My Greyhound has Ear Mites: how to kill them

Your greyhound is flapping his ears out a lot, maybe pawing and scratching at them, too. Then, he gives one, good scratch with his gangly foot and lets out a yelp! When you investigate, you’re surprised to see that his ears seem to have dirt coming out of them.

When your greyhound has ear mites, they are very contagious,  and can infest not only your greyhound’s ears, but also his skin. He can easily catch them from contact with another pet, or even from grooming tools that were used on an infested pet. Vets love this safe, natural home remedy, using olive oil. Prevent future outbreaks with frequent ear-cleaning using vinegar.

If you catch it early, you can treat at home, naturally. Do not use products from the pet store. They are no easier or more effective than this simple, natural treatment, and they expose your greyhound to toxic chemicals. Your greyhound has only half the fat of the average dog, so always use caution with any drugs or chemicals – He does not have the extra fat needed to absorb them, so they can make him sick.

How Do You Know if your Greyhound has Ear Mites?

According to the American Kennel Club, the Latin name for ear mites translates to “beggar of the dog’s ear.” Exactly! They are parasites that feed on your dog’s blood. You probably won’t see the actual mites, unless you have a microscope. If you did, you would see small white creatures moving around. They are related to spiders, and look like little crabs or ticks. Other things could be bugging your greyhound, as well; so you will want to look for the Hallmark sign of ear mites – brown bits of discharge coming from the dogs ears.  It can look like poo, dirt, or coffee grounds. A good home test for ear mites is to wipe some of this discharge on a clean paper towel, and see if it causes a reddish staining. This will be from blood. The discharge itself consists of mites (live & dead), their eggs, their poop, and your dog’s blood, because they’re in there, chewing away at your poor dog’s ears. Ouch!

Dog Ear Mites Vs. Yeast Infection

Be careful not to confuse this with a yeast infection, which can also result in a brown discharge. A yeast-infected ear will have an unpleasant smell, and the discharge is more waxy, as opposed to the crumbly discharge of ear mites. If you feel certain your greyhound has ear mites, and you do not wish to go through the expense, hassle, and toxins involved, here is a great home remedy. 

How to Make Natural Home Remedy for Dog Ear Mites!

I must warn you that this treatment is messy, so you will want to do this outside. The best time is just before you set out on your walk, so he has plenty of time to shake his ears out.  

Put Together a Treatment Kit

Make yourself a “kit” with all the supplies in a little tote or wide container. All you need is…

  • olive oil in a small bottle with an eyedropper (If you don’t have an eyedropper, you can make do with a small medicine cup, the type that comes with cold medicine)
  • an old hand towel or T-shirt. 
  • a damp, soapy baby wipe (baby shampoo is good) 
  • a paper towel

Instructions for Treating Your Dog’s Ear Mites with Olive Oil

Read the directions below first. Make sure you’re dressed in old clothes, not your good coat or office wear. Then, pack up your kit, leash your hound, and head outside. Secure the leash under your foot or on your wrist, and follow these directions:

  1. As much as possible, tip your dog’s head to the side, so the ear you wish to treat is facing up.
  1. Squirt one half a dropper of olive oil into the ear, and quickly cover the year with the T-shirt, keeping the dog’s head tilted. Try to stay that way for a few seconds. (If you are using a medicine cup, rather than a dropper, fill it to 1 teaspoon [or 5 ml], and you will tip about half of this into each ear)
  1. Release your dogs head, but hang onto his leash, and stand back because he is going to shake out like crazy, splattering olive oil everywhere.
  1. When he is finished shaking out, give him a treat and a kind word, and repeat with the other ear.
  1. Finish by cleaning your dog’s tail, then just outside his ears with the baby wipe, drying with the paper towel. Greyhounds love to sleep with their tails up near their faces, and the mites may try to migrate there to escape the olive oil

How Often to Treat Your Dog’s Ears

It’s very simple, really; but you will need to do this every day for six weeks. Stick with it! You need to smother all mites and their eggs over their entire lifecycle, or they can come back. Don’t worry, you and your dog will get very quick at it, Plus your dog will be feeling so much better after just a few days, and he will really love you for helping him out.

You can add an additional layer of protection to your greyhound’s ears by cleaning them frequently. We clean Lily’s ears by swabbing them with plain, white vinegar on a cotton pad every day, and have not had a recurrence of ear mites since. This creates an environment in your pup’s ears that is too acidic for mites, as well as yeast, to breed. It also keeps you actively looking at his ears, so you catch problems right away. 

The only times I have had trouble with ear mites in my greyhounds were when I let their flea-and-tick protection lapse. These medications will help keep ear mites from infesting your greyhound.

Can I Use Coconut Oil on my Dog’s Ear Mites?

Only if you live in a warm area.  Coconut oil solidifies any time the temperature drops below the 70’s.  Heating oil that you will be pouring into your dog’s ears can be a tricky proposition.  Remember, this is a daily, 6-week routine.  You’ll have enough to do, without worrying about overheating the oil in a moment of distraction, or having it solidify while you’re trying to round up your patient!

In a warm climate, where coconut oil remains liquid, it should make a good substitute for the olive oil.   

Can Dogs Pass on Ear Mites?

According to Dr. Mark, a vet who has written some fine articles on dog home remedies, it is possible, but really very rare and unlikely. Ear mites do not normally like the human ear canal. They can occasionally cause a rash in people, though; so you want to be on the lookout for that. Report any new, unexplained rashes to your own doctor, so he can set you up with the right cream. You want to nip that in the bud.

What About My Other Pets?

Check them immediately, as it may be one of them who gave your greyhound the mites, in the first place. In any case, even if you see no symptoms, all the pets in your home should be treated. If this happens, I would abandon the home treatment route, and pack the whole lot of them off to the vet at once. This is the recommendation of the Companion Animal Parasite Council, as well. I love my home remedies as much as the next gal, but life is too short.

When to Call the Vet About Your Dog’s Ear Mites

Ear mites are not an infection (they are an infestation); but if not caught fairly early, they can certainly cause one. This would need professional treatment, as infection is more toxic to your dog than the medication used to treat it. If you take your greyhound to the vet for this problem, he will take a sample of the dog’s ear debris, and look at it under a microscope. He will examine your dog’s ears. He will also rule out any other problems, like yeast and bacterial infections. 

According to, please call your vet if your greyhound is exhibiting any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain when he opens his mouth
  • A foul smell that would indicate a yeast infection
  • Not wanting to chew
  • Leaning to one side 
  • Dizziness/trouble with balance, wobbly movement, or uncoordination
  • Wide, swinging head movement
  • Deafness
  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Uneven pupils
  • “Gray, bulging eardrum”
  • Cannot blink
  • Any paralysis 

If you don’t want to find your dog in this predicament, remember – Prevention is the best cure! 

Here’s a run-down of each of my greyhound health care articles, for better living with your pet greyhound:

Below is as close a look at ear mites as you’ll ever get, thanks to Dr. Kureshi:

Gail McGaffigan

The owner of the Greyhound Homecare website and YouTube channel, Gail has had retired racing greyhounds as pets since 1997. Please visit our channel, too!

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