How to Protect Dogs From Chiggers

By Susan Lee

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Chiggers are tiny mites that prefer moist, grassy areas and forests. With their tiny claws, chiggers will attach to a host, such as a human or animal like your dog, when in the areas that they frequent. Once on its host, the chigger feeds off skin cells and will eventually fall off, leaving behind large red welts that are very itchy and irritating. Luckily there are ways to protect your dog from chiggers.

Mow your lawn often to avoid the tall, moist, grassy areas that chiggers prefer. If your dog frequents the yard, this step will help keep chiggers away from your pet.

Monitor your dog around straw piles, wood chips, mulch, tall gardens or any thick vegetation, which can conceal many pests such as chiggers.

Treat your entire yard for chiggers and other pests at least once a month throughout the spring season, and then again in the fall to ensure adult chiggers don't reproduce. Make sure the product you use to control the pests is safe to use around pets.

Protect your pet before going into untreated areas by using a repellent. Look for a repellent that protects against fleas, ticks and mites, including chiggers. Only use repellents that are safe for dogs -- not all human insect repellents are safe to use on animals. If you're unsure about a repellent, consult your veterinarian.

Tips

  • Bathe your dog immediately with regular dog shampoo if you suspect your dog has chiggers. The insect tends to fall off when in the bath.

    If your dog has irritating red welts on its body due to chiggers or other pests, use a chigger bite ointment, found at most pet stores, or an anti-itch cream. Your veterinarian may prescribe a special cream or advise the best one to use on your dog.

    Products that contain permethrin are effective in warding off pests from your dog. It is widely available through veterinarians.

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