Things You Need to Know About Mange in Dogs

mange in dogs

Dogs are one of the best pets you could get to bring to your home. They are indeed lovely creatures that bring us more life and fun. Dogs are lively, cheerful, and sweet. Furthermore, they are simply a man’s best friend, no matter the breed or age. That is why pet parents simply will do everything to make sure their pets are properly taken care of. 

Dogs are frequently out and about playing, coming in contact with various animals and objects. Because of this, it is inevitable for some of them to contract a variety of contagious diseases along the way. As a responsible pet parent, you want to know how to rid your dogs of these pesky diseases. 

Mange is a highly common infectious disease among dogs and other domestic animals as well. It is a parasitic infestation of a particular species of mites or insects. If you want to know more about this skin-crawling disease, keep on reading. 

What is Mange in dogs?

Mange is a skin disease in dogs caused by a parasitic mite. The term mange comes from the French word mangeue, which means to itch. The disease has two types, which will be discussed at length in the following paragraphs. This particular skin disease causes intense irritation of the dog’s skin. Because dogs tend to scratch these itchy areas, these become inflamed, turn into an open wound or sore. Later on, it also proceeds to hair loss. 

In most cases, pet parents catch this on their pets when it’s already in the progressive state. This is especially if pet parents don’t pay that much attention to their dog’s appearance, hygiene, and living conditions.

Mange has two types, which are Sarcoptic and Demodectic. Keep on reading to find out which one your dog currently has.

What is Sarcoptic Mange?

Sarcoptic Mange is also known as canine scabies. It is caused by the same mite that causes scabies in humans. The mite Sarcoptes scabiei is the culprit when it comes to this disease. It’s important to note that this subtype of mange is very contagious and infectious. 

This particular mite burrows into the dog’s skin to lay eggs, which causes itching and profound irritation. Once your dog scratches these areas, they become open sores, which could potentially form secondary bacterial skin infections. Along with this, dogs also experience hair loss because of the irritation and wound. 

What should you know about Sarcoptic Mange?

The mites that cause Sarcoptic Mange in dogs infect all kinds of dogs. It doesn’t matter what breed or age, the scabies mites will latch on your dog if they please. Furthermore, dogs can acquire this type of mite in various places. Frequently, dogs who have been in facilities have a higher chance of having this parasite in them. This is because they have been in close contact with other animals who might be harboring this parasite as well.

Sarcoptic Mange is a zoonotic disease. It means that it is a disease that can be passed on from an animal to humans. Thus, if your dog has this particular type of mange, you might want to take some personal precautions. 

In humans, this causes scabies. You might be familiar with this because it’s a usual disease among children, especially those who live in orphanages and frequent in daycares. 

What Is Demodectic Mange?

Demodectic mange is caused by a mite called Demodex Canis. It is a cigar-shaped mite that lives within the hair follicles of dogs. Some often refer to demodectic mange as red mange. What’s striking about demodectic mange is that the causative agent is a normal flora of the skin. 

As opposed to sarcoptic mange, Demodex is a normal resident on the skin of dogs (even humans). It only causes harm when the dog’s immune system is impaired or too low. This causes the mites to reproduce in an abnormal amount. Usually, the Demodex mite lives in the hair follicles, causing no harm. 

Demodectic mange, as opposed to sarcoptic mange, is not contagious. As we previously discussed, the mite Demodex is a normal resident on all dogs’ skin. Thus, exposing your healthy dog to a dog with demodectic mange is not harmful. 

What is localized, Demodectic Mange?

Just like what the name suggests, localized demodectic mange is mange confined to specific parts of the dog’s body. Usually, this is caused by the demodectic subtype. This is evident as bald patches on the face and body. It usually represents a much earlier phase or stage of the disease compared to generalized demodectic mange, which affects the entire body. 

Who gets Demodectic Mange?

Demodectic mange is the more common type of mange in dogs. Those who get demodectic mange are usually those with impaired immunity. These may be young puppies or those who have genetic immune diseases. Moreover, elderly dogs or dogs with other comorbidities such as diabetes, cancer, or gastrointestinal diseases may also suffer from red mange. 

It is important to note that dogs don’t get Demodex from other pets. This particular mite is inherently living in dogs’ hair follicles. It’s only a matter of how strong or weak your immune system is. 

What is Early Stage Mange in dogs?

Mange is not very easy to spot early on in the infestation. This is why when mange is diagnosed, it is already at a progressed stage. Initially, mange in dogs presents with mild pruritus or itching of some parts of the body. It might seem benign to pet owners because dogs typically scratch parts of their bodies from time to time. 

Furthermore, pet owners may easily misdiagnose their dogs during the early stage. This is because the disease may mimic other skin diseases like allergies. Thus, you should perform a thorough and careful examination of your dog.

Alopecia or hair loss is also a part of the early stage mange in dogs, especially for demodectic mange. These are evident because of the scaly appearance of the skin. 

What are the early signs of Mange in dogs?

As previously mentioned, the main sign of mange in dogs is itching. This is the most consistent sign of mange in dogs. However, this action alone won’t necessarily alert pet parents because it’s something most animals do. When it becomes a regular habit, pet parents start to catch on that their dog may be infested with some parasites. 

You may also notice some patches of hair loss or bald spots in your dogs during the early stage. It is most notably for the demodectic subtype. 

What are the late signs of Mange in dogs?

When Mange is left untreated for some time, it will progress, and soon enough, it could be out of your control. Some signs that your dog has been suffering from mange for quite a while already are the following: alopecia or hair loss, skin thickening or fibrosis, emaciation, and further inflammation.

Alopecia or hair loss can both be an early and late sign of mange in dogs. It is due to the disruption of the hair follicles by the mange mites. As these mites burrow into the dog’s skin, they create tiny wounds that irritate the skin. This will make the dog scratch the area, breaking open the skin and creating a more significant wound. The scarring of these wounds then results in hair loss. Thus, patches of hair loss on dogs affected by mange are very apparent. When this progresses, most of the dog’s skin will be gone. However, this only happens in a very later stage.

Can cats get Mange from dogs?

If you’re a true animal lover, chances are you both have cats and dogs at home with you. It is undoubtedly a fun combo. However, if your dog has mange, you might be worried about your other pets. Unfortunately, the mange-causing mites are not choosy at all when it comes to their host. Thus, these mites can cross from species to species, and therefore, dog mange can easily be transmitted to cats. 

mange in dogs

How to identify Mange in dogs?

Identifying mange in dogs is relatively easy. Some types of mites are not visible to the naked eye. However, the signs and symptoms are almost always consistent. Thus, pet parents can easily spot these and make the necessary steps to getting the right treatment. As previously mentioned, mange in dogs causes the typical symptoms of itchiness, patches of hair loss, and crusting, among other things. 

If you are unsure as to your dog’s condition, you may always consult with a veterinarian. These experts know the proper physical examination techniques to confirm whether your dog has mange or not. 

Other differential diagnoses for mange in dogs are pyoderma, dermatitis, and Malassezia. These are all skin diseases.

How to diagnose Mange in dogs?

Proper diagnosis of mange in dogs should be left with veterinarians. After all, they’re the ones who are experts in this field. The first thing they will do is to rule out other causes of itchiness and hair loss. It is the first step in making the right diagnosis.

The next step would be to get a skin scraping of your dog. Your vet will then look at the skin under a microscope to look for the mites that cause mange. They may also perform a biopsy or skin sampling.

The veterinarian may also perform the Pedal-Pinna Reflex test, wherein pedal refers to the hind leg, and pinna refers to the ear. It is done by rubbing the dog’s ear and waiting for the dog to scratch it with his or her hind leg.

Some vets are highly experienced and may not need to perform clinical or lab testing. Merely looking at the signs and symptoms would tell them whether it’s mange or not.

How to get rid of Mange in dogs?

Getting rid of mange in dogs would not be as easy as showering your dog. Mange, whether demodectic or sarcoptic, is caused by mites. Thus, getting rid of them would require using pediculicides. The lime sulfur drip is one of the most used treatments against mange in dogs. This particular treatment is special for its dual purpose – antibacterial and antiparasitic. As mentioned earlier, some dogs suffer from secondary bacterial infection due to scratching wounds. Thus, this product hits two birds with one stone. 

Clipping your dog’s hair may also help in speeding up the treatment process if its hair is not naturally short. When you’re using medicated shampoos or solutions, it may be best to bathe them in the solution instead of just lathering the shampoo on the body. Depending on the medication, you may need to let the solution sit for several minutes to get its full effect. Remember to protect yourself with some gloves when bathing your dog in medications to avoid skin irritation.

How to Treat Mange in dogs?

Definitive treatment of mange in dogs lies in your consistency and commitment to change. You may be able to get rid of the mites on your dog temporarily. However, if the external factors remain the same, the recurrence rate is very high. 

Your dog’s living conditions highly determine the chances of him or her getting mange. Furthermore, its diet would also affect the probabilities. Make sure you’re properly nourishing your dog with the right food. Moreover, you may also supplement with some vitamins and minerals to help boost the immune system.

The Zenapet Immune Support vitamins are great for your dog’s overall well-being. They contain sufficient levels of Vitamins A, B complex, C, D, and E as well as other immune-modulating ingredients that may be beneficial to your dog. It comes in powder form, which makes it easier to administer.

The FurroLandia Allergy Immune Relief is great for dogs who constantly suffer from allergic reactions due to poor immunity. This one is made of 100% natural ingredients and won’t cause any further irritation or allergic reactions. Apart from skin issues, they also help with gut health.

How to properly clean your dog’s surroundings?

Make sure to thoroughly clean your dog’s cage, beds, and other places where he or she frequents. You may use a heavy-duty but mild cleansing or disinfecting solution to get rid of any remaining mites. 

Furthermore, if you are in a hurry, you might want to use some scrubbing wipes. This all-around scrubbing wipes from Nature’s Miracle is 100% safe and effective. You can also apply this solution on various surfaces and fabrics. The Bissell’s Pet Pretreat and Sanitize is also a great solution to use. Apart from being tough on stains and dirt, it also has excellent odor control. 

The Kennel Sol Alpha Tech Pet Cleaner is also a great non-toxic alternative. It disinfects, cleans, and deodorizes all at once. It’s perfect for those who don’t have the time to spare. 

How to cure Mange in dogs?

Curing is surely different from just merely getting rid of mites. A definitive cure includes the elimination of the parasites as well as the prevention of recurrence. It also involves the elimination of all symptoms that come along with mange.

If your dog is irritated from the itchiness, you may give some soothing balms to help with the itching. The Remedy + Recovery hydrocortisone lotion is a widely prescribed lotion to help relieve and soothe itchiness in dogs. However, if you are looking for a natural and organic alternative, this one from Wahl’s is a great choice. Coconut lime verbena is its main ingredient and contains no artificial chemicals. 

It might also help to stop or prevent your dog from biting or scratching on his or her body. Using a collar, you may be able to eliminate some scratching behavior. Make sure you are using a comfortable and well-fitted collar. This is so you can avoid further irritating the dog’s skin.

If mange is already diagnosed in your dog, it may be best to isolate them first from other pets (if you have any). This will significantly lower the chances that your other pets may have the disease as well. As a precaution, even if your other pets aren’t showing any symptoms yet, you may also start them with medications. 

What’s the shampoo for Mange in dogs?

This particular sarcoptic mange solution contains sulfur as the active ingredient. Sulfur is a common ingredient to get rid of mange in dogs. Sometimes, vets use mange shampoos with sulfurated lime as the main ingredient.

You may also use the Davis Dog & Cat Shampoo for dermatitis and demodectic mange. It contains benzoyl peroxide as the main active ingredient. It is also a common medication for acne in humans. 

The Ovante Demodex ointment is a great alternative if you find that shampoo is not doing the job. What’s good about ointments is that you can spot-treat some bald spots easily. Furthermore, ointments sit on the skin for a longer time than shampoos and baths. Thus, your dog’s skin has more contact time with the medication.

What’s the Mange medication for dogs?

Medications used for mange in dogs vary depending on your preference. There are some herbal or natural remedies most pet parents use to get rid of mange. One of which is the Happy Dog Naturals shampoo. This particular shampoo is an all-natural, non-toxic alternative to other medications. It might be a good option if you have a puppy who is way too young for harsh chemicals. Moreover, it’s also a good choice if your dog has a particular allergy to some medications. 

The main active ingredients to look for in shampoos and other medications are the following: Amitraz and Ivermectin. These are effective and quick to effect antiparasitic ingredients. As always, consult with your vet first before administering any medication if you’re unsure which one to give.  

What if my dog’s mange persists?

While the solutions above provided are proven effective, some dogs might not respond well to them. In this case, it may be time to bring your dog to the vet to evaluate further and give a more intense management approach. 

One of the reasons for mange persistence in dogs is an ongoing immune system disease. In this case, the definitive cure for mange would be to cure the underlying disease. Mange is simply a manifestation of the disease and not the main disease itself. 

It may also be due to an ongoing secondary bacterial skin infection. Your dog might need a prescription antibiotic ointment or cream. Sometimes, vets give oral antibiotics if the infection is too severe.

Sometimes, it is not mange. If none of the tips work, it may be best to check if your dog has mange or something else. 

How to prevent Mange in dogs?

A parasitic mite that burrows under the skin causes mange. These mites are insects that move through the skin to skin contact. Thus, observing proper hygiene at all times is one of the best measures pet owners can do to prevent their dogs from getting mange. Prevention is better than cure. Thus, health experts encourage pet parents to do all the necessary means for their dogs to avoid contracting these pests. 

Regularly bathe your dog with dog shampoos, especially after a walk in the park or a pet party. Remember that sarcoptic mange is highly contagious. Make sure your dog is healthy by giving them the right food and care. The immune system also drops when your dog is under stress. Thus, spend more quality time with them and make sure they’re happy.


If you notice that your dog’s been scratching most of the time lately, has some patches of hair loss, as well as wounds and scabs, it might be mange in dogs. It’s a good thing that you spot this early so you can provide the help necessary to treat this parasitic disease. Although mange in dogs seems like a skin-crawling disease, it is very treatable. With the proper diagnosis and management, your dog can recover from mange in no time.