Can Dogs Die from Mange? The Shocking Truth.

Dogs are among the most beloved pets around the world due to their faithful, loving and playful nature. Moreover, they are one of the most widespread household animals known to humanity. Unfortunately, dogs suffer from several health conditions that can lead them to life-threatening illnesses. One of these conditions is known as mange disease. Mange is a contagious skin disease that is caused by mites that burrow into the dog’s skin, leading to intense itching, loss of hair and eventually, skin lesions. This article seeks to delve into the question: Can dogs die from mange?

It is important to note that there are different types of Mange, and the severity of each type can vary depending on the dog’s immune system and the type of mite in question.

Is Mange Deadly to dogs?

Mange Disease is not usually deadly to dogs, but in severe cases, it can lead to fatal complications. The disease is mite-borne, which means it spreads from one dog to another through body contact or through the environment where the infected dog has stayed. It is essential to detect the symptoms of the disease early enough so that the dog can be treated before it progresses to a severe state that puts its life at risk.

What are the Causes of Mange Disease in Dogs?


The basic cause of mange disease in dogs is mites. These microscopic arachnids are the chief culprits in causing the contagious skin disease. Demodex and Sarcoptes mites are the two types that infect dogs. Demodex mites are present on the skin of all dogs and can only cause mange disease when their population increases abnormally, which leads to an increase in the number of mites in one spot. On the other hand, Sarcoptes mites are external parasites that can cause severe infestations that can spread to humans, as well.

Immune System deficiencies

Immune system deficiencies can also cause mange disease. A dog with a weak immune system is not able to fight off invading organisms that may cause disease. A weak immune system comes about due to various reasons such as stress, improper nutrition, infection, and old age. If your dog has a nutritional deficiency, for instance, it may be more susceptible to infection and, consequently, develop mange disease.

What are the Symptoms of Mange Disease in Dogs?

Intense Itching

Mange disease in dogs causes an intense itch that makes the dog scratch vigorously, resulting in wounds and skin lesions. Itching is among the first symptoms of mange. Initially, the itchiness may not be severe, but as the disease progresses, it grows increasingly unbearable for the dog, spurring the dog to scratch more fiercely until the skin is raw and bleeding.

Hair Loss

Hair loss comes after the dog has scratched, bitten, or licked themselves to relieve the itch that has been caused by the mites. In the early stages, you might notice patchy hair loss. However, in more advanced mange cases, the hair may fall off in large chunks, leaving bald spots on the dog’s skin.


Dogs suffering from mange are vulnerable to secondary infections due to open sores, cuts, and bite sites created from the scratching and biting. The infected areas can also become itchy and flaky, with the dog developing a foul odor around the infected region.

Visible Skin Lesions

In advanced mange cases, the dog’s skin may become thickened, darkened, and crusty due to the accumulation of dead skin cells and mites. Such conditions result in visible skin lesions that can cause immense discomfort to the dog.

Can You Treat Mange Disease in Dogs?

The answer is yes, you can treat mange disease in dogs if you detect the symptoms early enough. The key to treating mange disease in dogs lies in early examination and diagnosis by a veterinary doctor. In some cases, mild mange symptoms can be cleared with over-the-counter medications or with home remedies. However, for severe cases, it is recommended to seek professional advice.

Treatments for mild mange cases

Mild mange cases can be treated using home remedies such as washing your dog with a medicated shampoo or applying aloe vera directly on the affected parts of your dog’s skin. Some anti-itch sprays and creams can also mitigate the itchiness on your dog’s skin.

Medication for severe mange cases

For severe cases of mange, prescription medication is required. Your vet will prescribe an appropriate medication regimen for the type of mange identified. It would help if you also shaved any hair covering the affected area to facilitate the application of the medication. In some advanced cases, a vet may advise hospitalization.

Can Your Dog Die From Mange?

As highlighted in the first paragraph, mange disease is not usually fatal, but if it goes untreated, it can lead to severe and life-threatening complications. The complications arise from the dog’s intense scratching, which causes it to open wounds that invite bacteria to enter, leading to a secondary infection.

In severe cases, a dog suffering from Mange may expose itself to other diseases if its immune system is compromised. These secondary infections can lead to fever, anemia, diarrhea, and in rare cases, death.

How to Prevent Mange

Apart from taking proper care of a dog, like feeding it with proper nutrition and taking it to regular check-ups with a veterinarian, eliminate the possibility of getting infected with mange mites by keeping its environment clean. A clean environment should be free of waste products, and the dog’s kennel or sleeping area should be regularly washed and kept dry.

The Bottom Line

It is possible to cure mange disease, and it is essential to recognize the symptoms and act quickly to prevent the disease from progressing to fatal complications. As a responsible pet owner, examine your dog regularly for any sign of illness and, when in doubt, seek veterinary advice.

List of Common Questions and Answers

  • Can dogs die from Demodectic Mange? Demodectic Mange is not usually fatal, but if left untreated, it can lead to secondary skin infections that could prove deadly in extreme cases.
  • Can Mange Mites Spread to Humans? Yes. Though rare, it is possible for Sarcoptic Mange to spread to humans, leading to red, itchy rashes.
  • Is Mange Disease Contagious? Yes. Mange disease can quickly spread from one dog to another through direct touch or sleeping in a kennel previously inhabited by an infected dog.
  • How Can I Prevent My Dog From Contracting Mange? You can prevent your dog from contracting mange infestations by maintaining proper hygiene and regularly grooming your dog. Keep your dog away from other infected dogs or their sleeping areas.


  • Jones, E., & Mannion, P. (2004). Veterinary Nursing Self-Assessment. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  • Scott, D. W., Miller Jr, W. H., &Griffin, C. E. (2017). Muller and Kirk’s small animal dermatology. Elsevier Health Sciences.

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