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Ear Mites in Pets | Causes, Symptoms and Effective Treatments

Cat and dog on carpet


No pet should ever have to suffer the itchiness, discomfort, and irritation of ear mites. Unfortunately, ear mite infestation is a common issue that affects dogs and cats. For those of us who love and care for our furry family members, it's essential to understand the causes, symptoms, prevention measures, and effective treatments for ear mites. By familiarizing yourself with the information provided, you can keep your loving companions happy and healthy.

What are ear mites in dogs and cats?

Ear mites, scientifically known as Otodectes cynotis, are tiny parasites that infest the ears of dogs and cats. These tiny - almost microscopic - arachnids thrive in the ear canals and feed on the wax and oils found there. Ear mites are highly contagious and can easily spread from one pet to another through direct contact. While they primarily affect the ears, in severe cases, they can also infect other areas of the body.

Dog with ear held


Ear mites are extremely contagious. Your pet can get mites just from being outside, however they are more likely to pick up ear mites from direct contact with an infected animal. Ear mites can quickly transfer from one animal to another during playtime, cuddling during naps, or even while sharing bedding. Outdoor pets, especially feral cats, are more susceptible to infestation due to increased exposure to other animals with ear mites.


Sometimes the problem is first identified as, or even mistaken for a regular ear infection. To learn more, check out this blog about signs and symptoms of Dog & Cat Ear Infections.

2. How do I know if my cat or dog has ear mites?

Ear mite infestations can cause various symptoms in dogs and cats. Recognizing these symptoms is crucial for early detection and treatment. Some common signs of an infestation of ear mites in pets include:

Excessive Scratching: Dogs and cats with ear mites often scratch their ears, head, or neck vigorously, sometimes to the point of causing injury. If you notice your pet constantly scratching their ears, or tilting or frequently shaking their head, it could be a sign of ear mite infestation. Your pet may also rub their ears against objects or furniture attempting to find relief from the itch. 

Ear Discharge: Ear mites can cause a dark, crumbly or waxy discharge that resembles coffee grounds, as well as excessive ear wax. You may notice this debris in your pet's ear canals or on their bedding.

Redness and Irritation: Infected pets may display signs of ear inflammation, redness, and irritation. The ear canals may appear swollen, and your pet may show sensitivity or pain when you touch their ears. Dogs may be irritable or have behavior changes.

Puppy scratching his ear outside

Strong Odor: Ear mite infestations can lead to secondary bacterial or yeast infections, resulting in a foul odor emanating from your pet's ears. If you detect an unpleasant smell, it could be time to have your pet's ears examined by a veterinarian.

Hair Loss and Sores: In severe cases, ear mite in pets can cause hair loss and the development of sores around the ears. These symptoms may indicate a more advanced infestation that requires immediate veterinary attention.

3. How do I get rid of ear mites?

As ear mites are one of the biggest culprits of mange and ear infections, avoiding and treating ear mites in pets should be a top priority. Treating ear mite infestations involves a multi-step approach to eliminate the parasites and provide relief for your pet.

Here are some effective ear mite treatment options commonly used:

Prescription Medications: Your veterinarian will prescribe appropriate antiparasitic medications to target the ear mites. These may include ear drops, topical solutions, or oral medications. Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding dosage and administration.

Natural Medication: You can also take your pet to a homeopathic or holistic vet. They can prescribe a number of natural medications, home remedies or supplements such as our natural ear mite medication. Many of these options will provide fast and effective relief without side-effects.

Secondary Infection Treatment: Additional treatments such as antibiotics or antifungal medications may be necessary if your pet develops a secondary infection due to ear mite infestation. Your veterinarian will assess the extent of the infection and provide appropriate treatment options.

4. Home Remedies for treating ear mites

To achieve the best outcome when treating cat and dog ear infections, it is important to start as soon as you notice symptoms.  For faster results, you can use natural home remedies along side with more conventional treatments.  Home remedies are often gentler on the animal's system and many of us have these already in our kitchen.  

Common treatments home remedies for ear mites in pets include: 

Olive Oil - Cleaning the ear with olive oil may smother the mites, and it also loosens the debris to make it easier to clean away. Mites hatch every 4 days, so do this every 3 days for 2 weeks to get rid of them. 


Garlic Oil - Mites are known to hate sulphur, therefore the sulphur in garlic oil make a good anti-parasitic remedy. It can also help with secondary issues such as bacterial infections or fungus.

Cat getting ears cleaned

• Green Tea - Green tea is a great natural antiseptic to clean the ears and get rid of mites. Boil 8 oz of water and add two green tea bags, let the tea steep and cool off. Using a dropper, put 3-4 drops of tea into each ear canal, then massage the ears gently. Then, dip a cotton ball into the tea and wipe the ears. 

5. How are ear mites in pets prevented?

Taking proactive steps can help prevent ear mites in your dogs and cats. Regularly inspect your pet's ears for any signs of infestation or ear mite symptoms. Also be sure to check your cat or dog for signs of mange on your pets coat or other parts of the body as it can spread to the ears. Here are some other ways to help prevent ear mites in cats and dogs:

Ear Cleanings: Regular ear cleanings are crucial to removing debris, wax, and mites from the ear canals. Be gentle during the cleaning process to avoid causing discomfort or injury to your pet.

Environmental Control: To prevent re-infestation, it's important to clean and treat your pet's environment. Wash bedding, toys, and other items your pet comes into contact with using hot water and pet-safe detergent. Vacuum carpets and upholstery to remove any potential mites or eggs. Prevent ear mites by keeping your pet's living area clean and free from potential sources of infestation.

Education and Awareness: Educate yourself and others about ear mites in pets. Share information about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for ear mites in dogs and cats. By increasing awareness, you can help other pet parents identify and address ear mite infestations early on. If other pet parents prevent ear mites in their own pets, it is less likely that it will spread to yours.

Regular Grooming: Grooming your dog or cat can play a significant role in preventing ear mite infestations as well as detecting and relieving mange. Regular grooming can help you spot any changes to your pet's skin such as lesions, dry flaky skin, bumps and rashes. Brushing your pet's fur helps to remove dirt, debris, and potential mites that may have latched onto their fur during outdoor playtime. Additionally, it promotes good circulation and a healthy coat, reducing the risk of skin issues that may attract ear mites.

Adorable kitten looking at camera

Dietary Considerations: A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining your pet's overall health, including their immune system. As ear mites are more likely to infect animals with a weaker immune system, maintaining a strong and healthy immune system can help your dog or cat fend off various infections, including ear mite infestations. BestLife4Pets Immune Boost Remedy for Dogs or Cats can strengthen your pet's natural defenses so their body is not hospitable to mites, therefore preventing infestation.

Precautions for Multi-Pet Households: If you have multiple pets in your household, it's important to realize how contagious mites are. Even if only one pet shows symptoms of ear mites, examining and treating all pets is essential to prevent the infestation from spreading. Being proactive and working to get rid of any ear mites at the first sign is the best way to help prevent ear mite infestations in pets.


Many pet parents have had great success treating ear infections and ear mites with BestLife4Pets remedies. Since most dogs and cats are quick to run and hide just at the sight of ear drops as well as most prescribed meds, treating ear mites in dogs and cats with BestLife4Pets tiny, oral tasteless pills is the perfect natural alternative to hard to administer topical treatments or medications.

If your dog or cat is afflicted with an ear infection due to mites (or any other reason), BestLife4Pets Ear Infection Treatment for Dogs and Cats is a great remedy to put your pet on the road to recovery and get them feeling like their normal playful self again!

Ear mites in pets can also turn into mange, and mange can spread to the ears causing painful ear infections. It is important to treat both issues at the same time to prevent the problem from getting worse.

Made from select plants and minerals, BestLife4Pets Mange Relief Remedy for Cats and BestLife4Pets Mange Relief Remedy for Dogs are specially formulated to ease the symptoms of mange in dogs and cats.


Keep your four legged friends free of mite infestations

We never want to see our furry friends suffer. Ear mites in pets are a bothersome and uncomfortable problem for dogs and cats. However, armed with knowledge about the causes, symptoms, effective treatments, and preventive measures, you can take the necessary steps to address and prevent ear mite infestations.

By understanding the importance of regular ear inspections, maintaining good hygiene and cleanliness, avoiding direct contact with infested animals, practicing proper grooming and bathing routines, you can protect your cat or dog from troubles of ear mite infestations.

If you suspect your pet has ear mites or if they are exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult with your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and seek appropriate treatment. The sooner that you spot the problem, the faster you can get your pet back to feeling great!

If you are interested in natural treatments to help your dog and cat thrive, check out the health solutions available for your pets from BestLife4Pets. Contact us if you have any questions or want to learn more about how to keep your pet healthy.

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