What Causes Ear Mites In Dogs?

It’s great to take your pup outside and let them play with their furry fellows, but what if they get ear mites? Like many dog owners, you may be stressed about ear mites. Learning the causes of ear mites is vital to keep dogs safe and healthy.

The common causes of ear mites include poor hygiene, close contact with an infected animal, or exposure to contaminated bedding or other objects. In addition, some pets may be more prone to ear mites due to their genetics.

Ear mites are tiny parasites that can cause a lot of discomfort for your furry mate. In this post, we’ll look at what causes ear mites in your pooch and how to treat them. We’ll also discuss some of the symptoms of ear mites so that you can be sure to get your pup the treatment they need if they’re affected. But first, let’s review how dogs can get ear mites and how to tell when they have them.

How Did My Dog Get Ear Mites?

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Ear mites are usually transferred from animal to animal through direct contact or shared bedding. But in rare cases, cats can transmit ear mites too. Ear mites are parasites that live on your dog’s ear canal surface and feed off the wax, oils, and other debris.

If you suspect your furry companion may have ear mites, you should immediately take them to the vet. Now, let’s take a deeper look into the causes of ear mites in your canine!

Contact With Other Animals With Ear Mites

Ear mites are tiny, parasitic bugs that feed on the wax and oils in a dog’s ears. When a canine contacts another animal with ear mites, mites can easily spread to the other animal.

The most common way is through physical contact, such as when two dogs play together. Additionally, ear mites can jump from one animal to another if placed nearby, such as when two puppies share a bed or blanket.

Playing Outdoors

It’s crucial to keep an eye on your pup if they’re playing with other dogs in the park or at a doggy daycare center, as these environments are breeding grounds for these pests.

Your furry companion can also pick up ear mites from contaminated surfaces. For instance, suppose your pup digs in the dirt or chases a ball around. In that case, they are at risk of picking up these parasites from whatever may be lurking on the ground.

Finally, ear mites can spread through airborne particles that come into contact with your dog’s ears. This means that if your pup is running around in a heavily infested area, even direct contact may not be necessary for them to become infected.

But how would you determine if your pup is carrying ear mites? Let’s explore the symptoms!

How Can You Tell If A Dog Has Ear Mites?

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The most common sign of an ear mite infestation is intense skin irritation in the affected area. Your furball will often scratch its ears or shake its head vigorously, trying to relieve the itchiness.

Other signs include redness and inflammation in the ear, black wax build-up, dried blood, foul odor from the affected area, and sometimes even a discharge from the ear. If your pup shows any of these signs, it’s essential to take them to the vet.

We have broken down the symptoms of ear mites in your furry friend:


If your dog is scratching around their ears, head, and neck, they have ear mites. Mites cause irritation and discomfort, which leads to excessive itching.

Mites can cause painful inflammation, ear infections, and even permanent hearing loss if left untreated.

Skin Irritation

If your canine has ear mites, it can cause skin irritation leading to extreme discomfort and long-term damage. Not only this, but it can also result in inflammation and itching. In severe cases, this can also lead to infection and hearing loss due to irritation.


Furry companions with ear mites may shake their heads. This can cause pain, discomfort, and hearing loss if left untreated. Additionally, long-term infection may cause permanent damage to the middle or inner ear, resulting in deafness.

Ear Discharge

If your pooch has an ear discharge due to ear mites, it can create a foul odor. Additionally, ear discharge can lead to chronic inflammation and damage to the inner ear, which can cause permanent hearing loss. 

Since we know the symptoms, let’s go through the effects of ear mites if left untreated.

What Happens If Ear Mites Go Untreated?

If ear mites go untreated, they can cause severe damage to the ears. In pups, mites can cause a painful infection known as otitis externa or “swimmer’s ear.” The infection causes itching, redness, discharge, and sometimes even bleeding in more severe cases. 

In addition, mites can spread to the eyes and other parts of the body, causing further irritation and infection.

If left untreated, ear mites can cause permanent damage to the ears, which may require surgery or other medical intervention.

Additionally, a pet’s hearing may be permanently affected if the infection is not treated in time. Let’s look closely at the effects of ear mites if not treated:

Bacterial Infections

Ear mites can cause bacterial infections in dogs. They live in the ear canal and feed on skin cells, wax, and oils, leading to inflammation and irritation. This can create an environment ideal for bacterial growth, leading to infection. 

If a dog gets a bacterial infection, it may experience fever, loss of appetite, dehydration, and abnormal discharge from wounds or sores. Doggies may also show signs of lethargy or depression.

Ear Canal Swelling

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Ear mites can cause swollen ear canals in your pup, resulting in an uncomfortable and painful experience. Left untreated, it can permanently damage the ear tissue or cause hearing loss

In extreme cases, it can cause long-term infections or abscesses that may require surgical intervention. Swelling of the ear canal can also increase the risk of bacterial and yeast infections, foreign bodies lodged in the ear canal, and itchiness or irritation.


Ear mites commonly cause deafness in dogs because mites feed on wax and oils inside the ears. The infection can lead to inflammation and scarring, which can block sound waves from reaching the ear canal of your pooch.

In extreme cases, this can cause complete deafness in one or both ears. Deafness in dogs can lead to several other issues, including difficulty communicating with the outside world.

This can make it difficult for a dog to understand commands or recognize danger when out and about. In addition, deafness can also cause behavior problems such as barking, excessive panting, aggression, or refusal to obey commands.

But how can we prevent these pests? Let’s find out!

How Do You Prevent Ear Mites In Dogs?

The best way to prevent ear mites is to keep your doggie away from other animals with ear mites. Additionally, wash your furry friend’s bedding in hot water daily. But if you think your dog has ear mites, take them to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.

Below, we discuss each preventative method to provide a helpful overview:

Organize A Monthly Checkup

Getting your pup a monthly checkup with a vet is essential to ensure they don’t have any signs of an ear mite infection. During the appointment, vets examine your pet’s ears for signs of cleaning, wax build-up, or other signs of an ear mite infestation.

If needed, the vet can prescribe treatment for your pooch to help eliminate the infection and prevent mites from spreading. Regular checkups also allow you to keep track of any changes in your furball’s behavior that may indicate a problem.

Keep Other Animals Away

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Keeping other animals away is an essential preventative measure regarding ear mites. This means preventing your furry companion from being in contact with cats, dogs, rodents, and any other pet that could carry the parasite that causes ear mites.

Even if your furball is not exhibiting signs of infection, it can still carry the mites and spread them to other animals. Keeping your pet away from other infected animals will help reduce the chances of them getting ear mites.

Wash Bedding Regularly

Regularly washing bedding is essential to prevent ear mites, as these parasites can live in beds and mattresses. Mites thrive in warm, moist environments and feed on the oils of canines’ skin. Regularly washing bedding helps kill the pests and prevents them from reproducing.

The frequency of washing depends on how often the bed is used and whether any known ear mite infestations are present. But wash bedding every one to two weeks to prevent an infestation from occurring in the first place. When washing, use hot water and a detergent specially formulated for killing mites.

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Pete Decker