A dog will encounter various ear problems throughout its lifespan, including the dreaded ear mites. These parasites will cause unbearable discomfort on your dog and a slew of infections if not treated early on. So for this post, we will discuss the steps on how to get rid of ear mites in dogs at home. This will save you from expensive bills and your dog from further irritations.
Take note that this post only contains the advice and experience of pet owners. If you’re not confident in handling your dog’s ear problem, the veterinarian is still the best person to contact.
What are ear mites on dogs?
Ear mites (Otodectes cynotis) are surface mites that can live on furry animals like dogs, cats, and rabbits. These mites are extremely small and may only appear as a white speck that crawls around your dog’s ears.
While minuscule, ear mites are extremely contagious. One dog can spread it to an entire pack if not detected and treated right away.
Moreover, an ear mite will take three weeks to develop from egg to adult. Once it reaches the adult stage, ear mites will keep on infesting your dog for two months.
Although individual ear mites have short lifespans, they continually reproduce throughout their adult phase. Such reproduction is exponential, especially on a large-scale infestation.
Unlike other parasites in dogs, the entire life cycle of ear mites happens in the host. Still, in ideal conditions, larvae may survive in the environment for a short period.
Take note that ear mites don’t suck blood from your dog. Instead, they feed on the oils and waxes found on your pet’s ear canal. Such substances are also found on human ears, which means you can also contract the mites from your dog.
Signs that your dog has ear mites
Ear problems, including mites, are easy to spot on dogs with regular ear checks. If you suspect that your pet has this parasite, you should look for the following symptoms:
- Excessive ear scratching
- Persistent head shaking
- Brown or black discharge from the dog’s ears
- Strong and foul odor from the dog’s ears
- Inflammation and redness of the ear
- Hair loss around the ear area
- Scabs on the ear area
Take note that these symptoms are also found in other ear problems. Still, you should get your dog checked and treated to prevent the infection from spreading and getting worse.
How do dogs get ear mites?
Your dog can easily get ear mites by simply spending time outdoors. The ear mite can easily attach to the dog’s fur and climb to the ears. Aside from that, here are the potential sources of the parasite:
- Grooming shops. Poorly sanitized grooming facilities can be the avenue for the spread of ear mites.
- Boarding facilities. Since boarding and doggy daycare facilities welcome many dogs, there’s a high risk of ear mite infestation.
- Dog parks. Dog parks are a cesspool of various infections and parasites. If you’re taking your dog to this place, you should give more focus to cleaning its ears.
- Other dogs. Whether it’s your other pet or a canine in the neighborhood, your dog can easily get ear mites from them.
- Guests. Take note that ear mites aren’t just exclusive to dogs. Visitors and guests can also bring ear mites to your home and into your dog.
To confirm whether your dog has ear mites or not, you can use a magnifying glass to look for the tiny critters. You can also swab your dog’s ears using a cotton ball, then look for moving white specks. If you see any, that’s a confirmation of an ear mite infestation.
Take note that your dog can get this parasite from almost any place. So instead of worrying and being a neat freak, you should focus on preventive measures. This includes keeping your dog’s ears clean and using an ear cleaning solution regularly.
How to get rid of ear mites in dogs at home
If you confirmed that your dog indeed has ear mites, here are the things you can do:
One of the safest solutions to treat your dog’s ear mites at home is by using green tea. Green tea has natural antiseptic properties that will exterminate mites. Also, this solution will help remove the debris from your pet’s ears.
For this method, here’s what you need to do:
- Steep two to three tea bags in hot water. If you have loose green tea, steep it just the same.
- Let the tea cool down to room temperature.
- Using a dropper, apply three drops of the green tea solution per ear.
- Allow the green tea to enter your dog’s ear canal, then massage it gently.
- Afterward, soak a cotton ball on green tea, then use it to wipe the external parts of your dog’s ears.
Remember that you should only use plain green tea when treating your pet’s ear mites. Also, you have to apply the green tea to your dog’s ears for a whole month to eradicate the mites fully.
However, if your dog’s ear mite condition isn’t progressing or is worsening, you should call the vet as soon as possible. Your dog may be suffering from other infections aside from ear mites itself.
✔️Apple cider vinegar
Another home remedy for ear mites is apple cider vinegar. This isn’t surprising as vinegar is considered ‘liquid gold’ when it comes to disinfection and neutralizing irritants.
Take note that this solution is only suitable for mild cases of ear mites. If your pet’s ears are already inflamed and raw, you should skip this solution as it will sting so badly. Also, it will cause more irritation on the part of your dog.
For safe use of apple cider vinegar, here are the simple steps you need to take:
- Dilute equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water.
- After that, soak a cotton ball into the vinegar mixture.
- Use this to clean the external areas of your dog’s ears.
- Using a needleless syringe, you can also squirt a small amount of the diluted solution into your dog’s ear canal.
Apply this daily until you see improvements in your dog’s ears. However, if your pet’s ears become reddish and inflamed, you should stop using apple cider vinegar right away. You should also cleanse your dog’s ears immediately using its regular ear cleaning solution.
If your pet has very sensitive ears, you can use coconut oil instead. Pure and plain coconut oil is known to kill various insects by trapping and suffocating them into its viscous consistency.
Overall, coconut oil can treat a wide range of problems among dogs. From skin infections, dry paws, and so on – you simply can’t live without a bottle of it in your cupboard.
But for ear mite purposes, here’s how you should use coconut oil:
- Melt a small amount of coconut oil in a saucepan
- Other pet owners will add a clove of garlic into the mix for added efficacy. However, proceed at your own risk.
- Next, let the melted coconut oil cool down to room temperature.
- You need to use a needleless syringe to squirt a small amount of this solution into your dog’s ears. On average, three to four drops are enough.
- After that, massage your dog’s ears to spread the coconut oil.
- Using a cotton ball, dab the coconut oil throughout the ear lobes and other external ear parts.
- Do this regularly until all the ear mites are gone.
If your dog also has ticks or fleas, you can use coconut oil to kill the parasites you’re going to collect.
If coconut oil isn’t available, your regular olive oil is a great alternative. As with coconut oil, make sure that your olive oil is pure and natural. Never use mixed olive oil or vegetable oil in your dog’s ears. This will cause irritations far worse than the ear mites alone.
To eradicate ear mites using olive oil, here’s what you need to do:
- Soak a cotton ball with olive oil, then use it to clean your dog’s outer ear.
- Apply this regularly for at least two weeks to kill all the mites.
- For a stronger effect, you can add a drop of peppermint oil to the mix. You can also add catnip oil or calendula to help clean your dog’s ear skin.
Another effective way to exterminate ear mites on your dog is to use baking soda paste. Take note that as much as baking soda is safe, you should never let your dog ingest it. When ingested, baking soda can trigger stomach upset as well as diarrhea and vomiting.
Also, never use baking soda on your dog’s ears if it has open wounds or is already raw from too much scratching.
So for safe usage of baking soda, you should do the following:
- Mix a small amount of warm water and baking soda.
- Mix until you get a semi-viscous consistency.
- After that, soak a cotton ball on this solution and use it to clean your dog’s ears.
- Don’t worry about leaving traces of baking soda on your dog’s ears since it’s completely safe.
✔️Consult your dog’s vet first!
Whatever solution you’re planning to use on your dog’s ears, it’s important to consult the vet first. Take note that each dog is different. While the methods above worked for our pets, they may not have the same results as yours.
Also, the vet can help assess the severity of the ear mite infestation on your dog. In some cases, the doggo has to receive medicated ear cleaning solutions to solve the problem. This is because widespread ear mites can lead to various infections if not treated early.
How to prevent ear mites in dogs
The only real way to treat ear mites is to protect your dog against them. After your pet is mite-free, you should keep the following points in mind:
🐶Wash their beddings regularly
Ear mite prevention starts by keeping your dog’s belongings clean. This is why you should wash its beddings and toys regularly to kill any present mite.
For this, you can use a pre-wash made of diluted white vinegar. Baking soda also works as long as it won’t damage the color of the fabric.
Depending on the type of dog bed, you can machine-wash and dry it afterward. You should consider putting your dog’s bed under direct sunlight if possible. This is to kill other parasites that might be hiding on it, fleas, for example.
🐶Check your dog’s ears daily.
Make it a habit to perform quick checks on your dog’s ears daily. This way, you can easily spot the presence of ear mites. Also, any changes in your dog’s ears could indicate a problem that requires immediate solutions.
While checking, you should look for any black or white specks that could indicate the presence of parasites. Also, you should sniff your dog’s ears in case there’s a foul odor emanating from them.
🐶Clean your dog’s ears regularly
Aside from checking your dog’s ears, it’s also important to clean them periodically. Once per month is enough for most canines, but you need to apply the medication daily if your dog has an ongoing infection.
Clean dog ears have less wax, and oil buildup ear mites love to eat. While this won’t fully eradicate the risk of infestation, it will drastically reduce the risk of having one.
🐶Clean your home
It’s also important to keep your home clean when trying to protect your dog against ear mites. As mentioned, these critters can live on surfaces for days without a host.
With that, daily vacuuming and dusting are necessary to eliminate these parasites from your home. You should also double-down on cleaning if you suspect that a dog taken to your home has mites.
🐶Choose the right groomer.
When taking your dog for professional grooming, make sure that the groomer sanitizes his station before each dog. This is to prevent the spread of various parasites, including ear mites. This is extremely crucial, especially if your dog is yet to receive its core shots.
🐶Talk to your dog’s vet.
It’s also important to talk to your dog’s vet if the ear mites are recurring despite all your efforts. There might be other underlying conditions causing the infestation. Also, the veterinarian can advise you on the right way to clean your dog’s ears in case that’s the problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do dogs’ ear mites go away on their own?
A: Dog ear mites won’t go away on their own. It just gets worse by the day if you don’t treat your dog’s condition. Worse, your dog will infect other dogs because you put off proper treatment. In some cases, the ear mites may seem to have died their own death, but the infection might be far deep into the dog’s ears.
Q: Can humans catch ear mites from dogs?
A: Humans can catch ear mites from dogs. In fact, family pets are the most likely source of the parasite. This is why you should treat your dog’s ear problem as soon as you discover it. Take note that aside from dog-to-person transmission, ear mites can also be spread from person to person.
Q: Can ear mites live in bedding?
A: Most of the time, ear mites stay in their hosts from egg to adulthood. But in massive infestations, the mites can lay eggs on bedding and carpeting. This is why you should also consider treating and deep-cleaning your home while your dog is receiving treatment for the ear problem.
Q: Do ear mites hurt dogs?
A: Ear mites don’t bite a dog’s skin so that it won’t hurt them directly. However, their presence causes a lot of itchiness, discomfort, and further infections. Overall, the ear mites will hurt your dog’s health, so it requires an immediate remedy.
Q: Can ear mites live in furniture?
A: Since ear mites can survive for up to 6 days without feeding on a host, they can live on furniture. Nevertheless, the mites will soon look for a host to feed and continue living. Overall, ear mites are vulnerable when they aren’t within a host.
Q: Does my dog have ear mites or an ear infection?
A: Ear mites and ear infections often manifest similar symptoms. However, if there are white moving specks on your dog’s ears, it’s a tell-tale sign that you’re dealing with ear mites. But whatever it is, both conditions require proper treatment to save your dog from discomfort.
Knowing how to get rid of ear mites in dogs at home is necessary to keep your pet healthy and comfortable. The home remedies we discuss above are helpful, but you should still consider talking to the vet first.
Aside from treating the problem, prevention is also crucial. Being mindful of potential mite sources will help prevent another infestation on your dog’s ears.
Do you have any personal tips to share about this topic? Feel free to drop them below in the comment section!