Itchy Scratchy. How to tell a an itch from an ear mite

When that scratch behind the ear is more serious than an itch, it’s time to visit the vet. Sorry pooch.


Ear mites are common but hard to diagnose at home as they’re almost invisible to the naked eye. Prevention is better than cure – keeping up with your flea treatment schedule should help stop your dog catching the critters. But what do you do if it’s too late for that?


What are they?

Microscopic bugs that live in the ear canal and feed off wax and oil. Nice, right? They don’t live long but they can multiply quickly and cause real problems.


What to look for

Furry friend shaking their head a lot, or scratching more than usual? Ear mites will make them itch like crazy and can cause your dog’s ears to look inflamed. Sometimes you’ll notice a black discharge and unusual smell, but the only way to tell for sure is a trip to the vets.


Don’t try to treat ear mites without confirmation from your vet as it’s difficult to know for sure and you could risk another disease getting out of hand.


Are they contagious?

Extremely – that’s how your dog will catch them in the first place. They’re more common in cats so if your dog has a feline friend they’re close to, that could be the cause. Treat every animal in your house at the same time to avoid contamination…


And while very rare, dog owners can sometimes develop a rash when their dog has ear mites. Seek medical attention if this happens to you.


How can I fix it?

Plenty of flea treatments treat and prevent ear mites, so try to keep track of your flea-treatment schedule – PoochPlay can help you stay on top of this. Protect your pet from parasites with topical treatments that will cause you both less hassle than ear drops.


In more severe cases, your vet will prescribe ear drops, as medication can’t kill the eggs of mites. It’s absolutely essential you use  the whole course of these. Topical treatments are usually much stronger and kill the eggs too, including medication to treat infection.


The best way to avoid ear mites is to stick to a strict parasite treatment schedule. Your PoochPlay Personal Assistant will send you reminders when it’s time for a dose, helping you keep your dog’s ears free of mites – so the only scratch they’ll get is one behind the ear, not inside.