Common Dog Ectoparasites to Watch Out For

One of the worst things that can happen to your beloved pet is seeing it waste away because of a preventable condition. Ectoparasite infestation can be prevented and will help save your pet’s life.

These are the common canine ectoparasites, or parasites that thrive on the skin, you need to be aware of.


Most dogs at one point in their lives would likely have fleas on their skin. These parasites feed mainly on your pet’s blood. They multiply fast, some females even lay eggs on the furniture and survive for a long time. Most dogs will not show any symptoms until the infestation becomes significant, but there are subtle signs such as skin irritation, hair loss, and inflamed or infected skin. Sometimes this will depend on the sensitivity of your pet. When treating fleas, do not forget to inspect and treat your furniture as well to prevent future infestations.


There are several forms of mites that can affect your dog’s health. One such mite is the demodex. In some dogs, there will be no visible symptoms, but if there are, the treatment can be very difficult. Your pet will experience thinning of the hair and the appearance of a thick, scaly skin. The affected areas are very itchy and can become infected if there are lesions.

Another type is the fox or sarcoptes mite which is responsible for the condition called scabies. The skin becomes very itchy because the mites burrow into the skin to lay eggs. The third type is cheyletiella mites that can often be found on the skin surface. Your dog will appear to have scabby and crusty skin but the itchiness and irritation is not as bad as with the other mites.

Harvest Mites

These mites are often found in between the toes of your dog as well as the legs, tummy, and ears. Sometimes your pet will show no discomfort, but it can be a problem if there are reddish or orange patches on the skin and itchiness. These mites are often acquired in infested vegetation.


Ticks not only affect dogs, but they can also affect humans and other animals. Some varieties of ticks are responsible for transmitting diseases, while the less harmful varieties will only cause skin irritation and local infection at most. However, this should not be an excuse to avoid prevention. Ticks on dogs cannot be transmitted to humans, but your pet can acquire them from vegetation.


The lice you see on dogs is different from that of the humans’, so don’t worry about getting infected. If the infection is mild, the dog will show no symptoms, but a heavy infestation can lead to anemia. Dogs with lice problems often have hair loss, itchiness, and dry coats.

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