Bugs to watch out for

Lice and hair lice

Lice and hair lice are transmitted by direct contact with an infected animal or combs and brushes. So-called "crowding" (that is many animals in a small space) and an immature immune system (for example, in puppies and kittens) are favorable factors for infection.

Lice and hair lice are small insects that can be detected just by the naked eye. Affected animals show a dull, slightly scaly skin.

Lice are bloodsucking, they can cause anemia in heavy infestations, especially in puppies. Lice feed mainly of skin cells. Usually, there is a moderate itching, which can lead to hair loss and subsequent infections with bacteria.

Neither lice nor hair lice are contagious to humans.

Lice and hair lice have become rare in our dogs as flea and tick control provide excellent protection against these pests.


Ticks prefer mild temperatures. Therefore, they are mainly active in the spring to autumn. The most common dog tick is the common wood tick, which is native to forests, parks, and even in our gardens. Ticks climb up to about a meter of grasses and shrubs. There they wait for a potential host, wich they recognize by their exhalation. They let themselves fall to the host and migrate until they find a favorable place for hard biting. They suck tight with a barbed piercing instrument. They secrete a kind of cement with which they can anchor themselves over a few days in the wound.

«Empty» ticks are about 3 millimeters wide, flattened arachnids. Ticks soak up over a few days. They are than large and gray, before falling back to about 1 centimeter.

The tick itself is not dangerous for the dog. But the transmission of dangerous diseases such as babesiosis and ehrlichiosis.

Firmly engorged ticks are also not harmless to humans. Tick ​​bites in humans can cause a tick-borne encephalitis, a flu-like meningitis or Lyme disease (rash).

Dogs can be protected effectively by tick collars or spot-on preparations. In addition, it is worthwhile to carefully scan even after walking the dog on moving ticks. Ticks already soaked, can be easily removed by ticks pliers with a rotating motion. One should refrain from "drowning" the ticks by adherent like oil or other liquids. Ticks can suffocate by this treatment and split their saliva and gastric contents into the wound. This encourages the transfer of potential pathogens.


Flea infestation is often large and the risk of infection is huge. It is usually through contact with infected animals, staying in flea-infested areas, for example animal shelters, dog salons, veterinary clinics, or when wandering outdoors. Main seasons are summer and autumn. But in our heated rooms we can have fleas now the whole season.

Fleas are 3 to 4 millimeters large, wingless, flattened insects with long legs that are used for jumping. In heavy flea infestation, the fleas can be seen moving quickly on the dog. But usually we can discover the droppings of fleas as black  granules  of about 1 millimeter on the dog's skin. Since fleas droppings are digested blood, they can be moistened on a white absorbent paper with a few drops of water. As a result, they turn red.

Fleas are uncomfortable for the dog, as they can cause severe itching. Infected animals scratch themselves extensively, especially in the rear back. This can lead to bacterial skin infections, or so-called "hotspots". The emergence of an allergy to flea saliva is also one of the fears. Puppies with heavy flea infestations may suffer substantial loss of blood through the many flea bites. In addition, the flea transmits other pathogens, such as the dog tapeworm.

People can be infected, too. Flea bite is unpleasant and highly itchy.

All animals as well as the environment must be treated by the case of an infection: boxes, car, combs, brushes. There are numerous supplements that can be applied to the dog or in its environment. At the same time a deworming should be done. As always, prevention is best, use flea control on your dog.

Sarcoptic mange - grave mites

Most infections occur through contact with infected dogs and foxes.

The grave mite is highly contagious and extremely triggers severe itching, dandruff, scabs, redness and hair loss in ears, stomach, elbow and tarsal joints. The mites are microscopic.

The diagnosis of grave mites can be difficult. Often infected dogs are incorrectly diagnosed with an allergy and treated with corticosteroids. Although steroids alleviate somewhat the itchiness and stimulate the proliferation of the mites. Also increases the risk of bacterial infections result.

The highly contagious grave mite can cause human skin red bumps and itching. Commonly stomach and upper arms are affected.

If the disease is correctly identified, the mange can be treated quickly and effectively by means of mite-killing drugs.

Cheyletiellen - predatory mites

The dog can be infected  through direct or indirect contact with infected animals or eggs.

The Cheyletiellose is a scaly and itchy skin disease that mainly affects the body by the spine. The mites are about 0.3 mm in size and only visible with the naked eye when moving.
The most common issues are annoying itching and as a result a bacterial skin infection.

Cheyletiellen causes in humans red, itchy bumps with a central crust.

You can use mite killer or tick treatment against the mites and corticosteroids to help against the itching. An environment treatment is also necessary because the mites can survive a few days without a host. Eggs on hair are a common reason for re-infection.

Otodectic - ear mites

Dogs can be infected  by direct contact with infected animals.

Constant shaking of the ears and scratching due to severe itching are typical signs of ear mite infection. Also coffee ground-like ear discharge is typical.

Mites can cause chronic ear infections with yeast and / or bacteria.

Transmission to humans is possible but rare.
The mites can be treated conventionally, with mite killers. The ears should be cleaned and any subsequent infections treated with ear drops.

Harvest mites - Neotrombicula autumnalis

Harvest mites occur mainly in the summer months from July to October. They prefer low vegetation and frequently occur in gardens and meadows. The mite larvae wait on blades of grass for a potential host (rodents, dogs, cats, humans) where they lay eggs are notably in the area of between the toes, ears or folds on the abdomen. The larvae feed on juices and lymph cells. 

The approximately 0.3-millimeter larvae of harvest mites are bright orange and easily recognizable by the naked eye as a small orange dots.

Harvest mites are annoying parasites. They trigger severe itching and are not always easy to deal with.

Harvest mites cause by humans the so-called "harvesting itch". Itching, redness, itchy wheals appear at least 24 hours after dropping the larvae. Preferred sites are warm regions of the body, skin folds, and places under tight clothing.

Some flea control products have a repellent effect on the harvest mites. The best protection for humans and dogs, however, is the avoidance of autumn with grass mite-infected areas.