Autumn Series: Harvest Mites

10th October 2023 5 min read

Harvest Mites are abundant during August - October and can cause great discomfort for your dog. In this blog, we explain what they are, symptoms and how to prevent them.

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Harvest Mites

The autumn season brings with it a rich tapestry of colours, cool breezes, and the anticipation of cosy evenings by the fire. But beneath the fallen leaves and amidst the ripe harvest, there's a hidden danger that threatens our four-legged companions - harvest mites.

What Are Harvest Mites?

Harvest mites, scientifically known as Trombicula autumnalis, are tiny arachnids commonly found in grassy and wooded areas, particularly during the fall season. They are also known by other names, such as chiggers, red bugs, or berry bugs. These minuscule, larval-stage mites are almost invisible to the naked eye, measuring less than 0.5mm in size. Despite their diminutive appearance, these mites can wreak havoc on your furry friend's health.

Harvest mites can be found in foliage, grass and soil.

Signs and Symptoms

During the autumn months, harvest mites become more active, making them a prevalent threat to dogs. They attach themselves to the dog's skin, particularly in areas with minimal fur, such as ears, armpits, between the toes, and the belly. These mites feed on the dog's skin cells, causing various issues, including:

  • Intense Itching: One of the earliest signs of a harvest mite infestation is intense itching. Dogs may scratch, lick, or chew at the affected areas, causing skin irritation and potentially leading to secondary skin infections.
  • Red, Inflamed Skin: Infestations typically result in red, inflamed, and swollen skin. The irritation and inflammation can be quite painful for your dog.
  • Formation of Scabs and Lesions: As the mites burrow into the skin and feed, they create small, red, raised bumps, which may eventually turn into scabs or crusty lesions.
  • Hair Loss: The constant scratching and biting can cause hair loss in the affected areas.
  • Infection Risk: Dogs may break their skin while scratching, which can introduce bacteria and increase the risk of secondary infections.

What to Do If You Suspect Your Dog Has Harvest Mites?

If you suspect a harvest mite infestation, do contact your vet as they will be able to provide the appropriate treatment and advice. Harvest Mites have been linked to Seasonal Canine Illness so it's important to speak with your vet. We recommend giving your dog a soothing bath before applying any topical treatments.

As with any danger to your dog, it's best to ensure your dog is in a good bill of health. Feeding a natural, additive-free diet will help strengthen the immune system.

Make sure you bath your dog and check for mites regularly and wash their bedding frequently. If the vet has given you something topical to apply to the skin, make sure you follow the instructions.

When going out for walks in the woods, keep your dog away from leaf piles, tall grass, and areas that are very overgrown and damp.

Further Reading