Ear mites are tiny parasites that feed on the wax and oil in your dog’s ears. They cause intense itchiness and discomfort — and the infestation is highly contagious. Especially if you have other mammal pets in the house, you should address the problem as soon as possible, and before all your pets start their synchronous ear scratching.
Going to the vet and getting your dog an ear medication is one option, but you may also want to try some of the best home remedies for ear mites in dogs — you may already have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen or bathroom.
Causes and Symptoms of Ear Mites
Ear mites, or Otodectes cynotis, belong to the same family as spiders and ticks. The Latin name translates to “ear beggar of the dog” — and this perfectly describes these annoying, little critters. While they simply feed on the wax and oils in your dog’s ears and do not bite, chew, suck, or cause any direct harm to your dog, their presence causes severe itchiness and discomfort.
If you see your dog scratching his ears a lot, and almost obsessively, and shaking his head frequently, the cause could be ear mites. The constant scratching is what often leads to more serious problems, such as cuts and infection in your pet’s ears.
Ear mites are highly contagious. So Fido most probably picked them up from another dog, as well as from an infected cat or ferret, or from lying down on grass, a carpet, or other surfaces where the bugs may have been shed by an infected animal’s ear-scratching and head-shaking.
The symptoms of ear mites include:
- Itching, especially if your dog scratches his ears vigorously and frequently and also shakes his head just as often.
- Dried blood, which will look like coffee grounds caking the inside of Fido’s ears and fur surrounding his ears.
- Crumbly and reddish-brown or dark discharge.
- Scabs or abrasions at the base of the ear. If the cuts keep getting reopened by constant scratching, there’s a greater risk of bacterial infection which, in turn, can lead to inflammation.
The longer you don’t address the problem, the heavier the infestation will get and the greater the risk to your dog’s health.
Best Home Remedies for Ear Mites in Dogs
Veterinarians commonly recommend ear mite medications which are, basically, an insecticide. The medicated solution is squirted into the ear and works by suffocating the mites. The medication can be obtained over the counter from any vet clinic or pet store.
But you can also treat Fido’s ear mite problem with homemade remedies using safe and natural ingredients. Below are some home remedies you can try to get rid of these dog ear beggars and keep your pet’s ears clean and healthy.
Clean your dog’s ears with tea
Green tea has amazing antiseptic properties and can be safely used to clean normal goop buildup from the wax and oil in your dog’s ears. Green tea can also rinse out the crusty debris that is usually present when there are ear mites. Simply steep green tea like you normally would, let it cool to room temperature, and then use a cotton ball or cloth to gently wipe inside your dog’s ears. Do this once a day for one month.
Use garlic-infused oil
Olive oil or almond oil will work great, but you can also use other soothing oils, especially those with antimicrobial properties — except for tea tree oil, which is toxic to dogs. Using oil will suffocate the ear mites. Add some crushed garlic to the oil, leave it overnight, and then remove the garlic. Garlic has antibacterial properties that can help fight off ear infections. Just keep in mind that garlic is also toxic to dogs when ingested, so make sure to dispose of it properly. Wipe your dog’s ears with the garlic-infused oil once a day for a full month.
CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties. When used topically, the oil can effectively soothe your dog’s irritated ears. Treating the irritation caused by the constant scratching is important as the scratching tends to worsen the irritation and prevents the cuts, abrasions, and inflammation from completely healing. Make sure to purchase good quality CBD oil from a reputable source. Use it to wipe your dog’s ears once every day for at least a month.
It would be best to first clean your dog’s ears using the antiseptic green tea rinse, and then following up with the oil. Observe if the condition of your dog’s ears improves after a week of treatment. He should be scratching and shaking his head less, and there should be a noticeable reduction in crust buildup in his ears.
If your dog’s ears are painful, he may have already developed an infection and treating him at home may be more difficult; it would be better to take him to the vet for proper treatment. But if you are able to keep him relaxed and comfortable and if he allows you to clean his ears, you can still go through the cleaning routine. Make sure to be very gentle and not to go inside the ear canal. Clean only the outer ear. And unless you’re using medicated ear drops, do not drip any other liquid into your dog’s ears. Always consult your vet if you’re unsure what to do.
If you have other dogs or pets in the house and one of them has ear mites, you have to treat all of them at the same time. This is the only way to get rid of ear mites completely, as they can easily spread from one animal to the next.