Guys, we NEED to talk about ear mites.
Why, Gawd, Whyyy?
Well because they are the leading cause of ear infections in dogs and cats.
Ear mites are pretty common, so don’t feel bad if your pet has them. It can happen to the best of us. We’ve created this guide of all you need to know about ear mites, so you can help your little fur-babe out. This is vitally important, if left untreated they can actually lead to partial or complete hearing loss and a slew of other issues.
So what are ear mites?!
Ear mites are parasites that live mostly in the ear canal. Medically known as “Otodectes cynotis” (or in rabbits and horses known as “Psoroptes cunicul”). They are tiny spider-like creatures that feed on dead skin cells and ear debris. They’re basically microscopic spider-zombies. They infect cats more frequently but dogs are definitely susceptible! Especially younger dogs, puppies and dogs with weakened immune systems.
They CAN spread to other areas of the body if it gets really bad or depending on how your pet sleeps. It’s best if you suspect your pet has ear mites that you take them to the vet and get a proper diagnosis. Leave it to the professionals!
“Fun” Facts about ear mites:
- They’re hard to see with the naked eye
- Ear Mite Treatment can take approximately 3-4 weeks
- It’s rare for humans to contract ear mites, but so easy for other animals
- From eggs to adult, it’s 21 days, in that period of time your pets can have hundreds to thousands of mites in their body. AHHHH!!!!!!!!
How to tell if your cat (or dog) has ear mites:
(Cat’s face removed to reduce shame)
- Excessive ear scratching
- Fresh or dried blood in the ear canal, it may have a coffee ground type appearance
- Small white dots can be ACTUAL LIVE mites (Guys this is NO joke!)
- Dizziness/Loss of balance
- A lopsided appearance–pet favoring one ear
- Unpleasant odor
If those symptoms sound familiar, don’t worry we got your back!
If you have multiple pets, you’ll need to quarantine the infected one. I don’t want to sound the alarms, but this is serious business. With cat (or dog) ear mites, even casual contact can lead to infestation. Make sure you treat all ears, even if you don’t suspect an infection. It can’t hurt and WILL save you the hassle or reoccurring mites. Wash ALL bedding to keep this nightmare from spreading. It’s like lice for the ears. While they can’t fly, they can crawl … quickly!
Speaking of washing bedding …
You’ll want to do a thorough cleaning to avoid those trouble makers from coming back and setting up shop in your pet’s precious ears … AGAIN!
Ear mites can live 4-6 days without feeding on a host. Since they’re microscopic they can be living in your carpet or on your couch. Plus pets are extremely like to be shedding these tiny nightmares if they have an outbreak. O … M … G!
Don’t panic, just follow these simple steps …
1. Remove your pet’s bedding from carpeting (and burn it … just kidding …kind of!) and wash it on the hottest setting possible using regular laundry detergent.
2. Vacuum any rugs or carpet EXTREMELY thoroughly. Guys, these are tiny arachnids we are dealing with! Make sure no carpeted surface goes un-vaccumed!
3. Sprinkle … a flea killing powder (they don’t discriminate, they’ll kill ear mites too) on the carpet. Follow directions on the label for how long to let it sit. This one from Harris is our favorite since it’s safe for human-kids and fur-kids!
4. Vacuum carpets AGAIN, tedious we know, but this way you can ensure these devil bugs don’t return!
5. Then in TWO WEEKS repeat this cycle again. UGH, we feel for you, we do, we are here to support you! We know it’s not ideal. Hugs, you’ll get through this!
Now for the infected pet …
1. Gently clean those cat and dog ears. This is the key to saving your sanity, money and protecting your pet against ear mites by removing them before they can lay eggs and become a really big problem.
2. After you have cleared out the debris. Use an over the counter pet ear cleaner. No need to shower those fraidy cats. HUZZAH! Follow the instructions on the bottle, but typically it’s just a few drops in the ear then the pet shakes their head and all of that mess comes flying out. It’s pretty magical!
3. Then give that sweet pet an ear massage. You guys have been through a lot together but this will also help get the ear cleaner deep into the inner ear canal … and it reassures your pet that they’re going to be a-ok! Win FOR EVERYONE!
If you haven’t read our more in depth guide to cleaning your pet’s ears you can here.
Pro Tip: Make sure you do this outside to keep mites from spreading. Also who wants ear goop all over their home?!
Another Pro Tip: Most pet ear cleaners you find on the market suffer from one major flaw … they can cause more irritation due to harsh chemicals. They can dry out the already over-sensitive ear canal and cause more problems later on.
So you still end up with the symptoms. Which is no bueno!
Be diligent and if you want an effective, easy peasy way to help rid ear mites. We may be a tad bit biased, but this is EXACTLY why we created our ear cleaner that is getting rave reviews.
Introducing Oxyfresh Pet Ear Cleaner with Oxygene.
Vet recommended no-alcohol solution
that works FAST to remove ear mites.
May the force be with you … ALWAYS!