Scabies in Dogs – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

scabies in dogs

This world is a combination of thousands of creatures who are living together. There are larger animals, there are small insects, and then there are micro-organisms who are a part of this beautiful world. Well now if you talk about the micro-organisms, they can be useful for human beings and animals, but they can harm too. The harmful micro-organisms are the cause of many diseases, for instance, scabies in dogs. Yes! If you are a dog owner, you must have heard about it. However, you need to know more if you want to protect your beloved dog from being affected by this harmful micro-organism. Keep reading, and you will get all the information you need to know about scabies.  

A threat to Humans

This is a contagious disease that might expose yourself also if you have an infected dog in your house. Here are the key types and symptoms of scabies in humans:

Scabies and Dogs

Now for all those out there who are scared of scabies and its adverse effects on the dog’s health, you have to understand what scabies is. Scabies is also known as, Sarcoptic Mange if it is in dogs. This is a disease caused by a parasite. The biological name of this parasite is Sarcoptes Scabiei. Important things to keep in mind:  

  • Dog Scabies is contagious to humans if they live close to these dogs. Although canine scabies can not survive more than 5 days on a human body, it is still a point of concern.  
  • The mites are not specific to any season or climate  
  • They can survive in the skin by making burrows 
  • The incubation period may extend anywhere between 10 days to 8 weeks.  
  • Since the infestation of the mite may cause secondary infections which makes it a serious medical concern.  
  • If ignored at initial stages, the infection may develop into the thickened skin with painful sores.  

Symptoms of Scabies in Dogs

The main symptom of the disease occurs in the form of itching. Yes! you read it right. Now, if you think that it is just a simple, temporary episode of itching, that is fine but what should concern you is when the poor animal is having severe itching and irritation from time and again and he is extremely uncomfortable. This is the time when you should go for the dog scabies treatment. To sum it up, you should carefully observe these symptoms to detect the presence of scabies. 

Acute itching and scratching

This is when your poor dog scratches his body like anything. He just wants to get rid of these ruthless mites but is helpless. The extreme condition of itching is more prominent in dogs which have sensitivity towards mites’ saliva and fecal matter.  


The skin of your dog would turn red. You may observe rash which is a clear indication that something is wrong.  


During the early stage scabies in dogs, you will find your dog uncomfortable because he feels inflammation in his skin. If you see him trying to scratch his body against the ground or any other surface, you must consult a vet. Instead of resorting to dog scabies home treatment, you need to take medical help. 

Hair Loss

Now, this is yet another important symptom which you should be able to identify. You are likely to observe a sudden loss of hair from the dog’s body, especially from the legs and tummy. This is a very clear indication of scabies. The reason being, the mites grow in number, they severely affect the growth of new hair. Instead, the dog gets deprived of the hairs, it already has. The medical science calls this particular condition Alopecia. So, if you want to save your dog’s life, you need to be proactive in this.  


This comes out as a result of the severe itching and scratching. Your dog tries to cut off the legs and other parts of his body to get rid of the mites. He tends to rub his body against hard and rough surfaces and even bites himself in the hope to get away with the irritation and weeping sores. 


The sores are usually so bad that they bleed. This is something that you can not even imagine your dog to go through, right? Do not wait for this condition to get worse. 

Bumpy skin with sores

The skin grows bumpy as you will see a lot of sores. This causes a lot of pain and itching to the poor thing. 

Unpleasant odor

This is yet another clear symptom of scabies. Your dog would have a mostly unbearable and very bad odor. This is again due to the weeping sores as there must be an infestation of mites in there. 

Thick Skin

Since the mites will be having a time of their lifetime on the skin of your dog, the dog’s skin would grow thick. This is a visible result of the damage caused by scabies in dogs. 

Secondary infections

In addition to the primary infection, due to the presence of the mites, your dog is at high risk of developing the secondary infection. 

Loss of hearing and vision

Are you wondering why your dog is not able to hear and see properly? Yes! You need to worry about it because this is again one of the symptoms of a severe case of scabies in dogs. This is your responsibility to go to the vet right away, lest you might lose your pet forever.

Weight Loss and Reduced Appetite

Similarly, if you are observing that your dog is not eating well and is losing weight. This is the time to ponder. Yes! All you have to do is to schedule a visit with the vet so that they treat the poor soul well in time. 

Causes of Scabies

Since the disease is contagious, the main cause of it being transmitted is close contact with other animals carrying the mites. Yes! When your dog mingles with coyotes, dogs or foxes which are already suffering from the disease, your dog is most likely to catch it from them.

Other potential causes include:


This is a rather less common cause of scabies in dogs. But yes! The chances can not be ruled out, especially in the case of indirect transmission.

Poor health of the dog

If your dog is not healthy under normal conditions, his immune system will be on a lower side. So, he is prone to catch the infection more than other healthy dogs. 

Grooming tools

The mites can be transmitted from one animal to the other if you are not careful in using the tools. For example, if you use the same comb or brush for two or more of your pets, there are more chances of transmission of the infection. 

Diagnosis of Scabies

Stage 1

Once we have gone through the basics about the disease, now comes the stage of diagnosis. Well! This involves a lot of screening and medical testing. When you take your dog to the vet, you need to explain everything in detail. Yes! Even if you have already figured out that it must be scabies, you need to tell them all the symptoms. This would help them to isolate the dog from other animals until they prepare for the actual testing procedures. Besides, they will be having the exact condition and behavior of the dog when you will tell them. 

Stage 2

Under normal procedures, the vet will go for the stool test and some other blood tests. They will do them just to rule out the other bacterial infections and any possible allergies. These tests are of paramount importance when it comes to the diagnosis of scabies in dogs. 

Stage 3

After the blood tests, the vet will take the skin scrapes which will be observed under the microscope. This will give them a clear idea as to what exactly is going on with the poor soul. Since they are professionals, they know how to take the deep scrapes of the dog’s skin to catch the mites. Usually, the mites are visible on the dog’s skin. However, if they are not visible, they would have created lesions that could be helpful in diagnosis.

How to get rid of scabies on dogs?

Now comes the big question of how to get rid of scabies? Well! That requires a lot of things. First of all, you need to identify how many creatures are infected (both humans and other pets in the house). Since this is a contagious disease that might be there without showing up a lot of symptoms. You need to be extremely careful about it. 

One of the ways to treat scabies in dogs is by doing it at home. Yes! You can try some of the things at home. For instance, the clipping of the dog is a must so that you can see how serious the infection is. Once done, you will apply over counter scabies shampoo for dogs. I would recommend this product as it is effective for itching and fungal infections which come secondarily to scabies.

Pros: It works well against mites, thus reducing the adverse effects on the dog’s health. You can use this medicated shampoo for deep cleaning also.

Cons: The product might not be available worldwide. You need to check its availability. Moreover, it might not work for serious cases of scabies. 

When you have finished shampooing, you will now apply some anti-mite products. You can use Lime Sulfur for the purpose and repeat the application consistently for several weeks as the mites might take time to getaway. 

Alternatively, you can resort to various oral treatments, injections, and medicines to fight the mites away from your beloved pet.

When you have tried your best to treat scabies in dogs at home for a considerable time but do not see any improvement, you need medical assistance. This indicates a condition that is far more serious than anticipated. 

Recovery Time

The entire period of treatment can take up to 6 weeks. During this period, you need to stay in contact with your vet. Inform them about the progress, so they can keep track of how the recovery process is going. 

All you need to do is to stay calm and relaxed while the dog is under treatment. This is important for you to hold your nerves otherwise; you might end up going to see a doctor for yourself also.


Now when you are familiar with everything related to scabies and its effects on your dog’s health, you need to be far more vigilant and careful. This painful infestation of mites can cost you the life of your beloved pet. Besides, it may cause you serious medical issues if you or any of your family member catches the infection. So, as they say, “Prevention is better than cure”, take care of yourself and your pets and avoid mingling with the infected creatures. Keep your pets neat and clean, adopt various grooming techniques so that they stay happy and healthy, keep a close eye on them when they go out. This is important to keep a check on them to save them from the painful suffering they might go through later on. This is how you can enjoy a healthy lifestyle with a healthy pet on your side and live your life full of happiness, bliss, and joy.