What is the treatment for earmites in dogs?

Ear mites are tiny insects that infest the ears of both dogs and cats. They can also be in the hair around the dog's head. They are very contagious and generally will affect all animals in a household.

   

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What are the symptoms?

Ear mites cause the ears to be inflammed and very painful to the dog. The dog will frequently scratch at its ears and shake its head. This can get to the point where the dog actually injures itself from scratching because the itching is so severe. BUT - you need to have the vet examine your dog. This is a common problem - many owners assume that their pets have ear mites when they show these symptoms, but actually ear infections from other causes often result in the same symptoms. Without an examination to make sure it is ear mites, you will not be able to effectively treat the dog. You can see a picture of an ear mite here, but they are so small you won't be able to see anything that looks like the pictures on your dog. 

How do dogs catch them?

They get them from other animals, but they don't have to come into direct contact with them. Ear mites can move around and often roam pretty far, and they can survive for awhile without being on an animal. So your dog could have gotten the mites simply by going around in the same area that another dog with ear mites had been in.

What is the treatment for dogs?

There are lots of over-the-counter products you can get for them, but actually most owners use a standard flea control product such as Frontline or K9-Advantix. The insecticides used in those products are usually effective on ear mites as well, so you get a double benefit. If you're getting an ear mite only product, you should read the label and see if it says "Ivermectin." This is an effective insecticide that is very good at killing them off.

Is there a home remedy?

I have seen a couple suggested. One is to put mineral oil on a cotton swab and swab the ears of the dog. That's not going to do much for them, though, because it won't kill the mites on the head and won't get all of them. They'll just keep coming back because they lay eggs everywhere. Others have suggested aloe vera gel to soothe the pain. I think it's probably a bad idea to try to use home remedies. Ear mites in and of themselves are just annoying, but they can cause secondary infections to the ear that can be dangerous to the dog.

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