Sarcoptic mange, which in humans is called scabies, is a skin disease caused by mites. Mange can be localized, affecting only certain parts of the body, especially the head and face; or it can be generalized, extending over the entire body. Treatment for scabies depends on how serious the case of mange is is and whether other issues, such as skin infections, are in play. A vet can help you figure out the best treatment option.
Getting a Diagnosis
Before you start treating your dog at home, it's important that you talk to a veterinarian to identify sarcoptic mites as the definite cause of your dog’s condition. A veterinarian can prescribe products such as an appropriate medicated shampoo and dip for you to use on your dog at home.
To wash or apply a dip at home, mix the prescribed medication with the amount of water indicated on the label. Wearing rubber gloves, rub the mixture all over the dog's body as you would with regular shampoo. If you're using medicated shampoo, ask your vet whether you should rinse after washing. If you're dipping, let the dog air-dry without rinsing, or blow-dry on the lowest settings if cold weather requires you to dry the dog.
Prepare a simple home remedy for scabies by adding 2 tablespoons of borax to 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide and mixing until the powder dissolves completely. Use this mixture to wash your dog, and do not rinse. As the skin absorbs the liquid, it will kill the mites causing the problem, allowing the skin to heal naturally.
Antioxidants and essential fatty acides help strengthen the immune system and may benefit a dog suffering from mange. Fish oil, milk thistle and echinacea are immune boosters that may serve the immune system. Always talk to your vet or follow instructions on the label to know what dosage to use on your dog. Dilute lavender essential oil and apply it to the skin to help combat infections and to soothe any pain and discomfort.
A Word of Caution
Always consult your veterinarian before administering any type of substance to your dog, natural or otherwise. If your dog's symptoms don't improve or if they worsen despite home treatment, your dog needs a more effective course of action. If you don't address the mange early on, ultimately your vet might need to prescribe antibiotics or other medications to treat secondary issues, such as infection of the mange-affected skin. Failure to treat the dog is cruel, because it's excruciating. It's stupid, too: Your dog's mange can become your scabies.