Itching! Pustules! Rash! Grass Mites in Dog!


Flowering meadows are beautiful, but unfortunately, they are not without consequences for many dogs. As if ticks weren’t mean enough, many dogs now struggle with terribly itchy, tiny bites from grass mite larvae. These bites are often seen on the less hairy belly, under the armpits and between the paws. They itch horribly, and the dog scratches or gnaws incessantly.

Grass Mites in Dog
In addition to fleas and ticks, the autumn grass mite is among the parasites that can infest a dog during its lifetime.

What are grass mites?

Behind the Latin name “Neotrombicula autumnalis” hides the autumn grass mite. When talking about autumn grass mites in dogs, only the grass mite is usually mentioned. Sometimes this mite is also called a hay mite, harvest mite or autumn chigger.

Like ticks, grass mites belong to the arachnid genus. Depending on the weather, grass mites are found in Germany from April to October. In warmer temperatures, grass mites can also occur in dogs in winter.

You can recognize the adult grass mite by its eight legs. The larva, on the other hand, has only six legs. In contrast to the up to 2 mm large grass mites, their larvae are characterized by a much smaller size of 0.3 mm.

Contrary to popular belief, adult grass mites feed exclusively vegan. The grass mites that bite the dog are exclusively the young larvae. The larvae of the grass mite need the lymph and cell juices of the animals for their development.

Neotrombicula autumnalis
Neotrombicula autumnalis

Mite infestation: How the grass mite gets on your dog

The adult mites lay their eggs in the grass, from which larvae hatch after about four weeks. The larvae prefer high grass blades from which they can easily bite passing animals such as dogs, cats, birds, mice or horses.

The grass mites then infest body parts in the dog, such as the paw or abdomen, which they can easily reach. In the process, grass mites bite down on the skin with their mouthparts and suck the blood out of the animal. Finally, it falls off when the larva has taken care of itself sufficiently. 

Unlike fleas or other mites in dogs, grass mites cannot reproduce on infested animals. Also, parasites cannot be transmitted from animal to animal. But beware: humans can also be infested by grass mites.

Are grass mites transmitted from dogs to humans?

No, grass mites cannot be transferred from dogs to humans. Although grass mites are not generally transmissible, humans can also be affected by a grass mite infestation. The mites are particularly comfortable in tall grasses.

When walking through the garden or meadows, the little pests can easily bite into the human body. The symptoms are manifested in the host after a few hours by severe itching or a small rash.

In the vast majority of cases, the symptoms disappear after a few days. In some exceptional cases, however, inflammation can develop at the injection site. If the site becomes inflamed, a doctor should be consulted.

Symptoms – How to recognize grass mites in your dog

Grass mites look for the places in the dog that come into contact with the ground and are easily accessible. Especially popular are the places where the skin is thinnest. Therefore, body parts such as paws, head, legs, belly or ears are predominantly infested.

dog scratching and itching its back on ground

Grass mites can be recognized in dogs by symptoms such as severe itching, reddened skin or appearing inflammation at the bite site. In addition, because the larva of the grass mite releases saliva to the host when it bites, a skin rash can occur.

Attentive pet owners can easily conclude a mite infestation if the dog licks or scratches its body more frequently. The first symptoms can be seen after 4 to 36 hours. Itching usually peaks after 2 to 3 days but can last as long as 14 days.

Due to their orange-yellow color, the larvae of grass mites are relatively easy to recognize. So, if you want to know if there are grass mites in your garden, we have a simple tip: place a small white plate on your lawn. If small orange-yellow dots accumulate after some time, they are most likely the larvae of the grass mite.

Detect grass mites in a dog in 3 steps

  • Put the dog on a white cloth
  • Brush the quadruped carefully with a flea comb
  • Tap or wipe out the comb on the light cloth

How can I prevent grass mite infestation in dogs

As a pet owner, you can ensure that an infestation in your garden is excluded by regularly trimming the lawn. The grass cuttings should then be stored in a bio garbage can away from the lawn.

Further, fertilizing with nitrogen- or lime-based products can drive grass mites away in the long run. Since grass mites often dwell in meadows and forest edges, you should adjust your walking route to avoid them during the mite season.

In addition, the arachnids often stay near lakes or rivers. If you want to reduce the likelihood of grass mite infestation, you can walk mainly on asphalt. However, walking away from green areas will only partially prevent an infestation of grass mites.

Three methods to prevent grass mites in dogs:

  • Mow grass in the garden regularly.
  • Adapt walking route
  • After each walk, shower off the affected areas

Marco Heitner

Hello, my Name is Marco. My family has had pets since I can remember. Today we have a large aquarium and, since recently, a four-month old Labrador. I am the owner of this website, and it is my great pleasure to provide helpful knowledge about pets. Our team is constantly working hard to publish well-researched reports here.

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