What Are Chiggers And What Do They Do To Dogs?

There are many bug infestations that will afflict a dog over the course of its life and none is more itchy and uncomfortable than chiggers bug attacks. Chiggers are very tiny bugs, almost invisible to the naked eyes, they cluster on the blades of grasses and bushes and lie in wait for unsuspecting humans and dogs (or any other animal) to pass by so they can latch on to their new host.

Once they get on dogs (or humans), they crawl around until they find a patch of skin and after chewing up an opening, they inject digestive enzymes found in their saliva that tend to break down skin cells, which the bug then sucks up before falling off their host for further development. After being bitten by chiggers, the area beneath the skin is liquefied (for the bug to feed on) and accompanied by a most uncomfortable severe itching and swelling, which may last for days.

How to treat Chiggers bite

A dog scratching as a result of chiggers bite source

Once you suspect or see symptoms that you may have been bitten by chiggers, the first thing to do in the case of a human infestation is to get the bugs off your skin and/or those still clinging onto your clothes. This can be done by wiping the bite areas with a slightly damp and clean soft cloth. The next logical step would be to have a shower to remove any other unseen chiggers on you and also have your clothes washed.

The story is different for pups; they won’t be able to know what is wrong with them. The onus is now on the dog’s parent or caregiver to detect the presence of the chiggers. The best thing to do when you notice your dog is scratching up a storm as a result of the bite of some bugs is to either wipe the areas of the bite with a veterinarian-recommended skin wipe for dogs.

Giving the dog a warm bath with a combination of its regular dog shampoo and some bug-treating chemicals from your vet can also help. A visit to the veterinarian could lead to the recommendation of medications such as prednisone, which would help to stop or reduce your dog’s scratching and relieve the inflammation of its skin.

Applying aloe vera gel to the bite marks in both canine and human infestation is also highly recommended. The Aloe gel will soothe the bite and reduce the itching caused by it. Essential oils such as rosemary and citronella may also be used to both prevent and mitigate against the effects of chiggers bite and infestation in both humans and dogs; many believe that the application of the essential oils works better as a preventive measure than a curative one.

Some also believe that making use of colloidal oatmeal baths can help to relieve the effects of chiggers’ bites. To do this, you boil some quick oats and when it is cooked, you apply the oats directly to the bite spots of both humans and dogs. Some schools of thought believe that this method does not work in all cases though and that it may not be a scientifically proven method to treat chigger bites.

Bathing with Epsom salt and normal bath shampoos is also a means to get rid of the bugs and ease off the itching associated with chiggers’ bites. The Epsom salt bath can be used for both human and dog chigger bites.
The use of calamine lotion applied topically on the surface of the bite, can also prove to be a very effective remedy. This can work for both human and dog chiggers’ bites.

If the chiggers infestation is really severe in canines, especially in cases where the aforementioned home remedies prove to be ineffective, the vet can bring some solutions to the situation. When you take your pooch to the vet, he or she will proceed to look the dog over more thoroughly, by conducting a physical exam, after which they can recommend much more effective treatment to get rid of the bugs and relieve the itching or scratching in your four-legged companion.

The last thing to try when bitten by chiggers is to make a paste from baking soda and vinegar, and gently rub this paste on the bite spot; Just wait for a little while, and the concoction will start a soothing relief in a matter of minutes after its application.

How do I get rid of Chiggers?

A dog is thoroughly bitten by chiggers source

Both you and your dog can come in contact with chiggers if you are one that loves taking hikes and enjoy visiting the woods. It may be impossible to get rid of chiggers in the wild, but there are a few things you can do to get rid of those present in your immediate environment.

If you have some overgrown weeds and tall grasses within your yard, the best thing to do is cut them down or mow your lawn quite frequently. That is not all; you can step it up a notch by having Insect control experts spray chemicals that can kill the bugs at whatever stage of development that they are in, this way, you will be able to keep your immediate environment chiggers free.

Another way to prevent chiggers attack is to spray exposed areas of the skin with insect repellents/bug sprays; this will surely make your skin unattractive and keep those little pesky red bugs away.

Read Also: Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face?

Can you get chiggers from your dogs?

Medical experts interviewed in the past, like Dr. Christine L.Cain – an Associate Professor of Dermatology & Allergy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine stated that chiggers don’t jump from dogs to their human owners. So, naturally, this should put one’s mind at rest, but does it?

If we look closely at the way and manner through which chiggers attach themselves to either canine or human hosts, it may be instructive not to err on the side of caution by observing proper hygiene precautions and taking proactive steps to prevent chiggers from falling off our favorite canine pets and possibly attaching themselves to the human owners.

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