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Q&A: Does My Dog Have Mites or Fleas? (And What Can I Do?)

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Mange mites can be a huge hassle to get rid of and should be treated as soon as possible.

Mange mites can be a huge hassle to get rid of and should be treated as soon as possible.

What Is Biting My Dogs?

"I have two Chihuahua dogs that are almost 2 years old, two that are 10 years old, and one pit puppy about 18 months old. Sadly I just realized that our yard has mites in it and my pit puppy is covered in some kind of dog mite. She has them in her ears, by her bottom and her female organs, and on her paws, her neck, and in her ears; she also has little bumps all over her.

We do not have the money to go to the vet and take all of our dogs. Is there anything that you would possibly recommend that we could do over the counter? Can we treat our yard with lime? What about our beds?" —Christina

How to Identify Mites and Fleas

How are you sure that your dogs have mites? Sarcoptic and other types of mange mites are microscopic. You can see the signs, like bite marks, hair loss, and walking dandruff, but you cannot see the mites themselves with the naked eye.

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Have you seen any parasites on your dogs? If you have seen them, it is much more likely to be fleas. Please do an internet search for "external parasites dogs" and look at the images.

What about just taking your pit puppy in for an exam and then treating your Chihuahuas at home? It will be much less expensive and it sounds like that dog is suffering the most. If you do not have her treated properly, she is going to spread the infection to your Chihuahuas (and maybe to you), so if you can, please take her in as soon as possible.

Home Remedies for Mites

If it is mites, they can also infest you and other people in the house, so they can end up being an expensive problem. If you cannot buy one of the medications for mites from your veterinarian, then you can try some home therapies, but they are usually less effective. There is a product called "happy jack" that has sulfur and is more effective than most of the other medications available at home. Other therapies (like olive oil) work in the ears but are much less likely to help if the problem is widespread.

Do Not Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed When They Have Mites

No matter what treatment you use, you should not let your dogs sleep in your bed until this is over. Mange mites can live in the sheets, the mattress, and the couch as well as anywhere else the dog sleeps. Here are some tips on cleaning up the house to get rid of mites.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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