When you hear the word “mange,” you automatically think of stray dogs with scabby skin. What you may not realize, though, is that any dog can get mange, even the ones that stay indoors most of the time.
Mange may look bad, but fortunately it is a treatable condition. While vet-prescribed medication should be your first course of action, there are multiple natural ways you can treat it at home. What is the best home remedy for dog mange, you ask? In this post we will explore seven safe home remedies you can try.
Two Types of Mange
Dog mange is a skin condition caused by parasites. These parasites (mites, in this case) do everything from bite and irritate a dog’s skin to laying their eggs just under its surface. There are two main types of mange, and both are serious in different ways. Which type is present is the main factor in choosing the best home remedy for dog mange in your own case.
Demodex or demodectic mange can be present from a few days after birth. The mites that cause it are usually just an innocuous part of the makeup of a dog’s skin, and are passed on to puppies from their mothers.
Typically, if a dog has this type of mange, you would never know. The mites just live inside hair follicles and coexist with the dog in a way that is not harmful to anyone. It only becomes a problem if the dog’s immune system is compromised, which can cause the mite population to explode.
Dogs most at risk for this are dogs who are sick, old, stray, or dogs who have not been properly taken care of. Puppies can also be born with compromised immune systems, leading to juvenile onset demodectic mange. Dogs with diabetes, cancer, or other long-term illnesses also have a higher likelihood of being affected.
Symptoms of this type of mange include:
- Hair loss in affected areas (either patches or the entire body)
- Scaly, red skin
- Skin swelling
- Crusty scabs in patches or all over
Sarcoptic mange, also referred to as canine scabies, is extremely contagious, even to humans. This type of mange is transmitted when the mites move from one dog to another, and it spreads when the mites dig into the dog’s skin to deposit their eggs, which then hatch and begin to eat the poor dog’s skin.
Dog owners usually notice the symptoms of scabies in areas that don’t typically have a lot of hair, such as the elbows and ears, although it may also be noticeable on the chest and belly. Some of the symptoms to look out for are:
- Yellow crusty scabs or sores
- Rash and inflammation
- Loss of hair
- Infections on the skin caused by yeast or bacteria that get into the sores
- Bumps on the skin where mites have buried themselves
When the condition moves into a more advanced stage, you may also notice swollen lymph nodes, thicker skin, and extreme weight loss.
How is Mange Diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will do a thorough examination to find out if your dog has mange.
Both types of mange are diagnosed via a skin scraping carried out by a veterinarian, who then checks the scraping under a microscope to see if mites are present.
How is Mange Typically Treated?
Unlike some illnesses that you can treat fully on your own, mange requires a diagnosis from the vet, as well as prompt treatment. The longer you wait, the more mites will grow and thrive, and the worse off your dog will be.
Aside from the best home remedies for dog mange we will explore below, typical treatments include bathing your dog with medicated shampoos and dips, shaving the hair so that the mites have fewer places to hide and grow, special salves and creams applied to the skin, or pills administered orally.
What Is the Best Home Remedy for Dog Mange?
Okay, now that we know all about what causes it and the damage it can cause, what are the best home remedies for dog mange? Here is a look at the top seven:
1. Benzoyl Peroxide
If you have ever had an injury yourself, you are probably familiar with benzoyl peroxide’s antibacterial benefits. Shampoos made with benzoyl peroxide can be used to help keep the sores and irritated skin on your dog from becoming infected. While not a home remedy for dog mange per se, it can keep secondary infections and other similar problems at bay.
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the best home remedies for dog mange because it is both safe and effective at snuffing out mites.
Olive oil isn’t just good for cooking, it is good for skin problems as well. Dogs with mild mite infestations often find fairly quick relief when their owners apply olive oil to the affected patches of skin. The olive oil helps to smother the mites, killing them off while simultaneously soothing the irritated skin beneath. Plus, olive oil has no known side effects, which means that even if it doesn’t fully fix the problem, it doesn’t exacerbate it either.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
In recent years, apple cider vinegar has been touted as a miracle cure for everything from stomachaches to anxiety. It has also been proven to help skin conditions, although it all depends on how it is administered. Some dog owners find that the best home remedy for dog mange may not be applying apple cider vinegar to the outside of their dog, but administering it orally. Adding two tablespoons of ACV to your dog’s meal once a day gives your dog’s immune system extra strength to fight off the infestation and overcome it.
4. Lemon and Garlic
Lemons and garlic combine to create a formidable weapon in the fight against mange.
This one may not be the “best” home remedy for dog mange if your dog has open sores. Some dog owners, however, say combining vinegar and lemon peels is a very effective way to kill all the mites on a dog’s skin. Simply mix between five and ten average-sized garlic cloves in a half cup of water, along with the cut-up peel of one lemon. After letting the concoction sit overnight, put it in a spray bottle, then spray onto the patches of skin affected by mites.
5. Aloe Vera
Looking for something a bit more soothing to heal your pet? Look no further than aloe vera. Aloe vera could be the best home remedy for dog mange overall, because it works in four ways: like olive oil, it can smother the mites, but it also has antiseptic properties, as well as anti-parasitic ones. It is also a known anti-inflammatory, so it calms your dog’s itchy skin so they feel better immediately. Just apply (gently!) twice a day to the affected areas.
Honey is a popular remedy for many things, including dog mange.
Like apple cider vinegar, honey is often advertised as a miracle cure for just about everything, and mange is no exception. Honey has both antibacterial and antifungal properties, which makes it a good defense against infection. The viscosity of the honey also means that it can suffocate the mites on the surface of the skin. The only problem will be that your dog will probably spend all day trying to lick it off!
Plain yogurt (with no sugar added) is another of the best home remedies for dog mange because dogs can eat yogurt with absolutely no ill effects. In fact, it may even be good for them! Applying yogurt to the affected patches of skin can snuff out mites, and it is possible that the probiotics that make yogurt good for our stomachs may also be good for combatting infections and fungus on your dog’s skin.
While these may be some of the best home remedies for dog mange out there, it is still important that you work with your veterinarian to find the right treatment for your dog. Every case is different, and your dog may need a different form of care in order to recover more quickly.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.