Mange is a very common skin infection seen in dogs. It’s famous because of how it looks. The moment we see a dog with scaly scabby skin, we know it’s mange and we want to stay as far away as possible. But not all types of mange is contagious to humans.
Types Of Mange In Dogs
Let’s find out more about mange in dogs and what you can do to protect them. There are many types mange, here’s a list of a few commonly occurring types of mange in dogs, namely:
- Demodectic Mange
- Sarcoptic Mange
- Notoedric Mange
- Cheyletiella Mange
Out of the 4 above categories, demodectic and sarcoptic mange are the two most common types of mange seen in dogs.
1. Demodectic Mange
Demodects are these fine mites that grow inside the follicles of our hair. It’s completely normal to have them; in fact, we have them all our lives and our bodies immune system never allows these mites from acting up.
In dogs, the mothers usually transmit it to puppies. The thing is, most puppies won’t even show symptoms of demodectic mange but the ones with a weaker immune system will get it.
The demodectic mites actually don’t land on furniture and rugs so hygiene is not what causes it nor can it spread it. It is non-contagious to other dogs and humans and is often re-curring in the dog with a poor immune system.
It’s more common in puppies because that’s the time they have a weakened immune system as they grow older, their immunity becomes stronger, they are less likely to get it. However, it is not impossible for older dogs to get demodectic mange.
The demodectic mange as such does not cause itching, but it is almost always accompanied by secondary bacterial infections which leads to itching and foul smell.
If your older dog gets it, we highly recommend that you dig deeper to know why they have a weakened immune system. Illnesses like Cushing’s disease, diabetes, cancer and immunodeficiencies directly affect their immune system. So, it’s good to get a thorough checkup so that you’re prepared for the worst.
2. Sarcoptic Mange
Unlike Demodectic mange, Sarcoptic mange is very contagious to humans and to other animals. Though it doesn’t thrive on the human skin, we can still get it from an infected dog.
Sarcoptic mange is caused by the mites Sarcoptes Scabiei which digs a tunnel inside the dog’s skin, laying eggs along the way until she dies at the base of your dog’s skin. The eggs then hatch, form larvae and they mature and breed and the females dig a tunnel to lay more eggs. Thus the cycle continues.
The process continues until we put a stop to it through therapy and treatment.
The tunnels caused by the female mite causes inflammation and intense itching. Dogs can itch and tear their own skin leading to other secondary skiing infections.
Sarcoptic mange is very contagious, hence dogs must be isolated from other dogs and people. Their bedding must be cleaned thoroughly every day. If you have more than one dog, and if one dog has sarcoptic mange, you should consider treating all your dogs for mange. Otherwise, the mites will keep jumping from one dog to the next and you will never be able to get rid of it.
3. Notoedric Mange
Notoedric mange, also known as feline mange, is very similar to scabies in dogs and it mostly happens to cats. We listed it here is because dogs can get this variety of mange from cats.
Visually, it looks very similar to Sarcoptic mange. It’s scaly and scabby, especially around the tips of their ears, and causes them to itch. They may also get secondary bacterial infections, making them smell bad and feel restless.
It usually thrives on cats but if you have a cat and a dog in the same house, it will be a good idea to also get your dog checked if your cat is infected. Vets say that Notoedric mange is very rare in dogs, so much so, that some vets have never seen it in their lifetime.
However, it is still safe to get them checked and follow natural remedies for mange in dogs.
4. Cheyletiella Mange
This is one of the lesser common types of mange. It looks more like dandruff that’s moving hence many call it the ‘walking dandruff’. It’s really fine and hard to spot. Most of the time it can be picked up from the back.
Cheyletiella Mange is actually easy to treat and is not as itchy as the other types of many. Standard flea treatment is usually enough to get rid of them.
Walking dandruff is contagious to other animals including humans. So, it’s important to keep the infected dog secluded until they are fully treated. You must keep their environment clean, this includes everything from their bedding, leash and collar.
Once doctors have confirmed that your dog has mange, they will give your dog medicated shampoos and ointments to soothe mange. Flea treatment also works very well for Mange so many doctors use a strong flea ointment to treat the condition.
Some times doctors use certain pesticides to treat mange. This is a very strong treatment and often leads to other side effects. In severe cases, you can use less invasive methods like sulphur baths
The sulphur is very stinky and dogs usually don’t like being bathed in the liquid, however, sulfur baths are very good for the mange. It soothes the skin and suffocates the mange.
Of course, you don’t need intense treatments for mild cases. For mild and localised mange, you can use many natural remedies as well.
Pet parents need to soothe their skin to prevent itching. Mange causes a lot of itching which not only distresses your dog but it also breaks the skin, causes hair fall and makes it easier for the mites to spread and the exposed skin is susceptible to secondary bacterial infections.
Here are some natural remedies for mange in dogs:
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is 100% safe to ingest. It soothes the itching and removes some of the crusts on their skin. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that prevent secondary infections.
The oil tends to suffocate the mites and kills them.
We would suggest to use little coconut oil and massage it through instead of using a whole lot, simply because, coconut oil is a little thick and having it all over the skin can make your dog uncomfortable and restless.
2. Olive Oil
For the same reasons above, you can use olive oil if you don’t have coconut oil at home. Olive oil is more expensive but it is also a good deterrent for the mites. Again, we would suggest massaging small amounts of the oil than dowsing your puppy with it.
Unflavoured, unsweetened yoghurt is very good for mange mites. It’s also safe for dogs to ingest yoghurt so there is no harm in applying yoghurt on their skin.
The application process can be a little messy hence, we would suggest that you do it inside a baby fence, to keep your dog from running away from you and getting yoghurt on all your furniture.
It’s best for small mange spots and also soothes down the itching to a great extend.
Honey also suffocates the mites and many pet parents have seen a lot of benefits from using honey. The biggest problem is the application process. Though honey is safe for dogs, most dogs love honey. They are probably going to try ways to lick the honey off their skin and get it everywhere.
Remember that all the above natural remedies are very mild and are usually not enough to fight severe mange infections. Along with all these treatments you should give them baths with shampoos for mange. An oatmeal bath also soothes the itching to a great extent.
5. Other Methods
In the case of sarcoptic mange, or any other contagious mange, you also need to clean their bedding, leash and collar as frequently as possible. Keep them away from other dogs as well to stop the spreading of this infection.
Wash your hands before and after touching your infected dog and discard clothing that is hard to clean. Rather use bedding that dries quickly so that you can disinfect them every day.
If you have more than one dog, we suggest using natural remedies on all of them even if they don’t show any signs of mange yet. Mange is very contagious and it’s hard to protect all your dogs especially if they live in the same environment.
In the case of demodectic mange, you can use the above remedies to reduce inflammation and itching but you need to work on ways to improve their diet. A good diet, prescribed medication and timely walks is a good way to ensure that they are in the peak of their health.
Many vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs with demodectic mange for two reasons. Firstly, demodectic mange is a sign of poor immunity which they tend to pass on to their offspring and secondly, the hormonal changes during mating season can further trigger the immune system as well.
Dogs with a poor immune system can get demodectic mange all the time, despite all your efforts to keep them strong and healthy.
So, here’s everything we can tell you about mange in dogs. We hope this article helped you. Did your dog ever have mange? And how were you able to prevent it?