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.
By the end, you should be fully prepared to identify and treat mites in your dog’s ears.
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.
However, the most tell-tale sign of ear mite presence is the dark discharge they leave behind.
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.
Ear mites cannot infect humans, and usually die within a few weeks if they remain on a human host.
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
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.
Because of these issues, it’s important that ear mites are treated as soon as possible.
Which Dogs Are Most Prone?
Ear mites can affect any dog, despite age or breed.
So matter the age or breed of your dog, a regular ear check is a prudent preventative measure to take.
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: