Amitraz for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: April 30, 2024
Amitraz for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

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Amitraz is a product which is becoming increasingly well-known, especially in veterinary medical circles. It has been used to treat various conditions in dogs, but some animal guardians unfortunately give it to their dogs without a veterinary prescription. Often used to treat parasite related conditions in dogs, amitraz is a pesticide. Specifically, it is an insecticide, acaricide and scabicide since it is known to kill insects, arachnids and mites, respectively. In this AnimalWised article on amitraz for dogs we look at its uses, dosage and potential side effects. Knowing the side effects are particularly important since giving amitraz to your dog without veterinary control and be potentially harmful.

  1. What is amitraz for dogs?
  2. Amitraz for dogs dosage
  3. Side effects of amitraz in dogs

What is amitraz for dogs?

Amitraz is a product which acts against adult forms of ticks, mites, lice and insects. In general, this means it is useful for avoiding external parasites in dogs. Amitraz has been highlighted as being particularly useful in killing certain parasite species including Cheyletiella, Otodectes cynotis, Sarcoptes scabiei and Demodex canis. To be clear, this means it is not able to work for any and every type of canine parasite. Administering amitraz outside of its intended use might not only be ineffective, but it might be counterproductive and potentially harmful to the dog's health.

Amitraz as an antiparasitic

For parasites such as those mentioned, there are currently many products which are thought to be safer and more effective. Since amitraz was first discovered in 1969, there have been many developments in veterinary pharmacology, including parasitic control for dogs.

For example, many people have thought to use amitraz for dogs suffering from sarcoptic mange caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. When compared to other antiparasitic products, amitraz is not always very effective. the case of ticks, other antiparasitic collars and pipettes are currently preferred prevention methods. These provide a longer lasting protection against infestation as amitraz is only effective in thus purpose for approximately one week.

Amitraz for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects - What is amitraz for dogs?

Amitraz for dogs dosage

Amitraz products come in many forms, but it is most commonly prescribed for topical use. The most common is in liquid form, in particular when it is used in dog shampoo products. It application is more commonly recommended for use in bathing dogs. Our veterinarian will tell us which solution to use and which concentration is necessary. They will also have to give us the correct guidelines to use for application.

When used in a shampoo, it will take a while for it to be effective, depending on the dosage. For this reason, the veterinarian will also explain how to apply the shampoo properly. The treatment will end when the veterinarian has confirmed there is no longer any evidence of a parasitical infestation. This is why clinical follow-up is so important when treating parasites as we may not be able to determine if they have indeed left our dog.

Ear mites are a common problem for many dogs and amitraz has been used in fighting infestations of Otodectes cynotis. This is a common ear mite which embeds itself in the ear canal. If amitraz is used, it will usually be in a solution of 0.5%. in this case, bathing is also suggested to help avoid ear mites. However, the concentration of this product is variable depending on supplier, again helping us to see the importance of having a veterinary recommendation.

We can also find amitraz being used in antiparasitic collars. In this form, they should protect the dog from tick and parasite infestation for up to 4 weeks. This is because the amitraz works in slow-release. We can also find pipettes which contain amitraz solution as well as other active ingredients. These will usually have a concentration of about 7 to 15%. If this is the case, you will need to consult the leaflet of the specific product since its application differs compared to using amitraz on its own.

Side effects of amitraz in dogs

Amitraz, in an appropriate dose, can cause irritation to the skin and mucous membranes. This is especially the case when used on small dogs. A certain sedative effect has also been observed. When too high a dose has been given, amiraz poisoning can occur. Symptoms of amitraz poisoning include:

  • A drop in body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Increased excretion of urine (polyuria)
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Nervousness
  • Decrease or increase in heart rate (bradycardia or tachycardia, respectively)
  • Hyperventilation

The detection of any of these symptoms is reason enough to go to the veterinarian. Additionally, there are some breeds which are particularly susceptible to amitraz, so it's use in these breeds is discouraged. The breeds most affected by amitraz include Chihuahuas, any breed of Collie and Sheepdog breeds.

Amitraz should not be used on pregnant dogs or puppies under the age of 3 months. Finally, amitraz is particularly toxic to cats, so we need to be careful to separate them from a dog being treated with it if they live in the same home.

Amitraz for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects - Side effects of amitraz in dogs

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Amitraz for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.


Dermatology: Ectoparasitosis in canines and felines. 2001. Veterinary Portal.

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Amitraz for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects