Harvest mites on dogs: Everything you need to know 🐾🍂
Being a pet parent, chances are you’ve heard or been warned about harvest mites on dogs and how they can affect their overall health and wellbeing. If your dog has ever experienced a run-in with these little guys, you will know how uncomfortable they are for them. With the transition months approaching, it’s crucial to be mindful of the dangers that can be posed to your four-legged friend.
So what are harvest mites and why should we be aware of them?
Harvest mites are tiny mites that live in dense vegetation and feed on warm-blooded animals. They cause the biggest problems in their larval stage, are mainly active during July to September, and swarm as an infestation. They are easy to spot on your dog’s body as they look like a sort of red dust clinging to your dog’s fur.
Dogs may experience itching due to how the mites feed on their skin which can be uncomfortable and painful. They may look like small red bumps or a cluster of red dust on your dog’s fur. The itching can begin a few hours after infestation and last for up to several weeks. A harvest mite may have the tendency to attack your dog in areas where there is less hair and better access to skin.
Here are more of the obvious symptoms to look out for:
- A lot of scratching, licking, and rubbing on furniture due to intense itchiness and irritation
- Dry, crusty skin
- Skin inflammation or redness
- An oily, smelly substance on the infected patch
- Raw skin
If your dog’s skin has open wounds, they could risk bacterial infection. If your dog has an allergic reaction to the harvest mite’s fluid, it can make the condition worse - so it is best to seek your vet’s advice as early as possible.
Harvest mite treatment and prevention
From June to September there’s a greater chance of infestation. The larvae are mainly active during dry, warm days. We would recommend walking your dog in the early morning or dusk when it’s colder to prevent burnt paw pads, heat stroke and exposure to harvest mites. Areas with a lot of vegetation or long grass contain a higher volume of harvest mites, so do mind these areas on your walks.
We believe the best treatments are natural:
Oatmeal baths are magical! They can be soothing to your dog’s skin and can help stop the itch. Simply cook some natural quick oats in warm water and rub them on your dog’s skin in the bath. You can also use epsom salt in the bath to relieve any severe itching and kill the tiny mites
Harvest mites love to hide in your dog’s fur and hair and even on our own clothing, so if you or your pet spend a lot of time outside or take a lot of walks, do make sure you keep your dogs nice and clean with frequent baths and wash your clothes immediately after being outdoors
This chalky pink lotion is one of the best and calming ways to relieve the itch
Aloe vera cream can also cool and calm the irritation and can be added to your dog’s bath or rubbed on the itchy areas afterwards
Essential oils such as citronella and rosemary can be used to repel these pesky harvest mites and other biting insects.
In more serious cases where your dog is experiencing extreme infestation, please do check with your vet for more treatment options
Can harvest mites feed on humans?
Just like dogs, humans are warm-blooded beings which means that harvest mites can technically feed off them too, however they’re unlikely to cause you too much trouble unlike your four-legged friend. Humans don’t have the same amount of hair on their skin for them to latch onto, so clusters of larvae are unlikely. There may be a chance of them infecting the ankles or lower leg, especially when you’re walking outdoors, but an on-the-counter sting cream can easily mitigate the itching like most bites from midges and insects.