Of the handful of ear mite species, the Otodectes cynotis, according to PetEducation.com, is the type most likely to affect dogs. Ear mites infest a pet's ear canal and are serious if left untreated. Severe damage to the ear drums and ear canal can occur, resulting in deafness. A range of commercial products containing insecticide can be used to treat mites, but for those who prefer a more natural approach, a tried-and-true home preparation is available.
Ear mites are highly transmittable and therefore can move from animal to animal through direct contact or via human beings who carry the mite. Mites can latch on to other parts of an animal's body. A dog or cat that has mites exhibits constant scratching of the ears and head shaking--and a black discharge and redness within the ear.
Relieve the Discomfort
In a natural approach to treatment, the ears are first cleaned to relieve the pain. An eyedropper is used to squeeze a few drops of vegetable oil into the pet's ear. Pet owners are instructed to hold the animal's head still so that the oil can be massaged into the ear canal, otherwise the dog or cat will immediately shake his head and expel the oil. Massaging the ear serves to break up any impacted mite debris, which can then be removed with cotton balls. Cotton swabs are tricky and can harm inner-ear structures, so most veterinarians counsel that it's best to avoid them.
Kill the Mites
A home preparation that kills ear mites makes use of yellow dock root extract. According to Healthy New Age and Earth Clinic, in the standard mixture, nine drops of yellow dock root extract are added to one tbsp. of water. As with the cleaning treatment, it's recommended that an eyedropper be used to introduce the herb remedy into the pet's ear, again, after which, the ear is massage thoroughly so that the dog or cat doesn't have the opportunity to shake it out. A half dropper full of of the mixture is recommended for each ear, given once every three days for a period of six weeks.
There's a second phase to the treatment regimen that begins after the yellow dock is administered. A one-half ounce of almond oil is mixed with 400 IU of vitamin E, a standard single capsule. The mixture is warmed to body temperature and applied via eyedropper into each infected ear. Pet owners should use half an eyedropper full for a single-ear dose, then massage and remove excess oil with cotton balls. Pet owners should administer the almond oil and vitamin E mixture for a period of six days, rest for three days and then repeat.
Diet and Ear Mites
According to Healthy New Age, healthy dogs and cats tend to avoid ear mites in particular and parasitic infections in general. A truly healthy diet is key to both keeping mites at bay and to aiding in the speedy recovery of those animals who get infected. For the general health of pets, it's recommended that they get concentrated, preservative-free commercial diet, such as PHD (Perfect Health Diets), or a natural raw meat diet. Garlic and brewer's yeast are particularly beneficial supplements that all dogs and cats should have in their diets.