Itchy Issues: 6 Best Ways to Treat Chiggers in Pets

Posted by Staff Writer
kittens in field

Chiggers are an itchy little problem - Here's how to get rid of them fast!

If you have ever dealt with chiggers, you know that they are a big problem both for you and your pets. Chiggers are the larvae of harvest mites, and like fleas and mosquitoes, when they bite us or our pets it leaves itchy red bumps.

Chiggers are super small and hard to spot with the naked eye, so you may not realize that you have an infestation until after you or your pet have already been bitten.

Smiley white cat scratching her chin in a garden focused on her happy face

Chiggers thrive in wet, warm conditions. Chigger bites will usually be concentrated around the belly, groin and inside of the ears in your pets. Wrinkly pets like Shar Peis are especially attractive to the red bugs.

In humans they like to bite behind the knees, in armpits and inside of our elbows. The tiny pests lay their eggs in soil and around tall grassy areas and other vegetation, so the most common time that pets will get infestations is spring and summer when they love to roll around in the wet, dewy grass.

Treating Chigger Infestations

Some people will tell you that chiggers will burrow in to the skin and you should cover the bites with nail polish or Elmer's glue in order to suffocate them. Luckily, this is not true!

Chiggers do not burrow into skin. Instead they inject a digestive enzyme when they bite, which causes the itch to last long after they have moved on. Glue and nail polish will only make the itching worse - Treat chiggers bites the same way that you would flea bites, poison ivy, or any other itchy, rash-like skin issue.

scratching puppy on meadowHere are the 6 best home remedies to treat chiggers.

 1. Colloidal Oatmeal Baths:

Oatmeal is soothing to pets' skin and can help relieve the itch. Cook some quick oats in warm water and rub them on your pet in the bath. You can also add green tea to the oatmeal baths to help soothe.

2. Epsom Salt Baths

Alternatively, epsom salt and dish soap can also be a good bath to relieve the severe itching and kill the tiny mites.

 3. Aloe:

Aloe is also very soothing and can be added to the bath or rubbed on the itchy areas afterwards.

4. Calamine Lotion:

Apply this chalky pink lotion topically to relieve the itch.

5. Keep Clean:

Chiggers love to hide in pets' hair and in our clothing, so if you or your pet spend a lot of time outside make sure to keep them nice and clean with frequent baths and wash your clothes right away after exposure.

6. Insect Repellent: 

Essential oils such as citronella and rosemary can be used to repel chiggers and other biting insects. In more serious cases, chemical insect repellents can also be used. If you have an extreme infestation that requires more muscle, check with your vet for more treatment options.

Good luck and remember, it's better not to itch!

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Itchy Issues: 6 Best Ways to Treat Chiggers in Pets