How Do I Know if My Dog has Mites?

Skylar Dial
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Demodex Mites: Symptoms and Treatment

Dogs can develop mite infestations, either on the skin or the ears, or both. Since mites can be spread from one dog to another, many people are concerned about whether their dog may have mites even if they have no symptoms.

Most people associate mites with mangy-looking dogs that have hair loss. But many dogs never get seriously affected by mites and they may have no visible symptoms at all. Mites occur more often in hot, humid weather, when they thrive and multiply rapidly. Fleas can spread mites from one dog to another.

Both fleas and mites make your dog itch and can cause a terrible skin condition. Some dogs may even develop painful, persistent skin infections as a result of mites. But many other dogs don’t have any other symptoms aside from the minor annoyance of itching.

The best way to know if your dog has mites is to look for a skin rash. However, this is no cause for alarm. If your dog has a skin rash and you have a healthy pet, there’s a big chance that it’s simply an allergy or a hormone imbalance.

Sarcoptes Mites: Symptoms and Treatment

Dogs that are infested with these types of mites can develop rather unpleasant symptoms. The most common ones are intense itching, severe scratching and biting and hair loss in the affected area.

Many times dogs develop a rash that resembles flea bites. The rash is generally considered to be the most visible sign of infestation. The problem here is that most dogs with these types of mites have diarrhea and as they clean themselves when they scratch, the diarrhea spreads over their bodies resulting in a build up of the mite population.

This causes more itching which is usually the main symptom. Some dogs may have ear infections which stand out as an infected inside of their ears. Other dogs may develop a lung infection and these symptoms can be very frightening to see in a pet because they are so severe and sudden.

If you suspect that your dog has sarcoptic mange, take him to the vet as soon as possible. Even if he doesn’t have sarcoptic mange, he may have another type of mange that needs to be treated for an extended period of time.

Treatment for sarcoptic mange typically consists of a potent pesticide that kills the mites. Since the mites are so contagious, the veterinarian may prescribe a pesticide for you to provide to any family members that may have come in contact with your dog.

Ear Mites: Symptoms and Treatment

If your dog has ears that are red and inflamed, it is highly likely that you have a case of ear mites to contend with. This is a parasite that can severely affect the well-being of your pet and that requires proper treatment to get rid of.

In order to help others, we are answering the question “How do I know if my dog has mites?” by giving a brief description of the characteristics of four common external parasites that are of importance, based on where they live.

The first parasite are the ear mites. This is the most common external parasite of dogs. They have become quite a problem because of over-allocation of antibiotics to humans and animals. A lot of ear mites have developed resistance to the popular pet ear mite treatments available at pet stores.

There are two main types of ear mites: ear canines and ear demodex. The main difference is the location of the parasite: ear canines live in the top part of the ear canal, while ear demodex live in the deeper folds of the outer ear.

Symptoms include: red and inflamed ears, unusual odors coming from the ears, nasal discharge, and itchiness.

In the beginning of an infestation, the dog may shake its head, scratch the ears, or twitch the ears. The ears are usually irritated, red, and swollen.

Cheyletiella Mites: Symptoms and Treatment

Cheyletiella mites are a common dog parasite that cause irritating symptoms. Here are some helpful hints on how to easily remove the mites and the symptoms they cause.

The Cheyletiella mite, also called a "walking dandruff," is the most common mite found in pet dogs. It infests the skin, hair follicles and the ears of almost all dogs. Cheyletiella mites are about 2-4mm long and are white to yellow in color. The mites are often not visible to the human eye. However, observing the infestation location on the body of your dog can provide important clues about what is infesting your pet.

Cheyletiella mites tend to infest the ears, feet, flanks and lower belly of the dog, so those are the areas to examine closely when you suspect an infestation. You can also perform your own test if you notice a localized rash on the skin. The method to determine if your dog has an mite problem is to rub the rash between your fingers and rub the material onto a white cloth. A black stripe left behind on the cloth is an indication that you have a problem.