Dog Ear Mites: How to Get Rid of Them

April 2, 2019
Dog ear mites are microscopic parasites that cause infections. If your dog scratches its ears or shakes its head a lot; then, they have an ear problem.

Dog ear mites are a lot more common than many of us think, but not all pet owners can recognize them. In this article, we’ll tell you what we know about these unwelcome guests and how to evict them.

Mites are microscopic parasites and they’re responsible for infections in several different parts of a dog’s body but, particularly, in their ears.

Furthermore, the two species of mites that affect dogs are Demodex canis and Otodectes cynotis, and these lead to a population of Demodectic and Otodectic mange, respectively.

At first sight, these mites are hard to detect, although you can notice their presence in the form of tiny white spots (the size of a pinhead).

Ear mites make themselves at home

All dogs, regardless of age or breed, are vulnerable to mites and the consequences these bring along. Even bitches may transmit them to their newborns.

In any situation where two dogs are close together, the mites jump back and forth in order to check out the new ear facilities, and lay eggs in there.

About four days later the cute baby larvae, who feed on tasty ear wax, are born and in a very short time, the mating cycle of the nymphs repeats.

Symptoms of ear mites

Dog ear mites up close.

The main problem with mites is that they reproduce very quickly. A colony can double in just one week and, subsequently, the infections which lead to a bad smell begin.

In addition to white spots, the presence of mites in dogs’ ears can be identified in other ways. Remain vigilant and be able to identify what those spots are so that you can follow up with the proper treatment if you notice them:

  • intense itching
  • head shaking and jerking
  • scabby or irritated ears
  • continuous scratching
  • bad smell
  • dark brown or yellow discharge
  • bleeding due to ruptured blood vessels
  • general discomfort and restlessness
  • the internal part of the ear has dark or white spots

The most important thing is to prevent the appearance of these parasites in our dogs in the first place. To do this, we recommend that you clean their ears periodically with a ball of cotton soaked in alcohol, and that you use a shampoo specifically designed to get rid of mites.

How to get rid of dog ear mites

At the same time, it’s advisable to wash everything the dog has been on, such as blankets, cushions, booths, toys, accessories, etc. An addition to that, maintain their immune system in optimal condition through quality food in order to prevent mites from proliferating.

Additionally, take them to the vet for general checkups at least twice a year. It’s very important that you comply with their vaccination schedule.

A person revising a dog's ear.

In order to diagnose mites in dogs, veterinarians directly look inside the dog’s ears and take a sample of their cerumen with a cotton swab. Then, they analyze the sample under a microscope to determine if there are white moving spots that may indicate the presence of parasites.

Home remedies

The veterinarian may prescribe a specific remedy to eliminate the dog ear mites, and it’s usually purchased at the actual clinic or at some pet stores. While there’s no universal treatment to get rid of these arthropods, many pet keepers do opt for home remedies to eliminate these types of microorganisms. Among them:

  • Macerated garlic with oil
  • Warm aloe vera gel
  • Organic, unpasteurized 100% yogurt (Note that most commercial “yogurts” aren’t the real deal. Furthermore, make a habit of carefully reading the labels of products. A good yogurt with real probiotic qualities should only contain whole raw milk and live lactic cultures.)
  • Almond oil blended with the contents of a capsule of vitamin E
  • Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar diluted in water
  • Warm compresses

You may try any of these homemade remedies without fear of secondary effects that could be detrimental to your dog. It’s all as simple as applying the blends mentioned above directly in the affected area. After that, you allow them to act for a few minutes.

The only application that may require further cleaning is the one with yogurt; the rest can stay there as they will dry and absorb on their own.

Finally, you should know that ear dog mites can definitely be transmitted to other mammals. However, it’s not likely that they’ll travel and move into a human ear.

  • Fondati, A., De Lucia, M., Furiani, N., Monaco, M., Ordeix, L., & Scarampella, F. (2010). Prevalence of Demodex canis-positive healthy dogs at trichoscopic examination. Veterinary Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3164.2009.00769.x