How to Clean a Dog's Ear with Ear Mites

Medium
10 - 15 Minutes
2 Day

Introduction

Sasha the Samoyed shares her yard with several neighborhood feral cats, who like to share--their time, their half-eaten mice... and their ear mites!  Now Sasha has itchy ears and little critters crawling around in and around her ears. 

Before Sasha gets irritated ears that are prone to infection or injury, her owners need to clean out her ears and apply medication or solutions to kill off the mites, ASAP!  Mites are extremely contagious between animals, common especially in young dogs, and can frequently be picked up from cats. Fortunately, ear mites are not contagious to humans and are usually not serious if treated promptly. With a little attention, Sasha’s ears will be itch-free, providing she doesn't pick them up from the cats again. On second thought, you might want to catch and treat them too!

Dog's Perspective

Mites in your dog’s ears are itchy and you will notice your dog scratching at his ears and shaking his head if infected with mites. You may also notice brown crusty coffee ground-like secretions in the ear, and your dog’s ear may become red and inflamed from mite irritation or scratching. The secretions are often associated with a strong, foul odor. Many dogs experience allergic reactions when they have mites, which causes them further misery. Bacterial and fungal infections are also more likely where parasitic infections are present, and scratching the ears can result in damage to delicate ear structures. Cleaning and treating your dog's ear mites quickly is important to avoid such complications.

The Use Ear Cleaner Method

Effective
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Step
1
Use oil to soften
Drop baby oil or mineral oil in your dog's ears and allow it to soak in for a few hours to soften crust and discharge from ear mite activities.
Step
2
Expose ear canal
Gently hold your dog's ear out and fold back ear flap so that the ear canal is exposed.
Step
3
Flush with cleaner
Flush with a commercial ear cleaning solution, available from a veterinarian or veterinary supply store, or a homemade mixture of apple cider vinegar and water . Use a syringe or provided applicator, flushing out oil, mites, crust and debris. Allow the mixture to drain out of the ear.
Step
4
Repeat as necessary
Repeat until no more debris is coming out of your dog's ear.
Step
5
Medicate
Instill an anti-parasitic containing a medication such as pyrethrin, available from your veterinarian, into your dog's ear. Repeat daily for several days or as directed by your veterinarian. Treat other pets in your home as well that have become infected. Alternatively, you can apply a topical medication available from your veterinarian that absorbs through the skin to treat mites and other parasites.
Recommend grooming method?

The Alternate Natural Soltuions Method

Effective
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Step
1
Apply mineral oil
Apply a generous amount of mineral oil to a cotton ball and swab the inner ear flap of your dog's ear and your dog's ear canal thoroughly, covering in a thick layer of mineral oil.
Step
2
Put oil in ear canal
Drop several drops of mineral oil into the ear canal and leave the oil on for a few hours to dissolve crusty debris and smother mites.
Step
3
Wipe off oil
Wipe oil and debris off with a clean cotton ball or a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger.
Step
4
Clean out ear with solution
Instill a vinegar and water solution into your dog's ears and wipe out or apply hydrogen peroxide to a cotton ball or gauze on your finger, and wipe out your dog's ear canal.
Step
5
Add honey
Make up a mixture of 2 teaspoons unpasteurized honey and two ounces of water. Instill into the ear with a syringe, wipe off excess. Repeat daily.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Do not point applicators or syringes down into the ear canal in case your dog moves and the applicator tip damages ear structures. Hold the syringe or applicator at an angle to the entrance of the ear canal, so that if your dog moves unexpectedly, the tool will not enter the ear canal.
  • Do not use cotton swabs inserted into the ear.
  • If excessive odor or bleeding occurs, seek veterinary attention in case fungal or bacterial infections or ear structure damage has occurred.
  • Treat other pets in the home with oral or topical anti-parasitic medication to address contagious ear mites.

Conclusion

Ear mites are pesky and inconvenient, but treatable, and usually not serious. These common parasites, if addressed quickly, rarely cause complications. Because of their contagious nature the source of infections should be located and treated, or avoided if possible, and other pets that have been exposed to ear mites will also need treatment. Cleaning the ear mites and debris prior to treatment with commercial medications is effective for addressing ear mites, as are several home remedies including mineral oil, vinegar and water solutions, and antiparasitic, fungal and bacterial honey applications. Be sure to monitor your dog's ear mite infection and get professional assistance if required.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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