Ear Mites in Dogs: Causes & Treatments

Dog ears
Written by The Best of Breeds

Ear mites are a type of parasite that can reside in dogs and puppies. They are hard to spot with the naked eye, which makes it difficult to know whether your dog has them. A vet will usually require a microscope to confirm the presence of ear mites. Generally, ear mites tend to reside on the skin of the ear canal, and they survive through eating ear wax. They tend to multiply quickly, which makes it essential to treat the issue early on.

Keep reading to find out more about the common symptoms. You can also learn why your dog may get them and find out ways to prevent this occurring. 


There are some signs and symptoms to look out for that will indicate whether your dog has ear mites. One early symptom to look out for is an intense itch, which is understandable considering there are small living creatures crawling around in their ear. This intense itch may may lead your puppy or dog to shake their head uncontrollably or excessively try scratching their ears. 

The symptoms of your dog having ear mites are:

  • Inflamed Ears
  • A dark discharge from the ear
  • Excessive ear Scratching
  • Wounds and inflammation around the ear due to scratching.
  • Unpleasant odor from the ear
  • Small white dots (these are the mites) that move around in the ear.

It is important to note that these symptoms are also common for other types of infections, such as ear infections, which makes it vital to get an accurate diagnosis from the vet. 

Dog ears

Why does your dog get ear mites?

There are several reasons why your furry friend may get ear mites. The most common cause tends to be from another pet. Ear mites are easily spread through close contact and can affect cats. The mites tend to travel quickly between different hosts. This fast transmission means that if you have other dogs and cats in your household, they can be at risk of catching the infestation. 

How to treat and prevent ear mites?

Luckily, ear mites are highly treatable. Since they can spread easily, it is important to get the issue resolved as soon as possible. Spot on flea treatments tends to work well for most ear mite infestations. Two applications are usually enough to get rid of the ear mites. Larger infestations may require ear drops and stronger topical treatments. Your vet will be able to suggest the most suitable treatment for your canine pal. 

The best course of action is, of course, to prevent your dog from getting ear mites in the first place. It can be difficult, however, since ear mites are not easily visible. Mites can be picked up from surfaces such as grass. You can help to prevent the onset of infestations through keeping a clean indoor environment.  It is also important to keep your dog’s ears clean and to thoroughly check for any signs of inflammation. There are also monthly flea treatments available that can help to prevent your dog from catching ear mites.

Closing thoughts

Happy dog ears

You will now have a much better understanding of what ear mites are, and what you can do to prevent them from affecting your precious dog. It is rare for ear mites to be transmitted to humans, but there is a real risk of transmission to other cats and dogs.

As always, if you’re concerned that your dog may have ear mites then, it is crucial to seek advice from your vet on the first sign of any symptoms. While it may not be ear mites, inflammation in the ears is not a good thing and should be looked at quickly.