| Pet Care Advice By Veterinarians |

Do Dog Ear Mites Affect Humans?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

Learn more about us.

Ear mites are tiny parasites that primarily infest the ears of animals, particularly dogs. They can cause discomfort and inflammation, often leading to ear infections if left untreated.

But can these pesky parasites also affect humans? It’s a question many pet owners ask, especially when their furry friends are suffering from an ear mite infestation.

In this article, we delve into the subject of ear mites in dogs and their potential impact on human health.

Key Takeaway

  • Ear mites in dogs are tiny parasites that infest the ears, causing itching, irritation, and the presence of dark, crumbly discharge.
  • Dog ear mites can affect humans, but it is relatively rare and typically causes temporary discomfort.
  • The symptoms of ear mites in dogs include itching, scratching, head shaking, dark discharge from the ears, skin irritation, and hair loss.

What Are Ear Mites In Dogs

Do Dog Ear Mites Affect Humans

Ear mites in dogs are tiny, highly contagious parasites that mainly inhabit the ear canals and surrounding skin of your canine friend.

Known scientifically as Otodectes cynotis, these parasites belong to the Psoroptidae family and are closely related to ticks and spiders, all being arachnids.

They can cause significant discomfort for your dog, leading to symptoms like persistent ear scratching, head shaking, and sometimes even scabs or abrasions at the base of the ear due to intense scratching.

As for their effect on humans, while it’s possible for dog ear mites to transfer to humans, such instances are quite rare.

In the few cases where this occurs, the mites don’t survive for long due to the differences between human and dog skin.

However, during their short lifespan on human skin, they can cause itchiness and discomfort.

Therefore, it’s essential for dog owners to ensure their pets are regularly checked and treated for ear mites to maintain the health and comfort of both their pets and themselves.

Do Dog Ear Mites Affect Humans?

Yes, dog ear mites can affect humans, but this occurrence is relatively rare. These tiny parasites, primarily found in the ears of dogs, can technically transfer to humans.

When this happens, they may cause temporary discomfort and itching as they crawl on the skin. However, ear mites are not adapted to live on human skin for long periods, so any infestation is usually short-lived.

Despite the low risk, it’s still vital to regularly check your pets for signs of ear mites and get them treated promptly if you notice any symptoms.

This not only helps to protect your pet’s health but also minimizes the chances of the mites spreading to humans in the household.

What Are The Symptoms of Ear Mites In Dogs?

The most common symptoms associated with ear mites in dogs are:

Persistent Scratching and Head Shaking

One of the first signs you may notice is that your dog is constantly scratching at their ears or shaking their head. The mites cause irritation and itchiness, leading to these behaviors.

Dark Discharge from the Ears

Ear mites often produce a dark, crumbly discharge in the dog’s ears that looks similar to coffee grounds. This discharge is a combination of mite waste products and debris from the inflammation caused by the mites.

Redness and Inflammation

The constant scratching and the presence of mites can cause the skin inside and around the ear to become red and inflamed. This inflammation can be quite painful for the dog.

Unpleasant Odor

In severe cases, an unpleasant odor may emanate from the dog’s ears. This can be due to secondary bacterial or yeast infections caused by the mite infestation.

Changes in Behavior

Due to the discomfort and pain caused by ear mites, you might notice changes in your dog’s behavior. They may become more irritable, anxious, or less active than usual.

How Did My Dog Get Ear Mites?

Your dog could have contracted ear mites through direct contact with another animal that is infested with the mites.

These parasites are highly contagious and can easily transfer between animals during social interactions, play, or shared sleeping areas.

In addition to direct contact with an infested animal, dogs can also get ear mites from their environment.

This could be from places where infested animals have been, such as pet stores, kennels, animal shelters, or outdoor areas. These environments may harbor the mites or their eggs, leading to a new host’s infestation.

It’s also worth noting that puppies and kittens are more prone to ear mite infestations due to their immature immune systems.

However, dogs of any age can get ear mites if they are exposed to the right conditions. Therefore, regular checks and good hygiene practices are essential in preventing ear mite infestations in your pets.

Where Do Dog Ear Mites Come From

Dog ear mites, known as Otodectes cynotis, are most commonly contracted through direct contact with another infested animal.

This could be another dog, a cat, or other pets that have an active ear mite infestation. They can quickly pass between animals when they interact, play, or share spaces.

In addition to direct contact with an infected animal, dogs can also pick up ear mites from contaminated environments.

Places with poor hygiene and high stress, such as pet stores, animal shelters, or outdoor environments where infested animals may have been, can potentially harbor these parasites.

Therefore, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene practices for your pets and their environments to prevent ear mite infestations.

How Are Ear Mites In Dogs Diagnosed?

Ear mites in dogs are diagnosed through a combination of physical examination and diagnostic testing. Here’s a closer look at how this process typically unfolds.

Physical Examination

The first step in diagnosing ear mites is a thorough physical examination by a veterinarian. The vet will typically examine your dog’s ears for signs of irritation, inflammation, or the presence of the telltale dark, crumbly discharge that ear mites often cause.

They may also check for signs of scratching around the ears and head shaking, which are typical responses to the discomfort caused by ear mites.

Otoscopic Examination

An otoscope, a special instrument with a light and magnifying lens, might be used to look into your dog’s ears. This tool allows the vet to see more clearly inside the ear canal and identify any visible mites, eggs, or signs of infection.

Microscopic Examination

In some cases, the vet may take a sample of the debris or discharge from the dog’s ear and examine it under a microscope. This can help confirm the presence of ear mites, as they and their eggs can often be seen directly when magnified.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Ear Mites In Dogs?

Getting rid of ear mites in dogs typically takes a few weeks, depending on the treatment used. The life cycle of ear mites is about three weeks, so treatment needs to continue for at least this long to ensure all mite eggs have been eliminated.

Some treatments involve a one-time dose that is highly effective at treating ear mites, while others require daily applications for a period ranging from 7 to 30 days.

Regardless of the type of treatment, it’s crucial to follow the prescribed regimen strictly to ensure all mites, including their eggs and larvae, are eradicated.

After treatment, it may take an additional couple of weeks or more for the dog’s ears to heal fully, depending on the severity of the infestation and any secondary infections that might have occurred.

During this time, regular check-ups with a vet are advisable to gauge recovery progress and catch any potential re-infestations early.

How To Treat Ear Mites In Dogs

Treating ear mites in dogs involves a combination of cleaning and medicating the ears, as well as managing any secondary infections that may have developed.

Here’s a potential step-by-step treatment process:

Vet Consultation

The first step is to take your dog to the vet for a proper diagnosis. The vet can confirm whether your dog has ear mites and advise on the best treatment plan.

Cleaning the Ears

Before applying any medication, it’s crucial to clean your dog’s ears to remove any mite-infested debris. This can be done using a vet-approved ear cleaner. Your vet may do the initial cleaning, but you might need to continue with regular cleanings at home during the treatment period.

Applying Medication

Once the ears are cleaned, your vet will likely prescribe a topical anti-parasitic medication to kill the mites. This medication is typically applied directly into the dog’s ear and may need to be used daily for a certain period, depending on the specific product instructions.

Systemic Treatments

In some cases, oral or injectable medications may be used to treat ear mites. These systemic treatments can be especially useful if the mite infestation has spread beyond the ears.

Managing Secondary Infections

If the mite infestation has led to secondary bacterial or yeast infections, additional medications will be required to treat these conditions. This could include antibiotic or antifungal treatments.

Prevention Measures

After successful treatment, it’s important to take steps to prevent re-infestation. This could involve treating all pets in the household, even if they don’t show symptoms, as ear mites can easily spread from one animal to another. Regular cleaning and grooming can also help keep ear mites at bay.

How To Prevent Pets From Getting Ear Mites

Preventing ear mites in pets involves several proactive strategies that focus on hygiene, regular check-ups, and using preventative treatments.

Here are some key steps you can take:

Regular Vet Check-Ups

Scheduling regular vet visits for your pets can help detect and treat any potential ear mite infestations early. Your vet can perform a thorough examination of your pet’s ears and advise on any necessary preventative measures.

Routine Ear Cleaning

Regularly cleaning your pet’s ears with a vet-approved cleaner can help keep them free of mites and other parasites. However, it’s important not to over-clean as this can irritate the ears. Always follow your vet’s instructions regarding how and when to clean your pet’s ears.

Use Preventative Treatments

There are several products available that can help prevent ear mites, such as topical solutions or ear drops. Some are applied monthly and protect against multiple types of parasites, including ear mites. Always consult with your vet before starting any new preventative treatments.

Avoid Contact With Infested Animals

Since ear mites are highly contagious, keeping your pet away from other animals known to have mites is crucial. This includes both household pets and animals they may encounter outside.

Maintain a Clean Environment

Keeping your pet’s environment clean can also help prevent ear mites. Regularly wash their bedding and clean areas where they spend a lot of time to minimize the risk of mite infestation.


Q: What are ear mites?

A: Ear mites are tiny parasites that infest the ear canals of animals, such as dogs and cats.

Q: How can I prevent an ear mite infestation in my dog?

A: To prevent ear mites in dogs, it is important to regularly clean their ears and keep them free from excess wax and debris. You should also avoid close contact with other dogs or animals that may be infected with ear mites.

Q: What are the signs of an ear mite infestation in dogs?

A: The signs of an ear mite infestation in dogs may include intense itching, ear scratching, dark-colored ear wax, and the presence of ear discharge.

Q: Can ear mites cause an ear infection in dogs?

A: Yes, an untreated ear mite infestation can lead to an ear infection in dogs. The presence of ear mites can cause irritation and inflammation in the ear canal, making it more susceptible to bacterial infections.

Q: How can I treat an ear mite infestation in my dog?

A: It is recommended to consult with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. They may prescribe topical medications or ear drops to eliminate the ear mites and treat any secondary infections.

Q: Can dog ear mites infest humans?

A: No, dog ear mites do not commonly infest humans. They are specific to dogs and cats.

Q: Are there different types of mites that can infect a dog’s ear?

A: Yes, apart from ear mites, other types of mites like scabies mites or bird mites can also infest a dog’s ear.

Q: Can dogs and cats get ear mites from each other?

A: Yes, dogs and cats can both get ear mites. If one pet is infected, it is important to treat all pets in the household to prevent the spread of ear mites.

Q: Can ear mites be transmitted through bedding or close contact with other dogs?

A: Yes, ear mites can be transmitted through close contact with infected animals or through shared bedding, toys, or grooming tools.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, while ear mites primarily affect animals like dogs and cats, there is a slim possibility they could transfer to humans.

However, such cases are rare and typically temporary. The health impact on humans varies, with some people potentially experiencing temporary discomfort or more serious conditions like damage to the ear canal.

Despite this, it’s crucial for pet owners to ensure their pets are regularly checked and treated for ear mites to maintain the health of both their pets and the household.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

Learn more about us.

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts

DMCA.com Protection Status