Home Remedies for Dog Mange
What Is Mange?
When you see a dog with mange you can't help but assume that it has somehow been abused. Dogs with mange look so miserable that you can't imagine how any owner could let it get that way if he or she cared for the animal.
However, the truth is that mange can happen in the best of pet families, including yours. Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by mites. These microscopic distant relatives of spiders burrow under the dog's skin where they will mate, lay eggs, and then die.
Of course, the eggs that are laid will hatch and become larvae which will, in turn, become adults and the whole process begins again. Can you imagine what it must feel like to have these insects living a millimeter or two under your skin? If you have ever experienced chiggers, take that experience and multiply it by 10.
Symptoms of Mange
What does mange look like? Unfortunately, the early symptoms of mange strongly resemble the symptoms of allergies so it's difficult to diagnose. In fact, even when it becomes more obvious that the condition is mange, it's still hard for a veterinarian to say for certain that your dog has mange. That's because the standard test involves a skin scrapping and typically there is an 80% chance that no mites will be seen on the surface of the skin. As a result, vets will usually just go ahead and recommend mange treatment based on visible symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
- Persistent, aggressive scratching and biting
- Patches of hair loss particularly on the belly, ears, haunches, elbows, or armpits
- Bald patches that have red pustules that almost resemble bad acne
- A yellow crust on bald skin particularly at the edges of the ears
If your dog is displaying these symptoms you should pay a visit to the vet. Aside from the misery the dog is in, the real danger is that of infection.
When the mite invades the skin the dog's immune system kicks in and tries to eject it. The more the immune system is worked the weaker the dog can become. Add to the mite invasion, the possibility of a bacterial infection from the scratching and biting, and the dog's defenses will really be put to the test.
If the condition warrants it, the vet can prescribe antibiotics to help with the infection problem.
Home Remedies for Mange
The vet will probably recommend a series of chemical dips but that can be an unpleasant experience for both the dog and the person doing the dipping. Additionally, there can be some side effects to the dog that while they are not fatal, can make them sick for a short period of time.
As an alternative, you can give these home remedies a try.
Understand that all of these remedies are designed to kill or repel the mites that are on the surface, not those under the skin. The life cycle of a mite is about three weeks. If you can keep your pet mite free for 12 weeks and improve his immune system, then the mites and larvae under the skin will die.
One way to dry up the scabs and pus from mange is to mix 16 ounces of peroxide, 8 tablespoons of borax, and 2 cups of warm water to create your own dip. Rub this concoction into your dog's skin and let him drip dry. Do not rinse. Do this once a week and in 2 weeks you should see hair starting to grow in the bald patches. In two months you should be close to being mange free.
Improve Your Dog's Immune System
Helping your dog fight the battle from the inside out is important. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to his food every day. Olive oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acid that is necessary to create the natural skin oil that he needs to reduce the itching from dry skin.
Add a ground up vitamin E supplement either to his food or disguised in a treat and you'll be assisting his immune system attack the infections. Good dog nutrition during this time is essential.
Mange on the Ears and Face? Try Mineral Oil
These are sensitive areas and it may be easier to remedy separately than as part of the "dip". Please consult your veterinarian before applying mineral oil to your pup. Mineral oil will kill the mites on the surface. Simply soak a cotton ball with mineral oil and apply to the affected area. Ears are a favorite place for mites to migrate. Gently apply the oil and then massage your dog's ears. The good news is this works. The bad news is that it wears off after about 8 hours.
Mange or Diaper Rash?
On smaller dogs, and particularly for mange on the belly, Desitin diaper rash ointment seems to work. The oil in the ointment kills the mites and the same ingredients that soothe a baby's diaper rash also soothe the dog's skin.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.