Mites on Dogs: 3 Simple Natural Home Remedies

Information at a glance


    Dive into our detailed guide and explore the essential steps on how to safeguard your dogs against mites. Learn through our expert advice and strategies designed to help pet owners identify, prevent, and manage mite infestations effectively.

    Scratching, hair loss, and skin irritation are telltale signs your dog might be suffering from a mite infestation, commonly known as “mites on dogs.” Understanding the types of mites that can affect your dog and how to combat them is crucial. Let’s dive into recognising dog mites and infestations, exploring treatments, and discussing effective prevention strategies for your dog’s health and comfort, all in the context of mites on dogs.


    Key Takeaways


    • Canines can acquire dog mites through direct contact with infested animals or environments. Certain types of dog mites, like Demodex canis, can live in your dog’s hair follicles, while others, like Cheyletiella, cause ‘walking dandruff.’
    • Symptoms of dog mite infestation include excessive scratching, hair loss, inflammation or reddening of the skin, and, in the case of ear mites, a dark waxy ear discharge with an unpleasant strong odour.
    • Treatment options to get rid of dog mites range from topical medications and oral drugs, which have associated side effects, to natural home remedies like olive oil; preventing dog mites involves regular cleaning, preventative medicine, and maintaining a robust immune system.


    What Are Dog Mites?


    Microscopic Ear Mites On A Dog'S Ear Skin


    It’s surprising to learn that mites, microscopic parasites belonging to the class Arachnida (spiders, scorpions, ticks, and mites), are globally distributed and known to infest various mammalian hosts, including our dogs. The primary mites causing skin diseases in dogs are:


    • Sarcoptes scabiei
    • Otodectes cynotis
    • Demodex canis
    • Cheyletiella spp.

    To the naked eye dog mites appear as tiny white dots and their life cycles can vary from 17 to 35 days, progressing through stages such as egg, larva, nymph, and adult.

    Interestingly, Demodex canis mites, also known as follicle mites, dwell within dogs’ hair follicles and sebaceous glands. These mites cause issues only when their numbers increase significantly. On the other hand, Cheyletiella spp., responsible for the condition known as walking dandruff, completes its entire life cycle on the host, leading to a dandruff-like appearance. Identifying a dog mite invasion in our dogs requires recognising certain signs and symptoms. Let’s uncover these indicators.



    Signs and Symptoms of Mites on Dogs

    Photo Of A Dog Scratching Its Ear

    Dogs with dog mite infestations often exhibit the following symptoms:

    • Excessive scratching, indicating irritation
    • Hair loss
    • Redness or inflammation of the skin
    • Sores or scabs
    • Itching or discomfort
    • Ear infections or discharge
    • Thickened or crusty skin
    • Bad odour


    Symptoms can vary depending on the type of mite infestation. If you notice any of these signs in your dog, seeking professional help to diagnose and treat the infestation is essential.


    We will now detail the signs and symptoms unique to dog ear mites and skin mites, focusing on the ear canal area, particularly during an dog mite infestation.



    Ear Mites


    Closeup Of Ear Mites In A Dog'S Ear Canal


    Ear mites in dogs, caused by Otodectes cynotis, are a common nuisance. These dog tiny mites live on the skin’s surface in the dog’s ear canal, leading to conditions like otitis externa in affected dogs. So, what are the telltale signs of ear infestations? Dogs with mites typically exhibit skin irritations around their ears, head, and neck, which leads them to scratch these areas excessively and engage in head shaking.


    However, the most notable symptom of dog mites is severe irritation, resulting in a dark, waxy discharge that resembles coffee grounds and emits an unpleasant odour from the dog’s ears. So, if your dog is shaking its head or scratching its ears more than usual, and you notice a dark discharge from its ears, it’s high time to visit the vet for an dog mite check and to rule out an ear infection.


    Next, we will examine skin mites.



    Skin Mites


    Photo Of A Dog With Skin Irritation And Hair Loss


    Skin mites in dogs, such as Sarcoptes scabiei var canis, cause a condition known as sarcoptic mange or scabies. This infestation manifests with intense itching, loss of hair, and inflammation. These mites burrow tunnels in the skin, leading to secondary infections. Other skin mites, like those causing cheyletiellosis, lead to skin scaling, particularly along the dog’s back.


    Localised or generalised demodicosis can present with hairless, red, scaly skin patches, often resembling acne. Canine scabies can also cause small, solid bumps and thick, crusted sores from persistent scratching. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it’s time to seek professional help to diagnose and address the mite infestation.


    This naturally leads us to question the origin of these mites.



    How Dogs Get Mites


    Dogs typically acquire mites through direct contact with another infested animal or contaminated environments, such as infested bedding or surfaces. Canine scabies mites can also be transmitted indirectly through infested items, suggesting the importance of environmental cleaning. Some mites, like Cheyletiella, can survive up to 10 days in the environment, necessitating treatment of a pet’s living area to prevent re-infestation.


    Older dogs and those with compromised or weakened immune systems are at greater risk of developing an infestation of mites. Therefore, minimising exposure to infested animals or environments and maintaining their immune health is paramount. But how can we be sure if our dogs have mites? The answer lies in proper diagnosis.


    Mites On Dog Senior Dog Laying On Owners Bed


    Diagnosing Mites in Dogs


    Diagnosing mites in dogs involves specialised techniques. Common mites such as Sarcoptes, Demodex, and Cheyletiella are diagnosed through skin scraping techniques, with mineral oil used to collect and examine the debris under a microscope. While Demodex mites, which inhabit hair follicles, require deep skin scrapings, Sarcoptes mites, found less abundantly, necessitate multiple superficial scrapings due to frequent false negatives.


    Cheyletiella mites, residing on the skin surface, can be identified using wide superficial scrapings or clear acetate tape pressed onto scaly areas for microscopic examination. On the other hand, an otoscope is used to examine the ears and microscope analysis of ear discharge samples is performed to diagnose mites.


    Initiating the appropriate treatment relies heavily on an accurate diagnosis. What treatment options, then, are available?



    Treatment Options To Get Rid of Mites on Dogs


    Various conventional treatment options are available for mites on dogs, ranging from topical anti-parasitic medications and injectable or oral pesticides such as Bravecto to natural home remedies. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the infestation, the dog’s health status, and the owner’s preference.



    Side Effects of Conventional Ear Mite Treatments


    Conventional oral pesticides, injectables and topical treatments for mites can pose risks for your dog. Most of these drugs work by paralysing the parasite. Neurotoxins can be harmful to your dog and are best avoided. It’s important to be aware of the potential risks and take precautions to keep your pet safe. Side effects can include:


    • Tremors
    • Seizures
    • Ataxia (incoordination)
    • Vomiting or diarrhoea
    • Loss of appetite
    • Skin irritations
    • Lethargy


    Considering these potential side effects and the three-week life cycle of mites, which implies conventional medications only eliminate adult mites and not the eggs, exploring safer and gentler treatment options becomes imperative. This brings us to natural home remedies for treating ear mites in dogs.



    3 Natural Home Remedies for Treating Mites on Dogs Include:


    Mites On Dogs Natural Remedies For Ear Mites


    At home natural solutions offer a gentler and safer way to get rid of mites in dogs. 



    1. Olive Oil


    • Using a cotton wool ball, gently clean the ear with olive oil 
    • Remove as much debris and ear wax as possible
    • Olive oil helps suffocate and get rid of dog mites
    • Repeat treatment every 3 days for 2 weeks 

    Dog mites hatch every 4 days, so this olive oil protocol will prevent them from proliferating while eliminating them. 


    Bonus: To speed up your dogs’ treatment and recovery add 1-3 drops of essential oil per 30ml of olive oil (select ONE essential oil only based on your dogs requirement)

    • Peppermint (natural anaesthetic)
    • Catnip (helps control mites)
    • St John’s Wort (relieves pain)
    • Calendula (heals the ear skin)


    2. Garlic Oil


    Herbal practitioners often endorse the use of garlic oil due to its natural sulfur content, which is a natural mite repellant, making it an effective anti-parasitic agent. Additionally, garlic’s recognised antibacterial and anti-fungal properties make it beneficial in treating any secondary infections.


    • Mince two garlic cloves and immerse them in a cup of olive oil.
    • Allow this mixture to infuse overnight. 
    • The following day, strain out the garlic cloves and transfer the infused oil into a glass jar for storage. 
    • Using a dropper administer garlic oil to your dog’s affected ear(s), applying it twice a day for optimal results.


    3. Green Tea


    Green tea, a natural antiseptic, can eliminate all lifestages of dog mites and remove brown wax discharge.


    • Place a tea bag or measure a tablespoon of loose green tea into a cup of boiling water. 
    • Allow it to steep for several minutes before straining. 
    • Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. 
    • Use a dropper to add 3-4 drops of the tea into each affected ear. 
    • Following the application, softly massage the base of your dog’s ears. Next, moisten a cotton ball with the tea and gently clean the interior ear wax from each ear. 
    • Repeat this process daily for a duration of 4 weeks.


    These effective home treatments can assist us in providing natural relief from dog mites to our furry friends. However, wouldn’t prevention of the infestation be a better approach?



    Preventing an Infestation of Dog Mites


    Prevention is always better than cure, which holds true for parasite infestations in dogs. Dogs catch mites easily, so cleaning your dog’s ears regularly with a damp cloth can help prevent mites, but avoid over-cleaning to maintain a balance of healthy ear bacteria.


    Maintaining a strong immune system in dogs is also fundamental to naturally ward off parasites, including dog mites:


    • Provide your dog with the finest diet of whole foods, opting for raw or lightly cooked that is within your budget.
    • Don’t over-vaccinate.
    • Avoid antibiotics, pharmaceutical drugs and pesticides.
    • Minimise the presence of chemicals in your dog’s environment.
    • Refrain from using chemical-based lawn treatments and fertilizers.

    Keeping dogs away from outdoor or feral cats can also reduce the risk of ear mite exposure. Despite our best efforts, some misconceptions about mites on dogs can lead to confusion. We should dispel these myths.



    Mites on Dogs: Myths and Misconceptions


    One common misconception is that humans can contract the same type of full-blown scabies from dogs as they do from other humans. When humans get mites from dogs, the condition is usually self-limiting and does not result in the deep burrows seen in typical human scabies.


    Another myth is that ear mites, a specific type of mite infestation in dogs, generally affect humans. However, these types of dog mites rarely infest humans. For dog owners, consulting both veterinarians and physicians is vital to comprehend how to evade contracting mange from pets and control mite infestations in the household.


    What happens, though, if you have multiple pets in your household?



    Mite Infestations in Multi-Pet Households


    Managing an infestation of mites in multi-pet households can be a challenge. When one pet in the household is diagnosed with mites, it is crucial to treat all pets to prevent them from reinfecting each other and to achieve complete eradication.


    To prevent the transmission of mites between pets, it is essential to:


    • Avoid contact with infected animals
    • Quarantine affected pets until fully treated
    • Treat all animals in close contact, including dogs, cats, and other domestic animals


    Mite infestations, including mange, are highly contagious among pets, so taking these precautions is crucial. Let’s now summarise our learnings.





    Dealing with mites in dogs can be a daunting task, but armed with accurate information, we can effectively diagnose, treat, and prevent these infestations. We’ve learned about the different types of mites, their life cycles, and the diseases they cause. We’ve also delved into the signs and symptoms of infestations and how to diagnose and treat mites using conventional medications and natural remedies at home.


    Prevention is key to keeping our dogs mite-free. Regular ear cleaning, maintaining a strong immune function, and limiting contact with outdoor or feral cats can help prevent parasite infestations.


    In wrapping up our comprehensive exploration of dog mites, it’s evident that prevention and early intervention are paramount. Integrating NutriFlex DigestiMax and FloraMax prebiotics and probiotics into your dog’s diet can significantly contribute to these efforts. These supplements not only support digestive health and nutrient absorption but also strengthen your dog’s immune system, forming a critical line of defence against mite infestations. A robust immune system can deter mite proliferation by making your dog less hospitable to these opportunistic parasites.


    Debunking common myths and misconceptions about mites can help us better understand and manage these infestations. Remember, our pet’s rely on us for their health and well-being, so let’s do all we can to keep your furry friend safe and happy.


    Frequently Asked Questions


    How do I know if my dog has mites?

    If your dog has mites, you may notice intense itching, sudden hair loss, dandruff, and visible irritation such as red skin. Keep an eye out for these symptoms.


    How do you get rid of mites on a dog?

    You can get rid of mites on a dog by using medicated shampoos or dips and potentially prescription medications if needed. It’s important to also monitor the mite population with regular skin scrapings.


    Can humans get mites from dogs?

    Yes, humans can get mites from dogs if they come in contact with an infected dog. Be cautious when handling dogs with mange.


    Does flea treatment kill mites?

    Exploring safer, more gentle, and potentially more effective solutions through natural alternatives for eliminating dog mites is advisable. While flea treatments are frequently prescribed, their success in addressing an infestation of dog mites is not guaranteed. Embracing natural home remedies offers a less invasive approach that can effectively eliminate dog mites without potential side effects associated with conventional medications and pesticides.


    How do dogs get mites?

    Dogs get mites through direct contact with infested animals or contaminated environments, like infested bedding or surfaces. Be mindful of these situations to prevent future infestations of dog mites.


    NutriFlex stands at the forefront of holistic pet nutrition and is dedicated to elevating the health and well-being of pets across the globe. Our dedicated team of veterinarians, nutritionists, researchers and animal lovers brings together cutting-edge science, innovation, and care to deliver effective, scientifically validated natural alternative pet supplements that make a genuine difference. NutriFlex is more than just a brand; it promises to provide your cherished pets with the premium nutrition they rightfully deserve. Trust NutriFlex because we recognise that your pets are more than just pets—they're family. Their health and longevity are our priority and passion.
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