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Ear Mites in Dogs

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Ear Mites in Dogs

Ear mites are tiny bugs that reside inside the dog’s ear canal. They cause severe itching and are very uncomfortable for your dog. Ear mites are also highly contagious and can easily be passed from dog to dog.

Although ear mites are a parasitic infection, they are much easier to treat than other dog infections.

Signs of Ear Mites in Dogs

Ear mites cause intense itching which can be irritating for dogs. The first symptom you will notice if your dog gets ear mites is shaking their head and scratching their ears.

Other signs of eat mites in dogs include:

  • Scratching – The first sign of an ear mite infection will be your dog scratching his head.
  • Head shakingDogs shake their head for many reason. Your dog will shake his head and rub it along the ground to try to itch it if it has ear mites.
  • Dark discharge from the ear – This is a foul smelling substance made up of dried blood
  • Cuts and scabs around the ear – Some dogs with ear mites will scratch their ears so much that it will cause cuts on their ears.

The symptoms above are similar for a number of parasitic infections so it is best to speak to a vet to make a proper diagnosis.

How do Vets Diagnose Ear Mites?

Your vet will check your dog’s ear canal for any signs of mites and examine ear discharge. In certain cases where a dog is unable to stay still due to the intensity of the itching, they may be need to be sedated for the examination and treatment.

How do Dogs get Ear Mites?

Ear mites need to live off of a host or else they will die. If your dog is infected with ear mites it is most likely that your dog picked them up from another dog. Mites can pass quickly between animals.

Ear mites can only live for a limited time in a single environment so they are quick to find their next host.

If you have one pet at home and one of them has ear mites, it is likely the rest of the pets also already have ear mites.

How to Treat Ear Mites in Dogs

Treatment for dog ear mites is relatively simple in comparison to other infections. Your vet will thoroughly clean your dog’s ears to remove the mites. For here you must apply a daily anti-parasitic medicine for a few weeks to kill any remaining mites and to keep them at bay. 

There are also some single dose medications available for ear mites.

Ear mites can live for a short time in your house without a dog as a host. Because of this it is highly recommended to clean your dogs living area. All carpets in your house should be cleaned and your dogs bedding should be thoroughly cleaned or replace to reduce the risk of your dog picking up ear mites again.

Ear Mite Prevention

Im many cases it can be difficult to prevent your dog from getting ear mites. As you have little control over what your dog encounters while outdoors or in the garden, there is no guaranteed way to prevent ear mites.

You have more control over keeping indoor environments mite-free. You can reduce your dog’s risk of picking up ear mites by keeping their living area and bedding clean. This is particularly important if your dog has previously been treated for mites. 

Some flea treatments can also help deter ear mites so it is worth speaking to your vet about options.