Rachel writes about dogs and dog mange remedies. She loves all animals and wants to help pet owners take care of their animals at home.
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 the dog get that way, and you wonder if they even care for the animal. The truth is that mange can happen to any dog, including yours.
Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by the Demodex mite—a distant relative of spiders. These mites burrow under the dog's skin where they mate, lay eggs, and then die. The eggs that are laid hatch, become larvae, mature into adults, and then 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.
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 the condition becomes more obvious, it's still hard for a veterinarian to diagnose. That's because the standard test involves a skin scraping, and often 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 of Mange?
- 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 a secondary infection. When mites invade the skin, the dog's immune system kicks in and tries to launch a defense.
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, your vet can prescribe antibiotics to help with symptoms of infection.
Are There Home Remedies for Mange?
The vet will probably recommend a series of chemical dips, but this can be an unpleasant experience for both the dog and the person doing the dipping. Additionally, there can be some side effects that can make your dog sick for a short period of time.
As an alternative, your vet may recommend some methods that can be used at home for resolving mild cases. Understand that all of these remedies are designed to kill or repel the mites that are on the surface, not those under the skin. Note that homemade dips with chemicals like borax and hydrogen peroxide are not recommended.
Improve Your Dog's Immune System
Helping your dog fight the battle from the inside out is important. Consider adding omega-3 fatty acids to his or her food daily. Certain oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and help to create the natural skin oils that reduce itching from dry skin.
Adding an oil supplement to his or her food or disguising it in a treat works well—and you'll be helping the immune system ward off secondary infections. Good dog nutrition during this time is essential.
Mineral Oil for the Ears and Face
Ears are a favorite place for mites to migrate and mineral oil will kill the mites on the surface. The ears and face are sensitive areas, and it may be easier to tend to these areas separately with mineral oil if your vet advises you to do dips. Here's how to apply the oil:
Note: Always consult your veterinarian before applying mineral oil to your pup.
- Soak a cotton ball with mineral oil.
- Gently apply it to the affected area.
- Massage your dog's ears.
The good news is that this technique works. The bad news is that it wears off after about 8 hours.
On smaller dogs, and particularly for mange on the belly, ointments similar to Desitin for diaper rash work well. Your vet can prescribe one that is animal-safe. The oil in these ointments kill the mites.
Always Work With Your Vet
Now that we've reviewed some of the treatment options, consider what course of action is best. Always work closely with your veterinarian. You may also want to consider how you can help reduce stressors in your dog's life. Providing your dog with a happy home environment will help to keep them healthy.
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.
Kiley Primeaux on March 05, 2020:
Used motor oil coat the dog in it
Robin Boggs on April 12, 2019:
Two weeks ago my husband and I were given a 6/7 week old puppy. Due to unfortunate events i haven't been able to take her to see a veterinarian. Four days ago i noticed that the fur on top of her head was thinning. Needless to say, i worried about it because i had very little information regarding her previous owners and their living conditions. The night before last she was very restless and she had this very 'sad' look. Eventually she went to sleep but the following day (yesterday)
she looked even worse. Now she has little bumps all over the top of her head and her eyes are crusty in the corners. I would have to say that i believe there's a little bit of inflammation in her face (not much at all). She's still very playful and she eats and drinks without giving either one a second
thought. Anyhow, i keep a very close watch on her but i am one scared mommy! I stayed up with her all night last night because all she did was whimper and scratch herself. Today she is in good spirits but it breaks my heart knowing what's in store for her. I haven't learned everything i need to know about an animal's health but i have done a lot of research since Wednesday evening. With this being said, please know that i will welcome ANY feedback or advice regarding what i should do for my sweet furbaby. If i could afford to take her to the vet, i would but i just came back to work this week from vacation and i simply do not have an ungodly amount of money to give to some stranger who probably only has his/her well being in mind. I say this because my husband and I drive a semi for a living, we're not home right now and the veterinarian we trust is 1800 miles away. If it weren't for all of the articles and posts that i have been reading, i honestly don't know what i would do! Yes, money is an issue but my baby's life isn't! PLEASE...
somebody help me help her so i can get her home before it's too late. PLEASE! I'm going to the store to get vitamin E, olive oil and desitin (along with other items) in an attempt to keep her comfortable until we go home but i need someone who has a little bit of hands on experience with things like this.
I believe she has demodectic mange (Demodex/Red Mange) but i can't bathe/dip her in that borax/h2o2 solution or anything until next weekend. Any input whatsoever will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Tree Mize on September 08, 2018:
Help please! My yorkie Sara is literally chewing her hair off. She has some crusty sores and losing hair around her eyes. Whatever is affecting her is also causing my head to itch and sores and falling out my hair is half as thick as it was 6 months ago. I feel like something is crawling on me but can find nothing. I can’t afford a vet right now as my husband was in an accident and can’t work. We also have what looks like dandruff but sort of like lice. I can’t find any bugs I am at my whits end. I don’t know what to do.
Deborah on May 21, 2017:
My 3 month old dobies developed mange and I tried DESITIN OINTMENT.
After two applications...No more redness. The large bumps were almost all gone. Itching almost nil. I will continue to use this. You never to try this.
Gloria on December 14, 2014:
thank you so much for the input. I'm gonna try the Borax and peroxide. and the mineral oil for the ears. and also going to give vitamin E.
Rachel on January 08, 2012:
Check out this link for temp relief until you can get Lucky to the vet. http://homeremediesfordogs.org/Dogs-With-Mange.htm...
Hazel on January 08, 2012:
I was standing in my kitchen and looked out window to see someone dumping a puppy. I went to get it before it was hit by car and discovered it was severely ate up with mange it has hardli any hair covered in scabs and has worms eyes matted. Its very sad. I have taken him in and through it all hes so happy. I tried the homemade dip which seems to work and i have been using skin so soft on his skin after i dip him and putting olive oil in food. I also am treating the mange with ivy mac shot. Any more suggestions on what to do for him! By the way we have named him Lucky! I will b taking him to vet but where we live none r open on wknds.
Hazel on January 08, 2012:
I was standing in my kitchen and looked iut window to see someone dumping a puppy. I went to get it before it was hit by car and discovered it was severely ate up with mange it has hardli any hair covered in scabs and has worms eyes matted. Its very sad. I have taken him in and through it all hes so happy. I tried the homemade dip which seems to work and i have been using skin so soft on his skin after i dip him and putting olive oil in skin. I also am treating the mange with ivy mac shot. Any more suggestions on what to do for him! By the way we habe named him Lucky! I will b taking him to vet but where we live none r open on wknds.
Rachel Willson (author) on December 10, 2010:
If the scabs and crusty skin are reddish then your pup may have Demodectic mange. Virtually all dogs have this form of mite and it will sometimes cause problems on young dogs whose immune system has not fully developed yet.
There are a couple of things you can try. First give him a teaspoon of olive oil on his food daily. This will get him the Omega 3 fatty acid he needs to generate oil on his skin. A Vitamin E supplement will help build his immune system. Lastly you can rub a 5% benzoyl peroxide gel directly on the affected area.
When his immune system fully develops the problem will go away.
Now if the crust isn't red, then go to http://homeremediesfordogs.org/Dog-Itchy-Skin.html for some more ideas.
sarah on December 10, 2010:
okay so i have a 17 week old american bulldog and he seems to be itching a lot by his tail and by his tail hes my first dog ad i dnt knw what to do his hair is missing and its all scabie and crusty what should i do
Rachel Willson (author) on September 11, 2010:
Let me know how that works for you Savannah. And if it works, let me know what the formula is so I can share it on my site. Thanks!
Suzi Rayve from California on September 10, 2010:
Great hub! Thank God you said that about motor oil. I mean, could you imagine? I'm trying the home dip with borax now on my Collie and also working on his immune system from the inside out. The vet's chemicals would kill him, not that I would ever even use them! I'll let you know how the borax works. Thanks!
Rachel Willson (author) on July 13, 2010:
You're welcome North Wind. Hope your mutt is mange free!
North Wind from The World (for now) on July 12, 2010:
Thanks for this. It was really helpful!