How to Get Rid of Your Dog's Ear Mites Naturally
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.
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
- Ear irritation
- Red, scaly patches
- Loss of hair
- Red, dirt-like debris (like coffee grounds)
- Heavy, waxy buildup
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.
- 1/2 oz of almond oil or olive oil
- 400 IU vitamin E (from a capsule)
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.
Directions and Administration
- 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.
- Holding your dog's ear flap up, put around 1/2 of a dropper-full (1/4 tsp) into the ear.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Repeat this process every other day for six days.
- When not being used, the oil mixture must be capped and stored at room temperature.
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)
Veterinary Recommendations for Cleaning Your Dog's Ears
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 treatments 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!
After-Care and When to See a Veterinarian
To totally complete the natural ear mite treatment, 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.
Reoccurences 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.
How have you treated your dog's ear problems in the past?
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
Where can I get the Zymox from?
Check with your vet.Helpful 3