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Ear Mites in Dogs - Symptoms & Treatment 

Dog Ear Mites


First, a word of warning

There are many causes of ear infection in dogs and ear mite infection is not the most common. If you suspect your dog has an ear infection it is extremely important that you consult with your veterinarian to obtain a correct diagnosis.

What are Ear Mites?

As the name suggests, ear mites are a tiny spider like parasitic mite that infect the ears of dogs and cats.  They usually live in the ear canals but can live on other parts of the dog or cat's body. They are more commonly found in cats than dogs. They are a common cause of ear infection in cats, uncommon in adult dogs, but common in puppies under 6 months of age.

Ear mites feed on epidermal debris & ear wax.  They burrow into the ear, causing inflammation which the body responds to by producing more wax. 

What are the Symptoms of Ear Mites in dogs?

Ear mites are terribly uncomfortable for your dog. Imagine how it would feel having thousands of little bugs running around in one of your most sensitive areas. Usually the first symptom you notice will be your dog scratching his ears or shaking his head due to the extreme itchiness that the mites cause. His ears may be painful to touch and he may cry in pain when you touch them or while he is scratching them. He may rub his face along the ground trying to relieve the itching. You may also notice a foul odor coming from the ears.

Dogs may cause damage by scratching causing the ears to bleed. They may also shake their ears with such intensity that small blood vessels are broken and hematomas form.


Diagnosis of Ear Mites

If you have a look inside the ear of an infected dog you will see dark reddish brown or black debris throughout the ear canal which has been described as looking like coffee grounds. Ear mites are visible to the naked eye (but can be seen more clearly with a magnifying glass) They are identifiable as white dots moving around among the dark debris.

Consult with your Veterinarian

Your veterinarian will look in your dogs ear with a magnifying instrument called an otoscope and may inspect the debris from the ear under a microscope for a more definite diagnosis. Ear mite infections can be serious if left untreated resulting in damage to the ear canals and eardrums leaving deformity of the ears and possible deafness.

Secondary bacterial or yeast infections are also common so it is important to consult your veterinarian. Your dog may require antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections.


Treatment of Ear Mites. How do I Get Rid Of Ear Mites?

A word of warning. Over the counter ear mite treatments will be of no benefit to other types of ear infections that can commonly affect dogs. Ear mite infection may be misdiagnosed by the dog's owner often causing a delay in getting the correct treatment from their veterinarian.

Ear Mite Treatments


Ear Mite Treatment Dogs
Advantage Multi® for Dogs
(imidacloprid + moxidectin) Once a month Topical Solution

Treats and controls ear mite infestations.
Prevents heartworm disease.
Kills adult fleas and treats flea infestations.
Treats and controls common intestinal parasites: roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.


Ear Mite Treatment Dogs
Advocate is the same product as Advantage Multi as shown above

It is marketed under Advantage Multi in the US, Canada and New Zealand.

Treats and controls ear mite infestations.
Prevents heartworm disease.
Kills adult fleas and treats flea infestations.
Treats and controls common intestinal parasites: roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.
Ear Mite Treatment Dogs Revolution is a spot on Parasiticide that is applied once a month to the skin in front of the shoulder blades (NOT directly to the ears) of dogs six weeks of age and older.

Revolution is used to prevent heartworm disease, kills adult fleas and prevents flea eggs from hatching and treats and prevents ear mite infestation. A very effective three in one product.

You can purchase ear mite treatments in the form of ear drops from your pet supply store.

It is important to clean out all the gunky black stuff from the ear canal daily before applying the medication. You can clean this with a thin cloth or cotton balls dipped in olive oil. (or any other vegetable oil)

Once the ear canals are cleaned the medication should then be massaged deeply into the dog's ear taking care to get into all the nooks and crannies of the ear canal. This treatment should be continued for 2 weeks after the dog seems to be cured to ensure that all ear mites are killed as they progress through their life-cycle. 


Are Ear Mites Contagious?

Ear mites are very contagious and can be passed on from cat to dog or dog to dog.

Can Humans Catch Ear Mites?

No, humans are not affected by ear mites.





This article has not been written by a veterinarian & should not be considered a replacement for a veterinarian visit. The articles are provided for informative purposes only. While great care has been made in the creation of these articles, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or omissions on these pages. If in any doubt whatsoever, seek professional medical advice from your veterinarian.


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