a dog which might be affected by mange attending veterinary clinic appointment

Mange in dogs: how to identify and treat mange in dogs

You know the expression ‘a mangy dog’ – but did you know that mange is actually a medical condition that’s common in dogs?

Mange (demodecosis or sarcoptes) is a highly contagious inflammatory disease that causes extreme itchiness in our pet pooches.

Caused by the demodex mite (or the sarcoptic mite), mange in dogs can be localised – meaning it affects specific areas of the body – or generalised – meaning it affects the entire body.

Identifying mange in dogs

The symptoms of localised mange are usually fairly mild, with patches of lesions occurring mainly on the dog’s face, trunk, or legs. Generalised mange is more widespread, with dry skin, lesions, a red rash, and even fur loss appearing across the body. 

A dog with mange can be seriously itchy and uncomfortable, and the scratching, biting, licking and chewing increase as the infestation worsens. The uncontrollable itching can affect your dog’s ability to sleep, as the mites are most active during the night. 

What’s more, the mites that cause mange in dogs can spread to other animals in your home, such as cats and rabbits – and even to your family.

If you think your dog has mange, get them to your local vet – fast. Mange spreads quickly, and can cause permanent scarring or skin thickening that damages the hair follicles and prevents your dog’s fur from growing back.

“The mites that cause mange in dogs can spread to other animals in your home, such as cats and rabbits – and even to your family.”

Signs and symptoms of mange in dogs

  • Extreme itchiness
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Lesions
  • Redness, or a red rash
  • Hair loss

What causes mange in dogs?

The mites that cause mange are tiny parasites that are spread through direct contact or indirectly through bowls and bedding. 

Direct contact is mostly a problem for stray dogs, female dogs with a litter of pups, or dogs that regularly come into contact with wild animals, such as foxes and rabbits.

How to treat mange in dogs

The treatment for each type of mange is different and you should seek advice from your vet who will recommend the best and most effective course of treatment for your dog in the circumstances.
Off the shelf and home remedies are best avoided for dogs with mange.

Need help and advice on mange in dogs?

For expert advice on how to treat mange in dogs, contact your local vet. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.