Is your dog shaking their head or scratching its ears? There is a possibility that it may be the action of ear mites. These parasites are unlike the others of their ilk. They do not burrow or bite the surface they are on. They tend to be rather contagious.
If you do not treat them, they can cause problems. So, if your dog has ear mites, you must act as soon as possible. You need to make sure that they do not spread.
What are ear mites?
Ear mites are referred to as “Otodectes cynotis”. At times, people even talk about mange – either Demodectic or Sarcoptic – when talking about ear mites. However, we would learn about a specific type of ear mite here – one whose scientific name is above. It happens to be the common kind of ear mites.
It is a sort of mange as well, known in scientific circles as Otodectic mange. They are minute pests that annoy the heck out of your dog. They are arachnids in reality. It means that they belong to the same family as spiders, scorpions, and ticks.
How do dogs catch ear mites?
Your dog may pick up the parasite outdoors. More often, it comes from another animal. It can pass on from another dog, ferret, or cat. Outdoor cats serve as a source of infections. Foxes have ear mites as well.
However, their chances of infecting your dog are few as they would not be hanging out with them. The Companion Animal Parasite Council states that a cat may have as many as 1000 mites in each ear!
Symptoms that your dog has ear mites
Following are the signs that your dog has ear mites:
- ear scratching
- odor in ears
- head shaking
- skin lesions around the ear
- droopy ears that are not normal for your dog
- white spots about the size of pinpricks moving around
- dark reddish-brown discharge like grounded coffee beans
As we have mentioned earlier, if you let these parasites be, they can cause significant damage to your baby. If you do not address the issue quickly, it can lead to the following issues with your dog:
- hearing loss
- ear hematoma
- balance loss
- ear sensitivity
- damage to ear – internal or external
- secondary infection
How is it diagnosed in dogs?
The easiest way to diagnose ear mites would be to take your dog to the doctor. However, you can do this at your home as well. First, use a cotton ball or a swab to collect some debris from the outer canal of an ear. Put it against a dark background.
After that, look at it through a magnifying glass. Try to find out if you can detect any white speck that moves. Their size is about that of a pinhead. Go for a second sample if necessary.
The conventional ways to treat ear mites
The doctors clean the ears of your dog with a medicated solution. Doing that would disturb the microbiome in your dog’s ears. That would mean a greater chance of infection in the future. After that, they might prescribe pesticides or pharmaceutical anti-parasitic drugs.
The most prominent examples, in this case, are topical anti-parasites such as Advantage and Revolution and oral or injectable parasites such as Bravecto and Ivomec (ivermectin). The thing is that these are poisons that you should avoid, provided you can do so.
Home remedies for ear mites in dogs
There are three significant options that you can try in these cases – olive oil, garlic oil, and green tea. The home remedies are a lot gentler for your dog’s skin than the medicated solutions. If you have olive oil, you can use it to clean the ears of your dog. Try to remove as much debris as is possible for you.
The oil would help to asphyxiate the mites. You would have to repeat this procedure at a gap of three days for the next couple of weeks. Prominent herbalists refer to garlic oil because garlic contains sulfur. It is something that the mites hate.
It acts as such a great weapon against them. It is antifungal and antibacterial as well. Thus, it can help with secondary infections too. Green tea is a natural antiseptic, which will get rid of mites. It will get rid of the coffee ground-like debris as well.
First of all, you would have to make the green tea as you do and let it cool to room temperature. After that, put 3-4 drops in their ear and massage it. After that, dip a cotton ball in the tea and wipe it within the ear. You should do this once a day for the coming four weeks.
Preventing ear mites
The best way to prevent mites from choosing your dog is to ensure that they are in the best possible health condition. If their immune system is effective, the mites would not like them as hosts. Take a few steps that start with the diet of your dog. Feed them the most wholesome food.
Make it raw if you can. You must make sure they are vaccinated. Moreover, reduce as many chemicals as you can in their environment.
Is it necessary to clean their ears?
Some experts suggest that you should clean your dog’s ears daily so that they do not suffer from problems that may affect that part of their bodies, such as the mites. However, if you clean it too much, it would disturb the healthy bacterial balance your dog has in its ears.
You may have seen a bit of ear crud, but you should leave them to their devices as the crud would get cleaned up over time. Do not touch their ears when they are uncomfortable. All you have to do is monitor their ears regularly.