Invasion of the Body Scratchers! Part 1: Surface Mites

2 CommentsMonday, 15 April 2013  |  Kate

While parasites don't have pods to duplicate your dog they can cause extreme discomfort and distress if they move in. We'll be covering all the most common kinds of parasites that dogs can pick up over this 4 part mini-series. This week we'll be looking at Surface Mites.

Itchy DogParasites cause your dog discomfort

There are often times when it can be difficult to figure out just exactly why your dog is itching and scratching. And even if you've managed to narrow it down to a parasite problem it can still cause you much grief trying to find out which type of parasite it is because there are so many! You've got fleas, ticks, lice, mites, and mange all out there to contend with and protect your dog against. Even then there are many different types of each parasite - harvest, storage and ear mites for example - so it can be an ordeal at the best of times.

Most dogs will experience skin problems at some point in their lives, however mild or severe so to help ease the stress of trying to catch the parasites red handed we've put together an article detailing the most common types of parasite that dogs can be party to and how to spot them. Parasites often live on your dog's skin where they breed faster than rabbits wreaking havoc on their host. If left untreated, the life of a dog in this condition can only go downhill. Because there are many different types of fleas, ticks, lice, mites, and mange it can be tricky to know how to treat which parasite with what cure.


Mites are common parasites which are responsible for causing a lot of grief in dogs. We're dealing with surface mites this week i.e. mites that live above the skin. There are two main types of surface mites that affect dogs which are Harvest mites and Cheyllettiella mites.

Harvest mites, known formally as Trombicula Autumnalis, are predominantly abundant during the seasonal change at the end of summer moving into autumn. Around these times they scramble to look for hosts to latch onto (like your dog) to breed before winter comes. They can affect all mammals including us humans but they're only a danger during their larval stage when they require a host to from which to feed. They are almost microscopic but they can be spotted by the naked eye as they resemble tiny orange coloured dots on your dog and they commonly infest areas between the toes or under the armpits.Harvest mites like to crawl around in dense foliage such as long grass, bushes and plants where they wait until a host comes near enough to jump onto. Use Skinny Spray before walks to make your dog unattractive to these Chiggers and wash with an Ekoneem shampoo bar or Skinny Dip shampoo to get rid for good. The neem in these two will kill the mites stone dead and deter new squatters.

Cheylettiella mites appear light in colour and can be seen by the naked eye which has given them the nickname 'the walking dandruff'. These mites cause general itchiness and can live on dogs, cats, humans and even rabbits too. These mites cause a highly contagious form of dermatitis (skin inflammation) known as Cheyletiellosis (or Cheyletiella dermatitis) which can be transferred between animals by contact so if you suspect your dog has these mites it is best to separate them from your family and other animals.For both types of surface mites you can use Skinny Dip Shampoo which is an effective topical treatment for bathing your dog with. While you're bathing them with the shampoo follow up with Skinny Spray before going out for a walk. Both contain neem as well as rosemary, sage and lemongrass oils - powerful natural antihistamines and healing properties.

Click here to read part two on mange and ear mites.

Maureen Fletcher
Friday, 18 September 2015  |  12:55

Think somebody has the Cheryl..... Can this shampoo/spray be used on young puppies?

Tuesday, 22 September 2015  |  11:07

Hi Maureen

It can be used on puppies older than 12 weeks.