We will talk about what ear mites are, what signs to look for, and how to diagnose ear mites in dogs. Find out some in-home and veterinary ear mite testing methods, and find out what natural treatment options and future preventions are available.
What are Ear Mites?
Ear mites are parasitic insects that are so tiny that the only way the human eye can see them is by looking through a microscope. These bugs have a proper species name, Otodectes cynotis. Otodectes cynotis is the main species of ear mites that veterinarians are referring to when they diagnose a dog with ear mites.
Ear mites live in the ear canal of your dog, and they are bad for your precious pooch because they suck the blood on your dog’s ear and leave waste behind that looks like a ground coffee-like wax residue in the ear canal. The ear mites’ behavior of stealing blood from your pup is what makes them itchy and uncomfortable.
You can learn to recognize the important signs and natural ways to treat ear mites and how to prevent them.
Signs Your Dog Has Ear Mites
If there is any question in your mind that your pooch might have ear mites, we strongly advise that you first take your dog to the vet to have a confirmed diagnosis. At an animal hospital, the veterinary technician will put you and your pup in an exam room, take a medical history, and obtain an ear sample from both of your dog’s ears to look at under the microscope.
Then, your vet will let you know whether or not your pup has ear mites. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, you can tell your vet that you intend on treating this naturally and ask if they have any products that are 100% natural that they recommend for you.
Here are the most common signs of ear mites in dogs. If you notice any of the signs below occurring or a mixture of those signs, there’s a very high chance that your pooch might be irritated by these annoying pests. It’s also important to clean your dog’s ears, check out how often you should do it here.
Top Signs Of Otodectes Cynotis In Dogs:
- Having a red and inflamed ear
- Shaking of the head and ears
- Rubbing of the ears onto the floor or other objects
- Scratching of the ears
- An excessive amount of wax and debris in the ear that looks like ground coffee.
Testing Your Dog For Ear Mites At Home
If you notice that your dog is doing or experiencing the signs listed above, don’t worry! There are methods to confirm whether or not your pooch has mites right from your home. Two of the most common in-house ear mites testing techniques are listed below.
Home Diagnosis Techniques:
If your dog allows you to touch his or her ears then we recommend that you carefully obtain a swab sample from both of your dog’s ears. Gently and carefully use a q-tip to slowly roll the swab along the wall of your dog’s ears.
Don’t worry, about using a q-tip, because unlike human ears, it is really hard to reach a dog’s eardrum. After obtaining a swab of your dog’s ears grab a magnifying glass, or download a magnifying glass app on your smartphone or tablet.
Then gently roll the swab onto a piece of hard material that has a darker background to it so that when you look at the sample with the magnifying app you’ll be able to see the mites easier. If you see tiny, light-colored organisms moving around in the sample, it’s most likely a positive test for ear mites.
The second technique is to cautiously swab your dog’s ear and gently roll the debris onto a fresh piece of white paper towel. Then place several drops of hydrogen peroxide and roll the wax from the sample on the paper towel again.
If your pup has ear mites the result of this test will be a brown-red color stain on a white paper towel.
The brown stain is because the mite is light brown in color, especially since it loves to live in wax-filled ears.
The red staining is because the mites live off of the blood of your dog, so when it’s smashed the blood has to stain the paper towel too.
Treating Ear Mites In Dogs Naturally
There are two ways to treat mites. One way is with ear cleaning products that have a few chemicals and medicinal substances in the solution. The other method is with ear cleaning products that have only natural substances. Below is a list of natural products that we encourage you to purchase and use to get rid of ear mites in your dog.
The Best Natural Ear Mite Ear Cleaners:
- EcoEars: This ear cleaner is 100% natural and is frequently used to treat several dog ear infection conditions. This is safe to use for a simple routine ear cleaning as well as using it to treat ear mites and other common dog ear infections.
- PetPost! Dog Ear Cleaner: This ear cleaner uses coconut oil and aloe vera to naturally clean and soothes your dog’s ears. Products that contain natural oils as the main ingredient, such as PetPost! are great, because the oil will help loosen and remove the wax. The oil also starves the ear mites from getting the nutrients that they need and the aloe vera is to simply soothe your precious pooch’s itchy and inflamed ears.
- Mister Ben’s Ear Tonic With Aloe For Dogs: This is another great product that is used to clean, soothe, and disinfect dog ears. This one also comes with a great e-book on your dog’s ear health.
- Doggie Dailies: Doggie Dailies is a natural and gentle ear cleanser that is used to prevent any bacterial and fungal ear infections in dogs.
Once you are sure that your dog has ear mites, it is crucial that you clean his or her ears thoroughly yet gently. The ear cleaning products above are all-natural ways to soothe and treat this condition promptly. Another important thing to keep in mind is that ear mites are very contagious for dogs, cats, ferrets, and rabbits.
Luckily, we cannot catch ear mites from our furry companions. However, since our pups and cats can pass it to each other it is very important for routine ear cleanings to be done on all furry companions that live in the house. Also, if one dog has ear mites, we highly recommend that you temporarily isolate him or her from the other dogs and cats.
Also, we highly recommend that you clean any pet beds or pillows in the house that your pooch likes to lay on because mites love to live in the wax of ears and in pet beds.
Take Care of Your Dog’s Ears
Don’t forget your dog’s ears when grooming them. Otherwise, ear mites might infest them and lead to itchiness and discomfort.
We highly encourage you to take your pup to the vet for an official confirmation of an ear mite infection, and then to start the treatment of daily ear cleanings with a natural ear cleaning solution. After about three weeks, we do recommend that you recheck your dog’s ears for the presence of any leftover contaminated ear debris.
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