Dogs – they’re man’s best friend.
Some legends say they are angels in disguise. Some even treat them like real children. We love our dogs so much that we even sleep with them on the bed or even share a snack with them. But as we live our daily activities with our beloved dogs, something is happening right underneath their ears – ear mites in dogs.
Mites – they’re itchy, icky, and nasty insects that invade your pooch’s poor ears. Little do we know that these minute bugs cause tremendous harm to them if left untreated. The most common ear mites found in dogs carry the name otodectes cynotis. These creepy crawlers are barely visible to the naked eye. And because they have eight legs, it is considered to be a relative of ticks, another notorious blood-sucking meanie that sticks to your dog’s skin.
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Actually, mites are more common amongst our feline friends. And cats get mites by exposing themselves to soil and water. When stray or street cats get in contact with your dog, mites easily hop on to their new host. They will then find their way to the ear canal of your dog and burrow somewhere in their ear canal.
Because they feed on the ear wax and oil found in your dog’s’ ears. Ewww! Yep, that’s the reality of it. Mites basically incubate, mate, and reproduce within the ear canal until they form a brood. The life span of a typical mite can last up to two long months.
Signs and Symptoms of Ear Mite Infection
Of course, no loving pet owner will allow these nasty little critters to hurt our dogs right? So how do you know if your dog has ear mites? Here are some signs you could look out for:
- If your dog keeps scratching its ears as if something is irritating it
- Incessant shaking of their heads as if they’re trying to get rid of something
- Unusual blisters, wounds or inflammation in or around the ear especially from scratching
- Black or brown waxy discharge from their ears
- Crumbly coffee-like build-up within the ears
- Pungent or unusual odor coming from their ears
If some or all of these are present, then it is likely that your dog has ear mites. Remember, you won’t see the ear mites due to their tiny size. They can only be seen under a microscope as they burrow inside those coffee-like crumbly things you find in their ears.
Actually, aside from taking your dog to the veterinarian, you can also provide a sample so the doctor can examine it under the microscope. If the vet confirms it as a positive, then it is time to get your dog treated!
Ear Mite Treatment and Prevention
Mites are non-fatal if treated as soon as possible. Talk to your vet and see what will work for your dog’s ear infection.
Your vet will usually prescribe mite killers with insecticide to eradicate them. However, it is important to include other pets in your household as re-infestation might occur again. Remember that mites can easily burrow again in your dog’s ears.
Typical medical solutions like pyrethrin and fipronil may be recommended by your doctor to drive away or kill the mites.
Treatments may last from 7 to 10 days and may be repeated to ensure that the mites and its eggs are completely gone.
Natural Remedies for Ear Mites
There are some natural remedies available as well, but before you use them, make sure you consult with your vet first.
- Mix equal parts of alcohol and peroxide. The solution is helpful in keeping your dog’s ears disinfected and clean. Use cotton buds to apply the mixture gently on the ear.
- Apply aloe vera gel. Most ear mite treatment products contain aloe vera. This is a powerful ingredient in soothing inflammations and irritations on the skin. Apply this to your dog’s ears to give it a relief from scratching.
- Apply Vicks Vapor Rub. Applying a small amount to your dog’s ears will not only provide a cooling relief from itchiness and soreness but it can suffocate mites as well. Clean it out after 24 hours and reapply if needed.
To prevent further infestation of mites, it is of utmost importance that you treat all other animals in your home, especially if you own a cat. Treating your dog or one dog amongst a pack of pets will not solve your problem. Aside from that, make sure that you bathe your dog regularly and check its ears often.
Dogs are true blessings to our lives. And with the love and affection they give to us, it is only proper that we care for them properly and provide them the same love they give. Check their ears regularly and make sure to watch out for signs and symptoms to prevent unwanted effects.