Harvest mites: Causes and treatments
46 CommentsThursday, 27 September 2018 | Kate
Why is my dog itching so much right now?
As autumn approaches, a lot of dog owners might find that their pets are itching more than usual and dogs with skin problems are not uncommon. This is commonly due to Harvest Mites which are particularly active during the seasonal change and can be a common cause of skin problems on dogs around this time.
What is a harvest mite?
Harvest Mites, in their six-legged larval stage, feed on warm blooded animals, swarming as an infestation. They're only a problem during this stage but can cause considerable discomfort to your dog and can be recognised as red dust clinging to your dog's hair. If left untreated they can cause skin conditions dogs can have trouble dealing with.
How does it make my dog itch?
The itching dogs may experience from Harvest Mites is due to how the larvae feed. The mites inject a digestive enzyme into a dog's skin. This liquefies the skin which the mites feed on, usually feeding for around 2-3 days before dropping off, increasing by 3-4 times in size. Dogs with skin problems could have their conditions worsened by an infestation of Harvest Mites.
Where do Harvest Mites come from?
Harvest Mites are found across the UK, usually in dense foliage like long grass, bushes and plants and are most active during the day in dry and sunny conditions. However they're usually confined to small areas. To avoid the mites, walk your dog early in the morning and stay out of long grass.
When will my dog stop itching?
Harvest Mites usually attack your dog where there is little hair and better access to the skin. If your dog is riddled with these chiggers, itching usually begins a few hours after infestation, lasting for up to several weeks. In a few cases scratching, rubbing and biting can lead to hair loss or scurf or more serious skin problems on dogs. If the skin becomes damaged your dog is also at risk of bacterial infections and other skin condition dogs can get. The damage done by Harvest Mites can also be exacerbated by allergic reactions to the mites' fluid.
How do I treat it and what with?
Use this effective Skinny Dip Shampoo treatment made by CSJ. Massage it into your dog's coat, leave for a few minutes then rinse out. Also use CSJ's fragrant Skinny Spray before you go on walks (when mites are most likely to be picked up) to top up your dog's protection between washes. The spray will then work its magic to protect your dog from mites during your walk.
If that wasn't enough use Ekoneem Organic Neem Oil, which you can rub onto your dog. All of these products are fast acting and reduce itching immediately.
How do they work?
The Ekoneem, the Skinny Dip shampoo, and the Skinny Spray all contain one main ingredient: Neem Oil, which is a naturally occurring compound called Azadirachta Indica. As the most abundant and effective compound found in the Neem tree (a relative of mahogany), Neem Oil is produced by the tree to protect it from harmful insects. It is used as a miticide (an agent that exterminates mites) because it affects the hormonal system, the reproductive system and feeding patterns of insects. It is also effective as a fungal treatment which can help clear up any fungal problems for dogs with skin problems.
The Skinny range also have added health benefits for your dog as they contain certified organic ingredients, including: Ivy, Arnica, Elder, Mallow, Lime, Cucumber, Neem, Lavender, Lemongrass, Rosemary, and Sage Oil.
Here's what they do:
Lavender also calms the nerves and stimulates blood flow, while Rosemary can boost hair stimulation and is effective against scurf. Thanks to the Neem Oil present in these products they will help stave off infections, sooth sore patches and wounds, reduce itching within hours, and stimulate hair growth.