Canine mange is a general term for an unsightly and uncomfortable skin condition caused by several types of mange mites. In dogs, the most common types of mange include:
Commonly known as scabies, this type of canine mange is highly contagious and very frequently affects dogs and can also be transferred to humans. It causes severe itching and skin irritation in dogs. It is considered to be the most serious type of mange in dogs.
The mite causing demodectic mange is called Demodex canis. These microscopic mites live in the hair follicles of many healthy dogs. They usually do not cause a problem unless the dog has a compromised immune system, in which case they can quickly over-populate and start causing skin irritation and hair loss in the dog.
Commonly known as “walking dandruff”, this type of mange is caused by the cheyletiella mites which are larger than most mites and are visible to the human eye.
The mites shed scales and flakes and sometimes these flakes seem to be moving because the mites are crawling underneath them – hence the name “walking dandruff”.
Dogs with cheyletiella mange have itchy skin, dandruff, slight hair loss and sometimes thickening of the skin.
Conventional Dog Mange Treatment
Depending on the type, conventional dog mange treatment includes the use of lotions, dips and shampoos, which are mostly chemical-based, containing such chemicals as amitraz, ivermectin, and selamectin.
These chemicals can cause adverse side-effects to dogs, especially puppies, small-breed dogs, old dogs, and those with weakened immune systems.
If your dog has a mild case of mange infection, you may want to first use some natural and mild home remedies to get rid of the mites, soothe the dog’s skin irritation, and strengthen his immune system.
Conventional dog mange medication contains chemicals can cause adverse side-effects to dogs, especially puppies, small-breed dogs, old dogs, and those with weakened immune systems.
Topical Home Remedies for Dog Mange
Here are some home remedies that can be used as topical dog mange treatment:
Neem oil is well known for its insecticide function. The good news is, it is harmful to bugs but not to people and dogs.
If your dog has a mild case of mange, try using a natural neem shampoo, such as this Lovely Fresh – Premium Natural Dog Shampoo 3-in-1 Formula With Oatmeal and Neem. It contains neem oil and oatmeal (oatmeal is soothing to the skin.)
If your dog’s mange is a bit more serious, try using pure neem oil.
Dilute the neem oil 1:1 in a carrier oil (e.g. almond oil). Apply this oil blend into the dog’s skin 2-3 times a day.
Be sure to wash off the oil blend in one or two days (using the neem shampoo). If you leave the oil blend on the skin for too long, it may cause skin irritation especially if your dog has sensitive skin.
Essential oils can also be used to treat dog mange. Some essential oils have insect-repelling properties and can get rid of mites on a dog and soothe the dog’s skin irritation.
Oils that are effective for treating dog mange include Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint, and Niaouli.
Lemongrass and peppermint have long been used as natural insect-repellents. Lavender and niaouli have antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can be used to heal skin problems caused by biting, scratching, and chewing due to the intense itching.
You can simply add 2 drops each of these essential oils to 30 ml of the neem oil blend above for added strength.
Apple Cider Vinegar
If you don’t have neem or essential oils at home, you may want to first try this home remedy. Mix equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle, and use it to spray your dog (avoid eyes and nose). Massage the solution deep into the dog fur and let it dry naturally.
Repeat two to three times a week.
How About Borax?
There are quite a few sites on the Internet suggesting using borax and hydrogen peroxide to bathe a dog with mange. They seem to think that borax is safe to use on dogs as it is a natural substance.
However, borax is actually toxic to pets (and people). It is skin irritating and if ingested can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
Read this veterinarian’s article for more information.
Strengthening the Immune System
Dogs with strong immune systems usually can resist mange infestation much better than those with poor immunity. Strengthening the immune system should therefore be part of the dog mange treatment program.
There are various herbs that have been used to strengthen immune systems both in humans and animals. Some such herbs include:
- Milk thistle
- Lemon Balm
A 100% natural product made especially for promoting a healthy immune system in dogs is Immune SURE. It contains some of the above herbs and can improve liver function as well as overall immune system function.
In addition to giving your dog supplements to boost his immunity, there are other things that can be done to ensure that he has a strong immune system.
- Make sure that your dog gets enough uninterrupted sleep. Sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining a strong and healthy immune system.
- Avoid putting your dog under a lot of stress. For example, boarding the dog in a kennel, leaving your dog home alone day in and day out, etc. can cause unnecessary stress, which in turn will weaken the immune system.
- Feed your dog a wholesome, nutritious diet. Give your dog a supplement of fish oil (such as salmon oil). The Omega-3 fatty acids in the oil are anti-inflammatory and good for the skin.
- Exercise your dog daily and keep his mind active using games and training.
- Do not allow your dog to become underweight or overweight – both can depress the immune system.
- Keep your dog away from irritants, pollutants, and chemicals such as cigarette smoke, car exhaust, etc.
- Reduce exposure to germs by frequently washing your dog’s toys and food bowls. Always give your dog fresh water.