Can Humans Get Ear Mites From Dogs?

Written by Alan Lemus
Published: September 17, 2022
© Glikiri/
Share this post on:

You’ve been doing everything right as a dog parent – balanced diet, regularly spaced meals, playtime, routine walks, trips to the vet, exercise, and daily grooming.  Boom! Your beloved canine gets an infection. Then come the questions. Where did I go wrong? Why couldn’t I prevent this?

We understand that pet guilt is a real deal, but you shouldn’t feel like you caused whatever happened to your dog, especially if you’re a responsible dog parent. These things happen no matter what you do, okay?

What Are Ear Mites In Dogs?

A dog suffering from ear mites
A dog suffering from ear mites will exhibit redness in its ear and other signs of infection.


44,631 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

Dog ear mites are infectious parasites that dwell in ear canals and surfaces. They’re members of the Psoroptidae family of parasitic mites, which do not burrow into the skin as other mite families do. Instead, they live on the skin’s surface.

They have the scientific name Otodectes cynotis, are visible under a microscope, and typically measure between one and two millimeters in length. This parasite isn’t exclusive to dogs, as it also affects cats, livestock, ferrets, and rabbits.

Mites feed on your dog’s blood and ear wax once they have entered the ear canal and have pierced the thin skin. Although they typically stay in the ear, they can go elsewhere on your dog’s body. 

Due to their rapid reproduction, mite infestations can deteriorate very quickly. Your dog’s skin becomes infested with mite eggs, which hatch in just four days. Within three weeks, those immature mites mature, while adults have a lifespan of roughly two months.

Dogs with mite-infested ears experience severe itching and discomfort. Wondering what other signs to look out for? Head shaking, ear scratching, skin lesions around the ear, and a foul stench or dark discharge from the ears are some of the most typical signs of an ear mite infection.

In addition to secondary skin infections, minor bumps and scrapes can appear around the ear, neck, rump, and tail due to scratching and shaking.

How Did My Dog Get Ear Mites?

Dog Park Series - Two Small Dogs
Dogs can contract ear mites from one another through close contact.


It is common for dogs to get ear mites from another animal or from time spent outside. Mites only have a short window of time to survive in the environment, and with that in mind, they quickly locate an unsuspecting canine to host them. Also, ear mites are more prevalent in green spaces. The mites stick to your dog and creep up to the ear when your dog walks past them, unaware.

The pet-to-pet spread of ear mites is remarkably rapid. Dogs can contract ear mites from being around diseased animals, especially if they share a space or bed. It could also be at the pet grooming or boarding facilities. 

Should I See A Veterinarian?

A rough collie receives an ear examination at a veterinary clinic
Dogs showing signs of ear mites need an examination from a veterinarian to rule out other types of infection.


Other ear infections, like bacterial and yeast infections, have similar symptoms as ear mite infections. Thus, a visit to the vet is a critical first step you should take if you think your dog has ear mites.

Your veterinarian can verify the presence of ear mites. First, they assess the general health of a dog’s ears to identify ear mites. Your pup’s ear canal may be examined by your veterinarian using an otoscope, and a sample will be taken from the ear for thorough analysis. 

The discharge from your dog’s ears would then be examined under a microscope by your vet. Your veterinarian can suggest the most effective treatment for your dog based on the information gathered.

How To Treat Ear Mites In Dogs

A Jack Russell terrier receives ear treatment at a veterinary clinic
Cleaning and medication are both involved in the treatment of ear mites in dogs.

©Viktoriia Hnatiuk/

Cleaning and medication administration are part of the treatment for canine ear mites. Debris and accumulation are removed from your dog’s ear canal during cleaning, improving medication absorption and restoring the ear canal’s typical, healthy tissue.

Your dog’s ear will be cleaned by your veterinarian, who can also, if necessary, instruct you on how to do it correctly.  The possible types of medication available for your fur baby include oral pills, routine injections, and topical products for the dog’s ear and skin.

Some topical treatments for your dog’s ear canal can be used once, while others must be used every day for seven to thirty days. The prescription choice will be made by your veterinarian depending on the particular circumstances of your pet.

All family pets must also receive treatment to prevent further transmission of the infection. Consult your veterinarian for information on the best course of action for each of your dogs.

Can Humans Get Ear Mites From Dogs?

Yes, an infected dog can transmit ear mites to people. Although it’s unlikely, it is possible. 

How Do Humans Get Ear Mites?

The most common source of ear mites infection in humans is contact with a household dog. As mentioned earlier, the parasite needs a host to survive. Thus, sharing a bed or furniture with an infected dog increases your risk of infection. 

It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily need to own an animal to have ear mites. Playing with an infected animal may potentially cause you to contract ear mites.

Symptoms Of Ear Mites In Humans

People experience discomfort from ear mite infections, much like animals do. Itching, redness around the ear, dark-colored ear wax, and ear irritation are signs that you may have ear mites in your ear canal.

Different people experience varying symptoms. You might experience some, all, or a few of these symptoms. Some people may even experience pressure or a feeling of fullness in the ear. Ear mites can harm the ear canal and result in hearing loss if left untreated.

Also, Tinnitus can occur in some people with an ear mite infection. It’s often accompanied by a buzzing, humming, or ringing sound in the ear.

Treatment For Ear Mites In Humans

Ear mites under a microscope
Humans can contract ear mites from dogs who are suffering with them.

©Suppada Kananub/

Make an appointment with your primary care doctor, who may refer you to an ENT doctor to get a diagnosis for ear mites. Your doctor can do an otoscope examination after taking a sample from your ear. This test can determine whether ear mites are present or not, as well as check for any other ear abnormalities.

Ear mites can’t live without ear wax or skin oils. Thus, your doctor will typically clean out your ear canal at the beginning of treatment to eliminate any wax buildup. Your doctor will also advise you to use an antiparasitic ear drop to eliminate live mites and unhatched eggs.

Then, your doctor can prescribe specialized ear drops made of triamcinolone acetonide, neomycin, gramicidin, and nystatin. They’re suitable for treating ear infections, irritation, and itching. Antiparasitic medications like imidacloprid and selamectin may also be used to treat the infection.

 Acetic acid, which can prevent germs and fungus from growing in the ear, has also been used by some persons with success. 

Occasionally, a secondary bacterial infection might result from an ear mite infection. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to handle such cases.

How Can I Prevent Ear Mites?

Pet-to-pet transmission of ear mites can be contained by treating all of your pets if your dog already has ear mites. You should also exercise caution when your dog mingles with other canines, probably at the park

Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly can aid in the early detection of ear mites. You can use a soft, damp towel and look for specks on the fabric. Since ear mites are difficult to spot, you should continue watching for other indications of discomfort in your dog.

Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice a dark discharge coming from your dog’s ears or if it often scratches its head.

The bedding should be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer until totally dry. Places where dogs spend a lot of time should be thoroughly vacuumed.

Your veterinarian may also recommend a regular combination of preventative treatment that prevents ear mites from developing. Other pests, such as ticks and fleas, are also kept at bay by these drugs.

Remember that pet-to-human transmission is possible, so protect yourself and others by tackling early indications of an ear mite infection in your furry pal. 

Keeping your pet off your bed or other furniture, especially when receiving treatment, is another way to protect yourself.

All items your pet frequently uses, such as chew toys and bedding, should be cleaned and sanitized.

Check your dog’s ears frequently after treatment to look for any indications of ear mites or other issues. Keep an eye out for head shaking or ear scratching as well as any ear discharge or redness.


An ear mite infection can be a bothersome issue, particularly if you have intense itching, tinnitus, or a sense of pressure or fullness in your ears.

See your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian, and keep an eye out for ear mites in your dog. 

Although improbable, transmission from animal to human can nonetheless occur. Your ability to eradicate live ear mites and their eggs depends on how quickly you visit the doctor and get ear treatments.

Up Next…

Check out some of our other articles to find the answers to any of your dog questions.

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

More from A-Z Animals

The Featured Image

A dog suffering from ear mites
A dog suffering from ear mites will exhibit redness in its ear and other signs of infection.
© Glikiri/

Share this post on:
About the Author

Alan is a freelance writer and an avid traveler. He specializes in travel content. When he visits home he enjoys spending time with his family Rottie, Opie.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. Good RX, Available here:
  2. Healthline, Available here:
  3. Pet MD, Available here:
  4. Purina, Available here: