Demodex mange, also known as demodectic mange, is caused by microscopic mites called demodex canis that appear naturally on a dog's skin but can cause hair loss, itching, rashes and infections if present in large quantities or if a dog's immune system is weak. While there are numerous over-the-counter treatments for demodex, many owners prefer to use a natural, holistic approach.
Neem oil is an essential oil pressed from the seeds and fruits of an evergreen tree native to India known as the neem. Neem oil contains a steroid and has numerous holistic uses, one of which is as an anti-parasitic when applied directly to an affected area. The neem leaves may be made into a tea for a dog, while a shampoo containing neem can be used to soothe a dog's irritated skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may also relieve demodex in dogs when given to dogs orally through their drinking water or applied topically in a diluted 50-50 mixture of water and vinegar.
Vitamins and Supplements
Vitamins and supplements that contribute to a healthy coat and skin in dogs are vitamin E, vitamin C and fish oil. These can be found in any health food store and most grocery stores, and can be given orally; vitamin E capsules can also be opened and the oil applied directly to the skin.
Garlic has long been known to have antibacterial properties and has the added benefit of repelling insects and parasites, thereby making garlic oil a formidable holistic remedy for demodex. Not only will it repel any new mites, mosquitoes or other insects from sore and raw spots, but it also adds an antibacterial layer to ward against infection. Garlic oil may be diluted with water, added to a cotton ball and applied topically to affected areas.
Borax and Peroxide
A stronger holistic remedy, according to Earth Clinic's pet section, is a solution of hydrogen peroxide, water and borax dissolved thoroughly. This mixture is painless when applied topically to the affected area and calls for 500 cc of 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide, 100 cc water, plus 3 heaping tbsp borax. The treatment is meant to be used daily by saturating the afflicted area, without rinsing, for up to two months.