If your dog is showing signs of excessive scratching, head shaking, and ear discharge, it means your pet is suffering from ear mites.
Ear mites are a common and relatively mild parasite infection in dogs. As the name suggests, ear mites are caused by mites, which are microscopic eight-legged creatures that feed on the oils and wax in your pet’s ear canal.
While many species of mites can live inside a dog’s ear, Otodectes cynotis is the most common ear mites in dogs.
Although ear mites are barely visible to the human eye, you will be able to spot them within the debris in the ear with the help of a magnifying lens.
Ear mites are common in young dogs, although it may occur at any age. They are known for being highly contagious; they are frequently passed from parent to newborn and between animals of different species. The mites also spread out to other parts of the body very quickly.
Some of the common symptoms of ear mites in dogs include itching of the ears, head, and neck; excessive scratching at the ears and the around head; frequently shaking the head; thick red-brown or black crusts in the outer ear; coffee-ground-like bumps in the ear canal; abrasions and scratches on the back side of the ears; crusting and scaling on the neck, rump, and tail; and strong odor coming from the ear.
Ear mites in dogs should not be taken lightly and should be treated immediately. Delay in treatment can cause hearing loss and other serious complications.
Here are some home remedies for ear mites in dogs. Needless to say, you will also need to visit your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Mineral oil, an odorless and colorless oil extracted from petroleum, is a good remedy for treating ear mites in dogs as well as cats.
It smothers and kills the parasites living inside your dog’s ears. In an ear mite infection, earwax and debris can accumulate and clog the dog’s ear canal, which may impair its hearing. Mineral oil helps dissolve the clogging.
A 2014 study reports that mineral-oil based ointments have some apparent effect against ear mites in cats as well as dogs.
Dab a clean cotton ball in mineral oil and use it to clean your dog’s ear flaps. Do this treatment twice a week for one month.
Another good remedy for dog ear mites is vinegar.
The acidic nature of vinegar helps remove dirt and debris left behind by the ear mites, thus maintaining a healthy equilibrium in the ears. It even prevents any kind of ear infection from spreading.
A 2010 study published in the Hearing Journal reports that white vinegar helps create an environment in the ear canal where pathogens (bacteria, fungus) cannot live.
Note: Do not use vinegar on pets with sores or lesions inside the ears.
Coconut oil is another good home remedy that can help your canine friend.
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids and lauric acid that possess potent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal qualities. It can soothe the itch, irritation, and swelling and can aid in healing the wounds caused by the ear mites.
Neem, or Indian lilac, has varied dermatological benefits for pets.
The reason why neem oil works effectively in ear mites is due to its antiparasitic properties. Its active biochemical compounds are known to exhibit antifungal, antibacterial, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Neem oil even helps in soothing the inflamed and irritated skin region.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth, a nontoxic powder consisting of ground fossils, marine life, and freshwater organisms, can help kill ear mites and prevent an infestation.
The sharp particles of diatomaceous earth can penetrate the skin of the mites and ultimately kill them. But as the food-grade diatomaceous earth cannot destroy the eggs, it is important to continue this treatment for at least a month in order to break the breeding cycle and prevent new eggs from being laid.
Tea tree oil is effective in treating many skin problems, both in animals and humans. You can use it to repel ear mites in dogs.
The potent antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities of tea tree oil come from the active compound terpinene-4-ol, and this helps in killing the mites.
Tea tree oil soothes the inflammation and irritated skin and also prevents infections from developing in the bitten areas.
Note: As even the diluted form of tea tree oil may cause allergic reactions in some breeds of dogs, always do a patch test first. Also, make sure your dog does not ingest it orally as it could be dangerous.
Yellow dock root has been used since ancient times to treat various skin problems in both humans and pets. It helps in treating ear mite infections in dogs.
Also, yellow dock root provides quick relief from itchiness that your pet may be suffering due to ear mites. It can prevent any kind of infection caused by ear mites.
Note: Avoid this remedy if your dog is pregnant or suffering from intestinal bleeding problems, diarrhea, vomiting, or cramping.
Just getting rid of the pesky parasites is not enough. You need to take steps so that the parasites don’t strike back again. For this, maintaining a good hygiene regime for your dog is a must.
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