Dry Skin, Fleas Or Mites? How To Tell The Difference

Dog Skin Care, Flea and Tick
scratching himself dog flea and tick

When it comes to pesky little critters invading your beloved pets, it is never fun trying to distinguish what they are and how they got there. However, it can be also hard to distinguish if it’s actually a critter making your pet itch or if they just have dry skin. Dogs and cats can both be affected by dry skin, as well as fleas and mites. All three of these have similar symptoms, so it can be hard to distinguish what your pet actually has. Treatment depends on this distinction, so it’s important that you go to the vet to determine what they have before you try to treat your pet by yourself. However, there are a few key ways to figure out exactly what your pet has.

The difference between dry skin, fleas or mites

Dry Skin

Dry skin is fairly common in both dogs and cats and can be caused by a variety of thing, including allergies, nutritional deficiencies and a change of the season. With dry skin, you may notice dry, flakey patches (much like the type that humans get) on your pet’s body. Remedies to try are changing your pet’s shampoo to an oatmeal one or changing their diet to one rich in Omega-3’s to see if that ceases the problem. If it doesn’t, look elsewhere for what the problem truly is.


When it comes to fleas, you may be able to determine that this is the issue by looking closely. Fleas are fast, but you may be able to see them by pulling their hair back and looking at the skin in different places. You may also find their flea eggs, which look like specks of dirt on the skin of your pet. Flea symptoms are generally more intense than just dry skin, with serious scratching, biting the skin and obvious pain and discomfort occurring in the pet. A flea infestation can be very serious, so take your pet to the vet immediately if you suspect one.


As for mites, which can cause mange in dogs or cats, they are distinguishable by the fact that it usually affects large portions of the body. You may notice large clumps of hair missing and a red rash underneath that would be exemplary of mites. Mites can also be accompanied with a smell, so it is important to take your pet to the vet when any of these signs may come about.

While all of these things are treatable, left untreated, these pesky guys can cause serious problems in your pets, so making sure they are treated at the first sign of symptoms is necessary for keeping them healthy and happy.

Have you had to deal with dry skin, fleas or mites on your pet?

Image: iStockPhoto


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