Dog Ear Mites vs Ear Wax

Ear mites and ear wax are two common issues that can affect your dog’s ears, but it’s important to know the difference between the two as they require different treatment approaches.

Dog ear mites vs ear wax

How to tell if my dog has ear mites or just ear wax

Signs of Ear Mites in Dogs Signs of Ear Wax in Dogs
Excessive scratching or pawing at the ear Occasional scratching or pawing at the ear
Dark, waxy or crumbly discharge from the ear Yellow or brown wax buildup
Redness or swelling in the ear No redness or swelling in the ear
Unpleasant odor from the ear No unpleasant odor
Shaking or tilting head frequently Occasional head shaking or tilting
Pain when touched or handled near the ear No pain when touched near the ear

As a dog owner, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of ear mites versus just a build-up of ear wax. Ear mites can cause a lot of discomfort and pain for your furry friend, so catching them early is crucial. On the other hand, ear wax is a normal occurrence and is easily treatable.

If your dog is constantly scratching or pawing at their ear, it could be a sign of ear mites. Another red flag is if you notice a dark, waxy, or crumbly discharge coming from their ear. This is a definite sign that something is not right.

If you also notice redness or swelling in the ear, that’s another clue that your dog may be suffering from ear mites. Additionally, an unpleasant odor coming from the ear is also a sign that something is wrong. If your dog is shaking or tilting their head frequently, it could also be a sign that they’re experiencing discomfort in their ear.

On the other hand, if you just notice yellow or brown wax buildup in your dog’s ear, it’s most likely just a case of ear wax. Ear wax is normal, and it’s something that dogs produce to help protect their ear canal. If you just notice occasional scratching or pawing at the ear, or if your dog doesn’t seem to be in pain when you touch near their ear, it’s most likely just a build-up of ear wax.

In conclusion, if you’re unsure whether your dog has ear mites or just ear wax, keep an eye out for these signs. If you notice any of the signs of ear mites, it’s best to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. On the other hand, if you just notice ear wax, you can clean your dog’s ears at home with a gentle cleaning solution.

What do ear mites look like in dogs?

As a pet owner, it’s important to know what ear mites look like in dogs. These tiny parasites can cause a lot of discomfort for your furry friend and can quickly spread to other pets in your household if not treated promptly.

Ear mites in dogs look like tiny white or gray specks that can be seen when you examine the inside of your dog’s ear flap. They look a lot like salt or sugar grains, and they are often moving around. You may also notice your dog scratching their ears more frequently or shaking their head. This is because the mites are causing itching and discomfort.

In some cases, you may also see dark, crusty material in the ear canal. This is dried blood and earwax caused by the mites burrowing into the skin and causing irritation. If left untreated, the ear can become infected, leading to an odor and discharge.

To confirm if your dog has ear mites, you can take a sample of the material from the ear canal and examine it under a microscope. This is the best way to definitively diagnose ear mites, as it’s possible for other conditions to cause similar symptoms.

It’s best to have your dog checked by a veterinarian if you suspect they have ear mites. Treatment typically involves medicated ear drops or topical ointments that will kill the mites and relieve itching. Your vet may also prescribe antibiotics if there is an infection present.

In conclusion, ear mites in dogs look like tiny white or gray specks in the ear canal, along with signs of itching and discomfort. If you suspect your dog has ear mites, have them checked by a vet as soon as possible to get the right treatment.

How can I treat my dog’s ear mites without going to the vet?

One option is to use a commercial ear mite treatment product specifically designed for dogs. These can be purchased at a pet store or online and usually come in the form of drops or a solution that is applied directly to the ear. It’s important to follow the instructions on the packaging carefully to ensure proper application and avoid harming your dog.

  1. Zymox Pet King Brand Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone
  2. Otomite Plus Ear Mite Treatment
  3. Hartz Ultraguard Ear Mite Treatment For Dogs
  4. Adams Ear Mite Treatment
  5. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy
  6. MISTER BEN’S Original Ear Cleaner for Dogs Care Kit
  7. VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats
  8. Virbac EPIOTIC Advanced Ear Cleanser

Another option is to use a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar as an ear rinse. Gently clean the inside of your dog’s ear with a cotton ball or pad soaked in the solution and then allow the ear to air dry. This can help to remove any excess wax and debris that may be harboring the mites.

Clean your dog’s bedding, toys, and other areas where they spend a lot of time to help prevent the spread of ear mites. Vacuum and wash these items regularly and consider using a disinfectant or parasite-killing spray.

Home remedies to get rid of ear mites in dogs

Here’s a list of the most effective ways to get rid of ear mites in dogs:

Olive oil

This natural lubricant can help soothe the itching and discomfort caused by ear mites. Simply put a few drops of warm olive oil in your dog’s ear, massage it in gently, and then clean it out with a cotton ball.

White vinegar

White vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent that can help to dry out the mites’ environment. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and use a dropper to put it in your dog’s ear. Let it sit for a few minutes and then clean it out.

Garlic and coconut oil

Garlic has antifungal and antiseptic properties, while coconut oil can help soothe the skin. Mix a few crushed garlic cloves with coconut oil and apply it to your dog’s ears. Let it sit for a few minutes and then clean it out.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is another natural cleaning agent that can help to dry out the mites’ environment. Simply squeeze a lemon and put a few drops in your dog’s ear. Let it sit for a few minutes and then clean it out.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Dilute it with a carrier oil and apply it to your dog’s ears. Let it sit for a few minutes and then clean it out.

While these remedies may be effective in getting rid of ear mites, they may not work for every dog. If your dog’s symptoms do not improve after trying these remedies, or if they have a severe case of ear mites, it’s important to consult a veterinarian for proper treatment.

What happens if ear mites in dogs go untreated?

Ear mites are a common problem in dogs and if left untreated, they can lead to a number of serious health issues. Here’s what happens if ear mites go untreated:

Pain and discomfort

Ear mites cause intense itching, which can be extremely uncomfortable for dogs. If left untreated, the itching can lead to pain and even infection.

Hearing Loss

If the ear mites are not treated, they can burrow deep into the ear canal, causing hearing loss.

Secondary infections

The constant scratching and licking can cause open sores in the ears, which are ripe for secondary bacterial infections to set in.

Chronic ear problems

If ear mites are not treated promptly, they can lead to chronic ear problems that will require ongoing treatment and management.

Spread to other animals

Ear mites are highly contagious and can spread to other dogs and even cats in your household.

What kills dog ear mites instantly?

While there are several treatments available to eliminate these pesky critters, some people are looking for a quick and effective solution to kill them instantly. Here are some options that may help:


This is a prescription medication that is commonly used to treat ear mites in dogs. It is administered as a topical treatment and works by killing the mites on contact. It is effective at eliminating mites within a few days of treatment, but it is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by your veterinarian.

Pyrethrin-based products

Pyrethrin is a natural insecticide that is derived from chrysanthemum flowers. It is available in many over-the-counter ear mite treatments for dogs, such as ear mite drops or ear mite wipes. These products work by killing the mites on contact, but they may need to be used for several days to completely eliminate the infestation.

Mineral oil

Mineral oil is a natural home remedy that can help to suffocate and kill ear mites. To use, place a few drops of mineral oil into the affected ear and massage it gently. The oil will coat the mites and block their air supply, killing them within a few hours.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help to kill ear mites. To use, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and apply it to the affected ear using a cotton ball. Be sure to use a diluted solution to avoid causing further irritation to the ear.

FAQs about dirty ear wax vs ear mites in dogs

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about dirty ear wax vs. ear mites in dogs.

What is Dirty Ear Wax in Dogs?

Dirty ear wax in dogs is a build-up of excess ear wax that hasn’t been removed. This condition is common in dogs with floppy ears, like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds. It can cause discomfort, itching, and infection if not addressed. Excess ear wax can also trap dirt, debris, and bacteria in your dog’s ear canal, leading to inflammation and irritation.

How to Clean Dirty Ear Wax in Dogs?

Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly can prevent the build-up of dirty ear wax. You can use a pet ear cleaner, which is available at most pet stores. Here’s how to clean your dog’s ears:

  • Gently lift your dog’s ear flap and fill the ear canal with the ear cleaner
  • Massage the base of your dog’s ear for 30 seconds to loosen the ear wax
  • Let your dog shake its head to expel the excess ear cleaner and wax
  • Use a cotton ball or a clean cloth to wipe away any remaining wax and debris

What are Ear Mites in Dogs?

Ear mites in dogs are tiny parasites that live in your dog’s ear canal. They feed on the skin and ear wax, causing irritation, itching, and inflammation. Ear mites can also lead to bacterial infections and hearing loss if not treated promptly. They are more common in outdoor dogs and those that live in multi-dog households.

How to Treat Ear Mites in Dogs?

Treating ear mites in dogs involves using a medicated ear cleaner and prescription ear drops from your vet. Here’s how to treat ear mites:

  • Clean your dog’s ears with a pet ear cleaner to remove any debris and wax
  • Apply the ear drops as directed by your vet
  • Massage the base of your dog’s ear for 30 seconds to distribute the medication
  • Repeat the treatment for several days or weeks, as recommended by your vet

How Often Should I Clean My Dog’s Ears?

The frequency of cleaning your dog’s ears depends on their breed, age, and activity level. Dogs that are prone to ear infections or have floppy ears may require more frequent cleaning. As a general rule, you should clean your dog’s ears once a month, but consult your vet for specific recommendations.

Can I Use Q-tips to Clean My Dog’s Ears?

No, you should never use Q-tips or cotton swabs to clean your dog’s ears. They can push the debris and wax deeper into the ear canal and cause injury to the eardrum. Use a soft cloth or cotton ball instead.

Are Ear Mites Contagious to Other Dogs or Humans?

Yes, ear mites can be contagious to other dogs and cats, but they cannot infest humans. If you have multiple pets, it’s essential to treat all of them to prevent the spread of ear mites. Wash your dog’s bedding, toys, and other items to reduce the risk of re-infestation.

What Should I Do If My Dog Has Chronic Ear Infections?

If your dog has recurrent ear infections, it’s crucial to see a vet. Chronic ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss, eardrum damage, and facial paralysis. Your vet may recommend a culture and sensitivity test to determine the underlying cause and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Can I Prevent Dirty Ear Wax or Ear Mites in My Dog?

Yes, there are several ways to prevent dirty ear wax or ear mites in your dog. Here are some tips:

  • Keep your dog’s ears clean and dry
  • Trim excess hair around the ear canal
  • Avoid exposing your dog to other animals with ear infections
  • Use a high-quality diet and supplements to boost your dog’s immune system
  • Regularly check your dog’s ears for signs of inflammation or infection.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Dog’s Ears?

If you don’t clean your dog’s ears regularly, it can lead to the build-up of dirt, debris, and ear wax. This can cause inflammation, itching, and infection, leading to more severe health issues like hearing loss and facial paralysis. Regular ear cleaning is an essential part of your dog’s overall hygiene routine.

How Do I Know if My Dog’s Ear Cleaning Solution is Safe?

When selecting an ear cleaning solution for your dog, ensure it’s specifically designed for pets and free of harsh chemicals. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or any other abrasive substances that can irritate your dog’s ears. Always read the label and follow the instructions carefully.

Can I Use Natural Remedies to Treat Ear Infections in My Dog?

While some natural remedies may help prevent ear infections, it’s essential to consult your vet before administering any treatment. Some remedies may not be suitable for your dog’s specific condition and can even make things worse. Your vet can recommend safe and effective treatment options based on your dog’s needs.

Can Ear Infections in Dogs Go Away on Their Own?

No, ear infections in dogs require prompt treatment to avoid complications. If left untreated, they can spread to the inner ear and even damage your dog’s hearing. Always seek veterinary care if you suspect your dog has an ear infection or any other ear-related issues.

Are There any Preventive Measures for Ear Mites?

Yes, some preventive measures can help reduce the risk of ear mites in your dog. Regular ear cleaning, avoiding contact with infected animals, and using topical flea and tick treatments can all help keep ear mites at bay. Be sure to consult your vet for specific recommendations based on your dog’s lifestyle and health status.

What Are Some Common Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs?

Several factors can contribute to ear infections in dogs, including allergies, moisture build-up in the ear canal, foreign objects, excessive hair in the ear canal, and trauma. Ear infections are more common in breeds with long or floppy ears, and dogs that spend a lot of time in the water or have a weakened immune system.

Can Ear Infections in Dogs Affect Their Behavior?

Yes, ear infections in dogs can cause discomfort, pain, and irritability, leading to changes in behavior. If your dog seems more agitated, lethargic, or reluctant to interact with you or other dogs, it may be a sign of an ear infection. Seek veterinary care immediately to address the issue.

Can I Use Over-the-Counter Medications to Treat Ear Infections in My Dog?

No, you should never use over-the-counter medications to treat ear infections in your dog. Some human medications, such as antibiotics or corticosteroids, can be harmful to dogs and cause adverse reactions. Always consult your vet for appropriate treatment options.

Ear Mites SOLVED Naturally!

Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to Top