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How to Tell if Your Dog Has Ear Mites—And How to Get Rid of Them

Reader's Digest Logo By Corey Whelan of Reader's Digest | Slide 1 of 11: Ear mites are teeny, tiny parasites that live on or under the skin of the outer ear. Ear mites in dogs are most likely the type called otodectes cynotis. Like all mites, otodectes cynotis are a type of arachnid—in fact, they look like tiny spiders. Otodectes cynotis feed on ear wax and oil. They do not burrow deeply into the inner ear, which makes them easier to treat, but they do have the ability to make your dog extremely uncomfortable. Another potential offender is the demodex mite. Unlike otodectes cynotis, demodex live outside the ear, in hair follicles and oil glands. The good news is that most dogs that have healthy immune systems are resistant to demodex. Cleaning your dog's ears regularly can help you to notice and treat ear mites before they get too bad.

What are ear mites?

Ear mites are teeny, tiny parasites that live on or under the skin of the outer ear. Ear mites in dogs are most likely the type called otodectes cynotis. Like all mites, otodectes cynotis are a type of arachnid—in fact, they look like tiny spiders. Otodectes cynotis feed on ear wax and oil. They do not burrow deeply into the inner ear, which makes them easier to treat, but they do have the ability to make your dog extremely uncomfortable.

Another potential offender is the demodex mite. Unlike otodectes cynotis, demodex live outside the ear, in hair follicles and oil glands. The good news is that most dogs that have healthy immune systems are resistant to demodex. Cleaning your dog's ears regularly can help you to notice and treat ear mites before they get too bad.

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