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How to Get Rid of Your Dog's Ear Mites Naturally

I like to write about canine behavior, animal husbandry, and breeding chickens.

Ear mites can affect any dog, not just large-eared breeds like this Basset Hound.

Ear mites can affect any dog, not just large-eared breeds like this Basset Hound.

Why Do Certain Dog Breeds Get Ear Infections?

The tubular, long design of a dog's ear canal makes the perfect environment for a tiny thing like an ear mite to thrive or for bacteria (and potential infection) to proliferate—it's warm, dark, and a little dirty. Such an environment offers plenty of food and breeding room for parasites.

Some dog breeds are more prone to ear troubles simply by design. Sporting dogs and hounds make the list with their dropped, floppy, hanging ears. Regardless of the ear type your dog is born with, keeping them clean and odor-free is necessary for healthy ears.

Otodectes cynotis: The dog "ear mite."

Otodectes cynotis: The dog "ear mite."

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Ear Mites?

Mites are tiny parasites—smaller than fleas—that are not quite visible to the naked eye. However, you may be able to see them if you look closely into the ear canal. Demodex and sarcoptic mites are microscopic in size, while Cheyletiella mites look like specks of white dander. Otodectes cynotis, commonly called the dog "ear mite," is the most common type of mite to be found in your dog's ears. By keeping your dog's ears clean and clear of debris, you can reduce the chances of mites altogether.

Signs Your Dog Has Ear Mites

  • Itching
  • Ear irritation
  • Red, scaly patches
  • Rashes
  • Loss of hair
  • Red, dirt-like debris (like coffee grounds)
  • Heavy, waxy buildup
The ear canal of a dog is very sensitive—never put any tools inside the canal.

The ear canal of a dog is very sensitive—never put any tools inside the canal.

Natural Ear Mite Formula for Dogs

You can make your own mixture to naturally get rid of ear mites on your dog. Follow the instructions below to get started.



Never put liquid in your dog's ear unless you know that the tympanic membrane is intact! Doing so will cause pain and may cause your dog to go deaf if the tympanic membrane is ruptured. If you are at all uncertain about using a natural home remedy for your dog, consult a veterinarian before taking matters into your own hands.

Directions and Administration

  1. Blend the above ingredients together in a dropper bottle (or whatever you have on hand), and then warm the mixture to body temperature by placing it in hot water.
  2. Holding your dog's ear flap up, put around 1/2 of a dropper-full (1/4 tsp.) into the ear.
  3. Once the oil mixture is in the ear, massage the dog's ear canal from the outside of the ear. Move the oil around so it releases the debris.
  4. After a full minute of massaging, allow your dog to shake his/her head a little. This will help bring debris up and out of the ear canal.
  5. Gently clean the opening (never deep in the ear) with cotton swabs and clean gauze to remove the dirt and excess oil. (The oil mixture will suffocate most of the mites and begin to heal your dog's ear.)
  6. Repeat this process every other day for six days.
  7. When not being used, the oil mixture must be capped and stored at room temperature.
Always make sure that the tympanic membrane is intact before putting liquid into the ear.

Always make sure that the tympanic membrane is intact before putting liquid into the ear.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has an Ear Problem?

Ear infections are difficult to clear up. Resolving them takes a lot of patience and a real drive to beat the infection altogether. To determine if your dog has ear problems, keep an eye out for the following indications.

  • Crusty or red ears
  • Blisters or abrasions on the ear flap or ear
  • Excessive waxy buildup
  • Red or black waxy buildup
  • Foul-smelling odor
  • Yelping when the ears are touched
  • Scratching or pawing at the ears
  • Shaking of the head
  • Tilting of the head
  • Loss of hearing (reduced response to task commands)

How to Clean Your Dog's Ears

Of all of the details that come into play around the maintenance of dogs, cleaning their ears is relatively uncomplicated. Always make sure to go slowly, and never insert anything into the actual ear canal.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Cleaning Ears

Follow these steps below to keep your dog's ears clean. An inexpensive vet-approved product like Epi-Otic works well; there are some natural products to consider as well.

  1. Gently position your dog so that the open ear is exposed. (Sitting on the floor beside your dog seems to work best.) If your dog struggles, a helper may be the best way to keep things under control and safe for all involved.
  2. Soak clean gauze or cotton balls with the natural ear-cleaning solution and place these just outside of the ear canal. Drop the ear flap back down and gently massage the ear from the outside of the ear canal to help get the solution working and to release debris and excess wax.
  3. Using clean gauze or cotton balls, gently wipe out any excess solution. You can wrap the gauze completely around a pair of forceps to wipe around the ear if necessary.
  4. While you have your dog in position, carefully snip away any excess hair from around the ear opening with blunt scissors. Allow your dog to shake its head after drying.

Safety Tip: Do not use insecticides or mite medicines because they can cause irritation.

Tips for Plucking Hair in Dog Ears

Some dog owners (mostly Poodle owners) have to pluck the hair from inside their dog's ears. There is a special ear powder that actually dries the ear and makes the plucking less difficult. This reduces the number of infections that may occur in this type of ear. If your dog has a lot of hair growth inside the ear, you may consider trying this technique—just know that your dog is NOT going like it very much!

No sore ears for this happy, playful dog!

No sore ears for this happy, playful dog!

After-Care and When to See a Veterinarian

To totally complete the natural ear mite remedy, make sure to thoroughly shampoo your pet's head and ears. Mites are true survivors, so should even one or two of these tiny bugs make it through the natural treatment process by crawling out of the ear and onto the hair of your dog's face or head, they can crawl right back in after all of the action has dissipated.

Managing Reoccurences

Recurrences are not uncommon. A good shampooing of the head and ear areas can help eliminate this possibility from occurring.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

Should your dog's ears still appear to be irritated or inflamed to any degree, a trip to the vet is in order. As great as home remedies can be, some resistant bacteria and critters can put up one heck of a fight, bringing dangerous outcomes for our canine companions.

Should you run into this situation, your vet will have the proper treatment your dog may need. Most vets are willing to offer a natural treatment in combination with pharmaceuticals to boost the effectiveness of both.

Important Information About Ear Problems in Dogs

A warning about any kind of ear problem in your dog: The ear is a very important area of the dog's body. Ridding any ear troubles in dogs takes real care and know-how.

Infections can quickly spread to the nasal cavity and deep into the brain if not properly managed or treated. If you feel that your dog has more than a minor ear condition, the care of a credible veterinarian is necessary. These kinds of situations can quickly turn deadly for your best friend if not carefully managed.

More About Your Dog's Health

  • Home Remedies for Dog Ear Yeast Infection
    Dogs with normal ears that appear healthy and clean are proof that the ear environment is well maintained under control by bacteria. However, if for some reason or another, the dog's system is disrupted, bacteria may no longer be able to protect them

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: Where can I get the Zymox from?

Answer: Check with your vet.

Share your stories below.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on May 09, 2018:

Gene, yes, ear drops work quite well. Just be sure there are no chemical ingredients. You can find this information under "ingredients" .

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on May 09, 2018:

Gene, yes, ear drops work quite well. Just be sure there are no chemical ingredients. You can find this information under "ingredients" .

Gene on July 09, 2012:

Dogs n Mites Ear Drops works pretty good

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on April 25, 2012:

Pamela N Red~ I am so thankful for dog owners like you! Taking good care of our pets is a sure sign of a truly loving heart! Thank you for sharing your story here today. I wish you and your dog a very long wonderful life together.


India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on April 25, 2012:

Sinea Pies~ I am so glad you find the hub helpful! I know I hate it when I get an earache so it must be the same with our dogs. I personally would always choose a natural treatment for myself; and so, I do the same for my dogs. You have some very lucky dogs! Good human companions are a real treasure to our canine friends!


Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on April 25, 2012:

Great information. Mine gets irritated ears sometimes and the vet gave me some ear wash to put in his ears. I'll try this wash next time he starts digging at his ears.

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on April 25, 2012:

This is a great hub. I love my dogs so much, I want to keep them healthy without using chemicals wherever possible. Voted up and useful.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on April 09, 2012:

JubePlaysGames~ Thanks for sharing your natural remedy for dogs. My concern would be the acidic nature of vinegar in an already sensitive mite infested dog ear.


India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on April 09, 2012:

CC! Thanks for sharing your comments, and thanks for asking a great question! Glad to offer an answer for you.


JubePlaysGames from Canada on March 24, 2012:

Diluted apple cider vinegar is said to take care of ear mites naturally. I use it to clean my dog's ears, it's also good for hot spots.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 18, 2012:

K9 - another tremendously useful hub for a lot of people. Thank you for taking the time to provide such a beautiful, thorough answer to my question. The information here I know will help a LOT of people. (HUGS)

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on March 18, 2012:

sgbrown~ Oh Good! I hope this helps your lab. You might want to be certain that nothing else is "in" the ear, as sometimes a foxtail, tic, or some other "thing" is bothering the ear. The oil treatment should help bring any of these things up and out of the ear canal with the gentle massaging suggested within the hub. If it is a tic, further care may be required.

Thank you for leaving your remarks today, I am very grateful!


India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on March 18, 2012:

Mary615~ Thank you so much for making it by and for sharing your thoughts and praise. I am humbled and hinored that you hold them in such high regard. You are so right, these mites are a really ugly critter, only a mother mite could love. ;)


India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on March 18, 2012:

Jia Xean~ You are very welcome.


India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on March 18, 2012:

Flora, the natural oil and distilled water is just fine for cats. I would avoid any of the store bought ear mite medicines unless they specifically say "for use on cats." As I am sure you already know, a cat's chemical make up is far different from a dogs, and the flea stuff used for dogs can actually cause seizures and in some cases death in our feline friends. This holds true (to some degree) with ear mite treatments. Great Question my friend!


FloraBreenRobison on March 17, 2012:

Would these work with cats? Amy doesn't have ear mites, but a lot of them do. Or would the chances of your cat allowing you to do this yourself be nil?

Jia Xean on March 17, 2012:

Thanks for the information, had been wondering how to do so for years.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 17, 2012:

I always look forward to your informational Hubs about dog care. This was a great Hub about ear mites. I've seen these critters under a microscrope and they are SO ugly. I voted this one UP, etc.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on March 17, 2012:

You timing is great! My lab has been shaking her head for the last couple of days and I think it is probably ear mites, again. We go throught this every year. We had been getting medicine from the vet, but I would like to try your natural remedy. Thanks for sharing your information! Voted up and useful! Have a great day! :)

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on March 17, 2012:

Austinstar~ Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear about your dog (warm hugs). As you make a very good point regarding the topic of the dangers with ear conditions in dogs, I have added a warning at the end of the hub, and credited your reminder in doing so. You are a real friend to our K9 family members--respect to you!

Huge HubHugs!

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on March 17, 2012:

Please be aware that ear infections can actually cause death in dogs. I had a wonderful dog that had so many recurring ear infections that we finally put him to sleep. I think a lot of it was allergies. But his ears would NEVER clear up!