Mange is a very common skin disease in dogs. If not addressed right away, dogs with mange will lose hair in patches and develop infected wounds throughout its body. This is why pet owners should know how to get rid of mange on dogs at home before it leads to life-threatening consequences.
Many cases of severe mange in dogs look hopeless. Usually, the affected canine will have crusty patches all over its coat as well as skin covered with pus-filled sores. It’s a helpless situation, but something can be done to save the canine from prolonged suffering.
In general, mange is controllable and not usually fatal. However, if the dog with mange is neglected, it can stir secondary conditions that could cost the canine’s life.
To prevent this from happening, we discussed here how to remove mange on your dog and how you can prevent it from recurring. For those who are new to this condition, I also discussed a short preview of dog mange and its symptoms.
What is mange?
Mange is a skin disease in dogs caused by mites. The term ‘mange’ actually came from the French word ‘mangeue’, which translates roughly to ‘to eat’. It’s because the mites bite through the canine’s skin and causes intolerable itching.
Moreover, there are two types of mites that can cause mange. These are Demodex and scabies mites.
Demodex mites are also referred to as red mange or demodectic mange. This mite has an elongated shape, which can be passed on from the mother dog to the puppy. The consolation here is that Demodex isn’t transmissible to humans.
The truth is that Demodex is part of a dog’s normal skin flora. However, when the Demodex population becomes uncontrollable, that’s when mange occurs. This often happens when a dog has a weak immune system.
Aside from that, canines that are old and suffering from metabolic diseases are also at risk of having demodectic mange.
Usually, demodectic mange can affect the entire body and cause scaling, redness, swelling, and crusting of the skin. In many cases, the affected dog will lose most – if not all – its fur.
Scabies or sarcoptic mange
Scabies or sarcoptic mange is caused by an eight-legged, round mite. This is the form of mange, which is highly contagious both to other dogs and humans. Although it doesn’t thrive on a non-canine host, scabies can still wreak havoc on human skin before it dies.
To identify whether your dog has demodectic or sarcoptic mange, the veterinarian will need samples from its skin. It will be examined under a microscope to see the shape of the mite and distinguish its type.
Moreover, sarcoptic mange usually has an incubation period of anywhere between 10 days to two months. As the mites spread, your dog will start to have an infection on the chest, ears, elbows, and belly. From there, the mange will spread like wildfire if not treated immediately.
Similar to demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange can cause secondary infections if not treated. Worse, these secondary conditions can be potentially life-threatening.
Signs that your dog has mange
Mange can go unnoticed for weeks until it starts causing adverse infections on your dog. And as with any problem, early diagnosis and immediate treatment are the keys to saving your dog from further discomfort.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from mange, you should look for these signs:
- Excessive itching and scratching
- Hair loss in patches
- Formation of yellow crusts on the skin
- Formation of rashes
- Redness and swelling of the skin
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes
- Emaciation for extreme cases
The moment you noticed that your dog has changes on its coat, it’s best to have it checked at the vet’s clinic. Whether it’s mange or not, coat changes are often indicative of a bigger health issue on your pet. You wouldn’t want to take chances, especially if your pooch has a pre-existing condition that could get worse if the dog catches mange.
How to get rid of mange on dogs at home
Getting rid of your dog’s mange at home can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Just remember that the methods below are solely based on my experience as a pet owner. It doesn’t replace the professional advice of a licensed veterinarian.
Moreover, these home remedies are only suitable if your dog’s mange isn’t severe yet. If your pet is already suffering from a massive case of mange, you should bring it to the vet for a more aggressive mode of treatment.
When in doubt, you can also consult your canine’s vet about which of these methods is best:
1. Using apple cider vinegar
The most common home remedy for mange is apple cider vinegar. Since it’s food-safe, your dog is unlikely to suffer from possible adverse side effects.
Basically, the acidity of apple cider vinegar neutralizes the mites causing mange. It also has an antiseptic property that can fight off infections. This is aside from apple cider vinegar’s ability to balance a dog’s skin’s pH levels.
However, you should douse your dog with apple cider vinegar right off the bat. Since ACV is acidic, it will sting the mange-induced sores on your pet’s skin.
Instead, you can dilute equal parts of ACV and water and then place it in a spray bottle. You can use this solution after each bath as antiseptic treatment.
2. Using olive oil
Olive oil is another kitchen staple that could help solve mange in dogs. It’s effective in treating localized mange and mild cases only.
To use this method, simply rub a small amount of olive oil on your dog’s mange patches. A thin layer of oil is enough, so it won’t make your dog’s fur weighed down and sticky.
Overall, olive oil will smother the mites and kill them in the process. The bonus part is that olive oil has a powerful moisturizing benefit that will help restore your dog’s skin health.
Just a reminder, though: your dog may rub the olive oil on carpets, furniture, and other surfaces. So if you’re planning to use this method, I suggest that you isolate your pet in a separate room for a few hours.
3. Using honey
Honey is another effective solution in treating mild cases of mange in dogs. Like ACV, honey has antifungal and antiseptic properties without the stinging acidity. Also, it’s safe for your dog to ingest in reasonable amounts.
Aside from that, honey has a viscous nature that will smother the mites to death. Still, this should be used as a spot treatment to avoid making your dog too sticky.
Also, I suggest putting your dog on an Elizabethan collar. This is to prevent the pooch from licking the honey off its skin.
As with the olive oil solution, it’s best to keep your dog in an isolated room to prevent it from wiping the honey on surfaces. And since honey is very sticky, isolating your dog will prevent dirt from clinging to the treated spots.
4. Using mange shampoo
If the first remedies didn’t work for your pet, mange shampoo would be an effective solution. Unlike regular dog shampoo, those formulated for mange are medicated. This way, your dog’s sores will be soothed while the medication in the shampoo kills the mites.
For the best results, mange shampoo products should be lathered and left soaking on your dog’s coat for 5 to 10 minutes. Other formulas need to be soaked longer, so make sure that you read the instructions on the label.
Also, if your dog has a history of allergies or sensitivities to topical products, you should consult the vet before using any mange shampoo. This is to ensure that the shampoo won’t trigger further irritations.
5. Using OTC mange medicines
Aside from medicated shampoo, you can also use over-the-counter mange medicines made for dogs. Since it’s OTC, it doesn’t require the prescription of a veterinarian. Still, I highly recommend that you consult the vet to guarantee the safety of the topical medicine for your pooch.
As much as possible, opt for an all-organic topical medicine for your dog’s mange. This is to limit the possibility of adverse side effects.
Also, you should never give your dog any oral mange medicine unless you’ve consulted the vet. It’s because the only effective oral medication for mange is antibiotics, which warrant an official prescription.
6. Using flea treatments
Lastly, you can use flea treatments to treat mange that’s still in its early stages. While flea treatments are marketed to eradicate ticks and fleas, these are also effective against a range of other skin parasites. This includes mites, lice, and so on.
However, flea treatments as means of killing mange mites are only effective if the condition isn’t intense yet. Also, most flea treatment brands don’t promise full efficacy against mange, so you should consider it as a complementary solution only.
Preventing mange in dogs
Once you’ve successfully eradicated mange on your dog, the next course of action is to prevent it from coming back. This rings true to any skin parasite that your dog may catch along the way.
Here are a few steps you can take:
🐶Always check your dog’s coat
The best way to prevent mange from wreaking havoc on your dog’s coat again is to keep tabs on your pet’s coat. By checking your dog’s coat daily, you can see sudden changes that could indicate a mite infestation.
For example, you can inspect your dog’s coat while giving it a daily brush. Look for any swelling, inflammation, or hair thinning, which are some of the signs of mange.
Overall, it would only take one or two minutes to check your dog’s coat for any potential skin parasites. Still, that short period can make a big difference in preventing another case of mange.
🐶Give your dog regular flea preventives
Another way to prevent mange on your dog is to give it regular flea treatments. Depending on the brand that you’re going to use, flea treatments need to be applied every 30 to 60 days. You can purchase over-the-counter options like Frontline, Bayer, Seresto, and so on.
Moreover, flea treatments or preventives are available in drop or collar versions. Both are effective, but some pet owners prefer the drop form as some dogs experience irritation from rubber collars.
Overall, flea preventives will give your dog a shield against a slew of skin parasites. Also, most vets will recommend this to pet owners, whether their dog has experienced skin parasites before or not.
🐶Boost your dog’s immune system
Boosting your dog’s immune system will help a lot in preventing the occurrence of demodectic mange.
As mentioned earlier, this form of mange is triggered by the overproduction of Demodex, which is naturally present in dogs only in small numbers. However, if the dog becomes immunocompromised, the Demodex population will spike and trigger mange.
To boost your canine’s immunity, you should provide quality food and supplements if necessary as determined by your veterinarian. Ample exercise and care will also keep your pet in the pink of health.
🐶Limit your dog’s exposure to other canines
If possible, you should limit your dog’s exposure to other canines. This is much so if your pet doesn’t have an active preventive to ward off skin parasites.
Also, if one of your dogs is infected with mange, you should isolate it from the pack. This is to prevent the spread of mange as the sarcoptic form is highly contagious. Nonetheless, the affected dog must be treated and the other canines must be given preventive as a proactive solution.
🐶Keep your dog’s bed clean
A dirty bed can harbor nasty mites and parasites. This is why you should make it a habit to wash your dog’s bedding once a month.
To kill potential mites, you can soak the bed in a pre-wash made of diluted vinegar. This will help neutralize any parasite while deodorizing your pet’s bed at the same time.
You should do the same with your dog’s toys, much so if they are made of plush material.
🐶Bring your dog to annual vet checks
Lastly, you should bring your dog to annual veterinary checks to ensure that it’s in good health. While annual checks aren’t enough to detect mange, it’s still a necessary step to protect your dog from any health problem.
Also, vets can detect early signs of mange in dogs. This will help save the pooch’s coat from further irritation and your pocket from a more expensive treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is mange contagious to humans?
A: Sarcoptic mange or scabies is the contagious form that humans can contract from their dogs. On the other hand, the Demodex type isn’t transmissible to humans and even other canines. If you suspect that you contracted mange from your dog, you should visit a dermatologist as soon as possible. You should also get your pet treated to nip the problem in the bud.
Q: What happens if you touch a dog with mange?
A: Touching a dog with mange doesn’t automatically cause contagion unless you’re dealing with the sarcoptic form. If you touched your dog with mange, you should wash your hands properly to kill any mites that have clung to your skin. Also, you can wear gloves while grooming or handling your dog until it has fully recovered from mange.
Q: What does mange look like when it’s just starting?
A: When mange is just starting on canines, it may look as if your dog has a typical case of random itchiness. However, if not treated, this itchiness will develop into sores, lesions, and pus-filled wounds. Take note that some cases of mange don’t erupt right away. Others take up to 8 weeks before it starts showing symptoms. By that time, the mites had already reproduced and spread in your pet’s coat.
Q: Does fur grow back after mange?
A: If mange is treated early, your dog can recover and its fur will grow back. However, in worst cases, scar tissue will develop and there’s no way for the canine’s tissue to regrow. This is why early diagnosis and treatment are necessary to save a dog from long-term effects of mange.
Q: Does mange in dogs stink?
A: Dogs suffering from sarcoptic mange usually emit a foul smell. This is due to the skin infection and the proliferation of bacteria on the canine’s coat. Excessive yeast levels on a dog with mange will also make the smell worse. Usually, the bad smell will be present throughout the dog’s body, but more prominently inside the ears.
Knowing how to get rid of mange on dogs at home is important to save your dog from unnecessary discomfort. But aside from treatment, prevention is also the key to protecting your pet from the recurrence of this skin disease.
Have you ever encountered mange on your dog before? How did you deal with it? Share your thoughts below!