Is your loyal companion constantly scratching himself, leading to angry, red bald patches with sores or scabs on his skin? These signs indicate that your beloved pet may be suffering from mange.
Mange is a skin infection or disease often seen in companion canines. It’s caused by external parasites like mites, some of which are naturally found on a dog’s skin. If allowed to proliferate unchecked, mites can cause severe skin infections and diseases.
There are two main types of mange that affect dogs.
- Demodectic or red mange: Demodectic mange occurs when your dog’s immune system fails to keep Demodex mites in check, leading to their overpopulation. This type of mange cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans, but the mites can be transferred from one dog to another, especially from a mother to weaning puppies. Young pups and dogs under the age of 18 months are especially vulnerable to this form of mange.
- Sarcoptic mange or canine scabies: Microscopic, oval-shaped sarcoptic mites cause sarcoptic mange. This type of mange is highly contagious and can be transmitted to other dogs as well as humans. Sarcoptic mange manifests in humans as small, itchy red bumps that are similar to mosquito bites.
A dog that has mange, especially sarcoptic mange, should be kept in complete isolation until the infection clears up.
Both types of mange can be difficult to diagnose and will need a skin scrape by your veterinarian to diagnose.
- Signs and Symptoms of Mange in Dogs
- Home Remedies to Treat Mange in Dogs
- Method 1: Borax and Hydrogen Peroxide
- Method 2: Listerine and Baby Oil
- Method 3: Sulfur Powder
- Method 4: Diatomaceous Earth
- Method 5: Benzoyl Peroxide Shampoo
- Method 6: Apple Cider Vinegar
- Tips to keep in mind
Signs and Symptoms of Mange in Dogs
Mange usually affects a dog’s ears, elbows, face and legs, but it can also spread to the rest of the body. You should take immediate steps to treat your dog if you see any of the following signs and symptoms.
- Hair loss
- Bald Spots
- Scabs and sores
- Intense and frequent itching
- Reddened skin
- Restlessness and desperate scratching of the skin.
Mange can often lead to secondary bacterial infections on the skin. Therefore, as soon you notice any of these symptoms, take your pet to the vet for an exam and to get skin scrapings analyzed to determine both the presence and breed of the mange-causing mites.
Home Remedies to Treat Mange in Dogs
While it is best to follow the treatment recommended by your vet, below are six methods that can be used to give additional assistance and treat mange in dogs.
Method 1: Borax and Hydrogen Peroxide
Borax is the salt form of boric acid and is commonly found in the laundry room, as it is often used as a stain remover. However, borax also acts as a natural insecticide and disinfectant and effectively cleanses your faithful pet’s skin and fur. (1)
Hydrogen peroxide acts as a natural sanitizer and cleanser, killing off mites and preventing the infection from spreading further.
Things you’ll need:
- 3% hydrogen peroxide (disinfectant) – ½ cup
- Borax (disinfectant) – 2 teaspoons
- Water – 1 cup
Step 1. Dilute hydrogen peroxide in water
- Pour 1 cup of water into a jug.
- Add ½ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
Step 2. Add borax, mix well and use
- Add 2 teaspoons of borax and mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
- Rinse your dog with this solution, even the areas not affected by mange.
- Make sure to thoroughly cleanse your dog’s skin and fur.
Wash your dog with this solution 2 or 3 times a day to treat mange within a week.
You can also use the solution to clean and disinfect your pet’s kennel or sleeping area to prevent the infection from recurring.
Method 2: Listerine and Baby Oil
Listerine mouthwash contains herbal oils that have antifungal and antibacterial properties and can be used to treat many skin, hair, and health issues.
While baby oil is gentle on the skin and provides relief from itching. This is one of the most popular anecdotal remedies to help gid rid of mange.
Things you’ll need:
- Listerine (anti-fungal) – 1 tablespoon
- Baby oil (relieves itching) – 1 tablespoon
- Water – 1 tablespoon
Step 1. Combine the three ingredients
- Pour 1 tablespoon of Listerine mouthwash into a jug.
- Add 1 tablespoon each of baby oil and water.
Step 2. Mix well, transfer it to a spray bottle and use
- Use a small whisk to blend the ingredients thoroughly.
- Transfer the solution into a spray bottle.
Shake well and spray it on the areas affected by mange twice daily. The infection should clear up within 1 week.
Method 3: Sulfur Powder
Sulfur, a natural mineral that has strong antiseptic properties, is a highly effective remedy used to treat mange and mites infestation. (2) Sulfur powder is readily available in most drug stores.
Single-Step Treatment: Use sulfur powder to bathe your infected dog
- Prepare a hot bath for your pet by mixing equal parts of boiled water and tap water.
- Start bathing your dog with this water. Do not use any other water for the bath. The hot water will open up your dog’s skin pores and force the tiny mites to the surface of the skin.
- Work the sulfur powder all over your dog until he is covered in foam.
- Keep him like this for 30 minutes to allow the sulfur powder to work.
- Rinse your dog with ice water until all traces of the sulfur powder foam are removed. The cold water will also compress and close the skin pores, killing the mites instantly upon contact.
- Let your dog shake himself dry. Do not use a towel or any cloth to wipe him off.
Follow this procedure to bathe your dog once every day for 1 week or until the infection is completely gone.
Method 4: Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is the powdered form of fossilized diatoms, comprised of microscopic silica shards or crystals that severely damage the exoskeleton of mange-causing mites, causing death via dehydration. It is another popular folk remedy.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply DE on your dog’s skin and coat
- Brush your dog, cleaning his fur and skin thoroughly.
- Apply food-grade DE on your dog’s coat.
- Brush and rub it deep into the fur. This is required to ensure its action against the mites.
Do this once a day for 1 to 2 weeks or until the infection clears up.
DE can make your dog’s skin dry. However, this effect is only temporary and you can wash the powder off after giving it a few hours to work.
Method 5: Benzoyl Peroxide Shampoo
Benzoyl peroxide shampoo often called mange shampoo, is an extremely effective deep-cleaning shampoo with antibacterial properties. (3)
It thoroughly cleanses the pores and hair follicles on your four-legged friend’s skin, and certain mild cases of mange can be cured by simply shampooing your pet with it.
Benzoyl peroxide shampoo is particularly effective in treating demodectic mange, as it creates an environment in which the mites cannot survive.
Single-Step Treatment: Bathe your dog with benzoyl peroxide shampoo
- Use benzoyl peroxide shampoo to thoroughly clean your dog’s coat and skin.
- Shampoo your pet with it once daily for 1 to 2 weeks until the mange is completely gone.
Method 6: Apple Cider Vinegar
Another popular anecdotal remedy is apple cider vinegar. Strongly acidic in nature, apple cider vinegar eliminates mange-causing mites and also helps reduce or alleviate mange symptoms, including redness and itching.
Single-Step Treatment: Add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s food
- Adding apple cider vinegar to your pet’s food will greatly aid in effectively treating mange.
- Follow the guide below to determine how much should be given to your pet.
- Dogs up to 14 pounds: 1 teaspoon
- Medium-sized dogs between 15 and 34 pounds: 2 teaspoons
- Large dogs between 35 and 85 pounds: 1 tablespoon
Mix the specified amount into your dog’s food once daily for 1 to 2 weeks until the mange clears up.
# Topical Use
Single-Step Method: Spray apple cider vinegar on your dog’s coat
- Fill a spray bottle with equal parts of water and raw, organic apple cider vinegar.
- Spray it on your dog’s coat. Also, use a brush to part the hair and spray the solution directly on the skin. This will also help get rid of fleas on your dog if any.
Do this 2 or 3 times a week to successfully treat mange of your dog.
Tips to keep in mind
- Take your dog to the vet for regular checkups to ensure that the mange-causing mites have been completely eradicated.
- Keep your pet away from any mange-infected dogs.
- Keep your dog healthy and well-groomed. If your pet has a strong immune system, he is highly unlikely to develop mange.
- You can also add 1 tablespoon of fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s daily diet for healthy and mange-resistant skin.
- Mukhopadhyay P. Cleansers and their role in various dermatological disorders. Indian journal of dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3088928/. Published 2011.
- Laha R. Sarcoptic mange infestation in pigs: an overview. Journal of parasitic diseases: official organ of the Indian Society for Parasitology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4675569/. Published December 2015.
- Hall JA, Keirstead N. Diagnostic dermatology. Demodicosis. The Canadian veterinary journal = La revue veterinaire Canadienne. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834510/. Published October 2005.