Have you observed your dog rubbing and shaking their head more than normal? The reason might be an almost unseen insect that irritates and makes your dog extremely uncomfortable. Anthony Constantinou suggests you what to do when these unseen insects choose your dog as their host.
Ear Mites – What They Are?
Dog Ear Mites are parasites, similar to ticks that usually live in the ear canal, but, can be found on the skin as well. Ear mites more commonly occurred on cats than dogs, particularly on outdoor cats. These insects are hardly visible to the naked eye that makes them extremely contagious, hopping from dog to dog, or even from cat to dog rapidly.
Ear Mite Life Cycle
Ear mites lay eggs in the ear canal that hatch after four days and become mature in about three weeks (lay more eggs in the meantime). A mature ear mite can have a life of up to two months. They eat the skin debris, oil, and wax in ear canal of dogs. This causes anger, redness, harsh itching, and perhaps swelling – complicated more by regular scratching of the ear.
Ear Mites Symptoms in Dogs
An ear mite is an irritable small creature, so the first symptom seems to be an intense itch. You will observe your dog shaking the head or scratching their ear against the carpet.
Most common symptoms include:
- Ear scratching
- Head shaking
- Dark discharge from the infected ear
- Skin wounds around the ear
However, these are some common symptoms having relevancy with other parasitic infections, so it’s important to consult with your vet before giving any sort of treatment.
What Causes Dog Ear Mites?
Dogs will often catch ear mites from another pet either by dog or cat. These insects only live in the surroundings for a limited time and with such a little time frame at their disposal, they quickly make an unsuspecting dog become their host.
Mites move around from animal to animal, so if you have multiple pets in the family, it’s possible that once anyone of them gets ear mites, the rest will follow soon.
Ear Mites Treatment
The Vet usually performs flea and tick treatments to protect your dog from the parasites. Applying anti-parasitic medications one or two times for a few weeks is enough to get rid of the infection. Apart from medications, ear drops are also available.
Some of these need approx. three weeks of treatment since the medication cannot destroy the eggs of the parasites that take twenty-one days to grow into adult mites. Remember, if ear mites still living in your house, they can be picked up again and the life cycle started from scratch. Therefore frequent cleaning of dog’s bedding and carpets is necessary to avoid this condition.
Always maintain general cleanliness and give a healthy diet that decreases the chances of contracting mites in dogs. You can avoid high-traffic dog zones to cut the risk. Don’t forget to keep your house and pet’s place clean and safe.
Sometimes dog enthusiasts might be excited to remove any slime in the dog ears with a cotton swab, but this is quite a big mistake as they could do more damage, particularly if something is stuck in their ear. It’s always good to seek advice and leave the treatment to the vet.