how to get rid of mange on dogs

Introduction to Mange in Dogs

Mange in dogs refers to skin infections caused by mites, microscopic parasites that can infest your dog’s fur, causing irritation and potentially severe skin damage if left untreated. There are two primary types of mange that commonly affect dogs: Sarcoptic mange (also known as scabies) and Demodectic mange (demodex).

Understanding Types of Mange in Dogs

Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious and caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. These mites burrow into the outer layer of the skin, causing intense itching, redness, and hair loss. Dogs with sarcoptic mange often scratch excessively, leading to skin lesions and secondary bacterial infections. This type of mange can spread rapidly between dogs through direct contact.

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange, or demodex, is caused by the Demodex canis mite, which is commonly found in small numbers on healthy dogs’ skin. However, an overgrowth of these mites can occur in dogs with weakened immune systems or genetic predispositions. Demodectic mange can manifest as localized or generalized forms. Localized demodectic mange causes hair loss and mild skin irritation in specific areas, while generalized demodectic mange affects larger areas of the body and may be more challenging to treat.

Causes and Transmission of Mange

Mange mites can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal or environment where mites are present. Sarcoptic mange mites can survive off the host for a few days, making it possible for transmission through shared bedding, grooming tools, or close contact with an infected dog. Demodectic mange, on the other hand, is not considered contagious in the same way as sarcoptic mange and is often linked to underlying health conditions that compromise the immune system.

Symptoms of Mange in Dogs

Recognizing the symptoms of mange is crucial for early detection and prompt treatment. Symptoms may vary depending on the type of mange and the individual dog’s immune response, but common signs include:

  • Intense Itching: Dogs with mange often experience severe itching, which may worsen at night or after exposure to irritants.
  • Hair Loss: Patchy hair loss is a hallmark symptom of mange, especially around the face, ears, elbows, and paws.
  • Redness and Irritation: The skin may appear red, inflamed, or crusty due to constant scratching and irritation.
  • Scabs and Lesions: Secondary bacterial infections can cause scabs, sores, or crusts on the skin.
  • Changes in Behavior: Some dogs may become more irritable, restless, or lethargic due to discomfort and disrupted sleep patterns caused by itching.

It’s essential to consult with a veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms to determine the underlying cause and initiate appropriate treatment.

Diagnosing Mange in Dogs

Diagnosing mange typically requires a veterinary examination and diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of mites and assess the extent of skin damage. Your veterinarian may perform the following:

Veterinary Examination

During a physical examination, your veterinarian will inspect your dog’s skin for characteristic signs of mange, such as hair loss, redness, and lesions. They may also collect skin scrapings from affected areas to examine under a microscope for mites, eggs, or other indicators of infestation.

Skin Scrapings and Diagnostic Tests

Skin scrapings are a common diagnostic tool used to detect mange mites on the skin’s surface. If mites are found, further tests such as a skin biopsy or deep skin scraping may be performed to identify the specific type of mite and determine the most effective treatment approach.

Treating Mange in Dogs

Treatment for mange aims to eliminate mites, relieve symptoms, and support skin healing. The approach to treatment will depend on the type of mange, severity of the infestation, and your dog’s overall health. It’s essential to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations closely to ensure effective treatment and prevent recurrence.

Conventional Treatments

Medicated Baths or Dips

Medicated baths or dips containing insecticidal agents such as benzoyl peroxide or lime sulfur are effective in killing mange mites on the skin’s surface. These treatments may need to be repeated at regular intervals as prescribed by your veterinarian.

Oral Medications

Oral medications, such as ivermectin or milbemycin, may be prescribed to target mites systemically and reduce infestation levels throughout the body. These medications are typically used in cases of generalized demodectic mange or when topical treatments alone are insufficient.

Topical Ointments or Sprays

Topical ointments or sprays containing acaricides or antiparasitic agents can be applied directly to affected areas to kill mites and soothe irritated skin. These treatments are often used in conjunction with medicated baths or dips for comprehensive mange management.

Home Remedies and Natural Treatments

While veterinary-prescribed treatments are essential for managing mange effectively, some home remedies and natural treatments may help alleviate symptoms and support skin health. These remedies include:

  • Aloe Vera Gel: Applying aloe vera gel directly to affected areas can help soothe inflamed skin and promote healing.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that may help reduce secondary infections and moisturize dry, irritated skin.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Diluted apple cider vinegar rinses can help balance skin pH and create an inhospitable environment for mange mites.
  • Dietary Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins like vitamin E can support skin health and immune function, aiding in the recovery process.

It’s essential to consult with your veterinarian before using any home remedies to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your dog’s condition.

Preventing Mange in Dogs

Preventing mange involves maintaining good hygiene, minimizing exposure to potential sources of mites, and supporting your dog’s overall health and immune system.

Environmental Management

  • Regular Grooming: Brushing your dog’s coat regularly helps remove loose fur and debris, reducing the risk of mites finding a suitable environment to thrive.
  • Clean Living Spaces: Wash bedding, blankets, and grooming tools frequently to eliminate mites and prevent re-infestation.
  • Isolation of Infected Dogs: If your dog has mange, keep them isolated from other pets until treatment is complete to prevent spreading the infestation.

Nutritional Support

  • Balanced Diet: Provide a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support your dog’s immune system and overall health. Consult with your veterinarian for dietary recommendations tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

What Not to Do When Dealing with Mange in Dogs

Understanding what to avoid can prevent worsening of symptoms or ineffective treatments.

Delaying Veterinary Consultation

  • Self-Diagnosis: Avoid attempting to diagnose mange or other skin conditions without veterinary guidance. Professional diagnosis ensures accurate identification of the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Overuse of Home Remedies

  • Unsupervised Treatments: Using home remedies without veterinary approval can delay effective treatment and may exacerbate skin irritation or cause adverse reactions in your dog.


Can dogs with mange spread it to humans or other pets?

  • Human Transmission: While some types of mange, like Sarcoptic mange, can affect humans through direct contact with infected dogs, it is rare and typically results in temporary skin irritation rather than a prolonged infestation.
  • Pet Transmission: Mange can be transmitted between dogs through close contact or sharing contaminated bedding or grooming tools. Prompt treatment and preventive measures can minimize the risk of transmission.

How long does it take to treat mange in dogs?

  • Treatment Duration: The duration of mange treatment varies depending on the type, severity, and response to therapy. Mild cases may resolve within weeks with appropriate treatment, while more severe cases may require months of therapy and ongoing veterinary monitoring.


Summarize the key points discussed in the blog post, emphasizing the importance of early detection, veterinary care, and preventive measures in managing and treating mange in dogs effectively. Encourage pet owners to prioritize their dog’s skin health and seek professional advice for any concerns related to mange or other skin conditions.

Leave a Comment