How to Discover, Treat, and Prevent Ear Mites in Dogs

Updated: September 12, 2022

What are ear mites in dogs?

If you start noticing your dog constantly scratching their ears and shaking their head more than usual due to severe itching and irritation, this could indicate that they may be suffering from a parasitic infestation called dog ear mites.

In this article, we will discuss what ear mites in dogs are, how your furbaby acquires them, the signs to know if your furbaby has them, and the different treatment and preventive measures.

What Are Dog Ear Mites?

So, what are dog ear mites? And what do ear mites look like in dogs? Dog ear mites are microscopic parasites that live in a dog's ear canals. Its Latin name, Otodectes cynotis, literally translates as “ear beggar of the dog”. They came from the same family of spiders and ticks called arachnids.

"Ear mites, being highly contagious and reproducing so quickly, should always be treated promptly, regardless of how severe it is. "

As mentioned by Blue Cross, ear mites in dogs are considered to be infectious and are microscopic organisms. What do ear mites look like in dogs? They can hardly be seen with the naked eye and they only appear like tiny white dots. To confirm its presence in your furbaby, detection under a microscope is needed.

When dog ear mites are present in your furbaby, they usually live on the ear canal skin and feed on the skin’s oils and ear wax. An adult ear mite has a lifespan of only two months but also can reproduce fast. Eggs usually just take four days to hatch and three weeks to grow into an adult that’s ready for breeding.

Dog ear mites do not bite but they cause severe discomfort to your dog. They can easily cause ear infections if not detected and treated early. Severe scratching can lead to cuts in your dog’s ears. Bacteria can infect these open wounds which can lead to an infection. With these in mind, it is important to be prompt in clearing them up as early as possible.

dog ear mites, signs of ear mites in dogs

How do Dogs Get Ear Mites?

How do dogs get ear mites in the first place? Dog ear mites are highly contagious and can be easily transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal—cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other dogs. As stated by First Vet, ear mites are acquired from the environment in which your pet lives or visits. Oftentimes, they cling on to your furbaby when they pass on wooded or grassy areas, attaching as your dog brushes past.

Dog ear mites can also be passed on through direct contact with any contaminated object, especially those that are used by an infected animal daily, like grooming tools and food bowls. So, it is important to always sanitize your dog’s belongings. Or if you have a multiple pet household, make sure your pets have separate pet supplies.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Suffering From Ear Mites?

Clinical signs of having ear mites vary in the severity of the infestation. Here are the common symptoms that could indicate that your dog is suffering from an ear mite infestation:

  • Black or brown waxy discharge from the ears
  • Strong odor coming from the ears
  • Inflamed ears
  • Coffee ground looking debris in the ear canal
  • Severe itching and irritation leading to excessive dog scratching ears and head shaking
  • Hair loss around the ears may result in self-trauma caused by the dog’s constant and excessive scratching
  • Skin problems, such as scabs and dermatitis inside the ears
how to prevent ear mites in dogs, dog ear mites

How Are Dog Ear Mites Diagnosed?

Diagnosing ear mites involves giving your vet your dog’s history of contact with other infected animals and describing the environment they are in, as well as the existing symptoms you have noticed from your furbaby. The vet will then examine your dog’s ears with an otoscope. Discharge coming from the presence of mites will also be taken and examined through microscopic examination.

How Are Dog Ear Mites Treated?

Dog ear mites, being highly contagious and reproducing so quickly, should always be treated promptly, regardless of how severe it is. Fortunately, ear mite treatment for dogs is easy and possible! Your dog can be treated on an outpatient basis with prescribed medication designed to get rid of the mites and treat inflamed areas inside your dog’s ears caused by excessive scratching. Topical treatments which can be applied to get rid of the mites include creams, ointments, and ear drops. In addition to this, oral or topical antibiotics may be prescribed if the infestation has led to an infection. Your vet may also recommend cone collars to prevent your dog from scratching and to speed up the treatment and healing process.

Additionally, to help your dog with the infection and inflammation, it’s best if you provide them with Pet Parents® Turmeric & Curcumin SoftSupps®. Pet Parents® Turmeric SoftSupps® are a natural inflammation aid with CurQmin™ & Bio-Perine®, a patented extract from piperine that has been thoroughly studied for advancing the enrichment of bioavailability of nutritional compounds, in this case, curcuminoids. These supplement chews help maintain a normal inflammatory response in your dog.

dog ear mite prevention, how to treat ear mites in dogs

What Measures Are Available for Prevention of Ear Mites in Dogs?

There are several measures that you can take to prevent your dog from getting ear mite infestation. Some of the most effective methods include:

  • Regularly clean your dog’s ears. When cleaning your dog’s ears, use Pet WiPees™ Ear to wipe away excess wax and debris while leaving behind beneficial ingredients like a probiotic blend and enzyme blend. Regular cleaning with these gentle wipes will help prevent ear mites and keep your dog comfortable.
  • Keep your dog away from stray animals. Make sure to keep your dog away from stray animals since they might be carrying other contagious diseases other than ear mites! This also prevents your four-legged friend from bringing ear mites that can then spread to your other pets at home.
  • Provide separate pet supplies for all your furbabies. If you are using grooming services, make sure that you find a trusted and experienced dog groomer.
  • Treat ear mites at the first sign. If you have more than one pet in your household, it is recommended to treat all of them to make sure they don’t have ear mites.
  • Prevention is key. There are also several flea treatments that help prevent ear mites in dogs as well. If this is something your vet recommends for your furbaby, this can be considered the easiest way to protect your dog from ear mites infestation!

"Pet Parents® Turmeric & Curcumin SoftSupps® are a natural inflammation aid with CurQmin™ & Bio-Perine®"

Pairing SoftSupps® and Pet WiPees™

Pet WiPees™ Ear are made to act as supplements for the skin. They work from the outside in to help create a healthy barrier that protects from ear mites in dogs. Meanwhile, Turmeric & Curcumin SoftSupps® work from the inside out to provide a defense against inflammation. Regular use of both is recommended to provide all-around prevention for ear mites in dogs.

Ear mites in dogs might cause discomfort and infection in your furbaby but there are a lot of ways to avoid, prevent, and get rid of them! The best way to treat ear mites in dogs is to do your best to prevent them and catch them early. Clean your dog's ears regularly to provide the best defense against ear mites.