Nasal Mites in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Nasal Mites in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Author WDF Staff


Our dogs have millions of tiny organisms living on their body. Different types of mites live in and on our dogs, and usually, the dog’s immune system keeps them in check. One of those specific types of mites is dog nasal mites. They live in the dog’s nasal cavities and usually don’t cause any problems. If you noticed something weird in your dog’s nose and you’re worried about their health, here are a few things you should know about nasal mites in dogs.

What are nasal mites in dogs?

Canine nasal mites are tiny mites, about 1 mm in length, that live exclusively in the nasal and sinus cavities. They are pretty agile and very contagious. All dogs can have them regardless of their age, size, or breed. They can cause different health issues, so a swift reaction is wanted.

dog nose zoomed

How can my dog get nasal mites?

There are a few ways dogs can get infected with nasal mites. The most common one is through direct contact with an infected dog. Dogs will sniff everything, and when their nose comes in contact with an infected dog’s nose, these mites will easily pass from one dog to the other. Nasal mites are agile, and even the lightest of touches are enough to transfer these mites.

The second way dogs can get nasal mites is through indirect contact. Dogs can pick them up from infected surfaces contaminated by infected dogs. There are even some indications nasal mites can be transferred via fleas, lice, or flies. However, those theories still have to be confirmed.

How can I know if my dog is infected?

Most dog owners will notice something weird started happening with their dog. The dog will exhibit behavior consistent with something bothering them on their head. Dog owners will notice a lot of head shaking, pawing, sneezing, and coughing. That’s when most owners book an appointment with a vet. We might not know our dog has nasal mites, but we should quickly notice something bugging our dogs. The best way to learn your dog has nasal mites is by getting confirmation from your vet.

Symptoms of nasal mites in dogs

Dogs that are infected with nasal mites will develop specific symptoms. Their noses will be affected, so symptoms should be pretty easy to notice. Here are the most common symptoms of nasal mites in dogs;

  • Nose bleeds
  • Breathing problems
  • Coughing
  • Head shaking
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Itching of the face
  • Nasal discharge
  • Noisy breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Small white or tan specks around the nostril area
  • Sneezing and “reverse sneezing”

dog nose in black and white

How are canine nasal mites diagnosed?

Naturally, responsible dog owners want to know how vets diagnose and help their dogs. After the owner takes their dog to the vet, the vet will examine the dog’s clinical signs and medical history. They will ask you all about the symptoms you noticed in your dog, so it is a good idea to write them down. After the initial examination, the vet might ask for several tests to help them make an accurate diagnosis.

The first one will be rhinoscopy, or checking the dog’s nasal cavities with an endoscope. The vet might also perform nasal flushing, where they’ll push the mites to the upper part of the throat, behind the nose. Other tests the vet might ask for are nasal and sinus x-rays, CT scans, blood work, urinalysis, and nasal biopsy.

How are nasal mites in dogs treated?

One of the first things dog owners will want to know is how nasal mites are treated. Is the treatment effective, and how fast will their dogs recover? There are two main ways vets treat nasal mites in dogs.

dog nose from the side


Ivermectin is an active ingredient in many dog dewormers. It is effective against nasal mites in dogs, and your vet can inject it or give your dog pills they can take. It is crucial to follow the vet’s instructions. Ivermectin overdoses can be fatal.


The second drug your vet might prescribe is selamectin. This is a topical solution that vets give dogs against heartworm, ear mites, fleas, mange, and even ticks. It is an effective treatment that shows better results than the ivermectin treatment.

Can I get nasal mites from my dog?

There is no evidence humans can get nasal mites from their dogs. Some parasites are zoonotic, which means they can infect different species. However, nasal mites are not a threat to us. However, if you have multiple dogs in your home, it would be best they all receive nasal mite treatment.

World Dog Finder team

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