Ear mites, also known as otodectes cynotis mites, are a parasitic infection that commonly affects dogs. If you think your dog may have ear mites or you simply want to educate yourself on how to treat him if the situation ever arises, you’ve come to the right place!
Symptoms of ear mites in dogs
The first and most notable thing that could signify ear mites in dogs is excessive scratching of the ears and around the head that could even lead to hair loss. Along these same lines, you might also notice your dog shaking his head quite frequently.
If your dog is doing one or both of those things, also be on the lookout for the following from your dog:
- Dried blood or lesions around the ear canal
- Discharge from the ear that has a coffee ground-like appearance
- Foul odor coming from the ears
- Whining or crying when his ears are touched
It’s important to make note of these symptoms and seek a diagnosis and treatment for ear mites because, though rare, an infestation could lead to the spreading of mites to other parts of your dog’s body, which could cause skin irritation. Other possible complications from ear mites include the rupturing of blood vessels inside the ear flaps, making them painful to the touch and swollen-looking. If this happens, your dog may have developed a condition known as aural hematomas which often requires surgery to correct. If you haven’t already sought veterinarian care at this stage, you definitely need to do so now.
Ear mite treatment for dogs
Ear mites are commonly treated at home with over-the-counter treatments that involve putting medication in your dog’s ears daily for 10 to 30 days. With these medications, it is important not to miss a dose, or your dog may still have ear mites when you “finish” the medication.
There are also ear mite treatments that can be applied as a single dose to your dog’s skin, though they are only available through veterinarians. You will not find these over-the-counter.
Regardless of the type of ear mite treatment you use for your dog, it is incredibly important that you keep his ears clean the entire time. Your veterinarian may clean out all the debris in your dog’s ear canals, or they may recommend you do so (regularly) at home. One such way to clean and care for your dog’s ears is by using coconut oil.
It has been suggested that coconut oil has has antiviral and antibacterial properties, which would make it a great option for caring for your dog’s ears while he has ear mites. Simply add a small amount to the inside of your dog’s ear canal to help keep them clean. As a benefit, the coconut oil will also smother any existing mites present at that time. Doing this for a few days is likely enough to yield results.
Again, it’s incredibly important that you work with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet is receiving the best care possible for his ear mite infestation. Once you have finished treating your dog’s ears, make sure you schedule a follow-up appointment to verify that all mites are gone.