Ear mites are nasty tiny parasites that spend most of their lives in and around the external ear canals of the animals that they infest. Occasionally, they are found on other areas of their host’s skin, such as the paws, head, neck, rump or tail. The ear mite that is the biggest concern to domestic dogs (and cats) is Otodectes cynotis. Otodectes mites feed on their hosts’ blood. Their bites cause a severe allergic reaction that is accompanied by itchiness, irritation, skin sensitivity, scratching, head-shaking, rubbing, waxy build-up, hair loss, open sores and a great deal of anxiety for the dog and its owner. Otodectes mites are extremely contagious and are one of the most common causes of ear-related problems in puppies and young adult dogs. The average life cycle of these ear mites is about 3 weeks. Ear mites will bite people, causing a rash of raised red bumps.