Recently, a neighbor ask me “Is there a natural remedy for mange?” I love being the go-to dog person…so imagine my horror when I had to admit I didn’t know!
First of all – let’s learn a little bit about mange. Mange is a skin disease caused by tiny mites. These parasitic mites embed themselves in the dog’s skin and hair follicles and cause infection. Dogs and cats are susceptible to two types of mange: demodectic and sarcoptic. Most pups and kitties are not affected by demodicosis…as long as they are healthy, the mites just chill on the skin and don’t cause any problems. It’s really only pets who are already sick or elderly that are at risk for this kind of mange. Isolating a dog with demodectic mange is not necessary. Sarcoptic mange, on the other paw, is extremely contagious. These mites dig into the skin and cause intense itching and crusting (which is where the infection begins.) Of course the poor animal is going to scratch and bite…which only causes more infection and more damage. Dogs that are living in poor conditions (whose immune systems are already weekend from hunger and disease) are even more likely to be affected with sarcoptic mange.
But, just for the sake of investigating a curious dog owner’s question, what are some natural ways to treat mange? (Please note – I have not tested any of the remedies below. I have either read about them, come across them in research, or learned about them from a third party. And remember…while I do consider myself knowledgeable about dogs, I am not a vet!) Some of these suggestions can also be used in less sever skin irritations:
***Lactobacillus acidophilus (Wow…didn’t know we were going to bust out with the Latin here, huh? This means acid-loving milk-bacterium) is useful to eliminate mange from inside the ears. “Where do I find this?” you might be asking. Well, let’s put it more simply – this is basically a fancy name for a probiotic used in commercial dairy products. In other words – wash the inside of the ears with 2 tablespoons plain yogurt.
***Raw apple cider vinegar (Does anyone read Hint from Heloise? She LOVES this stuff!) is good for fighting mange both when applied on the skin and mixed with a dog’s meal. (Just one tablespoon in Fido’s food will be plenty!)
***As on our own skin, olive oil is great for soothing irritated skin. It also works to kill the mites that are causing all the problems!
***Doing some online research – I came across this recipe on at least a dozen different sites and message boards: equal parts Listerine, baby oil, and warm water. Mix it in a spray bottle and spray your pooch. (This is one that seems to be popular for general itchiness as well!)
***Another recipe I came across on several sites” 1 part 1% hydrogen peroxide (bottled is usually 3%, so you will need to dilute it), 1 part water, as much borax (laundry detergent) as will dissolve in the solution. Wash your dog, rinse with solution, and allow solution to try on the pup’s coat. (You can do this once a week…but don’t do it more than 8 weeks in a row.)
I would love to hear from anyone who has used one of the above natural mange remedies…or anyone that has a miracle product of their own.