Ear mites are a common problem in puppies, but rarely have they ever been seen in an adult dog. If your puppy or dog has ear mites it is usually due to the fact that they have not had their vaccinations. Puppies usually get their first vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age. So if you are vaccinating your puppy get 6 weeks under their belt before they head to the groomers, dog park or daycare.
What are Ear Mites?
Ear mites are parasites that live inside your dog’s ear canal. They are actually arachnids, not insects. Mites are more closely related to spiders than anything else. Ear mites basically make a living off of dead skin cells and oils produced by the glands in your pet‘s ears.
They do not bite or sting and in fact they don’t even have mouths. Ear mites in dogs (and in cats) eat what is basically dust, dirt and dried blood cells found within the ear canal. Many of these mites simply die inside your dog’s ears due to starvation since they cannot feed on their hosts blood like many other parasites.
How Do I Know if My Dog Has Ear Mites?
The telltale signs of ear mites in dogs will come from your pet’s behavior and the appearance of their ears. Some of these symptoms include: frequent shaking or tilting of the head, black waxy discharge and a bad smell coming from the ears (a smell similar to corn chips).
If your dog is shaking their head a lot and you notice some of the symptoms listed above, take them to the veterinarian for an exam. Your vet will be able to see if your dog has ear mites by using some sort of magnification device while examining the ears. If they detect mites inside of your dogs ear canals they will most likely prescribe a course of ear mite medication.
How Do I Get Rid of Ear Mites in Dogs?
If you have a puppy or a dog with ear mites, it is important to get rid of these parasites as soon as possible before your dog gets an infection from them. Your veterinarian will prescribe the correct type of ear mite treatment for your pet and will advise you on how to properly administer the medication to your dog.
Some types of ear mites can actually be “cured” with topical or oral medications (such as Ivermectin), while others may require surgery to remove them from inside the ear canals. It is best to check with a veterinarian before trying to self-treat your dog’s ear mites.
Homemade Medications for Ear Mites in Dogs
There are several homemade medications that can be used to treat ear mites in dogs. For example, you can use mineral oil mixed with baby oil, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. Be sure not to use any type of topical ointment without the advice and supervision of your veterinarian since these products can actually cause more harm than good to your pet.
Be sure to thoroughly clean the ears after each use of these remedies with a cotton ball and some alcohol. This will help kill any mites that might be on the inside of the ear canal or on the surface of the ear. You can also try using a small amount of olive oil in the ears, leaving it in the ear for at least 5 minutes before wiping out with a cotton ball.
It is best to get the opinion of your vet before trying any type of medication on your dog since some remedies may actually irritate or harm them instead of helping them.