What Do Ear Mites Look Like?

can you see ear mites in dogs

Although ear mites are not as dangerous to your pet as ticks or heartworms, they can still make their life extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous. If your pup has ear mites, it’s most likely to be a young dog who is free-roaming and has access to the outside. According to research, up to 25% of pet cats and 6.7% of pet dogs are infested with ear mites.

A dog scratching its ears and head shaking is not uncommon. However, if you notice your pet doing this more frequently than usual, it may be a sign of an ear mite infestation.

Because it is more likely for dogs to have ear mites than humans when it comes to parasites, although ear mites are not the most common cause of canine ear infections, they are widely believed.

Continue reading to learn more about recognizing the warning signs, causes, and treatments for ear mites.

What Are Ear Mites?

mild ear mites in dogs

Arachnid-like creatures known as ear mites live in your pet’s ears and feed on his blood and the ear canal’s tissue to stay alive. Ear mites also feed on ear wax and skin oils that accumulate in the ear canal.

When the mites reach adulthood, they can reproduce, which leads to an increase in the number of mites. Adult mites typically live for about two months, but they can quickly multiply, with eggs hatching in just four days and adult mites maturing in just three weeks. In most cases, an animal will have ear mites in both ears simultaneously, even if only one ear is infected. Fear of the spread of mites to humans is a common concern. However, this isn’t true. Ear mites can only be transferred between cats, dogs, and ferrets. They can also not survive for long periods without a host.

What Does the Appearance of Ear Mites Look like in Ear Canal?

As microscopic and contagious as tiny white dots, mites are difficult to detect with the naked eye. Although they appear to be minor, moving dots in a dog’s ear canal, their size is so tiny that an otoscope or a microscope by a veterinarian is required to detect insect infestations.

When inspecting your dog’s ears to determine whether or not they have been infected with ear mites, it is preferable to look for symptoms rather than actual ear mites in dogs.

dog's ear is red and itchy

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Ear Mite Infestation?

Your pup’s ears will itch if they have an ear mite infection, and they may shake their heads or scratch their ears with their paws excessively. Due to the wax and ear irritation produced by ear mites, your pet’s ears may appear red and inflamed. In addition, ear mites commonly result in a dry, black discharge from the ears. There could be an odd smell as well.

The ear canal and the surrounding skin are home to ear mites. A secondary bacterial or yeast infection in your dog’s ears may also be caused by an ear mite infection, which can worsen your dog’s symptoms of ear mites.

It’s essential to get your dog checked out by a vet because ear mites are difficult to spot with the naked eye. If you don’t take your dog to the vet, you’re more likely to misdiagnose your dog’s problem and treating ear mites incorrectly for weeks, which can worsen the condition.

what do ear mites look like

How Do Dogs Catch Ear Mites?

Ear mites are spread by direct physical contact between infected animals, known as “hosts.” In addition, infected pets can spread ear mites to other pets and humans through contact with the infected pet’s environment.

When your pet walks through areas with a lot of grass or trees, they may pick up the infection. It’s also possible that if your cat or dog comes into contact with an infected animal on the street, at a grooming salon, or in kennels, they’ll get ear mites. This is because they are so easily transmitted between animals.

Ear mite infestations are more common in puppies. This is because mites can spread from one puppy to another through play and socialization, or they can be brought into the home on the pet’s clothing or bedding. In addition, the dogs ear mites can switch hosts because pups enjoy playing together easily.

What Treatment Is There for Ear Mites in Dogs?

Ear mites, a common parasite in dogs and cats, are relatively easy to treat.

One of the easiest ways to keep your pet free of tiny parasites is to use a spot-on flea treatment that also treat dog ear mites. There is usually no need for more than one or two applications, and they are much less stressful for both your pup and yourself than traditional ear drops.

Although spot-on treatments are the most common, ear drops are also offered. However, as parasite eggs take 21 days to develop into adult mites, some of these treatments require at least three weeks’ treatment. Therefore, you must adhere to your doctor’s instructions when using these treatments. Alternatively, stronger topical medications can be used for as little as 10 to 14 days and are more effective at killing eggs and mites and the infection they cause.

Your cat or dog may require additional treatment if excessive scratching has damaged the skin around its ears. Once again, this may include oral and topical antibiotics, which should be taken as prescribed. Sometimes, a cone collar might be necessary to keep your dog from further damage to their ears.

It’s also best to always seek the advice of your veterinarian before administering any medication.

what does an ear mite look like

Is It Possible to Keep Ear Mites Away from My Pet?

You can prevent ear mites with topical prescription treatments, some of which also protect your dog from flea infestations. Veterinarians also recommend that you clean your pet’s ears with a soft, damp cloth regularly to keep these highly annoying tiny pests away. Therefore you’ll be able to catch any mites before they have a chance to spread and become a problem for your pet by using this technique.


Since ear mites are difficult to see without a microscope, detecting mild or early stages of ear mites in dogs can be difficult. You may notice itchy or irritated ears as the first symptom. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out possible causes of your dog’s ear discomfort besides ear mites.

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