How to beat the season pest - Harvest Mites

How to beat the season pest - Harvest Mites

As autumn approaches a lot of dog owners might find that their pets are itching more than usual. This is commonly due to Harvest Mites which are particularly active during the seasonal change. Harvest Mites are found in grass, woodlands and other foliage and hop on to bite any animal or human that passes.

What are Harvest Mites?

Harvest Mites are insects that live on your dog. In the UK we have the mite Trombicula autumnalis. It is possible to see harvest mites with the naked eye; they are easily recognised as bright orange dots. Microscopic members of the arachnid family, mites burrow under your dog's skin and lay their eggs. The larvae can cause huge problems to dogs, mainly affecting the areas of the body closest to the ground, and places with thinner skin — commonly the paws, tummy, and groin.

In small quantities, your dog won't even notice they are there. However, when the population begins to grow, the result can be inflamed, reddened patches of skin and incessant scratching. 

How to reduce exposure to Harvest Mites?

As the larvae are only active during the day, one way to reduce exposure to Harvest Mite larvae is to walk your dogs in the early morning, It’s also been found that harvest mites are very localised, so you might find that one field has masses of them and yet when you walk your dogs in the field next door they’re hardly ever affected. So, try to avoid problem areas when you walk your dogs. It’s also a good idea to avoid long grasses and vegetation. Keep moving, as the worst infestations occur when sitting down or resting in the middle of a hot, sunny September day.

A few drops of our Flea & Tick Defence Drops every week will help ward off the Harvest Mites due to its strong essential oil aroma. The combination of  cedarwood, lavender, peppermint and juniper essential oils is particularly effective on warding off ticks and mites.

How to recognise larvae infestation?

The first sign that your dog has these mites is sudden licking and biting their feet with urgency. On examination on the top of your dogs paws right in between their toes you will find clusters of small raised reddish orange spots that look like paprika in colour. These are the Harvest Mites larvae, and you might find your dogs toes are red, swollen and inflamed. This is caused by the Harvest Mites burrowing into the skin to feed off the dogs flesh. When the Mites puncture into the skin they release and inject a digestive enzyme to break down the skin cells. Once this enzyme starts to work on the skin they burrow to make a hole and chew on the skin. If the skin becomes damaged your dog is also at risk of bacterial infections. It is the release of the enzyme that causes your dog to itch and be in intense pain, some dogs can even be allergic to this enzyme. 

Harvest Mites usually attack your dog where there is little hair and better access to the skin. If your dog is riddled with these Mites, itching usually begins a few hours after infestation, lasting for up to several weeks.

Natural ways to help your dog

- add our Itchy Skin & Allergy Relief supplement to your dog's food to relieve the itch. Itchy Skin & Allergy Relief contains herbs such as Wild Pansy and Horsetail, vitamins like Biotin, and essential minerals including Manganese and Zinc to relieve symptoms of itching and scratching, and allergic reactions in general.

- use our Skin Relief Spray on any clusters of small raised reddish spots, red, inflamed, damaged, broken skin,  Its unique herbal formula includes Marigold, Tansy, St John’s Wort, Plantain, Comfrey, Geranium and Parsley, promoting healing and soothing on contact. It instantly relieves itchy skin. Its antibacterial properties will also help prevent bacterial infection.

- use our Natural Sensitive Skin Shampoo to soothe irritated, itchy skin and help rebuild healthy skin. 

- add our Digestive Complex supplement to remove any toxins brought by the Harvest Mites' enzyme and help counteract any allergic reaction to this enzyme.

- add our D-Dog Superfoods or D-Dog Superfoods Beta to boost your dog's immune system and general health. Susceptibility to parasitic infestations of any sort is influenced by general health.

Article Date: 11 September 2014