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Your guide to ear mites in dogs


Article by Nexgard Australia.

Ear mites in dogs may not be as deadly as ticks or heartworms, but they can still make life very unpleasant for your furry friend. 

For your beloved dog or puppy, ear mites can cause intense ear irritation and discomfort. These tiny parasites feed on wax and oils in your dog’s ear canals and can result in head shaking or scratching, rubbing of the ears and secondary ear infections. 
As a pet owner, you want your pooch to be happy and healthy, so read on to learn more about ear mites in dogs.

What do Ear Mites Look Like?

You may think it’s necessary to know what ear mites look like in dogs in order to tackle them, however ear mites are so small that it’s unlikely you will be able to see them. It takes a vet with an otoscope or microscope to properly spot an infestation.

If you want to know how to check your dog for ear mites, it is best to look for signs of ear mites rather than the parasites themselves.

Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs

If you are wondering how you can tell if your dog has ear mites, you should look out for signs of ear irritation. 

Symptoms of ear mites in dogs, include:

  • Skin irritation in and around the ears
  • Scratching around the ears, head, and neck
  • Head shaking
  • Dark and waxy ear discharge 
  • An unpleasant odour from the ears

How do Dogs get Ear Mites? 

Contact with other dogs or cats with ear mites is typically what causes ear mites to be transmitted to your pet. Young dogs are also more likely to develop ear mite infestations.  

When one puppy or dog is infested, the mites can get onto bedding or transfer directly from dog to dog through play and socialising. As dogs like to play together, the mites find it easy to make their move to a new host. 

How to Prevent Ear Mites in Dogs

As with all parasites, prevention is better than cure when it comes to ear mites. Simple monthly dosing with NexGard® or NexGard SPECTRA® helps keep dogs healthy by treating and controlling ear mite infestations. 
As well as giving your dog preventative parasite protection, it is also wise to:

  • Keep your dog away from other animals that have ear mites 
  • Regularly wash bedding and toys in hot water
  • Give washed bedding a turn in a tumble dryer to get rid of any pesky mites that might be hanging around

Ear Mite Treatment for Dogs

It is important to visit your vet if you suspect that your dog has ear mites, as they will need to examine your dog’s ears and look at a sample under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis and determine whether a secondary ear infection is present. 

So what are the options when it comes to ear mite treatment for dogs?

There are different types of ear mite medication, including over the counter treatments such as NexGard or NexGard SPECTRA, or drops which may be prescribed by your vet. Puppy ear mite treatment is usually the same as for adult dogs. 

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Ear Mites?

A single dose of NexGard or NexGard SPECTRA is highly effective at treating ear mites in puppies and dogs. If the ear irritation persists, or a secondary ear infection requiring additional treatment is present, it’s best to consult with your vet. 

Can You Get Ear Mites From Your Dog?

With all this talk of nasty little parasites, you may be wondering if you can catch ear mites. The good news is that the likelihood of ear mites moving from dogs to humans is very small. 

Ear Mites vs Ear Infection

Ear mites aren’t the only reason your dog might have discomfort in their ears, so how do you know if your problem is dog ear mites or an ear infection? 
Ear infections are common in dogs and can have many different causes. They can be caused by a yeast infection, a bacterial infection, or even secondary to an allergic skin disease. It’s best to consult with your vet who can examine your dog and rule out other potential causes by looking at your dog’s ear wax down the microscope.

Ear Mites in dogs FAQ

  • My dog has been scratching his ears. Does he have ear mites? 

Ear mites are common, especially in young dogs, but there are many other causes of itchy ears in dogs. You should consult with your vet to confirm the diagnosis.

  • What should I do if I think my dog has ear mites? 

You should consult with your vet to confirm the diagnosis and discuss treatment options. 

  • Can dogs get ear mites from other dogs? 

Yes. Ear mites can be transmitted from one puppy or dog to another while playing. 

  • Can a dog get ear mites from a cat? 

Yes. Cats can get ear mites that can be transmitted to dogs and vice versa. 

  • How long to get rid of ear mites? 

A single dose of NexGard or NexGard SPECTRA is highly effective at treating ear mites in puppies and dogs. If the ear irritation persists, it’s best to consult with your vet. 

  • Are ear mites painful for dogs? 

Ear mites can result in irritation of the ears and secondary ear infections. Dogs will often scratch at their ears which can leave them red and painful. 

  • Can a dog have ear mites in only one ear? 

Ear mites will generally infest both ears, although one ear may be more severely affected that the other. 

  • Can puppies get ear mites? 

Ear mites are common in puppies. Consult with your vet if you are concerned. 

  •  Do ear mites smell? 

Ear mites themselves don’t smell, but they can cause a smelly discharge to form within your dog’s ears. 

  • How do I prevent ear mites in dogs?

Simple monthly dosing with NexGard or NexGard SPECTRA helps keep dogs healthy by treating and controlling ear mite infestations. 

Want more information on the treatments available for your dog or puppy? Learn more about NexGard and NexGard SPECTRA for protection against ear mites and other parasites.