Ear mites are small parasites that can't be seen with the naked eye. However, they usually cause a coffee colored crud in the ear and are very itchy to the pet. Ear mites are extremely contagious, so if you have a pet with ear mites, it is best to keep it away from your other pets. This includes cats, dogs, hamsters, ferrets, rabbits, gerbils, etc. Most pets will scratch their ears or shake their head very frequently if they have ear mites. Unfortunately, ear mites can also live on other parts of the body on your pet as well.
If you suspect your pet has ear mites, it is best to first clean your pet's ears with a pet ear cleaner. There are many common pet cleaners that help aid in killing the mites. Be sure to choose a cleaner with an insectidide or else it will not kill the mites. It is generally a good idea to use to cleaner for at least 4 weeks, as this is the usual life cycle of an ear mite. Make sure you wash your pet in a flea & tick shampoo, especially the feet and tail, as this is where most ear mites reside when not in the ear. Although ear mites are contagious to other pets, humans do not have to worry about getting these bugs on them. Be sure to check with your vet if you are not sure if your pet has ear mites.