Skip to main content

Grass mites – danger for the dog

Hund mit Grasmilben liegt im Gras

Grass mites can quickly infest dogs while running around – © @ KostyaKlimenko

Between May and October the grass mites romp in the grass, moss and undergrowth every year. There are many different species in the grass mite category. For humans and dogs, the autumn grass mite is the most interesting species in this country, although there are other mites in dogs. The autumn grass mite, uses both humans and dogs as hosts and can be quite annoying. Let’s look at the most important facts about the grass mite, as the autumn grass mite is also called, and understand why it can be so dangerous for the dog.

1. appearance, occurrence and distribution

The autumn grass mite is an arachnid, just like the house dust mite and tick. It is only about 0.5 millimetres in size and has a strong reddish colour. Just like ticks, the small animals move by running away. They have a total of six legs. In their life they go through three (five) stages. From the egg, which is laid on the ground by the mother, they develop into larvae. In this stage the autumn grass mites migrate to low grass blades, mosses and other branches. From here, they reach their host simply by stripping off. The actual targets include small animals such as mice and birds. Because autumn grass mite larvae are not fussy, they go for all other mammals such as dogs, cats, humans and rabbits.

2. what do autumn grass mites do to their host?

The larvae sit there to scratch the skin on their legs with their cutting tools, they look for a very thin place to do this. They drip saliva into the crack. The saliva dissolves the skin. This mixture of skin and lymph is their food. When they have finished sucking, they fall off. They pass through the Nymph Stadium, which is actually three Nymph Stadiums. Once developed, they fall off as adult grass mites.

3. autumn grass mites are a danger for dogs

Depending on the host, grass mites and other dog mites linger on the skin from a few hours to days.

Regardless of the host, saliva and injured skin areas lead to itching. While humans can hold back from scratching the area, dogs cannot. They lick the irritated skin area wound and scratch it open.

Because the skin barrier is broken, pathogenic germs and bacteria can now enter the bloodstream directly. Especially sick, very young and weakened animals can suffer serious damage in this way.

Furthermore, these open areas become inflamed and can also cause dermatitis. This means that not only the bite/scribe itself is irritated, but also other large areas of skin are affected by itching.

In long-haired dogs, mites are difficult to detect, and although it may be that the change of coat causes the scratching at the beginning and end of the season, mites are not the first diagnosis. This is problematic, because scratching can cause lasting damage to hair follicles in such a way that permanent bald spots appear. If treated in time, the circles of bald spots (alopecia) disappear again.

In the worst case, the saliva can trigger a kind of allergic reaction ranging from cramps to nausea and unconsciousness. It is therefore important to check regularly whether the dog is infested by a parasite.

In addition to the autumn grass mites, dogs can also be infested by ear mites. In this case, it is essential to act quickly, because your dog’s hearing can actually be affected. Besides, the dog suffers terribly from the parasites.

By the way: autumn grass mites can also infest cats.

4. remedy against autumn grass mites

You can easily recognize the parasite infestation if you regularly look behind the ears, in the facial area under the belly and on the paws for conspicuous features.

If your dog itches more frequently, try a thorough shower and very mild shampoo or curd soap.

If this does not help, consult a vet. Your vet will also prescribe something for your dog’s itching.

Tip: Grease cream on the paws and leg area and adhesive tape around the harness or neck can greatly reduce the infestation. Coconut oil is also an alternative.