Ear Mites in Puppies and Dogs

The first time my veterinarian informed me that my dog had ear mites, I was appalled. The idea of bugs crawling in my dog’s ears and living there was disgusting. I felt angry that something like that could happen to a member of my family. Then, the vet prescribed medication for the ear mites, and I learned more about what they are, how they live on dogs and puppies, and why they’re fairly common among our four-legged friends.

What Are Ear Mites?

Ear mites are tiny arachnids that live in your dog’s ears. They feed on the wax and skin cells that accumulate in the ear canal, causing intense itching and irritation. The most common species is Otodectes cynotis, but there are many more types of these parasites (see below). Ear mites are usually not dangerous to dogs or cats, but they can cause a great deal of discomfort if left untreated.

What Do Ear Mites Look Like?

They are sometimes described as looking like small, dark brown or gray fleas. However, they do not behave like fleas and do not jump off of your pet’s ear when you shake it. Instead, they remain in your dog’s ears and cause itching and irritation once there.

They can be seen on the edge of your dog’s ear canal as well as on the tufts of hair around its ears (the flaps). They may also be found crawling inside your pup’s ears if left untreated for too long.

Can Humans Get Ear Mites?

Ear mites are a small parasite that burrows into the ear canal and feeds on the host’s skin cells. They are transmissible to humans, although not all species of ear mites can be transmitted to humans.

If you have an affected animal, it is recommended that you avoid any contact with their bodily fluids as they may contain infectious organisms.

What Are the Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs and Puppies?

Mites cause itchy ears, redness and irritation, discharge, hair loss and even infections. The symptoms of ear mites include:

  • Scabs/crusts on the inside or outside of the ear flap (pinna)
  • Discharge from the ears – this can be seen when looking at the skin in between their feet
  • Hair loss around their head

It’s best to visit your veterinarian if you notice any kind of skin condition on your dog’s body or face as it may be an indication that they have an underlying health problem such as parasites such as ticks or fleas which can carry bacteria like leptospirosis into their bloodstream causing a life-threatening illness called sepsis if not treated immediately by a qualified expert who knows what he/she is doing!

How Did My Dog or Puppy Get Ear Mites?

Ear mites can be passed from dog to dog, and in some cases, from cat to dog. This means that your puppy or dog could have gotten them from another animal at the park or grooming salon. If a pet has ear mites, it will likely scratch its ears and may show signs of irritation.

How Is a Diagnosis of Ear Mites Made?

Your veterinarian can usually make a diagnosis of ear mites by simply looking at your dog’s ears. However, if there are no visible signs of mites or other causes for the symptoms, your vet may want to use a magnifying glass or microscope to look for definitive proof.

What’s the Treatment for Ear Mites in Dogs and Puppies?

Your veterinarian will likely recommend an over-the-counter ear mite treatment, such as Mitaban or Advantage. You can use the product as directed on the package and repeat it in two weeks if necessary.

Your vet may also suggest cleaning your dog’s ears with a cotton ball dipped in a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and water. Start by gently swabbing the external part of your dog’s ear, then stick a swab into his ear canal to clean it out further. If a cotton swab doesn’t work well for you, try using one with rounded ends so you don’t risk damaging your dog’s eardrum while trying to remove debris from inside his ears.

If using these methods doesn’t get rid of all signs of infection (redness, itching), it’s time for more drastic measures: flea combs! The fine teeth on these combs allow them to pluck out tiny critters without hurting even sensitive skin like that found behind our canine friends’ ears; they’re especially useful when dealing with mites that live within deeper layers of fur (as opposed to those who prefer living closer towards outer layers).

How Do I Prevent My Dog or Puppy From Getting Infested With Ear Mites Again?

Ear mites can be difficult to prevent, but there are some things you can do to help.

  • Clean the ears regularly
  • Use ear drops
  • Avoid using cotton swabs (they push the mites further down into your dog’s ear canal)
  • Clean the ears with a dog ear wash or cleanser (to remove debris and dead skin cells that make it easier for mites to survive)


We hope you learned something new about these little pests. Ear mites are not a life-threatening problem for your pet, but they can cause a lot of discomfort if left untreated. If your dog has ear mites, the best thing to do is take them to the vet so they can get proper treatment. While there are some home remedies available, nothing beats going to see a professional who knows what they’re doing!