What Does Dog Mange Look Like & How To Treat It

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Dog with mange sleeping on sofa (caption: dog mange symptoms & treatments)You’ve most likely seen horrific images of mange-ridden dogs being rescued by animal organizations. What you may not know is that mange doesn’t just affect neglected animals. This common skin disease can strike any pet.

Untreated mange can result in a hairless, sore-covered dog in lots of pain. That’s why it’s important to treat mange at first sight. Don’t let your dog’s skin turn to stone.

Article Overview

What Is Mange?

Mange is a skin disease that’s caused by a particularly prolific parasite called a mange mite. There are two types of commonly diagnosed mange, demodex and sarcoptic.

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic Mange photo & symptomsDemodectic mange, also known as demodicosis or demodex, is caused by a  commonly occurring mite called Demodex canis. This mite normally inhabits every dog’s skin, but problems occur when these mites overpopulate due to the dog’s immune system being unable to keep the mites under control.

Dogs suffering from demodectic mange either have localized areas of the disease, or their entire body becomes infected. The good news with this form of mange? Demodectic mange is not contagious.


  • Hair loss
  • Pustules (small skin bumps that contain pus or fluid)
  • Itchy skin
  • Crusty lesions


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If you suspect that your dog has mange, your vet will take skin scrapings to diagnose demodectic mange.


  • In localized cases, it usually resolves itself
  • For generalized cases, a dog might need long-term medication.
  • Your vet may prescribe a daily dose of Ivermectin until the infection clears up
  • Spaying females can help reduce hormone fluctuation which can cause the disease to occur
  • Feeding your dog high-quality food and preventing stress can help reduce flare-ups

Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic Mange photo & symptomsSarcoptic mange, or scabies, is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei (a type of parasitic mite). Scabies is extremely contagious between dogs and can also spread to humans and other animals. It often begins in one area of the body and if left untreated, can cover the entire body.

Symptoms usually appear anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks after exposure. High exposure locations include kennels, vet clinics, groomers, dog parks and shelters.


  • Uncontrollable itching
  • Skin lesions may appear as thick crusts, bleeding scabs or even oily discharge
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rash


Your vet will take a skin scraping to diagnose scabies; however, there are many false negative results with scabies. Often this diagnosis is made by exclusion or a therapeutic trial of medication.

Owners often complain of itchiness after a vet diagnoses their dog with scabies. Remember, you can catch scabies from your dog!


Much like demodectic mange, the treatment for canine scabies is typically very successful and carries a good prognosis. A licensed veterinarian should oversee treatment, which often involves prescribing a drug that kills the mite.

In some cases, you can use a scabicidal shampoo to kill the mites living in your dog’s skin. Ongoing treatment will be necessary since eggs take time to hatch.

With veterinarian approval, you can also try King Kanine’s topical antiseptic solution. This eco-friendly and alcohol-free spray contains full-spectrum CBD and soothing antibacterial ingredients to soothe your dog’s irritated skin.

7 Home Remedies For Dog Mange

If you think your dog has mange, schedule an appointment with your vet to get an official diagnosis. The last thing you want is to assume that your dog has one illness when really, it’s something else.

Once you get a confirmed diagnosis, talk to your vet about possible home remedies, such as:

  1. Brush the fur to help remove scaly skin and scabs (check out these brushes)
  2. Apply 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt that contains acidophilus to the ear where affected (this isn’t good to use in other affected areas of the body because the dog will most likely lick it off)
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s food
  4. Put 2 drops of cooking oil on your dog’s infected skin
  5. Slice 1 lemon (keep the peel on) and add it to boiling water. Let it sit overnight and apply the mixture to your dog’s coat using a sponge.
  6. Wash your dog with warm soapy water
  7. Clean their bedding and other places they sleep to prevent the spread of mange

Depending on the severity of mange, your vet may advise you to skip a home remedy and instead recommend a prescription or other course of treatment.

Home Remedies For Dog Mange Infographic

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Essential Oils For Mange

If your dog has demodectic mange, you may be interested in this article about essential oils for dogs. It also includes other ways you can treat common ailments for dogs like fleas, allergies, anxiety and more. Read this if you wish to gain a better understanding of other common skin conditions in dogs.

What suggestions do you have for treating mange?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories, and more. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

Kimberly's natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs. Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child.

In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly’s research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today. One of Kimberly’s favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds, and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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June 15, 2020 7:30 pm

I have a question about my puppy. I have a golden retriever dog. He was just 2 months old when I bought him. I have had my dog now for almost 3 weeks. I gave him a vaccine after I got him in the pet shop.
My puppy has a problem now with losing hair on his back, and there is like dandruff coming out on his skin. May I know, what caused my puppy to lose his hair and dandruff? What kind of treatment can I do for him? I live in Indonesia. I’m so worried about my dog. Thank you

Apiffany Gaither Billings
June 17, 2020 11:37 am
Reply to  Nova

Hi, we always recommend seeing a vet when you think something is wrong with your pet. These symptoms could be signs of allergies or other underlying issues. If you cannot take your dog to a vet, perhaps this online vet service can help.

February 3, 2020 9:54 am

Can i use people lice treatment? I think its the same ingredients

April 19, 2020 1:25 am
Reply to  Carla

Yes you can. Permethrin shampoo worked for our dogs.

Priscilla Elrod
January 2, 2020 10:20 am

Hello my dog is a cocker spaniel and she had been having skin issues like dry spots it’s like bumps on her and she smells like dirty socks!!! I’ve tried medicated shampoo , the vet told me she has allergies. So I’ve changed her food but she is still the same. Khloe is now 8years old. What can I do to help her? Thank You

Beverley musham
January 16, 2020 6:13 am

I had a cocker spaniel several years ago .bobbie had an allergy Murdock uni vets recommended cooking kangaroo with rice .carrots and leafy greens this helped.. I now do the same for my ruby a Staffy with allergies it works most of the time I now add sweet potato and pumpkin …stay away from wheat products check biscuits I use all paws costs more but worth it

Lynn Breazzeal
September 21, 2019 3:47 pm

How much water is used with boric and peroxide solution?

Kimberly Thomas
November 8, 2019 2:54 pm
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

my dog is a chiwahwa spelled wrong, he weighs 6-7 pounds manges bad what causes manges can ot spread to humans.

Elliott D Phares
November 1, 2019 4:06 pm
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

Borax is harmful to dogs …most animals and can cause skin irritation and may be fatal. I can send you a screenshot of the information on this.

Sally L Anthony
September 13, 2019 1:18 am

As a former director of two regional poison centers, I am aware that many essential oils are toxic! I would caution anyone who is considering using them on a pet to check with a veterinarian or ideally a holistic veterinarian.
At least call the National Animal Poison Center. They will change $60 or more for their expertise.

Jan Anthonisz
August 18, 2019 2:45 pm

I admire and appreciate the advise always given to pet owners by contributers of Canine Journal. Same with PET MD which I say to many pet owners it is only a guide and is by no means a cure unless owners take their pets to a vet.

My 16.5 year old Belgian Sheppard like most older dogs has various health issues in accordance to her age which is under control by A GOOD BALANCE EXPENSIVE DIET and with regular vet checks not to mention an average of 5 to 6 short walks a day/night to keep her joints and muscles active along with mental stimulation.

I advise all pet owners to do the same. Good for the dog and pet parent as well. GOOD HEALTH. So sad Willow due to her age is only covered for accidents.

Other than minor age health issues she unfortunately suffers from S.B.S. and there appears to be no cure. What is S.B.S. many will ask? “SPOILT BRAT SYNDROME”.

Take care and Dog Bless from me: Jan and WILLOW: MEMBER OF THE LOYAL FAMILY.

Sara Pruitt
July 28, 2019 2:16 am

Is it boric acid or just boric is there a difference and do I give my dogs do i bathe him in it or do i put it in a spraybottle I’m willing to try anything

October 31, 2019 9:17 am
Reply to  Sara Pruitt

Borax and boric acid are the same, right? The article above does show a recipe using it for dogs!

Voctor Castillo
September 10, 2019 11:11 am
Reply to  Sara Pruitt

Did you ever find a cure for mange I need help badly asap!!

October 31, 2019 9:16 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

borax and boric acid are the same, right? The article above does show a recipe using it for dogs!

January 22, 2020 5:12 am
Reply to  Terri

Toxic for dogs. Don’t use it!!

January 9, 2020 5:20 pm
Reply to  Terri

Borax is poison. Do not use it on your dog.

Elizabeth Rivera
November 13, 2018 12:27 am

How do you cure mange in dogs

August 13, 2019 11:33 am

We just took in a rescue and the poor dog is in such horrific shape with mange and Folliculitis… we got this stuff called Diatomaceous Earth… it’s all natural and supposed to kill off the mange mites
He has not dug since we put it in yesterday

We are praying it works! He’s only 5mo old!
I will repost if it does….I can’t believe this happened WHILE at a Rescue!!

Samantha Farris
January 13, 2020 1:05 am
Reply to  JoyceCarter

What do you do with this stuff ? Put it on their food. Or what

Margaret Pritchett
January 21, 2020 12:03 pm

Diatomaceous Earth can be put directly on the animal’s coat, use it like baby powder. It is an all natural substance. It can also be put into their food to help control worm infestations.
When putting on their coats/skin, take care to not breath it in, it will irritate both you and your animal’s lungs.
Leave on for at least 72 hours before you wash them, but you do NOT have to wash them if you do not want to.
If the animal gets wet, you will need to dry completely, then reapply.
If you choose to wash them, you may need to reapply 2-3 more times to kill all mites, fleas, and then the hatching eggs.
With my 2 dogs, I usually apply DE 2X per month, but only bath mine every 4-6 months. Over bathing can be a problem, as well as the mites/fleas that they tend to get. Dogs have natural oils in their hair and skin, that gets removed when using bathing shampoos.

Tammy Denny
November 15, 2019 11:05 am
Reply to  JoyceCarter

This is food?

May 5, 2010 8:33 am

What are the symptoms of these mange disease? And what is the cause of it? What care has to be taken to avoid it? Also, have you heard about the Tramadol tablets that are effective for pain relief?

January 22, 2020 5:13 am
Reply to  Anonymous

Don’t give dogs Tramadol!!!!!!

Elizabeth Rivera
November 13, 2018 12:30 am
Reply to  Anonymous

I need topical or oral liquids to give my dogs for mange no pills

August 13, 2019 11:38 am

Diatomaceous Earth rub their whole body where the mange mites are with this powder…. it’s also edible! I sprinkle some on his food to…. u can also get it on amazon

October 31, 2019 9:13 am
Reply to  JoyceCarter

Diatomaceous Earth is very dangerous to breathe-in. It will cause lung damage to you or your pet! Be careful/mindful when using.

Jennifer Leatham
January 26, 2020 10:28 pm
Reply to  Terri

There is food grade Diatomaceous Earth at feed stores. Not the one to kill bugs

February 24, 2020 1:47 pm

The only safe one is food grade DE. It kills bugs. Google it. If its not food grade, its not safe to feed pets or humans. Organic is best. Home Depot or Lowes.