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Dog Ear Mites: Causes, Symptoms, and How to Treat Them (2020 Update)

These nasty buggers hang out in your dogís 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, weíre 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 dogís 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.

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 Symptoms of Dog Ear Mites

  • Frantic scratching of ears
  • Head shaking
  • Dark discharge or residue around the ear
  • Odor
  • Inflammation
  • Obstruction of the ear canal with dark discharge
  • Scratches on the back side of the ear
  • Hair loss around the ears
  • Red ear flaps

Source: PetWave

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 dogís ear canal, leading to hearing problems.
Because of these issues, itís 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 whatís going on and prescribe anti-parasitic and/or anti-inflammatory medication.
They can also help clean out your pupís ear of any debris buildup.
The following solutions can also help cleanse your dogís ear and keep it clean, but may not be alternatives to prescription medication:

Product Description
Zymox Otic w/ Hydrocortisone 1.0% (1.25oz) 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 cats, dogs, and small pets.
Otomite Plus Ear Mite Treatment (14.7 ml) by Virbac 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 cats of any age.
Otidermģ Ear Cleanser for Dogs & Cats (8 fl oz) 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 petís ear canal and dries on its own. Clean and dry is the ideal environment for healthy ears. Itís an anti-irritant forumal with neutral pH and aloe vera, and it can be used safely in conjunction with ear medications.
ProLabs Ear Mite Killer Lotion (6 oz) Enisyl-F Lysine Treats are a palatable source of L-Lysine. Supplemental administration of L-Lysine has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of feline herpes virus infections.

Are There Home Remedies?

Yes, there are a few home remedies for treating canine ear mites. While they arenít 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

  • You can 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 dogís 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.