Home Remedies for Ear Mites in Dogs

If your dog is showing signs of excessive scratching, head shaking, and ear discharge, it means your pet is suffering from ear mites.

Ear mites are a common and relatively mild parasite infection in dogs. As the name suggests, ear mites are caused by mites, which are microscopic eight-legged creatures that feed on the oils and wax in your pet’s ear canal.

While many species of mites can live inside a dog’s ear, Otodectes cynotis is the most common ear mites in dogs.

Although ear mites are barely visible to the human eye, you will be able to spot them within the debris in the ear with the help of a magnifying lens.

Ear mites are common in young dogs, although it may occur at any age. They are known for being highly contagious; they are frequently passed from parent to newborn and between animals of different species. The mites also spread out to other parts of the body very quickly.

Some of the common symptoms of ear mites in dogs include itching of the ears, head, and neck; excessive scratching at the ears and the around head; frequently shaking the head; thick red-brown or black crusts in the outer ear; coffee-ground-like bumps in the ear canal; abrasions and scratches on the back side of the ears; crusting and scaling on the neck, rump, and tail; and strong odor coming from the ear.

Ear mites in dogs should not be taken lightly and should be treated immediately. Delay in treatment can cause hearing loss and other serious complications.

home remedies for ear mites in dogs

Here are some home remedies for ear mites in dogs. Needless to say, you will also need to visit your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

1. Mineral Oil

Mineral oil, an odorless and colorless oil extracted from petroleum, is a good remedy for treating ear mites in dogs as well as cats.

It smothers and kills the parasites living inside your dog’s ears. In an ear mite infection, earwax and debris can accumulate and clog the dog’s ear canal, which may impair its hearing. Mineral oil helps dissolve the clogging.

A 2014 study reports that mineral-oil based ointments have some apparent effect against ear mites in cats as well as dogs.[1]

Dab a clean cotton ball in mineral oil and use it to clean your dog’s ear flaps. Do this treatment twice a week for one month.

2. White Vinegar

Another good remedy for dog ear mites is vinegar.

The acidic nature of vinegar helps remove dirt and debris left behind by the ear mites, thus maintaining a healthy equilibrium in the ears. It even prevents any kind of ear infection from spreading.

A 2010 study published in the Hearing Journal reports that white vinegar helps create an environment in the ear canal where pathogens (bacteria, fungus) cannot live.[2]

  1. Dilute 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of warm water.
  2. Pour half of the mixture into the ear and massage gently.
  3. Soak cotton balls in the remaining solution.
  4. Use the cotton balls to wipe the inside of the dog’s ear.
  5. Do this once in a day for at least a week to naturally treat ear mites in dogs.

Note: Do not use vinegar on pets with sores or lesions inside the ears.

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another good home remedy that can help your canine friend.

Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids and lauric acid that possess potent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal qualities. It can soothe the itch, irritation, and swelling and can aid in healing the wounds caused by the ear mites.

  1. In 1 tablespoon of melted extra virgin coconut oil, add ½ tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Mix both the oils thoroughly and then heat the mixture lightly.
  3. With the help of a dropper, pour the oil into the ear canals of your pet.
  4. Take some of the solution and massage it into the earlobes and other affected areas.
  5. Repeat the process regularly for a few weeks.

4. Neem Oil

Neem, or Indian lilac, has varied dermatological benefits for pets.

The reason why neem oil works effectively in ear mites is due to its antiparasitic properties. Its active biochemical compounds are known to exhibit antifungal, antibacterial, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Neem oil even helps in soothing the inflamed and irritated skin region.

  1. Mix 4–5 drops of neem oil with 1 tablespoon of warm grapeseed oil.
  2. Put a few drops of the solution into both the ear canals using an ear dropper.
  3. Also, soak a cotton ball with the oil solution and apply it to the external areas of the ears.
  4. Massage the ears gently for a few minutes.
  5. Repeat the treatment every night for a week.

5. Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth, a nontoxic powder consisting of ground fossils, marine life, and freshwater organisms, can help kill ear mites and prevent an infestation.

The sharp particles of diatomaceous earth can penetrate the skin of the mites and ultimately kill them. But as the food-grade diatomaceous earth cannot destroy the eggs, it is important to continue this treatment for at least a month in order to break the breeding cycle and prevent new eggs from being laid.

  • Add a pinch of food-grade diatomaceous earth to your dog’s ears once a day, every day for a period of one month.
  • To control the infestation, put some food-grade diatomaceous earth powder in the areas where your pet spends the most time. Allow it to sit for about 12 hours, and then vacuum the area thoroughly. Repeat the process once a week for 2 to 3 weeks. Keep your pet away from the area until you vacuum.

6. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is effective in treating many skin problems, both in animals and humans. You can use it to repel ear mites in dogs.

The potent antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities of tea tree oil come from the active compound terpinene-4-ol, and this helps in killing the mites.

Tea tree oil soothes the inflammation and irritated skin and also prevents infections from developing in the bitten areas.

  1. Add 4–5 drops of tea tree oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil, such as olive or coconut oil.
  2. Gently apply the solution in the ears and massage the area.
  3. Let the dog shake off its head.
  4. Repeat the process every other day for 4 weeks.

Note: As even the diluted form of tea tree oil may cause allergic reactions in some breeds of dogs, always do a patch test first. Also, make sure your dog does not ingest it orally as it could be dangerous.

7. Yellow Dock Root Extract

Yellow dock root has been used since ancient times to treat various skin problems in both humans and pets. It helps in treating ear mite infections in dogs.

Also, yellow dock root provides quick relief from itchiness that your pet may be suffering due to ear mites. It can prevent any kind of infection caused by ear mites.

  1. Put 8–10 drops of yellow dock root extract in 1 tablespoon of warm water and mix properly.
  2. Pour 2–3 drops of the mixture into the dog’s ear using a dropper.
  3. Use the remaining solution to massage the dog’s ear gently.
  4. Do this every other day for a few weeks.

Note: Avoid this remedy if your dog is pregnant or suffering from intestinal bleeding problems, diarrhea, vomiting, or cramping.

8. Maintain Hygiene

Just getting rid of the pesky parasites is not enough. You need to take steps so that the parasites don’t strike back again. For this, maintaining a good hygiene regime for your dog is a must.

  • Clean the dog’s ears at least once every month. Take steps to discourage the presence and breeding of ear mites in dogs.
  • In addition to the ears of your pet, you must regularly clean your dog’s cage, bedding, and food bowl with hot water and soap. Better yet, mix 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide in 4 cups of water. Add 3 heaping tablespoons of borax to the solution. Add some more water if needed and then use it to wash the bedding, toys, and any washable item used by your pet.
  • Give regular bath to your dog. Try to bathe your dog at least thrice a week to get rid of the live bugs hiding in the skin and ears of your pet. A warm shower and the use of shampoo can prevent the spread of the infestation to other parts of the dog’s body.
  • Wash items like pet bedding in hot water, and then run them through a hot dryer until they are completely dry.
  • Thoroughly vacuum areas where pets spend a lot of time.

Additional Tips

  • While cleaning the ear of your pet, don’t use any tools. Be gentle, and clean the outside of the ear canal only.
  • Each day, apply aloe vera gel to the inside of your dog’s ears.
  • All animals in a household must be treated for ear mites, even if only one or two have symptoms of an active infection.
  • Continue to check your dog’s ears regularly for signs of ear mites or other problems.


  1. Otodectes cynotis. American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists. http://www.aavp.org/wiki/arthropods/arachnids/astigmata/otodectes-cynotis/