Mange in Dogs: Types, Contagiousness, and Natural Remedies

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The Can Dogs Eat It Team

Mange in Dogs: Types, Contagiousness, and Natural Remedies
Reading Time: 8 minutes

joana garridoReviewed By Joana Garrido DVM
Mange in dogs can give rise to serious secondary health complications like emaciation if allowed to persist. In worst cases, affected canines may succumb to secondary infections. Hence, it should be treated before it progresses.

Let us tackle mange in dogs, its causes, and natural ways to stop it from causing other life-threatening illnesses.

What Is Mange in Dogs?

A French Bulldog with Mange

Mange in dogs comes from an old French word mangeue, which means “to itch or eat.” It is a skin disease resulting from an infestation of microscopic mites.

2 Types of Mange in Dogs and Their Symptoms

The kind of mange affecting dogs will depend on the type of mites causing it. While dogs are vulnerable to different sorts of mites, the most common species inciting infestations are sarcoptic mites and demodectic mites.

1. Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

Sarcoptic mange or canine scabies is brought on by an eight-legged mite scientifically known as Sarcoptes scabiei. Out of the two dog mites, it is the most prolific.

Adult sarcoptic mites live and mate on the surface of a dog’s skin. Afterward, females will burrow into the outermost layer of the skin to lay eggs.

When the eggs hatch, the larvae will move back to the skin’s surface and feed on the skin for sustenance. Eventually, they will grow into nymphs and then into adult sarcoptic mites. Their life cycle can run from 3 to 4 weeks.

Symptoms of Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

Dogs newly infested with sarcoptic mites will manifest symptoms of canine scabies within 10 days or 8 weeks. They may exhibit the following clinical signs:

  • Hair loss
  • Lesions on ears, chest, stomach, elbows, and hocks
  • Intense itching
  • Inflamed and reddened skin
  • Persistent itchiness
  • Thick yellow crust formation on affected areas
  • Bacteria and yeast infections

Advanced cases of sarcoptic mange in dogs can cause abnormally thickened skin and enlarged lymph nodes.

If not given timely treatment, affected canines will suffer from severe discomfort and pain, which can result in death.

Some dogs can be asymptomatic carriers of sarcoptic mange for some time. This means they do not show clinical signs until the infestation turns severe.

2. Demodectic Mange in Dogs

Puppies inherit Demodex mites scientifically known as Demodex canis from their mothers in their first few days of life. These parasites typically reside in the oil glands of the skin and hair follicles.

In most cases, Demodex mites do not cause issues in healthy dogs since their immune system keeps these critters in check.

However, canines with underdeveloped or weakened immune systems due to age or health problems might be unable to control the proliferation of Demodex mites.

It will lead to overgrowth and infestation, resulting in the hair follicles becoming irritated.

Symptoms of Demodectic Mange in Dogs

Early stages of demodectic mange are more inconspicuous than sarcoptic mange. Dog owners may only notice small areas of hair loss on their dogs at first. It commonly occurs on the face, particularly around the eyes.

As this skin disease progresses, more clinical signs will appear such as:

  • Scaly skin
  • Persistent itchiness
  • Postule formation
  • Thickened skin

Since demodectic mange may cause scaly bald spots to form near the lips and on the head and front legs, it is also known as red mange.

Without proper treatment, demodectic mange will give rise to alarming health complications such as ear infections, fever, and wound draining.

Is Mange in Dogs Contagious?

A Dog with Mange

The contagiousness of mange will depend on the mites infesting the dog. Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious and easily spread among dogs through direct contact. It can also be transmitted indirectly through items such as combs, brushes, towels, and blankets. Additionally, it is important to note that it is a zoonotic disease, which means it can affect humans as well, making it a matter of public health significance.

That’s because sarcoptic mites do not only cause infestations on dogs but also wildlife, particularly wild canids like wolves and foxes. Humans may also become hosts of sarcoptic mites.

These parasites are spread by coming into contact with an infected animal or simply being exposed to areas where infected animals dwell.

Dogs living near wildlife are at risk of sarcoptic mange. The same goes for pooches that are housed together with multiple pets in boarding facilities or animal shelters.

On the other hand, demodectic mange is not contagious to other dogs since Demodex mites are already present in all canines. They will not cause problems unless something is wrong with their immune system.

Natural Home Remedies for Early-Stage Mange in Dogs

Managing mange during its early stages prevents your dog from experiencing severe and painful advanced symptoms. It also keeps him safe from secondary bacterial infections and other health complications that may arise if mange is left untreated.

Here are 3 ways for you to treat mange in dogs at home before it can worsen:

1. Madre de Cacao (Gliricidia sepium)

Madre de Cacao leaves

In an experiment, dogs with Sarcoptes scabiei infestation that are topically treated with madre de cacao soap and decoction showed a reduced population of mites.

Then after 6 weeks of treatment, all dogs treated with madre de cacao have a 100% cure rate and normal blood values.

It should be noted that gross evaluation pointed out a significant reduction of skin lesions after the madre de cacao treatment. However, this observation was refuted after a microscope examination was performed.

This means that the plant was only able to resolve the infestation but did not aid in healing skin lesions caused by the sarcoptic mites.


  • 10 to 20 dried madre de cacao leaves
  • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons warm water


  1. Create a madre de cacao poultice paste by combining all the ingredients in a blender or coffee grinder. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle.
  2. Apply the paste on the affected areas of your dog’s skin. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off.
  3. Repeat the application of this home remedy 2 to 3 times a day.


  • Make sure to let your dog wear an e-collar before applying the poultice to keep him from licking it off.
  • When warming up water meant to be used for this home remedy, aim for its temperature to be between 90 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything beyond that might be too hot for your dog’s skin.

2. Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa)

Sugar Apple

According to a study, using sugar apple leaf extract to treat dogs with sarcoptic mange is found to be effective. They exhibited clinical improvement after the third application of this herbal treatment.

On the 7th day, results of skin scraping examinations show that only a few mites were left. On the 20th day posttreatment, no mites were found. No recurrence of sarcoptic mite infestation happened after 3 months.


  • 3 dozen fresh or dried sugar apple leaves
  • 1 pail full of hot water


  1. Place all the sugar apple leaves in a big cheesecloth. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth firmly closed.
  2. Carefully dip the tied cheesecloth in the pail of boiling water. Cover and leave it there overnight.
  3. Use the overnight sugar apple leaves decoction to bathe your dog. Do this once every 2 weeks.
  4. Spare 3 cups of the decoction to use as an anti sarcoptic mite spray.
  5. Spritz it on the affected skin of your dog at least 3 times a day.


  • Replace the sugar apple decoction spray every 4 to 5 days to retain its freshness and effectiveness.

3. Ozonized Sunflower Oil

Sunflower OilSeveral studies have noted the efficacy of ozonized sunflower oil in treating different types of mange from animals including rabbits, pigs, and goats.

A group of researchers decided to experiment to see if the anti mage properties of ozonized sunflower oil work on dogs as well.

Results show that participating canines have lower Demodex mite counts and experienced less itching after the 7th day of application. After 84 days of treatment, all of them have recovered from demodectic mange.


  1. Shop for 100% organic ozonized sunflower oil. Avoid products that are tainted with artificial ingredients as it can affect their effectiveness in resolving demodectic dog mange.
  2. Look for third-party certification seals on the product’s packaging. They indicate that it is verified to be safe and contains the right amount of active ingredients.
  3. Smear ozonated sunflower oil on your dog’s demodectic mange. Apply twice a day until he is free from Demodex mites.

If ever you decide to give these natural remedies a try, always inform the veterinarian beforehand. They will assess if these home treatments are suitable for your dog.

FAQs About Mange in Dogs

A dog with Mange

1. What Causes Mange in Dogs?

Mange in dogs is commonly caused by 2 different types of mites.

Sarcoptes scabiei is caused by the highly contagious canine scabies or sarcoptic mange. On the other hand, demodectic mange is a result of the overpopulation of Demodex canis on dogs’ skin.

2. Can Mange in Dogs Spread to Humans?

Mange in dogs can potentially spread to humans depending on its type.

Demodectic mange is noninfectious and only occurs when the canine immune system is underdeveloped or compromised. Its counterpart, sarcoptic mange, can be passed on from dog to human.

3. How to Treat Mange in Dogs at Home?

You can treat mange in dogs at home by using natural remedies with anti-mite properties such as madre de cacao, sugar apple, and ozonized sunflower oil.

These home treatments are only fit for mild and early stages of mange. If your dog’s mite infestation is severe, take him to the veterinarian for treatment instead of relying on natural remedies.

4. How to Prevent Mange in Dogs?

The best way to prevent mange in dogs is to avoid mite infestations. So make sure that your dog gets his monthly mite preventatives. There are antiflea and tick medications that are also formulated to keep mites away.

Weekly cleaning of your dog’s items such as blankets and beds is also recommended. It is also a good idea to avoid walking your dog on routes that are often exposed to wildlife.

Also, regularly get your dog checked by the vet. Remember that the presence of underlying health problems can lead to Demodex mange.


Mange in dogs is commonly caused by a highly contagious type of mite that can also infect wildlife and humans. To prevent its spread, the early stages of dog mange must be treated immediately.

If you are looking for alternatives to traditional mange treatments, use the natural remedies we have provided above. They can work against mild forms of mite infestations in dogs.

Other disease-carrying insects that often infest dogs are fleas. Keep Fido safe from these parasites by reading the article: “Fight Fleas Naturally: 4 Home Remedies for Your Dog.”