The parasites that cause itchiness in your dog

Most dogs love to go for long walks and play outside. However, one thing that we humans sometimes get in return when the dog comes back inside after playing outside is parasites. There are different types of parasites, those that are in the dog's fur or skin and those that reside in the dog's intestinal system. Here you will learn more about the parasites that settle in the dog's fur and skin.

Some of the most common parasites that affect the fur and skin of Swedish dogs are fleas, lice and fox scabies. What all three have in common is that they all cause itching as a symptom. If you have a dog that suddenly starts scratching more than usual, it may be because it has been affected by some type of parasite externally. It's good to remember that parasites are not the only thing that can cause itching in dogs. Allergies and skin infections can also cause itching in the same way.

Even if you find parasites a little unpleasant and you might even get chills at the mere thought of your dog being affected by parasites, it's good to know what the common parasites that dogs can be affected by are and what you should do if your particular dog is affected.


The flea is a small, brown, blood-sucking insect that is about 2-6 mm in size. There are several different types of fleas in Sweden. The ones that dog owners usually encounter are the hedgehog flea, the rat flea and the bird flea. These three types of fleas thrive best on their hosts, which means that they usually only cause temporary problems in dogs. In the southern parts of Sweden, the cat flea, which also attacks dogs, is more common.

If you suspect that your dog has been affected by fleas, it is important to find out what type of fleas have affected your dog. Hedgehog fleas, rat fleas and bird fleas sometimes disappear on their own, while cat fleas usually require more treatment to get rid of.


There are two types of lice that dogs can be affected by, bloodsucking lice and fur-eating lice. The bloodsucking louse is the most common. Lice are transmitted by direct contact with other dogs. The type of lice that affect dogs cannot infect humans, nor can cats be affected by this type of louse.

A dog affected by lice may show symptoms such as intense itching, which in turn can cause scratching and secondary infections of the dog's skin. Additional symptoms of lice include dry skin and increased dandruff. If you have more than one dog, remember that as dogs are infected by direct contact, all dogs living together should be treated. In addition to treatment, you will also need to remember to clean your home and wash blankets, sleeping mats and other items your dog uses.

Fox scabies

Fox mange is a type of parasite that dogs can become infected with either through direct contact with other infected animals or through indirect contact where the mange animal has survived in a place where an infected animal has been before you. The scab is a type of mite that actually belongs to the arachnids. The animal is very small, specifically 0.2-0.35mm wide. As you can imagine, this means that they are difficult to spot with the naked eye!

Symptoms of fox beetles are, as mentioned earlier, itching. A dog infected with fox mange may show symptoms such as intense itching on the edges of the ears, the tips of the hips and the elbows. Other symptoms may include redness, rashes, crusting, dandruff or hair loss on the dog's skin.

A dog showing symptoms of fox mange needs to be examined by a veterinarian to establish the diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been established, fox scab is actually relatively easy to treat. If you have more than one dog in your home, they will all need to be treated to prevent the dog from becoming affected again.

I suspect my dog has parasites, what should I do?

If you suspect that your dog has contracted some type of parasite that causes itching, but you are unsure what type of parasite it has contracted, you should have your dog examined by a vet. A vet can also ensure that it is a parasite that is causing the dog's itch and not an underlying problem such as allergies or a skin infection.

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