Chiggers are skin parasite that causes skin irritations in humans, cats, and dogs. Chiggers are mites scientifically known as Trombicula or commonly called harvest mites. It is the larval stage that gets infested into the living bodies. They are minute in size but can cause huge irritation and red inflammations on the skin. It is most common in the spring-summer season, on the green grass and chalky soil. Read on how to treat Chiggers in Dogs naturally.
Chiggers In Dogs Symptoms
Chiggers attack the dogs on their skin of the belly or stomach, ears etc. You will also notice chiggers on feet at times. Chiggers in dogs stay for long unless it is forced out. They can easily hide behind the fur of the dogs and is most convenient.
The chiggers bite causes skin irritation and intense itching for the poor dogs. It can drive them mad in no time. The cure of chiggers in dogs works in two ways. One, remove the chiggers from the dog’s body and the second is to attend the skin irritation.
Chiggers cause red bumps on the dog’s belly or stomach, ears, feet, or paws. These bumps could also lead to blisters and painful. Chiggers are not visible to naked eye. But the bumps and blisters it causes are more than evident.
The itching starts almost immediately and can be intense for the first 2 days after the bite. The itching could prolong for a few days, if not attended to. It can even take up to 2 weeks for the skin to get back to normalcy. This intense itching can cause skin irritation that could also lead to secondary bacterial infection.
Natural Remedies For Chiggers In Dogs
The first step towards the cure of chiggers on dogs is to get rid of the chiggers from the dog’s fur. The dog must be kept clean and well groomed. The dog, as well as all its accessories, should be cleaned thoroughly to get rid of the chiggers.
- Hot bath: Hot bath works for us and the same could be done for the dogs as well. Make the water tolerable for the dogs and bathe them using an oatmeal based shampoo. The oatmeal shampoo soothes the dog’s skin and the hot water would kill and flush the chiggers away.
- Brushing: Brush and groom the dog well during the spring and summer season. The chiggers love to hide behind the dog’s fur. Brushing would remove it from its hiding place. Grooming the dog with timely trimming of its coat can help when there are chiggers out in the yard. It makes lesser hiding places and makes it easier for you to get rid of them.
- Cleanliness: Clean the dog and all its accessories including the collar band as soon as it comes back home. This will remove the chiggers as early as possible and causes fewer bite instances. If you are up to the whole home cleaning against chiggers, do not forget the bedding and even the bowl of the dogs. Wash everything possible in hot water with a dash of essential oil or vinegar added in it.
Home Natural Remedies For Chiggers In Dogs
There are quite a few home remedies to help the dogs that are infested with chiggers. These home remedies can cure the chiggers on dog skin on its belly and legs. There are only a few of these methods that can cure the chiggers in the dog’s ears.
- Aloe vera is soothing and possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Mix a little of aloe vera gel in the bathing water for dogs. Use this mix as a final wash. Aloe vera gel could also be used to soothe the chiggers affected areas on the dog’s skin. Aloe vera mixed with a little of peppermint oil and use over the inflamed skin on the dog’s feet, paws, stomach, outer ear areas etc.
- Baking soda: Mix a little of baking soda and some water to make a paste. Apply this paste over the red bumps or blisters caused by chiggers bite. You can also mix Baking soda with bathing water to wash the dog’s skin. Baking soda can be used as a dry shampoo by sprinkling over the affected skin. It removes the excess oil on the dog’s skin and fur. The oily, dirty, and messy skin and fur are favorites for chiggers.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal has soothing properties and is hence the main ingredient of dog shampoos. Wash the dog after it has come back from outside. Mix Powdered fine oatmeal with some water and make a paste. Use it to apply over the chiggers’ bitten areas. It reduces inflammation and relieves the pain also. Oatmeal can be used raw or in its cooked form. Rub the oatmeal over the needed areas. Keep the paste there for a while and wash it after some time.
- Green tea: Make a little Green tea with a few cups of water and a few tea bags. Use a clean cloth and soak it in the Green tea. Use this cloth to clean and soothe the affected areas. This is an excellent cure for chiggers on dog’s belly. Make them lie down on their back and rub down the Green tea on it. You can also make use of the used tea bags to cure those little bumps anywhere on the dog’s body.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is widely used as a cure for dry skin on dogs, but it also has healing or skin repairing the property. Rub a little of olive oil over the affected but healing skin on the dog to helps cure the chiggers bite faster. For chiggers in dogs, mix in a little of tea tree oil along with olive oil.
- Calamine lotion: When you notice the dog scratching any particular area on its body too much, immediately apply some calamine lotion on dog's affected area. It will quickly soothe the area and reduce the inflammation.
- Ice pack always works as a quick relief. Put some ice cubes over the red bumps on the dog’s body which caused by chiggers, it gets instant relief from itching and lessens the swelling.
- Vinegar: Trim the down the dog’s fur and brush it properly. Rub on some white vinegar all over the affected and nearby areas over the dog. Vinegar kills the chiggers and is also effective for preventing secondary infections on the chiggers bite. For use over the bitten areas, use only diluted vinegar with water. Mixing vinegar with water and use it for the final wash would also work. Add vinegar with olive oil for a rub down.
How To Repel Chiggers In Dogs
- Essential oils like clove, lemongrass, thyme, citronella, tea tree oil, lavender oil, etc are repelling to most insects, and chiggers are no different. They are the first and best choice to repel chiggers. By applying these oils possible, on the dog’s body, it can make it safe against chiggers.
- Lavender oil is safe essential oil to be used on the dog. The dog that is already gone mad with the intense itching can find relief from the itching and also calm down. Lavender is soothing to the nerves.
- Peppermint oil is another option. Just add a drop or two into the rubbing cure over the chiggers bite can soothe the dog. It could also work well to rub the dog with a drop or 2 of this oil before it gets out playing.
The other oils are not safe to be used on the dog’s body. But you can use it to clean the other surfaces to keep the chiggers off limits.
How To Prevent Chiggers In Dogs?
It is up to us to keep our pets clean and hygienic whenever they are back from a walk from outside.
- Cedar chips: Cedar chips can repel chiggers, laying those chips in the backyard and garden can prevent chiggers from invading. Instead of grass clippings, use cedar chips in the vulnerable areas. You can also spread the cedar chips under the dog’s bedding and toy box; stay assured that chiggers will not invade these areas.
- Mow the grass: Grass is the favorite hiding place of chiggers. The best way to cure chigger bites and prevent them is to keep the grass low and trimmed. So mow the grass regularly so that sunshine can penetrate into the soil beneath. Chiggers hate sunshine and will not be able to hide there. Chiggers prefer shade and make the shaded areas lesser or make sure that the sun reaches everywhere at least for some time during the day to heat the areas.
- Reduce the shade: Just like mowing is a priority so is trimming the trees. The shade under the tree is cooling but if spreads wide, you may have to cut it short. Cleaning under the tress by removing the fallen leaves is also important as they can add to the cool places for the chiggers.
Clean home clean you
Apart from the above, it is not necessary that the dogs are the first that are attacked by chiggers. It could also be you who brought the chiggers mites in. Do wear some boots and full sleeved shirts and pants while out in the garden. Make sure to remove these clothes and wash them in the hot cycle. You will have to bathe as soon as possible in hot water. Clean all the areas that you came through. Use white vinegar or lemongrass to wipe the surfaces. Lemongrass oil repels the chiggers big time.
Can Chiggers Be Found In The Dog’s Ears?
That would be a rare case. It is the cats that are affected by chiggers in ears. Dogs mostly get affected by chiggers on their paws or on the stomach.
All the above-mentioned cures and remedies can be effective ONLY if the mites that affected the dog is diagnosed to be chiggers. Chiggers are too tiny to be seen by naked eye. Though there is a catchy red-orange in color, they are really hard to spot on the skin. It would not hurt to consult the doctor and make sure what the infected insect is.
Care is also called for before you use essential oils on the dogs. Not all dogs would stand the smell of it and some might even be allergic to certain types of essential oils. Here also, consult the doctor before you take any steps towards these kinds of cures.
It is also to be noted that the chiggers can transfer from humans to the dog and vice versa. If you find chigger bites anywhere in humans or dogs at home, a complete cleaning of the home is recommended so that no stone is left unturned to completely eradicate chiggers.