Symptoms of Dog Ear Mites

Dog ear mites are minuscule parasites that live in your pet's ear. Ear mites are common among household pets because they are easily spread. For this reason, it is important to know how to prevent, recognize and treat a case of canine ear mites.

Preventing Infection

The easiest way to protect your pet against an ear mite infection is by keeping him clean. Give your dog routine baths, and be sure to clean his ears regularly. Veterinary offices and pet stores carry a variety of grooming products for these purposes. Clean your dog's ears about once per week, but do not use Q-tips or alcohol-based cleaning agents, as these may damage the ear canal and impair your dog's hearing.

Keep your pet away from infected animals to guard him against ear parasites. Mites can spread from one animal to another via contact or hair.

Symptoms and Treatment

Mites present many of the same symptoms as a standard dog ear infection. The most common symptoms include:

  • Red or irritated skin outside or inside of the ear
  • Frequent head shaking or scratching
  • Discharges from the ear canal
  • Crusting or scabbing in or around the ear canal

You may be able to identify ear mites from your dog's ear wax. Closely examine the wax underneath a bright light and look for small white eggs.

Upon seeing one or more of these symptoms, take your dog for a physical exam by a veterinarian. Your vet will perform an ear exam to identify the source of the symptoms. He may suggest an ear mites treatment plan that includes either topical or oral medications.

Typically, a medicinal dog mites treatment regimen takes three weeks to one month to complete. Antiparasitic drugs may be synthetic or natural, although they are only capable of killing adult mites. Eggs continue to develop even while your dog is on medication. Because of this, your veterinarian may prescribe several rounds of treatment to ensure that all of the mites are killed. Due to their rapid multiplication, it is important to follow a treatment plan as accurately as possible. Failure to do so will prolong your dog's infection and symptoms.

If your dog has canine ear mites, make sure that he is isolated from other pets as much as possible for the duration of the treatment plan. Mites spread quickly and easily, and multiple infections in one household are not uncommon. If more than one pet is infected, treatment may be prolonged and difficult.

Mites are generally preventable with good hygiene, and they are treatable. However, they do cause dogs discomfort and painful irritation, and so it is helpful to be able to recognize the symptoms of dog ear mites immediately. Do not hesitate to have your dog examined if you suspect an ear mite infection, particularly if you have other pets. By acting quickly, you can help to treat your pet of infection with minimal aggravation.