What would do in a situation where you went out with your dog for a pleasant walk but came back with your dog with red swollen spots on the skin and bafflement in the mind. Well, this would turn out to be traumatic for most of the people. These rashes on your dog would be caused by little villains called the chiggers. They are parasites that attach to your dog’s skin and feed on their blood. Chiggers result in your dog feeling very itchy and land up with a skin full of rashes and pimples.
Chigger infestations are not to be taken lightly. Dog owners usually treat this an allergy that would go out within a few days without realizing that chiggers can actually cause their skin to become completely parched and dry and thus, devoiding your dog of the basic nutrients that it requires for its nourishment.
If your dog has recently been infested by chiggers, try to recall the places where you went with your dog for a walk. The most probable place from where your dog would have caught the chiggers is the ground that has moist grass. Chiggers have the tendency to dwell into areas that are usually damp and moist. Thus, if you had been into such a place for a walk, it was certainly not a good idea. Another place from which a dog is likely to catch chiggers is through kennels. Usually people build dog kennels outside their houses and forget to clean them. Thus, chiggers start dwelling into the wood corners of the kennels and then attack your dog. Thus, proper hygiene is really important to avoid these chiggers.
These were the two most common ways through which your dog could catch chiggers. But before we talk about the solutions to this problem, we need to first discuss the causes.
Causes of Chiggers in Dogs:
Hygiene Conditions –
Being unhygienic is like an open invitation to infections and diseases.as mentioned above, if your dog is living in a place that is not cleaned up properly, it is most likely to catch chiggers. Along with this, dogs that have long hair and are not given a regular haircut are also the main targets. This is because chiggers attack the regions of the skin that are usually moist. These include the ears, the arm pits and the lower abdomen.
Older Mites –
It is not always that chiggers attached your dogs over the moist areas. There are times when your dog was infested with mites previously. Now these mites might have laid eggs on the skin of your dog. Thus, in order to feed on these eggs, these chiggers would attack on your dog’s skin and stay there until a proper measure is taken.
Thus, proper hygiene should be maintained for your dog. But how would you identify that your dog has got chiggers?
How would you Identify that your Dog has got Chiggers?
Well, talking about the symptoms of chigger bites, they are quite evident. You would observe red bumps on their skin that will slowly take the shape of blisters. Also, we will see that your dog has slowly developed a parched skin. These rashes would slowly spread over their entire body and would also develop pimples very fast. Another common observation that would be seen is that your dog would start shedding much faster after these chiggers have infested on their body. Thus, if you find dog fur everywhere on your sofa, chiggers could be a reason.
How are Chigger Bites different in Dogs and Humans?
It is observed that chiggers are not a usual scenario when it comes to human beings. This is because we do regular brushing that causes these chiggers to be thrown of the skin. Chiggers in humans usually attach themselves to the wrinkles that is they attach to lose skins in humans. Also, chiggers are very different from mites and thus, they attack only on skins that are very thin and not washed properly. Thus, it is usually your dog that is the victim!
But the main question that arises here is what to do instantaneously when your dog goes into an itching spree. Well, a first aid to this can be understood much better through a video:
After this discussion over the instant first aid, let us get into the detailing of the cures to this issue:
How to Treat Chigger Bites on Dogs?
- If the rashes do not lessen within a day, it is better to feed your dog with an antihistamine after knowing the one that does not cause any effects to your dog. Also, if the problem does not subside, consult your vet as soon as possible for the necessary action.
- The best way to get these chiggers removed from your dog’s body is to give them a good bath using soap and brush their hair properly. With this the chiggers will fall off eventually and die. For the body parts like the ears that cannot be cleaned with soap, it is better that we use a cloth to clean them nicely because most of the chiggers exist in the ears.
- Use calamine solutions for decreasing the reddening of the rashes and healing the blisters. May anti-rash sprays are also available but beware that the once used for humans are not to be used for dogs. The sprays for humans contain a chemical called DEET that causes more severe allergy and vomiting in dogs. Thus, check before you purchase the spray for your little fellow.
But it is much better if home remedies are preferred over these chemicals.
Home Remedies to get rid of Chiggers on Dogs:
- Firstly, ice packs are the best in providing relief to the skin area that is itchy and burning. Place an ice pack over your dog’s skin and then slowly massage it with ice. Be careful that you do not clot your dog’s blood by a continuous application of ice. Repeat this process continuously and your dog would be at ease within a few hours.
- Use Epsom salts and soap while bathing your dog. Epsom salts act as disinfectants and can easily reduce the redness off the skin. Also, your dog would feel much less itchy after these salts have reacted well with blisters.
- Aloevera has natural extracts that act as antihistamines for the body of your dog. you have two choices here: either apply aloevera gel over the rashes and pimples or
a) Take the aloe leaf.
b) Slice it into two parts.
c) Boil them in water.
d) Add this water in the milk that you serve your dog.
Thus, the infection would be healed internally.
Nevertheless, preventions have been known to triumph over cure. Thus, a few preventions to avoid this itchy issue are given below:
Hygiene is the key. If your dog and its surroundings are hygienic enough, chiggers will not cause a problem. Take your dog for a walk only on paved paths so that chiggers present in the grass do not attach to their body. Also, Brush your dog nicely. For dogs that have longer fur, they should be regularly taken to a dog salon.
Insect Repellents –
Use insect repellents for your dog when you take them out for a walk but do not use the repellents that are made for humans. They as discussed before contain DEET that is harmful for your dog.
Clean House –
Try to get your house free of chiggers so that they do not trouble you and your dog.
Thus, these are the few preventions that you can adopt to avoid chiggers on your dog.
We need to understand that these chiggers are not only limited to causing rashes on the body but can cause severe problems as well. This intense itching if not cured within some time can also lead to mental frustration and depression in our dog. Thus, attend to the problems of your dog like you would do to a kid.
Concluding in the end by saying,
“blood to suck and mind to rip,
Welcome to the itchy trip,
Simple rule to guide you through,
Hygiene you must ought to skip”
Thus, these parasites can be easily avoided if you take care of you and your dog’s hygiene or you would be given a grand welcome to the ‘itchy trip’.