Canine Ear Mites Symptoms

Canine ear mites are a common and contagious parasite that can be found anywhere on a dog's body but are often found in the ear canal. A diagnosis should be confirmed by a veterinarian to rule out any other possible health issues like a bacteria or yeast infection.

Symptoms of Canine Ear Mites

Ear mites are difficult to recognize with the naked eye but signs of infestation that owners should look out for include:

  • excessive head shaking
  • pawing or scratching at the ears
  • dried blood in the ear canal that looks similar to ground coffee
  • inflammation of the ear canal

Once you see these symptoms in your dog it is important to take him to the vet's office for a correct diagnosis and to receive medication. Canine ear mites are very treatable but can lead to blockage of the ear canal and permanent hearing loss if the problem is not addressed. Ear mites are also extremely contagious so it is important to keep any other animals, including cats, away from the infected dog to prevent the spread of the parasites.

Finding a Remedy for Canine Ear Mites

Prevention of ear mites is an important process to avoid the hassle and pain of a mite infestation. Maintaining healthy dog ear hygiene is one way to prevent the spread of ear mites. Flea treatments containing ivermectin, fipronil or selamectin also help to prevent parasites like ear mites. All animals in your home should be treated with these medications to prevent the spread of parasites should one animal become infected.

If your dog does become infested your veterinarian will wash the ears out and prescribe a medication such as dog ear drops or an ear wash with insecticide. These medications clean out the ear canal and kill any ear mites living off ear wax and debris. Your dog's bedding should also be washed to eliminate any remaining mites, though these parasites do not live long without a host.

How to Apply Dog Ear Drops

  1. If your dog remains calm while lying in your lap you can apply the medication while sitting with him. If not, you may need to restrain him by yourself or with a helper. Lay the dog on a flat surface and place your arm across his body. It may be easier to lay the dog on his side.
  2. Use one arm to keep the dog down while holding his arm near the elbow, keeping his head on the table with light pressure.
  3. Insert the dropper a few millimeters into the ear canal, making sure not to push too far into the ear. Inserting the dropper too deeply in to the ear can cause the ear drum to rupture. Apply the correct amount of drops and massage the base of the ear.
  4. Clean the inside of the ear flap with a cotton ball or Q-tip to wipe away discharge. Don't stick the Q-tip into the ear canal or you may damage the ear drum or push wax or discharge into the ear, preventing the medication from distributing evenly.
  5. Your dog will probably shake his head after you apply the ear treatment but this isn't a problem.