Licking and scratching are common issues with dogs. Unfortunately, according to vets, allergies impact more than half of the dog population. It may be very mild in some dogs and nothing to be concerned about. But, sometimes, it may turn into excessive licking and scratching.
While most cases are allergy-related, knowing whether your dog may have mange is essential. Mange is a condition that is usually treatable but needs to be diagnosed as soon as possible since it is sometimes contagious.
7 signs your dog might have mange
There are seven signs that indicate your dog might have mange. However, keep in mind that these symptoms alone are not enough to diagnose mange. If you notice these symptoms, you should consult with a veterinarian.
- Redness, rash, and itching
- Oily, bumpy skin
- Skin discoloration
- Hair loss
- Sores and lesions
- Scabby, crusty, or scaly skin
- Bacterial infection with smelly odor
These symptoms are generic and may happen to some degree in dogs without mange. However, when you see a combination of several of them, especially hair loss, this may indicate mange, and you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Some of these symptoms may be caused by allergies in less severe cases, and I recommend you research fish oil for dogs. Fish oil is a great omega supplement and omegas support skin irritation.
Salmon oil is known to support allergies in dogs, and many pet owners notice a significant improvement in scratching and itching within a few weeks. In addition, it's a convenient supplement that you can pump over your dog's food daily.
Most products on the market will include farmed salmon in their ingredients, and few are truly wild. Wild Alaskan Salmon is healthier than 95% of other fish sources based on pollutants levels. We happen to sell our own Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil formula and you are welcome to check it out here.
What is mange?
Mange is a skin infection caused by mites that make the skin sore and itchy. Mites are tiny parasitic arachnids that are similar to ticks.
There are two types of mange:
- Demodectic mange: this type is not contagious and is usually present from the beginning since it is passed from the mother to the pup.
- Sarcoptic mange: this type is contagious and means another animal or contaminated bedding probably contaminated your dog. This type of mange is commonly referred to as scabies.
Demodectic mange is the least severe case of the two. Demodex mites cause demodectic mange in your dog's skin and hair follicles. Most of the time, both humans and animals already have these mites, which doesn't result in any skin or hair issues. However, when the infestation is so great that it overwhelms your dog's immune system, your dog's skin can become inflamed and cause hair loss.
Typically, hair loss will occur in small patches on the face, trunk, and legs.
This type of mange is easily treatable in most cases.
Another type of mite causes the other mange: Sarcoptes scabiei mites, also called itch mites. These mites cause extreme itching, and the result of your dog scratching himself might cause the actual hair loss. Travis Taylor, medical director of VCA Centreville Animal Hospital, says: "It's commonly spread by wildlife. If you have wildlife, especially foxes, coming through your yard, your dog's mange is probably caused by this type of mite (Sarcoptes scabiei)".
This type of mange is very contagious, and if your dog has it, he will need to be quarantined, and your home will need to be decontaminated.
Is mange contagious to humans or other pets?
Demodex mange is not contagious. However, sarcoptic mites like to spread to other pets and humans. If you notice your pet may have mange, the first step is to isolate them in a different room and start cleaning all the furniture and material your dog has been in contact with. Your vet may advise you on the best way to decontaminate your home to prevent the spreading.
Schedule a vet visit
If you believe your dog may have mange, the next step is to schedule a vet visit. Even if your dog does not have mange, your vet will be able to give you some recommendations on what may be causing your dog's itchy skin or hair loss.
Vets will perform various tests to see if your dog has mange. They usually analyze skin scrapings under a microscope. This analysis allows them to see if your dog has mites and which kind:
- Demodex mites are cigar-shaped.
- Sarcoptes scabiei mites are oval-shaped.
While I am usually a big advocate of natural remedies, mange requires a more severe treatment.
In most cases, your vet will prescribe:
- Topical medication for demodex mange
- Injections for sarcoptic mange
- Prescription shampoo for severe demodex mange or sarcoptic mange
- Antibacterial shampoo or oral antibiotics to clear up secondary skin infections
You can expect your dog to feel better within a few days of starting the treatment. In some cases, your vet will recommend flea & tick oral medication since it is very effective for mange.
How to prevent mange
The medication way of preventing mange is to have your dog on isoxazoline medications. Isoxazoline is a synthetic chemical found in flea & tick medication.
Flea & tick chemical products bring their own side effects, and I would not use them personally on my dog unless you live in a flea-infested area.
On the other hand, they are also the most effective way to prevent mange since isoxazoline also prevents mange infestation.
If your dog has sarcoptic mange, you would also want to take the following steps:
- Replace your dog's bedding and collar
- Thoroughly clean your bedding and clothes in hot water and bleach
- Treat other animals in your home as instructed by your vet
- Go back to the vet every two weeks initially to ensure the treatment is working
If your dog has allergies
You might realize that your dog does not have mange but is prone to allergies. Unfortunately, allergies are difficult to understand and track down because they can stem from your dog's alimentation, genetics, or the environment.
I always recommend consulting a vet first to ensure your dog does not have a severe condition like sarcoptic mange and then looking at supplementation for allergies.
The supplement that has shown the best results for allergies is Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. Salmon oil has Omega 3, 6 & 9, which are great for your dog's skin and coat. Most pet owners notice a significant improvement within a few weeks of use:
- Less scratching, itching
- Hair starts to grow back
- Paws, nose, and elbows return to normal
- Irritated skin heals
This oil brings many other benefits, one of the main one being that it is delicious and is, therefore, an excellent addition to your pet's bowl.
If you enjoyed reading this article and want to be informed when new articles come out, subscribe below! Also, please comment if your dog has experienced skin issues and the steps you took to resolve them.