Types of Mites: Dog Mites

There are a few different types of dog mites that can live pretty much anywhere on the body of your four-legged friend and can cause sores, skin irritation and infections. Since these parasites are not nearly as common as fleas or ticks, many dog owners are not even aware of their existence or what to look for. Similar to ticks, dog mites are a member of the spider family.


Mange is a type of skin disease that is caused by dog mites that burrow themselves underneath the skin. You cannot see mange mites with the naked eye but their burrowing effects can be pretty dramatic. It is a scaly type of skin disease that starts usually on the ears and then spreads over the rest of the dog’s body if left untreated.

Dogs that are sensitive to mange will develop scaly red skin and experience patchy hair loss. Treatment usually includes tablets, baths with a medicated shampoo and occasionally in serious cases they may require a series of injections.


Dog scabies are caused by an infection from scabies mites. When they burrow in the skin they store their eggs in tunnels that they create. These tunnels are visible and appear as scaly, thin lines. These dog mites are one of the itchiest types of skin disorders in dogs. They usually target the abdomen, elbows, legs and ears, wherever the hair is the thinnest and they typically are spread from direct contact. Dog scabies are incredibly contagious and can be spread to cats and even humans.

The most obvious symptom that you dog may have scabies is discomfort and constant itching. Other symptoms can include hair loss and crusty sores and some dogs will develop a skin infection. Your veterinarian will need to prescribe your dog a special shampoo and dip for treatment and it is important to keep your dog away from any other animals and children in your home while undergoing treatment.

Walking Dandruff

Of all of the types of dog mites, these are the largest and are clearly visible to see. It is called walking dandruff because when you examine the skin of your dog, it appears as though the dandruff is moving but it is actually the mites traveling under the skin. They inhabit the whole body but usually appear worse on the dog’s back.

Walking dandruff is extremely contagious and can spread to other animals and humans by direct contact. Since they shed some of their eggs into the environment, there is a high risk of re-infestation. Poor nutrition, sanitation and overcrowding in shelters and boarding facilities can lead to an outbreak.

Infected dogs will typically be given oral prescription medication, topical drugs, lime sulfur dips and sprays. Since they are very contagious, all animals in your home should be treated.

Ear Mites

These are one of the more common types of dog mites. They can barely be seen by the naked eye and look like tiny white dots. If your dog is not treated then he can develop an ear infection, bleeding sores and suffer permanent hear loss. Ear mites are extremely contagious and they are capable of living anywhere on your dog’s body, not only the ears.

The most recognized sign that your dog may have these types of dog mites is if he is scratching constantly around his ears or shaking his head a lot as if he is trying to get something out of his ears. Also, if you look in your dog’s ear, you may find dried up blood.

There are a few different medications that you can use to treat ear mites. The most important thing to look for is an ingredient called Pyrethrins, this is an insecticide. Since they can live on the whole body, you need to treat the whole body, not just the ears, for two to three weeks.

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