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Best home remedies for ear mites in dogs

Basset hund dog with big ears advice
© Unsplash

Ear mites are a common problem for dogs, and if left untreated they can lead to permanent damage. Your vet can always advise you on what medication to use, but you can supplement they expertise with some of these proven home-made remedies for ear mites in dogs

By Ashley Murphy

What are mites?

Mites are one of the more common parasites that can live on your dog. They really like hiding in their ears, as it provides a warm, damp space perfect for breeding. If your dog has mites you'll notice a dark waxy build up in and around the ear. They'll also be shaking their heads and scratching their ears a lot.

An infestation of mites can lead to severe infections. They’re also extremely itchy, and excessive scratching can cause permanent damage in and around the ear. The trick is to clean out all the mites and any debris they leave behind. This is really important in preventing any re-infections.

Home remedies for ear mites in dogs

Green tea

Green tea works as a natural antiseptic, and so you can use it to flush out all the gunk left by the mites. Brew a cup of green tea, then once it's cooled down, apply it to the inside of your dog's ear with cotton wool. You'll also need an eyedropper or a squirty bottle to get the solution into the eye canal. Do this once a day for up to a month. Eggs will continue to hatch long after the mites have gone, so an extended treatment is the only way to prevent them from coming back.

Natural Oils

Certain natural oils can soothe and clear out your dog's ears. Some experts recommend using olive or almond oil but make sure you stay away from tea tree oil - it can be toxic for smaller dogs and puppies. Again, use cotton wool and an eye dropper to apply the oil to the infected areas. You can also crush up some garlic and let it marinate in the oil. Garlic has many amazing properties, and it will kill any bacteria left in the dog's ear. Just remember to remove the garlic from the oil before applying  - garlic is great, but too much of it will irritate your dog's skin. Apply once a day for thirty days at least.

Honey or vinegar

Two very different substances, but both do a great job of clearing out your dog's ears. Just add a few teaspoons of either in warm water, mix until dissolved, and apply with cotton wool and an eye dropper.  

 

How to clean out your dog's ears

So you've got you home remedy in hand, now it's time to get down to the dirty business of cleaning out your dog's ears!

  • Where some old clothes. Your dog is likely to squirm and fidget so you're bound to end up covered in oil or green tea.
  • You should put smaller dogs or puppies on a table to make it easier to reach them. For bigger dogs, get down on your knees so you're at their level. And you might want a spare pair of hands to help keep your dog still
  • Grasp the ear flap firmly and start applying your homemade remedy. Your dog isn't going to like how this feels so make sure you give them lots of comfort and reassurance. Speak in a soft, gentle voice. Tell them you're doing this for their own good. They won’t understand your words, but they'll certainly pick up on your emotions.
  • Start cleaning in and around the ears before dripping any of your homemade remedies into your dog's ear canal.
  • Once you've cleaned away all the gunk, apply a few drops into the ear. Do this slowly and gently, and give it a few minutes before you apply any more. A dog's ear canal is shaped like an “L” so it will take a little time for the solution to work its way through. 
  • Then start massaging the base of the ear. It should feel a bit squishy, and the idea is to circulate the lotion through the ear, making sure it gets to all of the infected areas. Your dog will probably love you for this part - mite debris causes itchiness and your dog's paws don't reach this far into their ears!
  • Let go of the ear and then dive for cover. Your dog is about to start shaking their ears and you don't want to get covered in mite gunk.
  • Then feed them a few treats for being a good girl or a good boy. They deserve it!

Mites are nasty little things and cleaning them out isn't going to pretty, but it's a job that needs to be done. The above guide will work well if you're confident enough to do it yourself. But if you're ever unsure, then contact a local vet for more advice.