Owning a dog comes with a lot of work sometimes. Yes, those creatures are so adorable but if care is not taken, there will be a plethora of health problems attached to them.
These health problems, more often than not, come in the form of mites. These mites that attack your dogs can be found literally anywhere in the home.
They are extremely harmful and contagious. This simply means that, not only is your dog at risk of mites’ infestation, you probably are too.
What Are Dog Mites?
They are tiny microscopic parasites that can exist anywhere. And when they are on a dog’s skin, they could cause varying health problems.
These health problems could include anything from hair loss and scabs to sores, bad odor, bald spot, fever, malaise, a decreased appetite and painful skin diseases usually referred to as mange.
Now, despite this being a form of dog mite infestation, it is contagious to humans. And it could result in a skin condition called scabies.
Now, we believe no one wants that. To prevent this, we are going to identify some common dog mites and how to help you get rid of them from your house.
It is very important to remove these mites before they pose a larger problem.
Types Of Dog Mites
Mange is often caused by microscopic mites that invade the skin of otherwise healthy animals.
These mites cause irritation of the skin which gives way to itching, hair loss, inflammation and other symptoms.
Most mange types are contagious. And they don’t affect dogs only; other domestic animals like cats and horses are affected too.
Since this article has dogs as its focal point, here are different kinds of mange that can affect dogs.
They are, ear mites (otodectic mange), trombiculosis (harvest mite), canine scabies (sarcoptic mange) and walking dandruff (cheyletiellosis).
Ear Mites (Otodectic Mange)
This is a type of mange caused by the Otodectes Cynotis Mites. They often infest deeply in a dog’s external ear, resulting in an inflammation in the dog’s ear canal.
While they are commonly found in the external ear canal, they can be seen on the body in rare cases. They can also pierce through the ears’ skin to feed on blood.
The obvious symptoms exuded by a dog infested with ear mites include constant ear scratching and head shaking.
It may become so severe that the inflamed ear starts producing pus. Before it gets to this stage, however, be sure to visit your veterinarian.
Trombiculosis (Harvest Mite)
Trombiculosis is another mange induced mite infestation on dogs which is caused by a parasitic larval called Trombiculosis larvae.
It clings to a dog when it is threading through or lying on a ground that harbors these mites. Once the larvae attach to your dog, they feed until they have had their fill before leaving.
Now, you do not necessarily need a microscope to identify them. They are usually in form of a clustering and immovable orange-red oval dot on a dog’s head, belly or ears.
The symptoms associated with Trombiculosis include intense itching, hair loss, redness, skin crusts and bumps.
Once you notice these, make an appointment with your vet. And after a successful treatment, ensure you prevent a re-infestation.
Walking Dandruff (Cheyletiellosis)
This is caused by Cheyletiella Yasguri Mites. Walking dandruff simply implies that dandruffs that seem to be walking on your dog’s skin are actually mites moving about on the skin.
These mites spend their three-week life span on their host’s skin and are still capable of living up to 10 days within your environment, outside the host.
These mites are highly contagious, especially in a home that has multiple pets. And, not only are they harmful to pets, they can also be transmitted to humans.
So, when your dog is diagnosed with this, you might want to check with your physician. Common symptoms include, frequent itching and scaling and cracking of the skin.
In some cases, your dog might not itch and this may make transmission to other pets easier.
Canine Scabies (Sarcoptic Mange)
This type of mange is a bit difficult to notice or diagnose. This is because, if a dog is bathed regularly, these mites might be hard to locate on a dog’s skin.
It doesn’t even matter if the dog exhibits itching symptoms. This situation is usually referred to as “Scabies incognito”.
Canine scabies is a form of mange caused by Sarcoptes Scabiei Var Canis. It is a contagious mite infestation that affects dogs globally.
These mites dig deep into your dog’s skin to create burrows in which they lay their eggs. And this action results in the skin infestation called sarcoptic mange.
It causes a severe itching that can result in formation of secondary yeast or bacterial infections damaged skin.
This is because frequent scratching of the itch damages the skin. And this damaged skin in turn becomes the perfect habitat that allows bacteria to thrive.
This dog mite infestation can be transmitted to other dogs and humans through contact.
How To Get Rid Of Dog Mites
As mentioned earlier, dog mites are sometimes invisible to the naked eye unless you make use of a microscope.
So, your best option as a dog owner is to be on the lookout for the common symptoms of mite infestation in your dogs.
Once you notice them, get your dog treated and also make sure to get rid of these mites to prevent a re-infestation. Here are a few ways to get rid of dog mites in your house.
Mites can be easily removed from your house with the use of a vacuum cleaner. Dust mites tend to cling to your carpet and rugs, furniture and other nooks and crannies of your home.
You have to invest in a vacuum cleaner and regular cleaning to get rid of those mites waiting to prey on your dog.
If you don’t want to have to move a vacuum around, get a robot vacuum to clean all carpets in your house. To clean a hardwood floor, simply dip a mop in a soapy water and clean.
Dust Your House
Dust mites are everywhere. They are even the most common mites found in the US. To get rid of this menace in your home, vacuuming is not enough.
You have to dust your house regularly. This cannot be overemphasized. especially the place where dust mites accumulate like dust burrows on surfaces of furniture, headboards, shelves, drawers, TV, tables and other fixtures in your house.
Get a damp cloth and clean dust off the fixed objects in your house. A damp cloth prevents stirring and spreading dust mites.
If you are allergic to dust mites, you could get a mask before you proceed.
Do Your Laundry
Once you notice mite infestation in your dog, declutter every potential breeding habitat in your house. A dirty laundry pile is not an exception.
Nothing allows mites to thrive more than a pile of sweaty and musty clothes. So, clear out your clothes hamper.
Always wash your clothes at the right time. A good natural remedy against mites is tea tree oil.
Add a few drops of tea tree oil and lemon juice mixture while doing your laundry. Doing this will help to prevent a re-infestation.
Don’t forget to include other household fabrics like pillowcases and curtains.
Replace Your Carpets
Carpets are potential pathways for dog mites in your house. Sometimes, vacuuming them might not be enough.
If you want to get rid of dog mites in your home, consider replacing the carpets in your house or just your dog’s room, with tiles or hardwood floors.
However, if you can’t afford this, invest in low pile carpets. They are really easy to clean and hold fewer mites compared to high pile carpets.
Bedding Clean Up
When you have a dog mite infestation, it goes without saying that you have to wash your dog’s bed. It is advisable to wash it once or twice every week.
This clean up also includes your mattress and blankets, especially, if you allowed your mite infested dog to sleep on your bed with you prior to diagnosis and treatment. As this can result in a transmission of dog mites to you.
You can expose your mattress to sunlight to eliminate mites. However, it has been speculated that sun drying only works for a little while and the mites will eventually come back.
So, you may have to purchase a new one. Also, soak your blankets in hot water once every week.
Moisture, high humidity and warm temperatures create a thriving environment for mites, especially mites that breed in dust.
You have to create an environment that makes it impossible for mites to breed. To do that you could keep your house cool with, say, an air conditioner.
You can also purchase a dehumidifier to pull out moisture in your room and make sure to keep the humidity level in your house between 30% and 50%.
Also, if you decide to opt for a dehumidifier, you have to clean it regularly in order to prevent mold growth.
Mold growth breeds mold mites which are equally harmful to your dogs, no thanks to their less advanced immune system.
To do this, unplug it, pour out stagnant water, clean the sides of the tank, and rinse several times.
Insecticides are bothersome because of the strong odor they emit when used. So, this should be a last resort, unless you’re cool with the smell, of course.
Get an insecticide spray that can be used to kill mites. However, it is important to point out that some of them only suppress mites.
So, you might want to enlist the help of an exterminator to help with the process.
This is a simple solution that is made by mixing borax and warm water. This solution is effective in killing the mites on your plants or the ones that have infiltrated your house.
Don’t Kill The Spiders In Your House
This probably sounds absurd to you. We know no one likes to have a spider crawling in their houses.
However, if you have a dog mite infestation, you might want to put a hold to your spider stomping spree.
This is because spiders eat mites, hence, are effective in helping you get rid of mites.
You might also want to find more information on how to attract spiders to your house, just saying.
Freeze The Mites
Yes, freezing helps to get rid of dog mites in your house because they can only thrive in a warm environment.
For your bedding that can’t be washed in hot water, you can put them in the washer.
Set the temperature above 130 degrees Fahrenheir (54.4 degrees Celcius) and leave for about 15 minutes or more.
For items you can’t wash, go ahead and put those in plastic bags and put them in your freezer for about 24 hours. This will effectively kill the mites.
Just take them out after 24 hours and give them a good shake to get rid of the frozen mites and that should be it.
Using a high efficiency air purifier (HEPA) is effective in trapping mites, especially a dog mite infestation that came as a result of the dust in your house.
This will help to capture and trap mites, hence, helping you to remove mites from your house.
Here’s how to get rid of dog mites:
It is almost impossible to completely get rid of dog mites in your house. So, it is best to ensure that they do not get in in the first place.
That said, you can actually drastically reduce the amount of mites that have already gotten in. You have to be intentional about this, of course.
Yes, we know dogs can come into contact with mites anywhere. However, it is important to make sure your house is not a breeding ground for these mites.
You can also do yourself and your dog a lot of good by paying attention. Once you notice your dog exhibiting symptoms like scratching and biting itself, definitely take a close look at its skin.
Don’t stop there, ferry your dog to your veterinarian immediately, to get a professional look and possibly give you a rundown on what kind of mite infestation your dog has.
Do not take any chances!
Lastly, if your dog is diagnosed with a mite infestation, keep them away from other pets in your household until it has been treated.
This is to prevent transmission of these mites. And, as mentioned above, some of these dog mites can be transmitted to humans.
So, you might want to visit your physician after your dog has been diagnosed.