If your dog is constantly shaking their head or scratching their ears, there’s a good chance they have ear mites. Ear mites are tiny microscopic critters that feed off the ear wax and oil that your dog produces. Although they typically live in the ear, they can travel anywhere on the body.
Let me give you the bad news first. If one of your pets has ear mites, there’s a good chance the infection has already spread to your other pets. Thankfully they are not contagious to humans…gives me the shivers just thinking about bugs living in my ears!
Now time for the good news, ear mites are easily treatable. In this article, we will be going over a few different home remedies for ear mites in dogs. If you don’t want to read through the entire article, we have outlined the best solution below.
Mineral Oil is The Best Home Remedy
As you continue reading the article, you’ll notice that we recommend various oils to get rid of ear mites. However, mineral oil has been proven to be the most effective. Ear mites need certain nutrients to survive; mineral oil will soak up those nutrients and then drown the critters.
What You’ll Need
- Mineral Oil
- Eye Dropper
- Cotton Balls
5 Step Treatment Method
Step 1: Fill the eyedropper with mineral oil.
Step 2: Place a few drops in the dog’s ear, but don’t aim right for the ear canal. Place a few drops all over the inside surface of the ear.
Step 3: Massage the oil inside the dog’s ear. Make sure you get everywhere possible including as close to the ear canal as possible.
Step 4: Soak half a cotton ball in mineral oil and use that to wipe all around the dog’s ear, both inside and out.
Step 5: After 5 minutes of step 4, use a dry cotton ball to dry your dog’s ears.
VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you do this on both ears. Even if it only appears the mites are in one ear, there’s a good chance eggs have been laid in the other ear.
Do this 5 step process three times per week for about six weeks. The mites will likely be gone by week 4, but you want to go an extra two weeks to be sure.
What Can I Use Besides Mineral Oil?
Although mineral oil is the best option, there are also four other effective oils that work in the same way. They include:
- Corn Oil
- White Vinegar
- Almond Oil
- Olive Oil
Tip – dog ear mites are most active at night, so if possible, do these treatment options before bed.
Why Does This Method Work So Well?
These little bugs are tiny. This means just a few drops of oil will drown them. Within five minutes of the oil entering the ear, the adult ear mites will be dead.
This leads to the question, “Then why does it take 4-6 weeks of treatment if they die right away?”
The reason is simple. Ear mites lay eggs at a rapid rate. The oil will drown all the bugs that have hatched, but will not harm the eggs. Over the next 4-6 weeks the eggs will continue to hatch. This is why we recommend doing this three times per week for six weeks.
Now that you have a plan of action to treat your dog’s ear mites at home, let’s go into more detail about how to diagnose and prevent this type of infection in the future…after all, the best medicine is prevention!
How Do I Know if My Dog Has Ear Mites? The Three Main Symptoms
Since these bugs are so small, you can’t just look inside the dog’s ear with your naked eye and see the infection. A trained professional MIGHT be able to see a white speck moving around, but the average person who hasn’t gone to veterinary school won’t notice anything.
- Scratching of Ear and Head – The most common symptom is scratching of the ears or head. Although ear mites like to live in the ear, they often travel out to the head.
- Frequent Head Shaking – Head shaking in dogs is normal, but if it’s frequently happening, your dog feels something in the ear he wants out!
- Obstruction in Ear Canal – You may also notice a small brown blockage in the ear canal. This blockage looks like coffee ground.
There are many more symptoms, but these are the most common. When all three are present together, you can make a very safe educated guess that your dog has been infected with ear mites.
Frequent Baths are Important During Time of Infection
Under normal health conditions, it’s recommended to bathe your dog once every 2-3 weeks. However, when your pup has been infected with mites, you should bathe them at least three times per week.
Frequent bathing is necessary because ear mites can live outside the ear, which means they often crawl out to the head, neck, and spine area. If you only kill the bugs in the ear, the ones on the body will eventually make their way back to the ears which will put your dog in a never-ending cycle of being infected with ear mites.
Preventing Future Infections
Once your dog has been officially cured of the mites, you’ll quickly realize you NEVER want to do that again. Here are a few things you can do to prevent infection in the future.
Strengthen The Immune System
Dogs that have a strong immune system can typically fight off ear mites without medication. In fact, you will most likely never even know they were infected.
The best way to strengthen the immune system is to make sure they are eating two meals per day and getting plenty of exercise. If they’re overweight, you’ll want to shed some fat and get them moving!
Treat All Animals In House
If you have other animals in the house, you’ll want to treat them for ear mites as well. These bugs can easily travel from one animal to another. If you treat one pet but not the others, you’ll likely notice the others have been infected down the road, and that infection will work its way back to your dog who originally had it.
Clean The Bed
You don’t have to clean the bed with soap, but you should take it out in the backyard and run the hose over it. If any critters were still on the bed, the water will drown them.
Thankfully ear mites are easily treatable from home and aren’t very serious as long as you take action to get rid of them. Your dog will also make it fairly obvious when they have ear mites by the constant shaking of the head and scratching of the ears. We highly recommend using mineral oil as your primary treatment, but if that’s not an option, then corn, white, almond, and olive oil will all do the trick.
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