How Do I Get Rid of Dog Mites?

dog playing with leaf

The treatment you choose to get rid of dog mites will likely vary, depending on the type of mite your dog has, and your preference in terms of trying to take care of the problem at home, or visiting a vet. Home remedies are frequently used to get rid of mites, but a trip to a veterinarian may be necessary if the infection is serious or if home treatments don’t work. Some common treatments include washing the dog with a medicated shampoo, applying a soothing ointment, and administering prescription medications.

Dog mites are tiny parasites that live in a dog’s fur. They like to tunnel under the skin to lay their eggs, which causes the skin to become inflamed, reddened, and itchy. Some treatments may be more effective than others to get rid of dog mites, depending on the type of mite your pet has and the severity of the infection. Common types of dog mites include ear mites, mange, and walking dandruff.

dog walking on mud

Getting Rid of Ear Mites

As the name suggests, ear mites live in a dog’s ears. The most common symptoms of this type of mite include scratching around the ears; shaking the head and ears; and blood or a dark, coffee ground-like substance in your dog’s ear canal. Special ear mite treatments can be purchased online, at a pet supply store, or at some veterinarian offices.

Drops that include an insecticide may help get rid of dog mites in the ears. These drops should be massaged deep into the dog’s ear canal for at least two to three weeks. Gently cleaning the entire ear daily will also help remove the parasites. Many veterinarians recommend that the infected dog’s entire body also be treated, since ear mites can move to other areas of the skin. Most tick and flea medications will work to kill ear mites on a dog’s body; the product label usually states whether or not it works on mites too.

Getting Rid of Mange Mites

Mange mites can also be referred to as scabies. Most dogs have this type of mite, and they are typically passed from mother to puppy during the first few weeks of life. In most cases, mange mites only cause symptoms in dogs that have a weak immune system or that are very old. Symptoms of mange include hair loss and scaly skin, usually beginning around the dog’s face, but which can spread over the entire body.

Most often, a veterinarian is needed to recommend or prescribe the best treatment option for mange. Lotions, shampoos, and dips are among the most effective treatments. Benzoyl peroxide is a popular home remedy that may be helpful in relieving skin irritations caused by mange, with a small amount rubbed into the affected area to relieve symptoms until the mites are gone. Sometimes mange is treated with weekly injections of a dog-safe insecticide, though this is not common and some breeds of dogs do not tolerate this treatment well.

dog yawning

Getting Rid of Walking Dandruff

Another common type of dog mite is the cheyletiella mite, more commonly called “walking dandruff.” These mites can be seen moving in a dog’s fur, which gives them their name. The most common symptoms are itchy, flaky, and scaly skin on the dog’s back. A veterinarian will usually diagnose walking dandruff and prescribe a series of prescription baths. These mites can be transmitted between dogs and humans through close contact, so you’ll probably want to get rid of them quickly.

General Dog Mite Treatments

Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can help to get rid of dog mites, and it is best to talk to a veterinarian before taking this route. A general veterinarian or a specialist, like a veterinary dermatologist, will be able to recommend the best course of treatment, and prescribe medication if necessary. Some veterinarians sell medicated baths, shampoos, and lotions right in their offices, and many large pet supply stores also fill prescriptions for animals.

Cortisone creams may help alleviate itchiness and skin irritation caused by dog mites, but they are not appropriate for all animals, so you should talk to your veterinarian before using one. Antibiotic creams, available by prescription, can be used to aid in the healing of sores and other skin abrasions, as well as helping to prevent any further infection. Removing the hair in very infected areas may also help dogs suffering from dog mites, as it can make treatment easier by exposing the infected skin.

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