Fact Checked

What Is the Best Treatment for Mange?

A Kaminsky
A Kaminsky

Mange is a skin infection caused by mites, and each species causes a different type of disease. Many different types of animals can get mange, although it's most common in dogs. The best treatment depends on the animal, the type of mite, and the location of the infection on the body. Oral and topical medications, injections, and special shampoos and dips are used to treat this condition.

Walking Dandruff

Medicated shampoos and dips are often used to treat mange.
Medicated shampoos and dips are often used to treat mange.

Cheyletiella is a genus of mite that causes the least serious form of mange although it is very contagious. Also known as "walking dandruff," this condition usually manifests itself in itching and light flakes over the animal's head and shoulders. The mite dies soon after leaving the host, so usually bathing the pet in a medicated shampoo is usually all that is necessary for treatment. Some types of flea control insecticides can also treat walking dandruff effectively.

Notoedric Mange

Cat with mange.
Cat with mange.

Also known as feline scabies or cat mange, notoedric mange is most common in cats, but can also affect squirrels and other wild animals. It usually infects the head and neck of the animal, causing extreme itching and hair loss, as well as crusty yellow areas. These mites are very contagious and can spread to people and other pets, but cannot reproduce on these other animals.

Mange causes severe itching.
Mange causes severe itching.

Most cats respond well to a series of lime-sulfur dips, which combine calcium hydroxide (or slaked lime) and sulfur. When diluted, this mix is very effective at killing many different types of mites, including those that cause notoedric mange. Although generally safe for most cats, it's important for pet owners to take the cat to a veterinarian first for a diagnosis, however, and to follow his or her instructions exactly for treating the pet. Some veterinarians use oral medications as well, but most are not approved for treating cats.

Sarcoptic Mange

A veterinarian can diagnose mange in cats.
A veterinarian can diagnose mange in cats.

Sarcoptic mange, caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite, is a serious but generally very treatable condition. It is common in dogs, and can be transmitted to humans, in which case it is called scabies, and other animals, including cats and pigs. This condition generally starts with intense itching and some hair loss. The animal will scratch and bite at its skin furiously, and can cause injuries that may become infected. The ears often crust over first, followed by hair loss on the elbows, legs, and face.

The best treatment for mange depends on the animal and the type of mite.
The best treatment for mange depends on the animal and the type of mite.

The pet will need a trip to the vet's office to confirm the diagnosis and to be treated, and it can be difficult to diagnose, especially if another infection has developed in the injured skin. Cutting back the remaining hair in any affected area is often necessary. The family should be cautious about handling the animal, since this condition is contagious and can spread to other pets as well as people.

Ivermectin is the treatment of choice for sarcoptic mange in dogs, and is usually administered in two doses, two weeks apart. Some breeds are especially sensitive to this medication, however, and should not use it; repeated treatments with certain insecticides like selamectin can also kill mites. Dogs and other animals may also require antibiotics and medicated baths for skin infections and itch relief. As with notoedric mange, lime-sulfur dips can be effective, as can phosmet, an organophosphate insecticide. Pet owners should note that not all dips are safe for all pets — phosmet should not be used on cats or puppies, for example — so a veterinarian should always be consulted before treating any animal.

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange, also called red mange, is one of the most severe types. Most dogs have the Demodex mite on their skin, but suppressed immune systems can cause them to reproduce quickly. Young dogs are the most susceptible; puppies receive the mites from their mother. In the localized form, hair loss occurs around the face or eyes and may go away without treatment.

In the generalized form, however, the Demodex mites burrow deep into the skin in other parts of the body, making it irritated and itchy. Sores follow, and secondary skin infection is not uncommon. In some cases, mites can infest the paws very deeply, a condition known as demodectic pododermatitis. A veterinarian will want to take regular skin scrapings to make a correct diagnosis and to monitor the treatment progress. In the case of demodectic pododermatitis, a biopsy may be necessary to identify the mites.

Veterinarians are divided on the best treatment for demodectic mange. Some recommend a small, daily ivermectin dose, along with medicated baths. This works for many dogs, but some, especially those in the herding group, can have a severe reaction to ivermectin.

The other treatment is a medicated benzoyl peroxide shampoo, followed by an amitraz dip. When the pesticide dip is used at least twice a week, at double strength, the results are typically very good. Amitraz can produce a sedative effect, and should not be used on puppies less than four months old or small breeds.

When a dog has demodectic mange, it is crucial to follow through the entire course of treatment, for as long as the vet prescribes. This condition can recur if not eradicated entirely. The vet will want to take a skin scraping about a month after the final treatment, just to make certain the disease has been eliminated.

How Long is Mange Contagious After Treatment?

Since mange is caused by mites, the risk of spreading the infection to others depends on the survival of the mites. As long as any of the mites or their eggs are alive on your pet, the condition may be contagious. This also applies to any bedding, toys or parts of your house where the mites could be, although the parasites usually don’t live very long when separated from a living host.

The essential question, then, is how long will it take to kill all of the mites? The amount of time necessary to eradicate the parasites causing your pet’s condition may vary by the type of mange, the method of treatment, and the severity of the infection.

If there is one good thing that can be said about demodectic mange, it is the fact that it is rarely spread to humans or other animals. This is very fortunate, because the battle to completely clear demodectic mange can take months. However, the fact that you are unlikely to be infected by your pet is no reason to be relaxed about demodectic mange; you must be conscientious in your pet’s treatment to defeat this serious mange completely.

The cheyletiella parasite that causes “walking dandruff” can be treated quite successfully and easily in most cases. With a few medicated baths, and perhaps one or two weekly applications of an over-the-counter flea and tick treatment, a typical case of cheyletiellosis should be cleared up within two to three weeks.

Notoedric mange can take a month or more to treat, depending on the severity of your cat’s case. Because cats are more sensitive to insecticides and other chemicals, many owners and vets prefer either lime sulfur dips or lower doses of topical insecticides. Some oral medications may work faster: however, cutting treatment time by a week or two should be weighed against safety concerns, such as the pet’s age or other medications that may have dangerous interactions.

Sarcoptic mange is one of the more contagious forms of mange, so pet owners are naturally eager to get it under control quickly. As already noted, eradicating the parasite is the only way to ensure this. Luckily, sarcoptic mange usually responds well to ivermectin, which should clear the mange within a month or less. Getting your pet diagnosed as soon as possible so that the appropriate treatment can be started is the key to minimizing the contagiousness of sarcoptic mange.

How Much is Mange Treatment

Because mange can often require repeated treatments to resolve, most pet owners are concerned about the costs of such ongoing treatment. The type of mange your pet has will determine the types of treatment recommended, which will have an impact on cost. Your vet should advise you on what will be safest and most effective for your pet, while also keeping your concerns about cost in mind.

On the lower end of the scale, the popular lime sulfur dip that has been a staple of mange treatment for years may cost $15 per bottle or less. Since dip treatment may take more applications over a number of weeks, the cost-effectiveness will depend on how many treatments are necessary to clear your pet’s infection. This trusted treatment remains one of the most affordable options, provided your pet’s type of mange is one that responds to it.

Medicated shampoos, such as those containing benzoyl peroxide, are likewise quite easy to find at prices ranging from $15 to $20 per bottle. These shampoos are often used in combination with other treatments, and once again the amount of time the product has to be used will affect the final cost.

Current popular insecticide treatments can be significantly more expensive. Internal anti-parasite drugs like ivermectin, as well as topical treatments like imidacloprid can easily cost $100 or more per box or bottle. The upfront cost of these products may be partially offset if they take a shorter time to work, but that is not always guaranteed. As mentioned before, these medications also may not be safe for every pet.

The cost of office visits to your veterinarian may be the most expensive aspect of your pet’s treatment for mange. You can expect to pay at least $60-$100 for a physical exam, and another $50-$100 for skin tests. Any more advanced or detailed testing will add to the cost, possibly as much as $100-$200 for each additional test. The lesson from this should be that the sooner you treat the better. A less advanced case of mange will be easier, faster, and less costly to cure.

What Causes Mange?

The most common type of mange, sarcoptic mange, is caused by a small parasitic mite. It burrows beneath the skin and dogs and puppies to feed on them. Sometimes, sarcoptic mange is also known as scabies or zoonotic. This causes the dog or puppy to feel itchy and chew and scratch at his skin to stop the itching sensation. Over time, this will lead to the dog losing his hair in the spots that he is chewing. Most often, this will occur on the legs and belly, but over time, hair loss can occur over the entire body. If you notice that your puppy or dog is itchy all the time, or if he starts to lose hair in the aforementioned places, it's a good idea to take him to the veterinarian as a precaution.

How Long Is Mange Contagious After Treatment?

Mange is extremely contagious and can easily be transferred to other dogs or humans. The mites cannot live comfortably in humans but will still cause itching until they die. Even after treatment, your dog is likely to remain contagious for up to four weeks. This means that you'll need to avoid spending a lot of time with him or letting him be around other pets.

Does Flea Treatment Kill Mange?

Some flea prevention medications have shown to be effective against mange, but not all of them are. Some veterinarians say that they did not have any luck with the brand names Frontline or Revolution. However, Bravecto has been effective at killing scabies mites. If the case is mild, it may be used alone, but stronger cases of mange will need to use the medication in combination with other treatment options.

What Are Other Types of Mange Treatments?

In addition to flea treatments that work, there are several other types of treatments for mange. The most common one is a medicinal bath because it is often the most effective. Before the bath, your dog will need to have his hair clipped shorter. This ensures the treatment reaches all the way to his skin. The bath is not a one-time situation, either. Your pup will need to be bathed in the scabies treatment once a week for up to four weeks. It is important to note that the smell can be toxic to humans and some dogs, which means you should always have this scabies treatment done by a professional.

Another common treatment is liquid ivermectin. Ivermectin is a stronger form of flea and heartworm prevention medication. This is a last resort for most veterinarians and should not be used on herding breeds such as Collies or Shetland sheep dogs. In addition to the scabies treatments, keep in mind that your veterinarian will likely need to prescribe an ointment or cream that helps your dog's skin to heal.

How Long Does Mange Treatment Take?

The time it takes to treat mange depends on the type of treatment you use. However, the average amount of time it takes to treat it is four weeks. During these four weeks, your dog will still be contagious and should be kept away from other dogs, the family's furniture, and children who will not understand not to pet the dog.

How Can You Prevent a Dog From Getting Mange Again?

There are several things that you can do to help your dog avoid getting mange after he's been treated for it the first time. First, consider a preventative medication such as isoxazoline. Your vet can help you determine if this is a good route for your dog based on how much he may be exposed to the disease.

There are things you need to do in your house as well. While mites live on dogs, their eggs can often be found in carpets, dog beds, and even your dog's plush toys. It is very important to thoroughly clean any carpets that your dog as been on and wash any dog beds, toys, blankets, or other bedding that your pet has been on in hot water. Once you wash these items, don't give them back to your pet until he's completed his scabies treatment plan.

Finally, consider where you take your dog. If he loves to traipse through the woods, he could be exposed to scabies due to foxes, which often carry the disease. If you take your dog to dog parks, doggy daycares, or other similar places, ensure they have vaccine rules in place. While a vaccine won't necessary prevent scabies, it does protect your pet's overall health. Additionally, it's more likely that other pet owners are careful about helping their dogs avoid scabies as well.

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Discussion Comments


I have a husky that has only turned a year old today. Three days ago I noticed a small patch on his back with brownish crusty bits. What might this be? Around his inner back legs it is kind of red and the skin looks wrinkled. What could this be? Please help.


Updating about puppy we found on the dirt road: he is cured from mange. And I used baking soda instead of borax with peroxide and water.


My husband and I found a mangy puppy two weeks ago on a dirt road. I felt bad and wanted to bring him home. He has mange all over his body. I have three other pets, so the puppy stays contained in our back yard in a pen, with no contact with my children or animals.

I've been giving him medicated baths every three days, and putting peroxide mixed with baking soda and water (a little more water) after the baths. Every day, I put olive oil on his body to keep his skin from drying out and antibiotic cream on to prevent infections. He also takes antibiotics every day with his food for the infections he had.

I put a little fish oil in to help with his immune system, and I clean his bedding every day.

Well, after a week, the rest of his damaged hair has fallen out, but his skin is not so red and the bumps are disappearing. His eyes are not infected anymore either, and he is not bleeding from the sores, which are healed now. I also feed him Beneful dog food. I hope within three weeks or so, he can run in the fields with our other three dogs and a cat who thinks he is a dog. I will update then.


My dog has a rash that looks like the mange. I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow. If that doesn't work, I will be coming back to this website to get home remedies. Thank you all for your posts. Very helpful information.


Do not use motor oil! Would you rub used motor oil all over your body? No! Please please get the Nustock! Then be sure to put some ointment (a very light and small amount) on the affected area. With regular attention, like five or six times a week, this should clear up quickly. If the itching is extreme, I put the lotrimin powder (prescription strength) on the area and rub it in really well. Please do not use motor oil!


My dog had mange and I was successful in clearing it up but it took time and patience.


Healthy adult dogs usually won't catch mange. NuStock ointment can be searched online and works well. You can also search for companies that sell neem oil. Fresh Factors supplements from Springtime Company (online) are great for building up the health and immunity.

Please do not use motor oil on your pet! It is poisonous. It can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled.


My dog has been obsessively scratching for months, and multiple vets could not figure out what was wrong with her. She had open sores everywhere. I tried everything I could think of, from hot spot sprays, home remedies, baths, etc., including putting soft paws on her to keep her from inflicting pain on herself.

I purchased Goodwin Ointment off the internet and one week later all of her sores have healed and her hair is growing back! This product has saved my dog!


I have a five month old, 1 pound male chihuahua puppy. He got red mange from his mother at birth. he lost all his hair and after several trips to the vets I was ready to give up.

I found a site saying that you can use hydrogen peroxide and Borax Mule Team laundry detergent. I also used vegetable oil after treatment to keep his skin soft. Let me tell you, I was amazed. After one treatment, he was playing and barking again. What a miracle. I have used this on him three times now and it's working great. No bad reactions. Leave on wet to dry.


My Staffy had mange. I wanted to find some natural treatment, because many friends I know that took their dogs to vets, the treatment worked for a while then came back with a vengeance.

I found a company called bobgrass and I read their testimonials and ordered both the skincare and blood tablets.

After six weeks of using both treatments, her fur has grown back. No more itching and her coat is now lovely and glossy and soft. I have no connection with this company. I'm just a very satisfied customer.

I thought I would pass this on to other pet owners.


It may sound a little on the "other side," but I have used motor oil that has been used, not new or fresh, but used. It only takes a light coating. It stops the itch and cured the mange.


I also live in Texas and own a Blue pit. She is itchy, red, and is now losing hair. It is only getting worse. I've heard of mouthwash and baby oil, and I've also heard of the peroxide and borax solution. Is the motor oil safe? Please help me! My baby is miserable. She is only about five months old so I don't want to harm her in any way.


Our poodle mix had severe mange, hair loss, red skin and feet and constant skin biting. We tried so many treatments and nothing worked. One Vet even said it was just food allergies and repeatedly said we must use only the food they sold us (which didn't work). Eventually, they did a skin scraping and found sarcoptic mange. We began using Selsun Blue then got her Revolution (Stronghold). After six weeks, no itching, the hair has all returned and she doesn't stink anymore.


Please, please use the one part peroxide one part water mixture, with enough borax that it won't dissolve anymore. Then bathe your dog, towel off the excess water, then put on the solution. Put on the whole body, feet, belly, etc, as the mites are everywhere. Let the dog dry with the mixture on him. Do not wash it off.

Do this every other day for a week, then once every three days for a week, then once a week for about six weeks. My dachshund had a severe problem, the hair on half of her body was gone, and she had sores everywhere. She constantly scratched and made herself bleed. It has now been two months. All of her hair has grown back, she doesn't scratch anymore and her coat is beautiful. I wasn't sure this would work, put it really does. We had used ivermectin shots, and several other treatments. Nothing else worked until I used the borax treatment.


I have a five month old GSD puppy named Dash!

It's been a month since I discovered a small patch of hair that he lost on his forehead above his eyes, and initially I ignored it. But later on when I showed it to a local vet, he asked me put Sulphacure Ointment which kind of worked the other way round and the patch grew bigger in size. The symptoms show it's demodectic mange with red patches. I decided to change vets, and now he is on on medication.

It's been 15 days, the entire forehead has a skin loss and the skin as pigmented. He has been injected with Ivermectin for the last two weeks, and it seems to be working. The vet had also asked me to apply 2-3 ML of RIDD mixed in 500ML of water on the affected area, once every five days. The first day I applied it, it showed amazing results with red patches almost disappearing overnight. As I see fewer red patches, today I would be applying the RIDD solution again for the second time, but the real problem starts here!

Don't know for what reason, but the infection has spread to his ears and a little inside his ears with sort of red blisters. I am afraid that it could go from bad to worse.

Also, both his ears which were standing, are half drooping now. Is it normal and would his ears stand again once the mange is cured?

Please let me know. I am really worried and love this fella a lot! Appreciate your help and thanks in advance. --Abhy


I have a golden retriever six months old that has been suffering from mange for the last five months. i don't know which type of mange it is, but i visited many vets and have ahd no results.

i have used many antibiotics many shampoos but no use. can anyone help me, please? I am crying whenever i look at him. Can anyone tell me the remedy and save my dog please?


Never ever use motor oil! It can kill your pet. it is a wives' tale. it may work but it will kill your animal. it can cause breathing and organ problems. Don't use motor oil, ever!


i am a chemist by profession, and i am pleased to share with all of you that chemicals which are used for treatment are always present in nature also, but the best part is that in nature they are in the right combination, so it does not hurt living beings. Using neem for any bad parasite disease is always effective, safe and cheap. so go ahead with neem.


My dog has some of the similar problems posted. The patch on his head has cleared after application of antibiotics (I think the moisture just allowed the hair to grow back without killing the mites) but now the problem has shifted to his ear.

I'm taking him to the vet before I try any home remedies but a) does anyone know if it is dangerous to apply medication to the inner ear and b) is there any way to boost a dog's immune system? I've heard a strong immune system is the first line of defense against mites.


where could i buy the nu stock


I live on in Manicou River Eco Resort on the Caribbean island of Dominica in the West Indies and have a local dog. She came to us with a low immune system and gets recurring mange. We have tried the chemical treatment but it was very harsh on her. We also tried neem oil without very good results. I took her to see the vet who works with PAWS, the rescue dog charity, and was recommended a local treatment.

2 liters of seawater (or salt water)

half a calabash (Or bottle gourd or opo squash, not to be confused with the calabaza)

Scoop out the fleshy insides of the calabash and squeeze into seawater

3 fresh limes squeezed and mixed with the seawater and calabash

Strain and coat the dog in the liquid. Do not rinse for two days and rinse and repeat the process twice.

Fantastic results! No more mange and she started to grow her shiny new hair back as soon as the treatment finished. Very happy Ocho Dog.


I too, growing up in East Texas, believed that burned motor oil would cure my dogs with mange. I have two blue pit bulls that I love very dearly and they both happened to catch the worst case of mange I have ever seen in pictures or on the internet.

I just wanted to cry! I worried about the medical costs of going to the vet, so I went to Petco and PetSmart and they had nothing!

So while researching on the internet I found a product called Nustock. I live in Houston and as large as it is, only two places sold it. I put on gloves and mixed it with baby oil bathed my dogs to get them clean and applied it with a new paint brush all over. It calls for two treatments three days apart. I was to do one and my husband to do the other.

Well, he forgot to do his and after one week with Nustock my babies are like new! All their hair has grown back and they don't scratch or itch at all. Do not try anything else! Nustock is what you need!


this may sound crazy, but i guarantee it will work. apply burned motor oil. Yep, do an oil change to your car, and wait for it to cool down and wet a cloth with the oil and apply to the all the affected area. I will put it on the entire body. Leave it on all day. next day do the same. do it for three or four days, and i swear you will see your dog get better in those four days.


where can i buy NEEM?


There is now a cure for the bad type of mange. My terrier got this mange and also developed a skin infection. There is a new product called Promeris that kills the mites!

The vet said I was lucky that there is now a cure, otherwise I'd still be bathing and trying to fix this problem.

It took about six weeks for the skin infection to clear up and the hair to start to grow back. You use Promeris every four weeks but the vet may recommend using it more often at first. It is used the same way as Frontline or any of those types of products.

It seems to be a problem for life. When I quit using Promeris and went back to my previous product the sores and mange came back. My other dogs never got this so it must not be contagious?


My chihuahua has demodex and has had one treatment of mitaban, after which he just slept and looked distant or confused for nearly five days.

I read that it is not safe to used mitaban or amitraz (same thing?) on chihuahuas. Is that true? My vet has him scheduled for four more visits.

He is only 6.2 lbs and 11 months old. He also has fly bite seizures. What do you suggest?


I got a staffordshire bull terrier puppy last month and have now found out she has mange. I'm worried she may have passed it on to my other staffordshire bull terriers, but cannot afford to get them all treated by my vet. are there any other effective cheaper treatments?


Take your dog to the vet -- would you run around with scabies? What is wrong with you?


hi soraiy!

someone gave me a labrador 3 weeks ago. she already had mange, i assume, because of hairless spots on the face & neck. some parts of it is a little crusty too. i want to know where you purchased the neem oil you were recommending on this article. i want to try it also on my dog to see if it can produce good results. i haven't gone to a vet yet, i wanted to try researching for the remedy from people who have had experience on dog mange. also, can you tell me how much hydrogen peroxide should i put on my dog's bath? should i put it together with water then use it as my dog's final rinse? can you also recommend a good dog soap to go with it? thank you so much! appreciate your help in advance.


My 13 year old dachshund was afflicted with severe Mange. After several visits to the vet and Borax and Hydrogen Peroxide baths (which gave temporary relief) I switched to Neem oil (Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the leaves, fruits and seeds of Neem (Azadirachta indica) tree, an evergreen tree which is endemic to the Indian sub-continent). In a weeks time his Mange had cleared out and he was completely ridden of Mange. I had suggested the use of neem oil for Mange to my friends who had mangy dogs and they are all cured now.

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    • Medicated shampoos and dips are often used to treat mange.
      By: Eric Isselée
      Medicated shampoos and dips are often used to treat mange.
    • Cat with mange.
      By: Giselleai
      Cat with mange.
    • Mange causes severe itching.
      By: pattie
      Mange causes severe itching.
    • A veterinarian can diagnose mange in cats.
      By: squidmediaro
      A veterinarian can diagnose mange in cats.
    • The best treatment for mange depends on the animal and the type of mite.
      By: squidmediaro
      The best treatment for mange depends on the animal and the type of mite.