Pet Health
harvest mites in dogs

Harvest Mites in Dogs: Essential Insights and Care Tips for Dog Owners

Written by Ryan Gliozzo


Protect your dog from harvest mites with our expert care tips and insights on prevention and treatment for these pesky parasites.
a collie dog standing in long grass looking directly at the camera


Every dog owner knows the heart-sink feeling when you spot your beloved pet scratching furiously, unable to rest due to relentless itching. It's a sight that calls on our deepest sympathies and our sense of duty to protect our dog from any harm.

In the rolling hills and the beautiful countryside that paint the British landscape lies a tiny nuisance - the harvest mite - that can turn your dog's leisurely romp through the grass into a source of intense discomfort.

During the late summer to autumn transition, the infestation by harvest mites, or Trombicula autumnalis, becomes a looming threat for our canine friends. Understanding the symptoms of harvest mites and securing effective treatment early on can save a great deal of distress for both you and your pet.

These tiny pests could lead to your dog experiencing intense itching and skin irritation. Providing comfort and protection from these seasonal invaders is crucial; hence, learning how to treat and prevent the harvesting of mites in pets is an indispensable part of responsible dog ownership.

Through the following insights, we'll delve into the best practices to shield your four-legged companion from discomfort - it's the knowledge every pet parent needs to ensure the welfare of their cherished pooch.

Key takeaways:

  • Spotting the symptoms of harvest mites early can prevent severe skin issues and distress for your dog.

  • Effective treatment and management are key to protecting your pet from these infestations.

  • Understanding the lifecycle of harvest mites helps in developing strategies for preventing their attachment to your pet.

  • Regularly check your dog for the bright orange or red dots that signify the presence of these pests.

  • Environmental decontamination is as important as direct treatment to avoid re-infestation.

  • Seeking timely veterinary assistance ensures proper diagnosis and treatment for harvest mites.

a black and tan dog scratching at his ears

Understanding harvest mites and their impact on dogs

As we delve into the intricacies of harvest mites and their potential impact on pet health, dog owners should be acutely aware of these bright orange mites that are tiny yet troublesome.

Harvest mites are tiny creatures with a substantial presence in rural areas, particularly where chalky soil prevails. They're especially active during the day, making the late summer and autumn months a prime time for these pests to become an issue for dogs and cats.

Their life cycle includes a larval stage when they're most likely to encounter and latch onto pets.

These bright orange mites seek out thin-skinned, warm areas on their hosts and feed on the tissue fluid.

During this feeding, which typically lasts about two or three days, the larvae inject enzymes that break down skin cells, a process that can cause significant discomfort and irritation to the animals.

Attention to this issue is vital, as an infestation left untreated is not only distressing for the animal but can lead to more health complications.

  • Detection: Look for small, bright orange spots on your pet.

  • Prevention: Limit exposure during peak hours when mites are most active.

  • Treatment: Early intervention can prevent the cycle of irritation and potential infection.

The activity of these mites results in red swellings and severe itching, prompting incessant scratching that could advance to skin injury or infection. Let's take a moment to consider the importance of acknowledging the signs early to avoid these outcomes:

Signs of infestation

Action to take

Redness and severe scratching

Consult a veterinarian immediately

Visible bright orange mites

Begin appropriate treatments as recommended

Red swellings on skin

Administer prescribed medication to alleviate symptoms

Understanding the behaviour and potential risks associated with harvest mites is key to keeping your pets healthy, comfortable, and mite-free. It's our responsibility as pet owners to prevent any distress caused by these minuscule, yet impactful, parasites.

a jack russell type dog sitting on gravel and itching his chin with his foot

Harvest mites in dogs: prevention and effective treatment strategies

The onset of harvest mite infestation can cause significant discomfort to canine companions, with symptoms of harvest mites including severe itching and visible irritation on the skin.

To effectively treat harvest mites in dogs and protect your pet, let's explore the vital steps for early identification, appropriate insecticidal sprays and products, as well as crucial environmental management tactics.

Identifying symptoms and when to seek veterinary assistance

If your dog exhibits signs such as intense scratching, redness or you notice small bright orange larvae on their skin, it is essential to seek prompt veterinary advice.

These professionals can diagnose and administer treatment with anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate the symptoms and suggest an effective treatment plan.

Veterinary intervention also helps in keeping your pets safe from the dangers of improper self-treatment and ensures the correct application of flea treatments, as most flea treatments are effective against mites when used appropriately. For dogs with itchy skin consider an oatmeal shampoo or similar product.

Choosing the right insecticidal products for your pet

To effectively combat a harvest mite infestation, several licensed products tailored for our furry friends are available. It's imperative to select insecticidal sprays or other formulations that hold a proven record against harvest mites.

Consult with your vet to pick a product that not only targets mites but is also safe and suitable for your dog. Taking measures to
prevent mites from attaching or proliferating is vital, and using vet-approved solutions can greatly reduce the risk of an outbreak.

Having a comprehensive pet insurance policy such as a Lifetime policy from Waggel also helps. All our policies come with access to a professional
video vet service 24/7 so you can ask the questions that matter to you and your furry friend. For more info on the costs and coverage of pet insurance, click here.

Environmental management to reduce the risk of harvest mites

Managing the surroundings where your dog spends time is a major step in combating the risk of dogs getting harvest mites. Ensuring that areas are less inviting for these pests through regular mowing and cleaning can considerably prevent harvest mites from becoming an issue.

Additionally, adjusting your dog’s outdoor routine to avoid peak mite activity times and practising thorough washing of any materials the pet comes into contact with are effective preventive measures.

Such environmental management efforts are key to reducing potential contact with these pesky mites and protecting your beloved pet.

an extreme close up of an orange harvest mite


When the time comes for the leaves to turn and the days shorten, pet owners need to be particularly cognisant of the increased activity of harvest mite larvae during the late summer and autumn months.

These minuscule, yet conspicuous, bright orange mites can become a significant nuisance for dogs, leading to intense discomfort and a host of subsequent skin problems.

The key to managing an infestation is to treat harvest mites on dogs swiftly and effectively, sparing no time once the first indicators manifest.

To adequately protect your pet from these bothersome parasites, you must arm yourself with knowledge and utilise a proactive approach.

Learning what you need to know about harvest mites is the foundation of a strong defence - encompassing timely detection, proper use of licensed insecticidal products, and stringent environmental controls.

Vigilance in observing your pet for any signs of distress, coupled with responsive action, can dramatically reduce the risk of mites gaining a stronghold.

To ensure the continued health and happiness of your canine friend, it is imperative to know about harvest mites and the challenges they present. By doing so, you’re protecting your dog against these seasonal invaders.

For more information about the outdoor risks to dogs such as
nettle stings, you can see our pet health posts here.


What are the signs that my dog might be infested with harvest mites?

Symptoms of harvest mite infestation in dogs include intense itching, particularly around thinly-haired areas, redness of the skin, and the presence of tiny, bright orange mites that can be seen with the naked eye.

How can I protect my dog from harvest mites?

To protect your dog from harvest mites, keep the areas they frequent clean and mowed, exercise them when larvae are less active, wash items they come into contact with after being in long grass, and consider keeping them indoors during peak mite times.

What effective treatment options are available for harvest mites in dogs?

For treating harvest mites in dogs, a combination of anti-parasitic washes, shampoos, dips, spot-ons, and environmental decontamination is used. Veterinarians may also prescribe insecticidal sprays and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce itching.

Are the flea treatments I use on my dog effective against harvest mites as well?

Many flea treatments are also effective against harvest mites. Products containing ingredients such as fipronil or ivermectin can be useful, but it's essential to use products that are licensed for use on pets and to follow veterinary advice.

Why is it important to get veterinary assistance at the first sign of harvest mites?

It's crucial to get veterinary assistance if you suspect your dog has harvest mites because they can cause severe itching, leading to self-mutilation and secondary infections if left untreated. An accurate diagnosis and early treatment are vital for your dog's health.

What environmental management strategies can help prevent harvest mite infestations?

Environmental management strategies include keeping grass and vegetation trimmed, avoiding walks during peak mite activity times, and keeping your pet's environment clean. These measures reduce the risk of mite infestation.

When are harvest mites most active, and how does this affect my dog?

Harvest mites are most active during the late summer and autumn. During these times, dogs are at a higher risk of coming into contact with mites and may suffer more from the infestation and its associated discomfort.

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

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