What Does Mange Do to Dogs?

By Amy Cocke

Types of Mange

There are three types of mange that can affect dogs, and each type is differentiated by the mites that cause the condition. In sarcoptic mange, or dog scabies, the mites get under your dog's skin in order to lay their eggs. The mites of demodectic mange choose to live in your dog's hair follicles and the oil glands of its skin, and is usually found on puppies. Cheyletiella mites, or walking dandruff, live on top of the skin and can be seen without a microscope. Your veterinarian will be able to figure out which type of mange your dog has by examining skin scrapings.


The first thing you will notice about your dog if it has mange is that it will scratch far more often that you're used to seeing, and the scratching will be mostly aimed at any place on your dog that has shorter or thinner hair than the rest of its coat, such as on its belly or in its ears. Scratching will get worse in warm areas, such as around heating vents. Because the scratching is noticed first, dogs are often misdiagnosed as having allergies.

Skin Problems

At first, the itchiness may be confined to a couple of spots on your dog, but as the mange gets worse, the area grows and your dog's entire body may become affected. After a while, the scratching will result in hair loss in the areas your dog scratches most often, and, depending on the type of mange your dog has, you may notice reddened, pus-filled bumps on its skin, spots with a yellowish crust, inflamed skin or skin rashes. The skin irritation may develop further into spots of infection or even open sores.

Spread of Mites

It is very easy for mange to spread to you or other pets, especially in cases involving sarcoptic or Cheyletiella mites. Because of that, it is important you clean and disinfect all of your dog's bedding, clothing and brushes before they touch another animal. You may also need to clean the carpeting and upholstery in your house.
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