Over the Counter Scabies Treatment for Dogs

Over the Counter Scabies Treatment for Dogs

Because veterinarian solutions can often be strong and hard on your dog, many owners are searching for over the counter scabies treatment. However, the effectiveness of these remedies can vary.

Symptoms of Scabies in Dogs

Scabies are a mite that your dog can get from the environment or from another dog. These mites live on your dog for their entire life, burrowing in his skin to lay eggs. Because the mites can burrow several centimeters under the skin, not all dogs who have scabies will come up positive on a skin scrap.

In addition, a female can lay hundreds of eggs under your dog’s skin, so scabies won’t go away without treatment. They can be passed onto humans and other pets in the house as well.

The primary symptom is intense itching, especially around the armpits, elbows, stomach and other places that aren’t covered with as much hair. Some dogs can also get little red bumps with yellow crusts.

Traditional Scabies Treatments

Your veterinarian will probably recommend that your dog receive a special bath to eliminate the scabies, which will involve a strong pesticide. However, these can be harmful for certain breeds of dog or older dogs. Some of these dips may be purchased over the counter but may be toxic to humans so use extreme caution.

The first step involves applying a peroxide shampoo. Then, you may use an organophosphate such as Amitraz or Mitaban or a lime sulfur dip. Lime sulfur can be diluted by adding 4 ounces to a gallon of water. Make sure to leave on the dog’s skin as it dries for optimal effectiveness. Don’t let the dog lick himself during this time.

Flea preventatives may also be recommended. While Revolution, which can only be purchased at your veterinarian’s office, may be the most highly recommended, several over-the-counter flea medications may also be effective, such as Frontline Plus. Veterinarians can administer the drug intravenously for better results.

Over the Counter Human Medication

Sulfur creams are often recommended for removal of scabies on humans, and these may be effective for dogs as well. Bathe your dog and trim any excess hair. Apply the cream all over his body for a few days straight. Don’t allow him to consume.

Oral antihistamines, such as low strength Benadryl, might not cure scabies but can provide relief from the symptoms. However, consult your veterinarian about your individual dog before giving any human medications.

Natural Treatment

Just as certain natural oils have demonstrated effectiveness for flea control, there are a few natural oils that have shown to prevent and cure scabies. Try either tea tree oil, neem oil or lavender oil, which can all be purchased at a health food stores.

To use, apply a few drops to infected areas twice a day. When choosing lavender oil, mix with equal parts alcohol for more effective treatment.

Additional Treatment for Scabies

To completely rid your house of scabies, you must be sure that none have remained behind in carpets or bedding. Thoroughly vacuum carpets and possibly even treat with insecticide or tree oils.

Wash all bedding and toys in hot water or freeze overnight to kill scabies. This will ensure that the infection is completely eliminated from your home.


Symptoms of Scabies in Dogs

Scabies in dogs is the result of infestation by a species of mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei. These parasitic mites burrow into your dog’s skin and cause itching, inflammation, pustules and yellow crusting of the skin. The resulting condition is known as sarcoptic mange. Here’s what you should know about diagnosing and treating scabies in dogs.

Symptoms of Dog Scabies

Canine scabies is caused by a parasitic mite infestation. These mites, Sarcoptes scabiei, spend their entire life cycles on the host animal. They can live on ferrets, cats, foxes and other animals, but they prefer to live on dogs.

These mites burrow into your dog’s skin, where they lay their eggs. The eggs often hatch and complete their life cycles under your dog’s skin. They’re capable of surviving for two to 22 days off of their host animal’s body. That means your dog can catch canine scabies even if he doesn’t have direct contact with an infected animal.

One of the initial symptoms of scabies in dogs is hair loss. Mites typically infest the least furry parts of the dog first, resulting in initial hair loss from the elbows, abdomen, ears, chest, hocks and armpits. If the infestation becomes severe, it can spread to furrier parts of your dog’s body, and even cover the whole body.

Scabies in dogs causes severe itching. Red pustules usually form in the affected area, and yellow crusting of the affected skin may occur. If your dog scratches the affected area, he could be vulnerable to secondary skin infections. In severe cases, the skin may darken in color and the lymph nodes in the affected area may enlarge.

Diagnosing Canine Scabies

Your vet will probably diagnose canine scabies by taking a skin scraping and examining it under a microscope. However, your vet may not find any evidence of scabies infestation in the skin sample. Just because your vet doesn’t find scabies mites in the skin sample, it doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t have canine scabies.

Your vet will need your dog’s complete medical history in order to support a diagnosis. You should tell your vet about any history of allergies your dog may have, since many allergies affect the skin in the same way that scabies mites do. In fact, scabies in dogs is often misdiagnosed as an inhalant or other allergy.

Treating Canine Scabies

Lime sulfur dips and benzoyl peroxide shampoos are the most common treatments for scabies in dogs. Lime sulfur dips can be toxic and should not be used on very old or very young animals. Nor should they be used on animals weakened by illness. They should be used carefully, especially on sensitive areas like the face.

Selamectin and ivermectin, both used to treat parasitic infestations such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms, can also treat scabies in dogs. These drugs are applied topically or orally. You’ll also need to treat your dog’s bedding and environment with an insecticide like permethrin to prevent re-infestation.


What Is Scabies?

What Is Scabies?

Scabies is a skin condition caused by an infestation of the human itch mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. These microscopic mites burrow into the skin and cause symptoms of itching and rash.

How Do You Get Scabies?

Anyone can get scabies. It is found all over the world and the mite is transmitted by direct and prolonged skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. Sexual contact is the most common way scabies is transmitted. Transmission can also happen from parents to children, particularly mother-to-infant. The mite can only survive about 48 to 72 hours without human contact, so it is uncommon, though possible, for scabies to spread through infested bedding or furniture.

How Long Does Scabies Last?

Scabies mites can only live about 72 hours without human contact, but once on a person, the mites can live up to two months. Mites survive longer in colder conditions with higher humidity. Once on a person, mites can burrow into the skin, and symptoms usually begin three to six weeks after infestation.

Can You Catch Scabies from a Dog or Cat?

Animals do not spread the same types of mites that cause human scabies, so it is not possible to catch scabies from a dog or cat. The type of scabies that can infest pets is called «mange.» Mange mites can spread to humans and cause minor itching and redness, but those mites cannot survive or reproduce on human skin and will die out on their own, limiting symptoms in humans. People do not need to be treated if they come into contact with mange, but dogs and cats must be treated because mange can spread and cause fur loss, and scaly and itchy skin in pets.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Scabies?

Symptoms of scabies are usually itching (which tends to be more intense at night), and a pimple-like rash. Scabies rash can appear on any part of the body, but the most common sites are wrists, elbows, armpits, the skin between the fingers and toes and around the nails, and skin usually covered by clothing such as the buttocks, belt line, nipples, and penis. Infants and young children may have scabies rash on their head, face, neck, palms, and soles.

In some patients with weakened immune systems, scabies rash may become crusted.

What Do Scabies Look Like?

Scabies often looks like small red pimple-like bumps on the skin. The bumps may be crusty. They may also be accompanied by «burrows,» or thin gray, brown, or red lines that radiate from the bumps. They may be hard to see, and can look like scratch marks.

What Does a Scabies Infection Feel Like?

Scabies causes intense itching, often worst at night. The itching starts as a minor nuisance and progresses to a point where the infested person cannot sleep.

How Is Scabies Tested and Diagnosed?

Scabies is usually diagnosed by the patient’s history and a physical examination of the lesions (bumps). Other tests that may be done include:

  • Skin scraping to identify the mites or eggs
  • Dermoscopy, which uses a handheld dermoscope to allow closer visual examination of the skin to look for mites
  • Adhesive tape test in which a doctor uses strong adhesive tape applied to the skin lesions and then pulled off and viewed under a microscope to check for mites

Scabies Treatment: Cream Applications

There are no over-the-counter approved treatments for scabies. A doctor must prescribe treatment. A first-line treatment for scabies may involve a topical cream, such as permethrin (Elimite), which is applied directly to the skin, from the neck to the soles of the feet. It should be left on overnight and then washed off 8 to 14 hours later. Usually a second application after 1 to 2 weeks is recommended.

Other topical scabies treatments include crotamiton (Crotan, Eurax) cream or lotion, lindane (not usually used as a first-line treatment due to risk of seizures), sulfur ointment, and benzyl benzoate (not available in the United States).

Scabies Treatment: Oral Medication

In some cases, oral ivermectin may be used, particularly in cases where scabies covers a large part of the body and is crusted. It is also often used in settings such as nursing homes where there may be widespread outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a dose of 200 mcg/kg as a single dose, repeated in two weeks. The advantages of oral ivermectin are that it is easy to use and it does not cause related skin problems. However, oral ivermectin can cause unwanted side effects so it is not always the first choice treatment.

Scabies Treatment: Antihistamines

To get relief from the symptom of itching, some over-the-counter antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may help control the itch and allow sleep.

Scabies Treatment: Wash Linens and Bedclothes

Scabies mites do not survive more than 72 hours without human contact. It is usually sufficient to machine wash bed linens and clothing in hot water and dry on high heat, or have the items dry-cleaned. It is not necessary to have furniture or carpets cleaned as the mites will die off on their own in a few days without human contact.

Scabies Treatment: Additional Tips

Some additional ways you can treat scabies mites or prevent them from spreading include:

  • Make sure everyone who is in contact with the infested person is treated, particularly those who come in frequent, close contact with that person (i.e., sexual partners, people who live with the infested person, small children and infants cared for by an infested parent).
  • Keep fingernails and toenails well trimmed and clean of any mites or eggs.
  • Thoroughly vacuum carpets, furniture, and car interiors. Use extra caution vacuuming after someone who has crusted mites, as these are more contagious. Discard the vacuum cleaner bags or clear out the dirt receptacle when done.
  • Avoid scratching bumps or lesions.
  • Keep open sores clean.
  • Remember that once treatment starts it may still take a few days for itching and other symptoms to subside. If it does not go away, see a doctor.

Are Cases of Scabies Often Misdiagnosed?

Scabies can often resemble other skin conditions. It may look like small pimples, or mosquito bites. It may also look like eczema or tinea (ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch). It is important to see a doctor to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment.

In What Special Situations Can Scabies Be More Easily Spread?

Scabies may spread more easily in nursing homes and other extended-care facilities because of the close contact of residents and staff. Scabies mites can also more easily spread among people with compromised immune systems, such as people with HIV/AIDS, or cancer.

What Is “Norwegian Scabies”?

«Norwegian scabies» is another name for crusted scabies, which tends to occur more often in patients with compromised immune systems due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS or cancer, or in the elderly, and in patients with Down syndrome. Patients with crusted scabies have large numbers of scabies mites and are very contagious. It can affect any area of the body but the scalp, hands, and feet are most commonly affected. The scales become warty, with crusts and fissures. Lesions may have an unpleasant odor. Nails may be thick and discolored, and patients may or may not have symptoms of itching.


  1. Pixtal Images
  2. BigStock / Kelly Laurent
  3. MedicineNet
  4. Image courtesy of Wikipedia – Carol Dermoid
  5. Image reprinted with permission from eMedicine.com, 2009
  6. Image courtesy of Wikipedia – Michael Geary
  7. iStock / helenecanada
  8. iStock / beemore
  9. iStock / Impact Design Group
  10. iStock / Ducky’s Deluxe Business Cards
  11. iStock / eAlisa
  12. BigStock / Johanna Goodyear
  13. iStock / Dainis
    iStock / Daniel Krylov
  14. iStock / Captured by Jodi Jacobson
    iStock / Phil Puleo
    Image courtesy of Wikipedia – Sven Teschke
  15. iStock / helenecanada
  16. Image courtesy of Wikipedia – Ukster1
  • American Academy of Dermatology (AAD): «Scabies.»
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): «Scabies Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).»
  • UpToDate: «Scabies.»


Scabies (Mange) in Cats

Mange or scabies is a skin disease caused by a microscopic ectoparasite. It can affect a wide range of animal species, including human beings, and is found worldwide. It is spread through direct contact, and produces a series of symptoms which make this an easily recognisable disease, and it normally has an easy solution.

As soon as you notice your pet displaying any symptom you need to take them quickly to your trusted vet, so that the corresponding tests can be performed and it can be treated as soon as possible. In this AnimalWised article we will focus on the symptoms and treatment of scabies in cats.

What types of mange affect cats, and what parasites cause them?

The ectoparasites that cause mange are mites, of which there are several species and subspecies that can act in different ways. Some mites burrow into the skin of the affected animal and feed on them, whereas others stay on the surface of the skin and feed on keratin.

Taking domestic cats into question, you’ll find that the most common types of mange in cats are (from most common to least common):

  • Notoedric mange, caused by Notoedres Cati. It only occurs in cats.
  • Otodectic mange, or ear mange, caused by the Otodectes Cynotis mite. It usually occurs in cats, and occasionally in dogs.
  • Cheyletiella or ‘walking dandruff’ can be confused with dandruff, but if you look closely you’ll see how the mites move. It is caused by Cheyletiella Spp. It predominantly occurs in cats, and sometimes in dogs.
  • Demodectic mange, caused by Demodex cati. It is mainly found in dogs (Demodex canis), but can occasionally affect cats.

Are any breeds particularly prone to this disease?

The answer is that no breeds have a greater propensity to contracting mange. As such, domestic cats of all breeds and ages can get mange when it is not predicted or treated.


Mange is always spread through direct contact with another animal infected with the mites that cause it, or even with objects that such animal can touch or use. As such, you need to pay close attention to the contact your cat may have with other animals that might be susceptible to carrying the disease; either because they live both inside and outside the home (they’re in contact with the exterior) or because you’ve got an animal that already has the disease under the same roof.

If you notice that one of your animals has mange, you should separate the affected animal from the rest and start treatment (prescribed by the veterinarian), making sure that none of their garments or objects make their way to your other animals. You should also disinfect beds, food bowls, blankets and toys that may have been infested with mites.

Humans are rarely infected by this type of mange. The one exception is cheyletiella, which can infect human beings albeit temporarily.


As there are different types of mange produced by different types of mites, the symptoms can be very different. However, the most common and easily recognisable symptoms of mange in cats are the following:

  • Restlessness. Your pet can’t keep still or lie down to rest as a result of the discomfort caused by mites.
  • Excess stinging, especially on the head and ears; the areas which mange attacks most. This stinging leads to abundantscratching and licking of the affected areas.
  • Hair loss in affected areas.
  • Redness of the skin and inflammation of the affected area, in addition to eczema and peeling of the affected skin.
  • Wounds and scabs. The pet’s uncontrollable scratching and licking can cause wounds and scabs that can become easily infected. As such, it is very important to follow the treatment given to you by the vet.
  • In the case of ear mange, which affects the inner ear, you’ll find an excess ofdark earwax that can cause otitis. In extreme cases which spiral out of control, it can cause ear bleeding and a perforated ear drum.

Prevention and Treatment

You can get hold of different products from specialist shops or veterinary centres as forms of prevention against (and treatment for) many types of ectoparasites or external parasites. Some of these products are:

  • Pipette or spot-on. Applied externally. It is usually applied on a monthly basis, but you should follow the instructions written on each product’s information pamphlet.
  • Pills, tablets, capsules and pastes. Internal treatment may be a combination against ectoparasites and endoparasites.
  • Injectables.
  • Shampoos, aerosols, sprays, powders, eardrops, etc. Some products are: Sentry HC Earmite Free, Mita-Clear, etc. It is important to stress that the treatment collars used against parasites such as ticks and fleas do not usually work against mites. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the product you buy acts against mites, it you are wanting to prevent or treat mange.

A vet should oversee the prevention process and treatment of mange. Tests need to be performed which determine the type of mange and the degree of severity, in order to decide on the most effective course of treatment to get rid of it, whilst not being too aggressive for your cat.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Scabies (Mange) in Cats, we recommend you visit our Parasitic diseases category.


Signs and Symptoms of Scabies (Sarcoptic Mange) in Dogs & Treatment Options

January 20th, 2015 | Posted in General

The disease, scabies, is caused by a contagious mite. This mite is found on domestic and wild dogs or canids (coyotes, wolves and red foxes). Mites most often are transmitted through intimate or close contact such as in doggie daycares, grooming parlors, or dog parks. The mite survives only short periods in the environment although some dogs may pick it up in this way. The scabies mite is NOT caused by bad hygiene. Sometimes the cause may not be obvious.

Dogs who become infected with this mite become severely itchy! The itching may be near constant and interfere with your dog’s sleeping and eating habits. You may notice a very fine rash or just the itching at first. Over time the skin becomes very red, there is hair loss and flaking skin. Areas where hair is thinner (ears, elbows, ankles, belly) tend to be the most severely affected. However, some dogs may have a different pattern or no symptoms at all.

The severe itch from scabies is believed to be a hypersensitivity or allergic reaction to the mite. The number of mites on a dog at any given time is very small. We try to find the mite with skin scraping which is the best available technique. However, the mite is found less than 50% of the time because they are so few in number.

Treatment Options for Scabies (Sarcoptic Mange)

Although the mite is very hard to find fortunately it typically responds very well to treatment. There are several different treatment options available. Occasionally, we need to try more than one treatment for optimal results.

Since the mite is contagious to other dogs, you should not allow your dog to play with other dogs or be boarded until treatment is complete. If your dog has frequent contact with another dog they should be treated even if they do not have symptoms.

The mite is mildly contagious to human beings. A small number (between 10-20%) of people may develop a red rash on their forearms, ankles or waistband. This will resolve when your pet is treated. However, if you are uncomfortable from the itchiness please consult your physician. Human beings can develop their own unique form of scabies which is transmitted through close person to person contact. Humans are a ‘dead end’ for dog scabies mites. The mites do not reproduce and do not cause active infection. When humans catch scabies from another person these cases will require treatment prescribed by a physician.

Because the scabies mite does not survive very well in the environment extensive decontamination of the home is not necessary. However, any bedding or blanket that is used by your pet for sleeping should be laundered with hot water and detergent. You may want to clean any furniture your dog spends a lot of time on. It is possible to become re-infected from scabies but this is usually not from a failure to treat the home. It is just commonly present in the world of a dog.

Although dogs with scabies are some of the most severely affected dogs we see they usually make a complete recovery with treatment for the mite as well as any infections they may have developed.


Dog Scabies, What Does Scabies Look Like, Home Remedy, Pictures of Scabies Rash

Dog Scabies

Dog scabies, what is is it and what does it look like?

To answer this question we have provided lots of pictures of scabies and it’s infection and rash on dogs and humans, it’s causes, symptoms, a home remedy treatment, and advice on the best medication for the mites to kill the infection…

But not only for your dog but home remedies and medication for treating the scabies rash on children and adults too…Phew!

Sometimes you need more than words, as a picture can tell you allot more!

Defendex Scabies Treatment

Have you considered purchasing Defendex natural Scabies treatment. It’s recommended by Vets too. Read some of the testimonials from happy customers.

“With two shampoos the symptoms of mange were gone!”

“I was at wit’s end using every over the counter shampoo for the symptoms and relief of what I thought was fleas. I was told my Pug probably had mange and ordered Defendex. With two shampoos the symptoms of mange were gone, my Pug’s hair has grown back in three weeks and she is happy and playful instead of miserable and scratching. Thank you!”

– Mark K, California 08/16/11

“I’m recommending this to everyone. My vet loves it too.”

“Buddy, my British bulldog, had rampant sarcoptic mange and at 16 weeks, after a rescue and twice weekly treatment made little improvement, Defendex saved him. Now almost a year later Daisy Mae is almost 15 weeks. We rescued her at 3 weeks… Her skin is very reactive. I’m recommending this to everyone. My vet loves it too.”

– Sue C, Alabama 4/19/11

Defendex Pet Shampoo – $27.00
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from: Vetionx – Treatment for Scabies and Mange.

The Facts about Mange

Cause of this Dog Skin Infection

  • Dog scabies is caused by dog mites, but specifically by the mite known as Sarcoptes Scabiei.
  • The dog skin infection is very contagious and can also be caught by humans. It’s common name is mange and it is devastating for dogs, it is also known as sarcoptic mange.
  • The symptoms of the disease are extreme and will cause your dog to franticly itch and scratch.
  • The mites will burrow under your dogs skin especially around your dog’s face and neck.
  • The blood will release a clear serum around the areas where the mites have burrowed under the skin which will cause nasty scabs.
  • This infection is often carried by one dog to another and then also to humans that come into contact with the infection.
  • The mites have suctorial cups or claw like hooks on their legs that enable them to attach themselves to their specific host.
  • The nasty little mite is able to live on it’s host for anything up to 21 days without feeding. Consequently it is possible to find the mites anywhere in the House, including the carpet, combs, bedding anywhere that hasn’t been treated with an insecticide to kill the mites.

The Symptoms of Dog Scabies

  • Loss of hair, during the initial stages hair will begin to fall out around the ears, elbows, face and legs.
  • Loss of hair in the later stages will affect the whole body.
  • Extreme and frantic itching and scratching.
  • The skin may begin to become crusty and form scabs.
  • Your dog may become restless and listless.

The Life Cycle of The Mites

  • The Sarcoptes scabei mites that cause the scabies or mange will begin on your dog’s skin and will then breed in small areas near the dogs skin surface.
  • The mites will live and feed on living cells and fluid from the skin.
  • The male mite will die soon after it has bred with the female.
  • The female mite will then burrow into your dog’s or even your skin depositing eggs in the tunnel that she leaves as she burrows through the skin, she will the die after laying the eggs.
  • The eggs or larvae are cream or white in color and they will hatch on the host after about 3-10 days.
  • The larvae will move and live around the skin surface before they hatch into nymphs, which also feed on living cells and skin fluid.
  • After the nymph stage the mites will become adults after about two weeks.
  • The adult mites will live for about 4 weeks on their host.

We hope you found this page helpful on the life cycle, symptoms and cause of dog scabies.


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