Harvest Mites – how to prevent and solve an itchy autumn problem

Posted by Argos, November 26th 2015, last updated September 15th 2020.

There’s nothing worse than having an itch you need to scratch, but what would you do if it never went away? With autumn now closing in, that’s a scenario which could now become a real possibility for our pets as they come face to face with the irritating harvest mite.

One of several mite species which can annoy our four-legged friends during late summer and early autumn, the harvest mite tends to be found on grassy areas or in cornfields. However, there are steps you can take to prevent your pet suffering from unnecessary itching or scratching.

Cat being checked for harvest mites

How do you know if your dog or cat has been bitten by harvest mites?

The area which is usually effect is skin which is near to the ground or has thin areas of skin, such as the groin, stomach and paws. Raised lumps which have a hard crust on top or small spots which are oozing puss are a sign of harvest mites. The tiny reddish larvae suck the blood of mammals, including humans, and it is their bite marks which itch and become irritating.

Dogs are more likely to be bothered by harvest mites and the itching can last for weeks if left untreated. Other than being annoying and itchy, the mites are actually quite harmless.

How can I treat the problem?

Carol Martin, from the Canine Therapy Centre in Dumfries, is asked about this issue every year and believes there are things to do to help protect your pet. She said: “At this time of year, it is a good idea to keep your dog away from cornfields and areas of grass, where harvest mites tend to be found.

“Try washing your dog regularly with a shampoo made from the Pennyroyal plant, which has been used to ward off insects and mites since Roman times. There are various brands of this shampoo on the market and all of them can be used by puppies, kittens, dogs and cats with all coat types. Cedarwood oils also have soothing properties and will also keep flies and mosquitoes away too.”

If Harvest Mites are a particular problem for your pet then speak to your vet who can advise you on effective anti-parasitic treatments to prevent and treat the infestations.

What other mites commonly infest our pets?

Ear mites in cats are the most common cause of inflamed ears in cats and kittens. They invade the ears where they eat wash and cause irritation to the skin. Watch our 2 minute video below to learn more about ear mites and how they affect your cat.

For more information about caring for your cats and understand their health and behaviour, head over to our Pet Talk blog.

Looking after your pet’s health is important, as is keeping them protected with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our pet insurance policies today.

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