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Treating Ear Mites


by Geoffrey English

Is your dog scratching his ears obsessively? Does he shake his head and whine? He might have ear mites. Ear mites are a parasitic little bug that live their whole lives on your dog. They consume blood, skin and earwax. Whey they are ready, the female will lay three eggs in your dog’s ear wax daily. Within 3 weeks, the nymphs are mature and ready to mate, and the cycle begins again.

Ear mite waste is a thick, sticky, black build up in the ear or at the base of the tail. It can cause a severe allergic reaction in your dog. This reaction includes swelling, bleeding and pain in the general area of infestation. If left untreated, the ear mites can eventually break through the eardrum. This could lead to serious infections and even deafness.

Ear Mite Symptoms
The most obvious sign of ear mite infestation is constant, focused scratching of the ear. Your dog may also grunt, whine or yelp in pain as he does this. He may also shake his head vigorously in an effort to loosen up the debris lodged in his ear canal.

Upon examination, you’ll see that the ear canal is red and swollen. You will also notice a black, sticky discharge. This discharge also produces a nasty smell. Ear mites infest other areas of your dogs body. Do a thorough examination. Look for ear mite debris and clean the area thoroughly if it is affected.

Ear Mite Treatment
Ear Mites are easily misdiagnosed as yeast infections or other types of ear infections. Treatments for yeast infections, for instance, will be ineffective in treating ear mites. Be sure to have your vet examine and properly diagnose your dog before beginning any sort of treatment.

Ear mite treatments can be purchased from your veterinarian, or your local pet store or feed supply store. Most are an insecticide that works much like your dogs. The treatment comes in the form of a liquid and is administered directly into the ear canal.

After you apply the liquid to the ear canal, hold your dog’s head for a moment. This allows you to massage the medicine into the ear canal. You must prevent your dog from shaking his head for a about a minute so the medicine has a chance to reach it’s target area.

Ear Mite Prevention
Ear Mites are highly contagious. They can jump from the host pet to another pet. A flea collar will kill or deter these pests. If you have other pets, treat them all at the same time.

Examine your dogs ears daily. Also check his tail, face and feet for ear mite debris. Remove any debris found in these area. Make sure the ears are clean and dry. .

Diligence and frequent examinations will help you prevent further ear mite infestations. Keeping your dog healthy and happy for years to come.

Geoffrey A. English is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of, the Internet’s premiere online magazine for the hunting dog enthusiast. Geoffrey has been breeding and training Labrador Retrievers and English Springer Spaniels for over 10 years and has successfully titled both breeds in AKC field events.


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).


  1. You totally answered my question as to whether ear mites were contagious or not because I have several dogs, and that is one of my main concerns as to whether this would spread from one animal to another.

  2. @Misti – Keeping your dog’s ears clean is the first step of course. I’ve used mineral oil in the past and it seemed to work fine, but it wasn’t exactly a bad case of mites. Cleaning the ears and then massaging a couple drops of mineral oil did the trick. I know there are several over the counter remedies as well as other home-made remedies. I’ll look into it and try to post some additional advice on ear mites!

  3. I helped my friend’s dog who had mites with a product called Kitten Safe. It cleared up the problem in a few days and allowed the skin to heal in about a week. It is made from collidal silver and herb oils with no chemicals. I found it on the web site: – when a stray cat adopted me, and came complete with fleas. It even killed the eggs. Since it is safe for even a one day old kitten – I have used it on myself as insect repellant, even here in South West Florida it really works, and smells good too.

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This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!