe your dog has ear mites, the first thing you should do is take him or her to the vet. Their, your vet can precisely diagnose what’s going on and prescribe anti-parasitic and/or anti-inflammatory medication.
They can also help clean out your pup’s ear of any debris buildup.
The following solutions can also help cleanse your dog’s ear and keep it clean, but may not be alternatives to prescription medication:
|Zymox Otic||Dogs, Cats, Small Pets||Check Price|
|Otomite Plus||Dogs, Cats||Check Price|
|Otiderm Ear Cleanser||Dogs, Cats||Check Price|
|ProLabs Lotion||Dogs, Cats, Horses, Foals||Check Price|
1. Zymox Otic – Best Overall Ear Cleanser
Zymox Otic is the best ear cleanser on the market. It works to clear ears of debri, relieve inflammation, and protect against harmful bacteria, fungus and yeasts that cause ear infections.
They use the LP3 Enzyme System with enzymes that are naturally occurring. They have powerful antimicrobial properties, and do not contain antibiotics (for pets with sensitive ears).
Zymox is safe to use on dogs, cats, and small pets.
2. Otomite Plus Ear Mite Treatment
Otomite is an excellent solution for eliminating ear mites without irritation.
It contains the highest levels of synergized pyrethrins available (an insecticide that targets the nervous system of insects) and can be used on dogs and cats of any age.
3. Otiderm Ear Cleanser
Otiderm is great for pets with sensitive ears, as it is specifically designed to deodorize and gently clean ears.
At the same time, it also acidifies the pet’s ear canal and dries on its own. Clean and dry is the ideal environment for healthy ears.
It’s an anti-irritant forumal with neutral pH and aloe vera, and it can be used safely in conjunction with ear medications.
4. ProLabs Ear Mite Killer Lotion
ProLabs is an ear mite killer that repels ear mites as well as a host of other pests: flies, gnats, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, lice, and mange mites.
The lotion can be used on dogs, cats, horses, foals, puppies, or kittens.
Are There Home Remedies?
Yes, there are a few home remedies for treating canine ear mites. While they aren’t as recommended as prescription medication or ear cleansing products, they can work.
- Mineral oil – removal of mites
- Vinegar – kills mites
- Hydrogen peroxide – kills mites
- Honey – antibacterial and antiseptic
Learn more here.
How to Prevent Mites from Coming Back
Mites struggle to live in clean, dry environments, so the best preventative measure is to clean your dog’s ears on a regular basis and make sure they are free of moisture.
To Wrap It Up
Ear mites are pesky creatures. They can cause a lot of irritation for your dog, and they can lead to worse infections if not taken care of.
Luckily, you now know how to treat ear mites in your dog.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below!