Ear Mites: Are These Unseen Critters Causing Your Dog’s Itching?

Every dog gets itchy sometimes, but if your dog is constantly scratching, it’s possible he’s brought an unwanted houseguest home. Like fleas and ticks, ear mites are tiny parasites that love to burrow on your dog’s body, causing itchy skin and discomfort for dogs. Read on for everything you need to know about finding and treating ear mites in dogs.

How Do I Tell If My Dog Has Ear Mites?

This tiny tick-like parasite loves to burrow in your dog’s ear canal, but ear mites can be technically be found anywhere on your dog’s skin. And while ear mites aren’t visible to the naked eye, dogs with ear mites display a number of tell-tale symptoms.

Common signs of ear mites in dogs include:

  • Constantly shaking head
  • Excessively scratching ear
  • Unusual swelling, redness, or lesions around one ear
  • Dark, waxy and/or crumbly discharge in one ear
  • Are Dog Ear Mites Contagious?

    Yes, very. Ear mites are so contagious that if one dog has them, you can assume all the other dogs and cats (and rabbits and ferrets, if you have them) in your household have ear mites, too. Dog ear mites aren’t usually contagious for humans, but people can get them. Regardless, pet owners should immediately treat ear mites to quickly rid your dog of this very itchy condition.

    What Causes Ear Mites In Dogs?

    Ear mites (like fleas) are common everywhere dogs share close proximity, leaving kennels, shelters, puppy mills, dog parks, and multi-pet households with shared bedding all prone to outbreaks. Like fleas, these pesky parasites are especially common among dogs who spend lots of time outdoors, where dogs can get ear mites from other animals.

    How To Treat Dog Ear Mites In Puppies And Dogs

    Call your vet if you suspect your dog has ear mites. The veterinarian may recommend an over-the-counter dog ear mite treatment over the phone or invite your dog into the clinic, depending on the severity of your dog’s scratching. Dog ear mite treatment generally starts with your vet cleaning your dog’s ears of excess wax and debris, followed by several weeks of an anti-parasite treatment, although antibiotics may be prescribed in severe dog ear mite cases. Your vet will likely suggest frequently washing your dog during this time to get rid of ear mites burrowing in your dog’s fur. We recommend PawsGive Soothing Chamomile and Oatmeal Shampoo for this task, because it cleans your pet’s fur while providing a medley of soothing ingredients to calm your dog’s itching skin.


    If you suspect your dog has ear mites, contact your vet without delay. Early treatment can relieve your beloved pet of this itchy affliction and help your pet avoid injuries and infections caused from excessing itching and scratching. Left untreated, your dog’s ear mites will only fester, causing your pet to needlessly suffer and putting other animals risk.

    Additional Resources:

  • Dog Allergies Guide
  • Why Is My Dog So Itchy?
  • How To Spot Fleas, Find Relief, And Rid Your Itchy Dog Of Fleas For Good
  • Dry Skin On Dogs: What Causes It And How To Treat It
  • Is A Hormonal Imbalance Causing My Dog’s Itchy Skin?
  • How Much Benadryl Can I Give My Dog?
  • Hot Spots: What Causes Them And How To Get Rid Of Them
  • Everything You Need To Know About Protecting Your Pet From Foxtail Grass
  • Anxiety In Dogs: How To Calm Your Anxious Dog (And Improve His Bad Behavior)
  • Community Bands Together to Save Husky in City Sewer: Click “Next” below!

    J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
    Whizzco for FAP