Ear mites (otodectic mange) are the most common cause of ear disorders in young dogs and puppies. As the mites set up housekeeping inside a dog's tender ears, they pierce the flesh, causing intense itching and irritation. Ear mites are highly contagious and when an infestation occurs, your dog's ears may develop a thick brown crusty discharge, resembling coffee grounds. Some natural remedies may offer relief.
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Remove the Wax
The thick discharge in the dog's ears provides a hiding place for ear mites, so removing it is the first line of attack. Insert a dropper-full of mineral oil or baby oil in each of the dog's ears and allow a few hours for it to soften and loosen the wax from the flesh. Combine ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar and allow the solution to reach room temperature before gently dribbling approximately 1 tablespoon into each ear with a dropper or a bulb syringe. Carefully wipe away the waxy debris with sterile cotton balls, taking care not to push any of the wax deeper into the ear canal.
Treat the Ears
When the ears are clean, you may begin the treatment to rid your dog's ear of mites and prevent a re-infestation. Oil smothers ear mites, providing a protective layer on the inner ear. A couple of drops of mineral oil or baby oil, inserted once or twice a day, may end the itching. Alternately, The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Cats and Dogs suggests crushing four garlic cloves and soaking them in olive oil for at least 10 hours before straining and using in place of the baby oil. Repeat daily treatments until the dog's ears appear healthy and he is no longer scratching. It may take up to three weeks to eradicate all the ear mites.
Treat all your pets at the same time and keep your dog's living area and sleeping area clean. Mites pass easily from pet to pet, so treating all household animals at the same time lessens the risk of another bout of ear mites. Change your dog's bedding every few days.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.