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Ear Mites in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatments

Is there an odor coming from your dog’s ears? If so, it’s quite possible that your dog has mites. Ear Mites are microscopic parasites that can invade the canal of one, of both, of your dog’s ears as well as his head. According to WebMD, “there are several types of mites that can live in your dog’s ear, but the most common are Otodectes cynotis — tiny, eight-legged parasites that feed on the wax and oils in a dog’s ear canal. ”

Mites are nothing to sneeze at either!  Just add mites to the list of pesky parasites that you need to be on the lookout for! An infestation of mites, if not treated promptly, is more than just a nuisance for your dog. Mites are downright dangerous. Not only will they cause your dog to scratch, scratch, scratch but, mites can also cause ear infections and even permanent hearing loss.  You might be wondering “Besides scratching, what else should I look for?”

An infestation of ear mites may manifest itself through one, or all, of the following symptoms:

  • Foul odor
  • Head shaking
  • Brown wax that appears to crumble
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Ears that are sensitive to the touch
  • Loss of Hair
  • Scratching

 Who gets ear mites and how?

Although ear mites are most commonly found in cats, dogs are susceptible, too. However, ear mites are more commonly found on puppies than adult dogs. Furthermore, any pet with a compromised or low immune system is more likely to become infested. Infestation occurs when your dog comes into direct contact with another dog that has been infested. Doggie day care facilities, kennels and dog parks can be a breeding ground for these parasites, especially if your dog has been stressed. Stress lowers the power of your dog’s immune system so anytime your dog is in the company of other dogs and stressed that puts him at an even higher risk of contracting these pests!

Diagnosis is fairly simple. Your veterinary doctor will examine the debris from your dog’s ears with a magnifying glass. If you clean your dog’s ears at home, you will notice tiny white specks that move and those are the ear mites. It is recommended that unless your dog also has an ear infection that you should treat ear mites in a more holistic way as conventional medicines will often result in very undesirable side effects. Additionally, you should work to boost your dog’s immune system with supplements. Vitamin C, Apple Cider Vinegar and Echinacea are three such supplements that serve to boost the immune system in dogs and with the guidance of a holistic vet, you may consider providing your dog with supplements regularly.

Remember, ear mites are serious so be diligent if the symptoms present themselves. If you have more than one pet in the home, you will need to treat all of the pets to be sure the infestation doesn’t hop from one pet to another.

When you sign up for TAILored Pet Services dog walking or potty break visits, we will let you know if your dog shows any ear mites symptoms during our visits. We offer numerous monthly packages depending on your needs so contact us for more information.