How to Get Rid Of Ear Mites in Dogs – Treatments and Home Remedies

Ear Mites in Dogs
Ear Mites in dogs

Ear mites cause itching and inflammation in your dog’s ears and are highly contagious which means it is easily transmitted from one dog to another and between pets (e.g. between cats and dogs). Left untreated, they can cause serious infections in your pooch’s ears or even cause hearing loss. Here is an in-depth coverage of how to get rid of ear mites in dogs.

What Causes Ear Mites in Dogs?

Fleas and ticks are usually bothersome to dogs and other pets but as though that is not enough, ear mites also often strike, leading to intense itching and pain which can make your dog very uncomfortable.

Ear Mites in Dogs
Ear Mites in dogs

So what causes ear mites in dogs?

Well, as the name suggests, ear mites are caused by mites which are microscopic, eight-legged creatures that feed on the oils and wax in your pet’s ear canal.

While many species of mites can live inside a dog’s ear, Otodectes cynotis is the one most commonly to blame for ear mites in dogs.

If not controlled, ear mites can cause infection in an internal or external ear canal. When that happens, a dark (coffee-colored) discharge is usually seen oozing from the ear and in more severe cases, the ear can even get completely blocked.

Ear mites are highly contagious and can, depending on the species, be transmitted from one dog to another and between dogs, cats, cattle, and rabbits. It, however, cannot be transmitted to humans; in other words, the condition is not zoonotic. Ear mites affect big and small dogs alike, but puppies are at higher risk of this condition.

As for the question, how do dogs get ear mites, they usually pick them in shelters, outside, and from other pets, especially cats that frequent the outdoors.

Signs and Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs

Now that you know what causes ear mites, you are also likely to be interested in knowing how to tell if a dog has ear mites.

The most obvious symptoms of are mites in dogs and other pets alike are intense itching as evidenced by frequent or continuous scratching of the affected ears. You may see the dog scratching one or both ears.

A particularly dark-colored ear wax may also come out of the ear canal. Dogs with pointed ears and ability to control the direction to which their ears point may be seen having their ears unusually flattened or pointed to odd angles.

Below is a list of the most common symptoms of dog ear mite:

  • Itching ears (you will see your dog scratching excessively)
  • Shaking of the head
  • Thick brown or black crusts on the ear
  • Waxy, coffee ground-like secretions from the ear
  • Ear inflammation
  • Strong odor
  • Abrasions and scratches on the area behind the ears

Pictures of Ear Mites in Dogs

Ear mites can easily be confused with other infections and conditions involving the ears. To help you make the distinction, let us have a few pics (images) showing dogs with ear mite infestation:

Ear Mites in Dogs Picture 1Dog Ear Mites Picture 2

How to Get Rid Of Ear Mites in Dogs

Ear mites are quite a bother to dogs and other pets and are quickly spread from one pet to another and to animals. On that note, you should address the problem as soon as possible. So how do you get rid of ear mites in dogs?

Well in order to effectively eliminate ear mite problem in dogs and any other pet for that matter, a holistic approach is recommended.

This would entail treating the affected dog to get rid of the ear mite, coupled with thorough cleaning of its living environment and other animals within its vicinity to prevent a re-infestation. That is the only to get rid of ear mites for good. Here is some consideration:

Medical Treatment for Ear Mites in Dogs

Cleaning the ears

Ear cleaning constitutes an integral part of eating mites treatment. This helps to remove the discharge build-up and curb any infections. There are various commercial canine ear cleaners designed for this purpose. For more severe cases, sedation may be needed before cleaning.

Pesticides

Pesticides that feature pyrethrins and thiabendazole as the active ingredients are usually preferred for ear mite removal. They are arguably the best way to get rid of ear mites in dogs. These can be acquired over the counter in drugstores, but your veterinarian may as well prescribe them.

Your vet may also prescribe products that contain Ivermectin, Selamectin (e.g. Revolution), or Fipronil (e.g. Frontline). The duration of treatment usually varies from 1 to 4 weeks, depending upon the specific medication administered.

In addition to the ears, other parts of the body such as feet and tail should also be treated. This is because some types of mites may thrive there as well.

Oral medication

In case of infections, your veterinarian may as well prescribe oral antibiotics. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin may also be given to control the swelling associated with the condition.

Ear mite drops for dogs

There are as well numerous ear drops specifically formulated to offer fast relief from ear itching and the other symptoms associated with ear mite infestation in dogs. Dogs n Mites is one example.

How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Ear Mites In Dogs?

In most cases, the dog will get relief from itching and other symptoms as soon as the treatment regime begins. It is nevertheless important to continue with the treatment as advised by your vet to ensure full eradication of not just the mites but also their eggs.

It is important also to treat all animals in your household to ensure that they won’t re-infect your dog.

Because most mites do not survive for long away from their host, you will do well with just a thorough cleaning of the house (without treatment with pesticides). Perhaps the only place you will want to spray with the pesticide is the dog’s bedding and kennel.

Now that we know several conventional medical treatments for canine ear mites, let us now learn how to get rid of ear mites in dogs using treatments made at home.

Home Remedies for Ear Mites in Dogs

There are many home remedies that you can use to effectively cure this bothersome condition and give back the peace of mind to your lovely pooch.

Mineral oil for Removal of ear mites in dogs

Mineral oil is an old grandma remedy that you can effectively use at home to get rid of this common problem among dogs. It not only helps to dissolve the debris inside your pooch’s ears but also smothers the offending ear mites and kill them.

Using mineral oil for the purpose is as easy as placing a few drops into the ear canal using a dropper. You will also want to apply a generous amount of the oil on the external area of the ear (ear flaps) using a clean cotton ball or cotton bud.

Use this home remedy once each day for about 3 weeks and those pesky mites that impact on your dog’s aesthetics and comfort will be a thing of the past.

Using Vinegar to Kill Canine Ear Mites

Vinegar also ranks among the best home remedies for ear mites in dogs thanks to its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Vinegar derives its parasite and microbe killing ability from its pH alteration ability when applied to the skin (vinegar is acidic in nature). It must however not be used on open wounds. It is also advisable to, first of all, dilute it with water as explained below:

  • Combine one part vinegar with two parts water.
  • Pour the solution into your dog’s ear canal gently
  • Finish by wiping your dog’s ears with a cotton wool soaked in the solution

Hydrogen Peroxide to Clear Canine Ear Mites

Will hydrogen peroxide kill ear mites? Yes, but you will need to be careful to ensure that it doesn’t come into contact with your dog’s eyes. Here is how to use hydrogen peroxide for the purpose:

  • Dip a cotton ball or Q-tip into hydrogen peroxide
  • Wipe the affected areas of the ear gently. Try to move the Q-tip upwards to avoid having the cleaned-out debris fall into the ear canal.
  • Repeat the process once daily for a week

Honey Natural Remedy for Dog Mites in the Ear

Honey is an amazing natural remedy for ear mites thanks to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Below is a guideline on how to get rid of ear mites in dogs using honey:

  1. In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of honey and 2 ounces of water
  2. With the help of a dropper or syringe, apply a few drops of the honey solution into your pooch’s ear canal.
  3. Repeat the process every day until the condition is gets cured.

How to Prevent Ear Mites in Dogs

So you have successfully eradicated ear mite infestation from your dog, but how sure are you that those pesky parasites will not strike again in just a few days. While you cannot completely rule out the recurrence of the problem, there are numerous prevention measures that you can take to reduce the chances of ear mites re-infestation including:

  • Adopt an appropriate hygiene regime: The WebMD website recommends cleaning your dog’s ears once each month at the very least to discourage the presence of ear mites.
  • Clean your dog’s bedding thoroughly with hot water and soap, especially if your pooch has just recovered from an ear mite infestation
  • Ensure that all other pets, particularly cats, have been treated as ear mite is highly contagious.
Dr. Winnie
About Dr. Winnie 344 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone

2 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for this valuable information on treating my dog for ear mites. It is the best I have seen on the net. I have a question! What do I do if the cats in the yard are strays that I feed and there is no way I can treat them for mites.

    I have treated my dog many times for ear mites and he continues to get them. What can I do??

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