By far the most common skin problems that occur with dogs are those caused by the main Mite Families. These are: Demodex, Sarcoptic, Cheyletiella and Otodex. If not detected early, mite infestations can cause serious skin disorders, loss of coat in patches, and open scratch wounds as dogs attempt to rid themselves of the massive itching. Dogs with mites can become irritable and bad tempered. The condition known as "Mange" is always the result of an unchecked infestation of mites - usually Cheyletiella Mite. Any and all stray dogs that may be rescued must be very carefully checked for signs of mite attack. There are other parasites that can cause serious problems and we can deal with those too. Fleas infest both dogs and cats - but the cat flea is a slightly different insect to the dog flea. The Common Tick (Tic) is also a nasty little parasite. They all take blood meals from your dog's skin.

Here at Pioneer we concentrate entirely on cleansing parasites from the skin. We have worked with pure essential oils and natural plant oils for over 33 years to establish a solid reputation for the successful care of animal skin and coat/fur.  Essential oils are our stock in trade. We consolidate that experience in two products: Carewash Herbal Liquid Shampoo and our KennelClear all natural spray kit based on herbs and natural oils. We never use chemicals and our approach is topical rather than intrusive. See our discussion on essential oils elsewhere on this site. For now, let's just look at the main culprits that attack your dog, his skin and his coat.

                               DEMODEX MITE

Demodex mites live at the base of the hair follicle and crawl on the surface of the skin. They feed on skin debris which, as with all animals and humans, is made from keratin. As new skin cells grow, so dead skin cells - skin debris - are constantly being shed. 

Now you can get rid of this detritus by having a daily wash or a shower. And you don't have a dense curly coat like say a Spanish Water Dog, or a Cockapoo or an Alpaca has. This debris is a three course free meal for Demodex mites and the warm comfy coat offers protection - and they thrive on it. 
You should note that puppies can become infected as they suckle on a mother who has Demodex mites clustered around the teat area.

Pioneer Carewash Herbal Shampoo clears Demodex adults, larvae and the various stages of pupae. A good wash, particularly after an exiting work out, field run or splash around is the best possible approach to reducing and clearing Demodex. Demodex infestations are not normally contagious.

For many owners it is impractical to be constantly washing their dogs. However, Pioneer KennelClear All Natural Spray is specifically designed to be a long term economic method of keeping the dog free from parasites and it works hand in glove with Pioneer Carewash. 
 A thoroughly good soaking wash with Pioneer Carewash Herbal Shampoo can be followed up by regular inspection and a good soaking spray every so often with KennelClear.

KennelClear can also be effective by spraying above and around the animal so that the cloud of spray falls on the coat and legs.
A quick spray under the belly and between the legs after field exercise - can very often mean the difference between bringing home Ticks or "passengers" or not. 
And the same procedure before putting the dogs into the car kennel after a show will prevent "passengers" hitching a free ride to a new home - yours!


                          SARCOPTIC MITE
                                                 Sarcoptes scabiei

 Sarcoptic mites will cause Sarcoptic Mange in dogs. This is a highly contagious condition that is readily transferrable to other animals and humans. The skin condition is commonly called Scabies.  Where Demodex mites are long, worm like mites that crawl on the outer surface of the skin, Sarcoptic mites are round, with a cluster of short legs at the front that are ideal for digging.

This is indeed a burrowing mite. The female mates with the male on the skin surface. She then burrows into the top layers of the skin, forming long tunnels. This is where she lays eggs, grows larvae and nymphs. 

As she feeds her offspring their excretions and the debris of food waste causes intense pruritus and severe reaction, over production of skin cells and the characteristic "scaly" skin. Stress caused by the pruritus can be severe.

The irritation caused by Sarcoptic mites can cause intense scratching; many dogs will scratch so badly that they will open the skin. Even a close look may not discover Sarcoptic mites, but a microscopic examination of the skin should show the overgrowth of cells and a scaly appearance. 

Pioneer Carewash Herbal Shampoo and Pioneer KennelClear All Natural Spray are formulated to soak the skin. The thorough wetting invades the tunnel structure and clears adults, eggs, larvae, nymphs and debris.  A second wash a couple of days later will help to consolidate the now clean, and much more healthy skin - particularly at the base of the follicles.  A spray before entering and after leaving a  show area (before putting the dogs into the vehicle kennels) will help to reduce any "pick up" of sarcoptic mite passengers.

Regular combinations of wash and spray will keep your dog healthy and happy. The spray should include kennels, clothing, rugs, baskets, toys, dog flaps, and their favourite area for watching TV !

                           OTODEX MITE
                                               Otodectes cynotis

Otodex mites are mites that infest and irritate the ear shells of dogs. The Greeks made things so simple didn't they? "Oto" means ear, "dectes" means "the biter, or biter" and "cynotis" is "of the dog"  This particular mite is also responsible for ear mite infestations of cats.
Otodectes infections are very contagious - just brushing past another animal that has these ear mites can transfer the infection to another animal. The most common sign is rapid scratching in and around the ear using the hind leg claws. This will often result in an open wound and that will become infected by skin bacteria.

Scabs behind the ear and inside the ear shell are sure signs of longer term infestation. 

Pioneer Carewash applied liberally with a good soapy lather into and behind the ear shell will penetrate the whole shell and clear the mite and her offspring. A regular check and a spray with Pioneer KennelClear will keep the shell clean and free from infestation. 


                           CHEYLETIELLA MITE                                                                                            Cheyletiella yasguri


Cheyletiella yasguri
is the sub-species of this non-burrowing mite that infests dogs. They feed on debris and detritus on the surface of the dog's skin. Cheyletiella causes a gentle, or subtle dermatitis which is commonly referred to as "creeping dandruff." This is easily seen as patches where the fur has disappeared and tiny flakes of skin debris are caught up in the hair. They can be brushed off as with dandruff in humans. The follicles collapse and fall away, leaving patches of almost bare skin.

Humans can contract dermatitis from contact with an infected dog.

(But note that Cheyletiella blakei affects cats, and Cheyletiella parasitovorax attacks rabbits. So you may have all three in a human family house - any one of which can cause dermatitis in the human.)

Dog owners, breeders, groomers and trainers who normally use this site as customers would rarely have dogs with creeping mange. However, if you are involve with rescue dogs, its is frequently the case that dogs with bad health and low immunity will be suffering from Cheyletiella mite attack.

You approach Cheyletiella in the same way as with any other mite on your dogs. A thoroughly good wet wash with Pioneer Carewash will get rid of the vast majority in one good wash session.  But BEFORE you let your dog go back to his basket, or his favourite blanket or toy - or his comfortable bed in your car kennel, you should give everything a really good spray with KennelClear. Inside out, upside down, rugs, favourite stretching and sleeping places, the entire car kennel - anywhere that your dog is going to be. Two days later do the same wash and spray again.

You can also wash your hands and arms in Pioneer Carewash. It will make sure that those mites don't affect you. Also, remember that Pioneer Carewash contains 3.5% by volume of pure Aloe Vera Gel which we extrude from our own aloe plants and incorporate in the soap recipe when we are mixing new batches. Aloe Vera is well known for its soothing effects on human skin - but we believe that we are the only company that includes this ingredient in our dog products.


                                         FLEAS ON DOGS

There are fleas that appear on DOGS and there are fleas that prefer a blood meal from CATS. We've given an illustration of both here. However, in general, dog fleas can and sometimes do appear on cats, but cat fleas rarely appear on dogs. Both fleas can be very successfully dealt with by using Pioneer Carewash and Pioneer KennelClear.

                      DOG FLEA                                                CAT FLEA


                                 LIFE CYCLE OF THE COMMON FLEA


There are TWO outstanding points about the action of Pioneer Carewash and Pioneer KennelClear:

1. They are both all natural products. No injections, no collars or chemical ingredients.

2. They can be applied at any point on the life cycle of the irritant and they will be immediately effective because they BREAK THE LIFE CYCLE.

Fleas are always an irritation and, as they take blood meals from the dog, they can pass on disease. 

Again, our advice is to give a thorough wet wash with  Pioneer Carewash. If your dog's kennel is a "scrubbable" construction then scrub it with Carewash inside and out. If it is a pet carrier then scrub it on a regular basis- especially after shows. (you should spray a pet carrier before you put it into the vehicle for transport home).
Two days later inspect carefully and give another thorough wet wash. After that your dog should be clear. Inspection and spraying with Pioneer KennelClear is an excellent habit to get into - particularly if you show your animals.

A word here about the dog's environment with respect to fleas. Fleas lay their eggs wherever they can. So dog baskets, clothing that the dog wears, toys, rugs, favourite lying down and stretching places - anywhere that your dog spends time - are perfect egg laying zones.  Although the eggs hatch quite quickly, the various stages of reproduction can take up to 9 months.  

So, if you do encounter fleas, then you must go about a decontamination routine or you will have them around for a long time. Carpets are easy: just add 20ml of our Pioneer KennelClear to the liquid in your carpet cleaner container and clean the carpets in the normal way. What you cannot wash with Pioneer Carewash, then spray with Pioneer KennelClear. Spray behind radiators and along skirting boards.

1: Clean or spray the environment (remember that car!)
2: Then wash the dog
3: Then let the dog back into the environment


                                    Unwelcome Passenger

The most common way of ticks finding their way onto a dog's body.
 By brushing past one in the grass.

The two insects that cause the widest spread of infectious disease are the Tick and the Mosquito. Both exist by gorging on blood taken from the host.

Ticks are about the size of a sesame seed before they find a host on which to feed and breed. They will gorge on blood until they are approximately 50 times their orginial size. 
One of the more serious diseases that they can transmit from dog to human i Lyme Disease. This is difficult to diagnose in dogs, which makes it even more important that you continue to be vigilant and to inspect your animal after playing or working in grassy areas - particularly where the grass is long and has not been mown for some time.

Ticks are easy to take off but it can be messy. Use a "Tick Stick" which you can buy from any vet clinic. Do not attempt to pull the tick off. It has two scorpion like pincers that hook into the flesh. Pulling it off will tear the skin and open it to bacteria. The tick stick can be used to squeeze the tick and this opens up the pincers and allows retrieval and disposal.

And of course you can spray with Pioneer KennelClear. Ticks just fall away. It is much easier to keep a spray with you for that quick spray at the end of fun or work. A really good wash with Pioneer Carewash will do the job and clear anything else at the same time.