Mites in dogs (What you can do against them)

Your dog has mites? Then there are some facts you should know. What you should know exactly about them and how you can prevent the infestation, as well as other tips, I have summarized for you in this post. In addition, I have for this article Advice from veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic obtained. Note: This article is written for the german country.

Table of Contents

Mites can lurk almost anywhere and in many cases are highly transmissible from animal to animal. 

Mites, the almost invisible arachnids

Mites are insidious little parasites that can infest your four-legged friend almost anywhere. They belong to a subclass of arachnids, which belongs to the phylum of arthropods. 

There are 50,000 different species of mites, which have different preferences and can trigger different symptoms. 

This figure already suggests that these animals are very adaptable and can be found almost everywhere. 

Dog mites do exist and an infestation with them does not necessarily have anything to do with poor hygiene or being unkempt. 

Even furry noses, which are very well-groomed and regularly visit the vet, can not be protected against the arachnids with one hundred percent certainty. 

This probably sounds very worrying to you and admittedly, a mite infestation is not very pleasant for your pet in most cases either. 

But it helps to know how you can recognize dog mites when in doubt.

By doing this, you can try to reduce the risk of your faithful companion becoming infected and support them in the event of an infestation. 

Localizing a mite infestation proves difficult in many cases. The small vermin are usually not visible to the naked eye. In addition, some types of mites do not even cause a reaction of your four-legged friend. 

Nevertheless, you should watch your pet very closely and react to any changes in behavior. 

A small consolation is that your dog's mites pose serious, health risks to you as the dog owner in only a few cases.

Unlike Fleas or ticks, the most common dog mites mostly leave humans in peace or at least cannot survive on you. 

If you notice itching on your arms and legs, do not ignore it. In addition, inform your doctor and your dog's veterinarian about it. 

How you can detect mites


A mite infestation in your furbearer can trigger various symptoms. The reactions vary depending on the type of mite.

In some types of mites, they even remain completely absent and the arachnids do not cause any discomfort or health risks.

Mites that affect your dog's health often give themselves away through the Itchingthey trigger.

Does your pet have bald patches in the coat that keep spreading? Can you observe small black spots or untypical grains in the coat? 

Then an infestation of mites is very obvious.

It is best to comb your pet's fur with a fine comb and then examine the hairs on a white or light background. This way there is a higher chance that you can detect mite eggs or mite larvae.

Unusual grains

If you find unusual grains, you can dampen a piece of kitchen roll and spread the grains on it. If brown or dark red spots appear, it could probably be mite droppings. 

This consists of dried blood / tissue fluid, which is noticeable on the wet base.

However, this test may also apply to flea feces. Unlike mites, you can see fleas in the fur relatively easily with the naked eye. Often fleas also hop around near your four-legged friend.

Your veterinarian has even more accurate ways to detect the mites. With a skin scraping or a clarification strip preparation he can determine the mites exactly.

Therefore, also control his favorite corners, such as cuddly blankets or baskets. In addition, fleas also bite humans. They have fewer opportunities to hide on the human, but do not beat a human meal.

Flea bites are relatively easy to recognize on your skin. They itch moderately to strongly and are noticeable by red dots. Usually there are three red dots, which are arranged in a line.

You can learn more about fleas on our page about this: Dog fleas (15 valuable tips and home remedies that will help you today) 

What are the types of mites?

There are different types of mites that can infest your dog. Some go unnoticed for a long time or completely unnoticed because they do not cause any symptoms or reactions. Others, however, cause severe itching and even skin rashes. 

Your dog's skin can be so damaged by scratching that it becomes bloody and sore. You should never let it get to this stage and consult your vet at the first signs. 

They can find out what type of mite your four-legged friend has and initiate countermeasures. Above all, immediate measures to stop the acute itching will help your pet. 

The best known types of mites are ear mites, mange mites, autumn grass mites, hair follicle mites, predatory mites and foraging mites.

1. ear mites

Dog ear

The scientific name for Ear mites is "Otodectes Cynotis". Ear mites are somewhat more common in cats than in dogs. Nevertheless, many dogs are affected by the small parasites in the ear.

The symptoms are:

  • Increased and dark earwax
  • Ears are unusually dirty
  • Red and swollen ears
  • The sticky secretion quickly reappears after cleaning the ears
  • Constant scratching on and in the ear, encrusted areas
  • Ear infection (advanced stage)
  • Frequent head shaking
  • Tilting the head
  • Balance disorders

The veterinarian can examine the ears with an otoscope and is thus able to detect the microscopic and white mites. For direct help, you should ask him for a remedy that stops the itching. There are also shampoos and sprays or even spot-ons. In some cases, the veterinarian may decide to administer injections.

2. broaching mites or burrowing mites


The scientific name for grave milden is "Sarcoptes.

The for Mice mites"Sarcoptes Canis".

These mites cause the mange disease. Infection occurs through direct contact between healthy and infected animals.

The itching caused by the grave mites is very strong and almost unbearable for your darling. As a result, he can no longer lead a normal life, because he has to scratch himself constantly. The female mites lay their eggs directly under the skin.

Due to the constant scratching, the skin is severely damaged, inflamed and horny. Furthermore, it produces more fat, which often makes affected dogs smell rancid. The mange starts on the head and then spreads over the entire body of your favorite.

If your faithful companion has signs of this disease, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

If nothing is done about mange, this disease is fatal.

3. autumn grass mites

The scientific name for autumn grass mites is "Neotrombicula Autumnalis". This type of mite lurks in the wild. As the name suggests, they wait for their victims on blades of grass, especially in autumn, and infest them when they pass.

If your dog is infested with the autumn grass mite, you may notice that he often bites and almost gnaws at his paws. 

Infestation with autumn grass mites occurs relatively often. Almost every third dog in Germany suffers from the effects of these small parasites once or even several times in his life.

The autumn grass mite has a red to orange color. It has a preference for the spaces between the toes. But also the legs, the inner thighs and the abdomen are a favorite target.

Not even the ears, back, nose and lips are excluded from the possible infestation of this type of mite. 

In the stage from larva to adult mite, the autumn grass mite increases in size by about five times. Only the mite larvae need a warm-blooded animal to survive.

They suck cellular water and tissue fluid from your protégé and feed on it to reach their next stage of development. 

In some cases, the autumn grass mite does not stop at humans. Therefore, it is best to watch out for itchy symptoms on yourself as well.

The saliva of the grass mite can cause allergies. Depending on how sensitive your pet is and how he reacts to the saliva, he has to fight with very strong itching. 

Puffy eyes, ulcers and wheals on the skin may even develop. 

Even after the mite has fallen off, the itching usually continues. Therefore, secondary symptoms, such as severe inflammation of the skin, are not uncommon.

You can find more details in the article about Grass mites.

4. hair follicle mites

The scientific name of the hair follicle mite is "Demodex Canis". This type of mite is actually part of the normal environment of your dog's skin. Provided the balance is intact, it should not cause any discomfort or health risks.

The various subspecies of the hair follicle mite feel at home on sweat glands, sebaceous glands and hair follicles.

They become problematic when they multiply above average and the balance is no longer guaranteed. As a result, parts of the skin can change. They become red and you can often observe hair loss in these areas. 

If the effects become increasingly severe, a Demodicosis. This skin disease in dogs is mainly caused by the hair follicle mite. Often young dogs are affected by it.

Demodicosis, in addition to the symptoms already described, is further manifested by flaky skin noticeable. Most often the hairless areas on the abdomen, neck, head and also on the torso or legs.

Did you know that hair follicle mites are not transmissible from animal to animal or animal to human?

Only puppies receive hair follicle mites in the first few days through contact with their mother. However, these are, as already mentioned, in healthy numbers a normal inhabitant of the environment of the skin of dogs.

In rare cases, hair follicle mites can enter the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Then they can be detected in the lymph nodes. 

Normally, dogs with a healthy immune system do not get demodicosis. Moreover, the disease often remains undetected and regenerates on its own.

To diagnose it, the veterinarian scrapes superficial layers of the skin and then examines it. After that he decides which therapy is the most useful.

5. predatory mites


The scientific name of the predatory mite is "Cheyletiella parasitivorax". The predatory mites are transmitted by proximity, that is, direct contact between animals, one of which is infected with predatory mites.

Therefore, they are host nonspecific. Veterinarians also assume that indirect transmission by other vermin is possible. For example, flies, lice or fleas.

Predatory mites live on the skin and in the coat. They feed mainly on dander and tissue fluids of the affected animal. To access the tissue fluid, they bore their mouth tool into the skin surface of the host. Females lay their eggs under the skin in the process, so that the entire development process takes place on the affected animal.

Take special care to use different coat brushes if you have several dogs. The predatory mite is highly contagious and can be transmitted to other dogs by using the same brush.

Predatory mites feel most comfortable on dogs. However, in individual cases it transfers to humans or other animal species.

Symptoms often remain absent. This mainly affects older animals. When symptoms occur, they are usually caused by strong Scaling visible on the back and head. You can also see an increased Scratch observe that is due to a strong itching.

In most cases...

In most cases, the symptoms are very pronounced in puppies. In the advanced stage, it can also lead to Hair loss come.

Since predatory mites are relatively large, they can largely be detected using a magnifying glass. Veterinarians often apply an adhesive strip to the skin and carefully pull it off. This allows them to examine the detached skin scales closely under the microscope.

During treatment, the surrounding area should also be treated. Treatment on the dog itself is carried out mainly with the help of acaricide, a special agent to combat mites.

6. feed mites

If food is not stored properly, mites can also settle in your pet's food. So they can get on your four-legged friend later. 

Make sure that the food is always hermetically sealed and remains dry. Also, it should be stored far away from the sleeping place. 

How do I treat mite infestation?

The treatment depends on the type of mite that has affected your pet. During the period of mite infestation, pay excessive attention to adequate hygiene and be sure to treat all animals, even if you have the impression that only one animal is affected by mites.

How to prevent properly

Often old and sick dogs with a weakened immune system are attacked by mites. Therefore, make sure that your dog leads a healthy life.

Regular exercise in the fresh air, preventive check-ups at the vet and a balanced diet are mandatory. Provide your dog with additional omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids also have a positive effect. You can buy these, for example, as a dietary supplement and use them according to instructions. 

Against grass mites, preventive treatment with appropriate spot-ons can be recommended. In addition, you should comb your pet often and generally pay attention to hygiene.

Which home remedies really help?

Natural medicine

There are several home remedies against mite infestation. The best way to test the effectiveness is to do it yourself.

Heated Coconut oil can stop the itching and suffocate the mites on the skin. Be sure that it is not hot, but just warm enough to become liquid.

Gently massage the oil into the skin, wearing gloves. If your pet accepts it, leave the oil on for several hours. After that, you can soak up the excess oil with a towel. The treatment should be repeated in the morning and in the evening.

The administration of daily one tablespoon Salmon oil per 10 kg body weight supports the immune system and skin health through omega-3 fatty acids.

In the case of hairy bellows mites and grave mites, the diluted apple cider vinegar Show effect. Dilute apple cider vinegar with water in a ratio of 1:1 and spray it on the coat. Then spread it well with a glove, so that the skin surface is covered. Please be careful not to spray vinegar into your pet's eyes.

Furthermore, treatment with Tea tree and neem oil help. This is done using a few drops of the oils in the bath water.

Aloe vera can also help to heal the sore skin.

Please note, that some essential oils are not good for dogs, because they are hypersensitive to them. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary practitioner before use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mites are small arachnids that are found almost everywhere. There are species that live in the fur of healthy dogs and do not cause any problems. However, there are also those that can cause severe itching and skin diseases.

Most mites are not transmissible from dogs to humans. However, some species can cause itching and redness in humans. 

The most obvious symptom of a mite infestation is severe itching. If your dog scratches more often than normal, you should examine his coat. If you find dark grains that turn red when they come into contact with water, this is most likely an indication of a mite infestation.

The treatment depends on the type of mite that has affected your pet. Therefore, you should take him to the vet. During the time of mite infestation, pay excessive attention to adequate hygiene and be sure to treat all your dogs.

Heated coconut oil can stop the itching and smother the mites on the skin. Be sure that it is not hot, but just warm enough to become liquid. Also, tea tree oil and neem oil, as well as salmon oil preparations can help.

Veterinarian’s Recommendation

Regardless of the species, they include: Mites, can infect your dog, even if you have taken all precautions. It is not your fault if it should happen. Precautions can reduce the risk, but not eliminate it completely.

If it does happen and your dog suffers from severe itching or shows other abnormalities, you should call your veterinarian immediately.

Please keep calm and continue to radiate your caring to your most loyal friend. This will be good for both of you. Your veterinarian will definitely tell you how to approach the matter specifically in your case.

Veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic
Veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion, and it is my personal goal to create medically accurate articles and videos to educate pet owners as much as possible.

Learn More

Share Now: