If you were unlucky enough to deal with chiggers, ever in your life, you know how big a problem they are. If you are a pet lover and you own a dog you definitely want to take the best care of him. So, you must get rid of chiggers to protect yourself and your pets.
This article is related to chiggers on dogs, if you want to learn how to get rid of chiggers from your house, yard, or body click on the link given below:
What are Chiggers?
Chiggers are tiny, red pests belonging to the Trombiculidae family. They are also called red bugs, itch mites, harvest mites, and jiggers. They are found mostly in warm climates in the woods and tall grasses. They are so small that they are not easy to identify with the naked eye. They feed on the skin of people, birds, and animals.
There are two types of Chiggers. One is known as Neotrombicula autumnalis and is found in Europe. Whereas, the other is known as Eutrombicula alfreddugesi and is found in America. There are no differences in the symptoms of these two types.
If you take your dog for a walk outside in the woods there is a great chance that he would catch chiggers. The worse thing is you might not even notice it.
As soon as chiggers jump onto the animal they begin looking for any area of the skin to bite. The fur on a dog’s body makes it difficult for the mite to find the area of skin. So, it attaches itself to the dogs, head or ears.
Chiggers don’t penetrate the skin, instead, they, when get attached to the skin they insert an appendage and then suck up the skin tissue. They can continue feeding for a few days and then detach from the body. But, the appendage stays attached to the body and is the cause for severe itchiness.
Symptoms of Chiggers in Dogs
If your dog is suffering from constant itching due to chigger bites you may confuse it with other conditions like dermatitis or an allergic reaction. As there are no certain symptoms for identifying chigger infestation it’s very hard to identify whether or not it’s the cause of itching.
Here are some symptoms that you need to look for:
- Intense itching due to red raised bumps.
- Severe rashes on the legs, face, ears, or head (areas of his body that have the most contact with the ground).
- Blisters or pimples on the skin or around a rash.
- Your dog may start losing his fur in some places of his body.
The main symptom is itching which lasts for several days and is very severe for the first couple of days.
How to Remove and Prevent Chiggers on Dogs
The first thing you need to do after your dog has been bitten by a chigger is to remove it as quickly as possible. Removing a chigger from the dog’s body is quite easy; you just have to bathe him with soap and water, it will kill the chigger. In areas where they are hard to detach like ears and eyes, you can remove them wiping the area with a soft cloth.
The best way to avoid chiggers on dogs is to stay away from the areas that are highly infested by chiggers. Avoid taking him to wooden places and files and stay on the trail. If you happen to go to such places, it’s recommended that you spray your dog with a pet insect repellant.
Treatment of Chigger Infestations
Once symptoms of chigger bites start to appear you will have to treat them as you can’t remove the chiggers because they have must have fallen by that time.
The best idea would be to see your vet immediately, especially if the itching or rashes are very severe. The vet will first diagnose the dog for the symptoms of chigger bites. Additional tests might also be required to identify and eliminate other conditions. The vet may then prescribe an oral steroid to reduce rashes and ease itching.
- Natural treatment
You can also go for natural remedies to treat chigger bites but you should only use that remedy which has been proven effective or you can also consult your vet. Here are some of the best natural remedies to treat chigger bites:
- Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt and soap is a very effective bath as it kills the mites and relieves severe itching. You only need to mix one cup of Epsom salt in a warm bath and make sure that it is dissolved. Let your dog soak into the bath for around 30 minutes.
- Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal is known for providing relief against itching and it could be perfect for your dog’s chigger bites as well. You need to cook one cup of oatmeal and let it cool. Then, rub the oatmeal onto infected areas, do this repeatedly until all infected areas are treated.
- Baking Soda
Baking soda is a well-known cleaning agent and can help treat chigger bites as well. Take one teaspoon of baking soda and mix in a half glass of water. Now, rub the mixture on bite areas and let it stay for around 15 minutes.