Category Archives: ear mites

How to Get Rid of Ear Mites


By Linda Cole

Ear mites are microscopic, white crab-like critters that invade a cat or dog’s ear canal. Their diet consists of ear wax and debris in your pet’s ears. You can see ear mites with the naked eye, but you have to look closely. Where do ear mites come from, and how do you get rid of them?

Ear mites are highly contagious and can easily infect other pets in a home. More common in cats than dogs, this parasite lives inside the ear, but it can also live on other parts of the body of an infected pet. Outside cats who have contact with other cats and animals have a greater risk of being infected with ear mites, but inside cats are also at risk. The cat is a perfect host and will pass the mites on to other pets in the home.

Humans can also become a host and transmit the mites if we touch an infected animal and then touch our pets. A dog’s scratchy ears are usually from another source of infection, since they are rarely infected with ear mites. Some pets will scratch infected ears until they bleed. Skin diseases can also develop from untreated ear mite infections.

It’s important to know what an infestation of ear mites looks like in your pet’s ear because too many times a pet is treated for ear mites when the actual problem is a yeast or bacterial infection.

Symptoms to watch for include:

Head shaking or scratching around the ears
Inflammation of the ear
Sores located around the pet’s ears caused by scratching
Debris in their ears that resembles coffee grounds
An unpleasant odor

An ear mite infestation can stimulate ear wax production in the infected cat or dog. So you could see a dark waxy discharge coming from your pet’s ear. Left untreated, ear mites can cause permanent hearing loss, so it’s important to have your vet examine your pet to find the exact cause of their head shaking and scratching if you notice any symptoms. If you suspect or just want to check to see if your pet has ear mites, scratch the base of his ears which would be in the area of the ear canal. If he responds by immediately scratching his ear, that’s a sign that the tiny parasites are most likely present.

Your vet can detect ear mites quickly by looking inside the cat or dog’s ear with an instrument (an otoscope). They can also be seen under any magnifying glass or with the naked eye by closely examining debris pulled out of your pet’s ear on a Q-tip. If any of the parasites are found in one pet, all other pets in the home will also need to be treated to prevent re-infecting the one you just treated.

Treatments to kill ear mites work well, but it can take several tries if the first treatment doesn’t take into account the life cycle of ear mites. They go from egg to larvae, 2 stages of nymphs and finally adult mites in about 21 days. Treatments need to go through the complete life cycle of the mites to successfully eliminate them. The good news is advances in ear mite medications have been successful in reducing the time needed to get rid of an infestation.

Tresaderm has been a favorite of vets for years and works well, but newer medications are showing good results in as little as 2 to 4 treatments. Invermectin is an anti-parasitic medication that’s injected into the pet. However, not all dogs can tolerate the medication. The injections are a good solution to use on pets who refuse to allow anyone to mess with their ears. Cat owners who have tried to clean out or put ear drops in their cat’s ears will appreciate the convenience of an injection. Two different topical flea medications have been approved for use in eliminating ear mites: Revolution® for both cats and dogs, and Advantage Multi® for cats only.

It’s possible for humans to be affected by ear mites, but not likely. Some people have reported skin rashes when their pet was infected with mites, but it is rare and most pet owners don’t need to worry about becoming infected.

It’s best to take your pet to the vet for a professional evaluation just in case your pet has something other than ear mites. Yeast or other bacterial infections will not be cleared up using ear mite medications, and you are only wasting your time and money treating the wrong infection.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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How Well Do Dogs and Cats Hear?


By Linda Cole

Dogs and cats and are in a special category when it comes to hearing, or not hearing, their human companions. They can be nowhere in sight, yet never miss the careful opening of a bag of potato chips or cookies. But just try and get their attention when they are in the same room with us – it’s like talking to the wall! Cats definitely have selective hearing when it comes to us, but a quiet mouse sneaking up on a missed piece of cat food on the kitchen floor can be heard loud and clear. Their sense of hearing is phenomenal; so it would seem that most dogs and cats only hear us when they want to.

Cat ears are amazing little radar antennas that have the ability to focus in on two different sounds inches apart from each other three feet away. They can distinguish these sounds so precisely and hone in on where the exact sound is coming from that a cat can tell if you are getting into a cupboard that has no food in it versus the one where you keep her favorite treats. They can detect the size of prey and the distance of a sound in just six one hundredth of a second, and can hear five times farther than we can hear.

Cats hear higher frequencies than dogs or humans. Because of that, a woman’s voice can be more soothing to a cat, especially if it’s upset. Our sense of hearing is in a range of 20 hertz up to 20 kilohertz, but dogs hear up to 40 kilohertz and a cat’s hearing jumps into the higher pitched range of 60 kilohertz. However, a cat’s range starts at 30 hertz which means they probably don’t hear lower tones as well as we do, and that could be why cats don’t always respond to a man with a deep voice. Since mice have a tiny high pitched squeak, it’s bad news for any wayward mouse in a cat’s domain.

Because of the upright and erect shape of their ears, cats can hear with amazing accuracy. Thirty different muscles allow them to rotate their ears 180 degrees independently of each other which helps them focus in on any interesting sounds they hear. These sounds are then funneled down through their ears and picked up by extremely sensitive hairs located in the base of the ear. From there, the sound is transmitted to the cat’s brain via the auditory nerve. Even though they are experts at selective hearing, a cat does hear extremely well and knows exactly what is going on in his world.

Dogs can hear with the same kind of accuracy as cats, and their ears also rotate to pinpoint the exact location of where a sound is coming from in less than a second. They can quickly decipher pertinent information to determine if they need to be on alert. If it’s a sound coming from another animal, the dog can even determine the height of the animal and know if it’s prey or predator.

A dog with floppy ears can’t hear as well as those with ears standing erect. Like cats, dogs hear and pick up on our tone of voice as well as the pitch in our voice much better than we realize. As they listen to what we say, they are able to distinguish what we mean by our pitch and tone more than by our words. If we are trying to train a dog, his response is determined by how well we convey a command to him. A sharper tone will get his attention and if you are training a puppy, using a whistle or an abrupt noise will tell him to pay attention to you.

Dogs can move their ears independently too, and have 15 muscles that help them locate and pick up sounds. We can pick up a sound 100 yards away, but a dog can hear a sound that’s a quarter of a mile away. Dogs have a unique ability to actually close off their inner ear so they can weed out distracting noises and focus only on the sound they are interested in. I guess that’s what they must be doing when they ignore us. And the next time they refuse to go outside in the rain, it might not be because they don’t want to get wet, but because the falling rain may actually be hurting their sensitive ears.

Since dogs and cats can hear so well, sirens, loud music and raised voices are annoying to them. We will get their attention better with a softer voice. It’s also important to pay close attention to their ears to make sure they are not infected with ear mites or other bacterial or yeast infections that can cause permanent hearing loss if left untreated.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Help a Scratching Dog Get Relief


By Linda Cole

Do you have a scratching dog that is driving you crazy? Does he wake you up in the middle of the night with his mournful yelps while his leg pounds on the ground with a beat that would make any drummer envious? Like us, a dog scratches what itches, but there may be more going on than just a simple itch behind his ear. Scratching can indicate a presence of ear mites, dry skin or fleas, but it can also alert a dog owner to more serious conditions that need to be attended to.

One of my dogs has a severe reaction to fleas. It only takes one to drive her nuts. Flea allergy dermatitis is an allergic reaction to the saliva of the biting flea. But a scratching dog doesn’t have to be miserable or drive you crazy, because flea allergies can be eliminated in most cases with regular use of flea medication along with controlling fleas throughout the home. Your vet can administer steroids or antihistamines to help calm the dog’s itching and give both of you peace and quiet from all the scratching and whining.

Winter weather means furnaces are up and running which makes the air inside the home drier. The dry heat quickly creates scratching dogs and humans, so extra attention to skin care may be required. Dogs have more dander during winter months, and extra grooming can help keep their skin in good shape. It’s a good idea to not bathe your dog as frequently in the winter.

If they do need a bath, use a moisturizing shampoo that’s made specifically for dogs. Shampoo made for people is too harsh for dogs because our PH is different from theirs. Finish off with a good dog conditioner that contains ingredients to help reduce dry skin. Of course the best way to help scratching dogs beat the winter itch is to provide them with a high-quality dog food that keeps them healthy from the inside out. CANIDAE Grain Free Salmon Formula can help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy all year.

Scratching dogs may have ear mites that have invaded their ears. These tiny parasites will cause your dog to shake his head and scratch his ears. A sure sign your dog has ear mites is an unpleasant odor coming from their ears. The dog may yelp in pain while scratching and rub his head along the ground in an attempt to stop the itch. You may see a discharge (dried blood) draining from the ear and if you clean his ears with a Q-tip and look closely at the debris, you can see the mites moving. To stop the scratching and free him of this parasite, it’s important to first clean his ears thoroughly with a quality ear cleaner followed by ear drops to kill the mites. Ear Miticide is the normal medicine used to kill the mites.

Yeast infections or secondary infections can also cause your dog to dig at his ears. If you are unsure why your dog is scratching his ears and you’ve been able to rule out ear mites, a visit to your vet can help determine the cause. Antibiotics may be required to clear up the cause of the problem.

Any time a skin condition lasts more than a week, it’s a good idea to take your dog to see your veterinarian. A constantly scratching dog may indicate a serious condition that needs to be addressed. If you see open sores on their skin or irritations like rashes, redness or bumps, hair loss, a constant licking of their feet or dry, or dull hair that you can easily pull out, these symptoms could indicate other conditions like cancer, skin cancer or lymphoma, bacterial infections, allergies, mange, ringworm, hot spots or a number of other conditions that can affect dogs.

A scratching dog can work themselves into a frenzy and the cause of their itching needs to be addressed. If his drummer’s beat on the floor is driving you crazy, then imagine how he must feel. Most skin and ear conditions can be dealt with easily. Once you’ve been able to determine exactly what your dog’s scratching is all about, both of you can finally have a peaceful night’s sleep.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.