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You can’t really see them, but, they sure can cause havoc for your dog. Yes! We’re talking about chiggers. They can cause intense itching and leave your dog scratching endlessly. In fact, they can cause serious problems if left untreated. For example, the vigorous scratching, which is a consequence of the itch caused by chiggers, can cause your dog’s skin to break. The broken skin can get infected and lead to various other complications. So, get your dog treated right away if he/she has chiggers.
Here are a few treatment suggestions, but, before we go there, let’s get a basic idea about chiggers.
What are Chiggers?
Chiggers are basically mites that attach themselves to a host (your dog) and cause intense itching. They generally tend to inhabit dark, wooded areas, but, as larvae, they are pretty much okay with any location. In fact, the larvae stage is when they are likely to end up on your dog. Chiggers tend to affect dogs mostly during the fall and spring. They look very similar to fleas, ticks, and scabies. However, chigger marks are hardly noticeable like ticks or flea marks. You would likely need a microscope to even know your dog has chiggers. So, if your dog is scratching and you can’t find the source of the itch right away, it’s likely to be chiggers.
There are allopathic and natural treatment options for chiggers. Your vet’s treatment suggestion will most likely involve the use of either an anti-parasite topical application or 2 pyrethrin based dips. The pyrethrin based dips are applied on a localized area, with each dip being applied two weeks apart. Injectable or topical steroids are also a treatment option. They are very useful in alleviating any itchiness.
As for natural treatment options, green tea is known to offer anti-inflammatory benefits. That’s exactly why they are used to treat chigger bites. All you have to do is brew some green tea according to your dog’s size. Then, dilute the green tea with water. Use the diluted green tea to rinse your dog. This will take care of the itch. You can repeat if necessary.
Bathe your dog immediately if you suspect he/she has been affected by chiggers. After you bathe him/her, apply hydrocortisone over the areas that are itchy. As an alternative, you can even use calamine lotion or topical steroid. They are sure to help with the inflammation.
If none of the above treatment suggestions work, please visit your vet immediately. Ideally, itching should stop within a few days, while the bumps should go away in a couple of weeks.
As a preventive measure, keep your dog away from areas that are known to host bugs or have very heavy vegetation.