Mites are arthropods, and are closely related to spiders. There are several species of mites, and only a few of them cause harm to pets and humans. Dogs are often victims of mite infestations. Young and elderly dogs are especially vulnerable. Mites are extremely small and can only be seen under a microscope.
The most common symptom of mites on dogs is mange. The human equivalent of mange is scabies, and is caused by a close species of mite. Patches of bare skin, scabs, and crusted linings on the skin characterize mange. When mites infect a dog’s ear, the dog will scratch the ear and shake its head. Mites burrow into the dog’s skin and inhabit it. Burrows can be up to 1 cm deep, though they are too small to see with the naked eye. Mites also inhabit hair follicles, which causes the hair to fall out. Mange takes a huge toll on the immune system, and dogs can die if the infection continues to grow. Untreated mites can also lead to secondary skin infections.
There are many suggested treatments for mites on dogs. Veterinarians have medicated creams, pills, and drips that can be used. If the dog’s ear is infected, the ear will be cleaned, and mineral oil will be applied. Home remedies are also available. Feeding dogs garlic and coating them in a eucalyptus solution is an option. There are also lime-based liquids that can be applied to the coat of the dog. Mites on dogs can be contagious, so keep the infected pet away from other animals and children.