Debra Lynn Dadd

Dog Skin Issues/Demodex


I am a long time fan of your books and greatly appreciate the blog.

We recently obtained a short haired dog from a rescue organization. She is probably about 1 1/2 to 2 years old. It is my understanding that when she was recued from a shelter in March, that she had no skin/coat issues. This evidently began to develop in late summer and she was diagnosed with Demodetic Mange, which is not contagious....being an overgrowth of the skin mites, usually due to stress or other health issues....rather like I would think of a yeast infection for us. We adopted her around Christmas, and she was still being treated with a good degree of success. They were doing an alternate method of Ivermectin and Mitiban dip. Our vet has continued the treatment with Ivermectin but not the toxic dip. However, Ivermectin, which is a heartworm/parasite type treatment, is not something I care to give long term.

We have her on a premium dog food, and I am adding some cooked chicken and rice and carrots, to help try to build her up. Do you have any natural, non-toxic suggestions for skin ointments or dips or other supplements that might help? Our vet has suggested fish oil, which I am about to purchase.

Thank you very much for any assistance.


POSTED BY CC :: TEXAS USA :: 02/21/2008 4:47 AM


I don't have any experience with dogs.

Readers? Any suggestions?

Debra :-)


I too had a dog with Demodex mange, a stray who showed up at my house and we took him in. Usually a dog has this because he has a weakened immune system and cannot keep the mites in low numbers. By the way, it is my understanding that people also have this mite in the eyebrows and creases of the nose; however, our immune systems can keep them at bay. I too gave my dog Iveomectin, and made home prepared meals for him. Three years later he developed a tumor on his rib cage and died 5 months later. I feel in my heart that the ivomectin contributed to the cancer, and that I should have tried to wean him off of it gradually. I guess you could try to decrease gradually how often you dose your dog until you can find the lowest dose , the least number of times per month to keep the mites at bay. Also, in hindsight, I wish I had put my dog on a raw food diet (called the BARF diet). Dogs are not designed to eat grains and because grains are carbohydrates, they can contribute to health problems like skin allergies and even cancer.I would feed, as I do now for my Lab, raw meaty bones, raw egg, ground up kale, carrots, sprouts, apple, and raw yougurt if you can source it. I also give a teaspoon daily of Carlson's cod liver oil. For breakfast my dog gets raw yogurt, raw almond butter, coconut oil, a smidgen of raw honey, unfiltered, and a raw egg, and half a banana mashed up. She adores it. The point is to get the best food possibel into your dog to build up her immune system. I also give my dog Bach's Rescue Remedy for mental (less stress) balance. I'm not sure if you can give a dog echinnacea, but I woulod research it--great immune system booster. Good luck to you--it is not the easiest road to deal with demodex mange.

POSTED BY TAMMY :: GEORGIA USA :: 02/27/2008 11:02 AM

We also have a rescue dog, part labrador. While not having a skin disease, Maggie shed terrifically and her former owners wouldn't allow her in the house. We prefer that our dogs live with us so, in looking for solutions I tried putting her on vit. B complex (25 mg),Omega 3-6-9 essential fatty acids and all natural foods. I would say this reduced the problem about 75%. Dogs we have had in the past all had some sort of skin problems. For hotspots it turned out to be from a corn allergy. I've learned that commercial pet food just isn't all that nutritious, so if you can find one of those new pet stores that have canned & dried food only from natural sources, our dogs always do much better on that.


YES! I have six poodles, so lots of experience with all sorts of things. We used to have hoardes of problems, ranging from dental to skin to an inflamed stomach. All of those went away as soon as we moved from kibble to raw food. I actually wrote an article about how I feed my pups.

Basically, the kibble gives no nutritional value (save the "crude protien" amount) - it just fills the hole, then they pooh it back out. I like to give flax oil when there's any type of skin problems and I just buy the veggie tab pill form type and hand it to them - they LOVE it. The first couple of times, I had to put a pin in the end of the pill so the oil would come out just a little bit, but then they got the idea and just gobbled the pill down. :)


Try one tablespoon of flax seed oil added to homemade food. Great for skin conditions. Also, even premium brand dog foods are processed. Get a book called Barker's Grub by Rudy Edalati. She has time-tested dog recipes which I have used on my rescued dog for 4 years and he is healthy. Good luck.


I have a short haired chihuahua that has a skin problem and I'm not sure how to fix it. I feed only meaty bones, raw food mixed with kelp and shredded carrot &/or greens like parsley or lettuce, and dry bicuits which are not artificially flavoured, coloured or contain GMO's. Her skin feels greasy, is smelly, and she scratches herself raw at times. I suspect she has a flea allergy too. She has not been immunised for anything, as I believe in Nature Rearing, and will use colloidal silver in the drinking water if there could be a problem. (E.g. my puppy contracted Parvovirus, which is very contagious, but with natural treatment recovered fast, and none of my 4 other dogs got it.) Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might be the problem, and how to address it?


Re dog with demodex and skin problems:
I am in S Ontario, Canada and my dog is an almost 14 yr old Airedale Terrier who's had lifelong food allergy and skin problems which I had managed to keep under control but not eliminate with diet and supplements until about six months ago. Robert McDowell is a Master Herbalist in Australia and I recently consulted online and the herbal preparations they sent have been REALLY helping my old lad. He's been raw-fed the last year or so but has always had a variety of nutritional supplements that research indicated help his condition however Mr McDowell felt that a blood cleanser was needed to clear out accumulated toxins from vaccinations, the rare medications he's had, envirnmental toxins and the commercial food he used to get, etc etc. He also sent stuff to calm his skin in the form of oral drops and a topical cream, also a heart tonic as he has a Gr 3 murmur from mitral valve disease. It's amazing the difference in him that is emerging!
Hope this helps!


Hi Debra
My 15 pound rat terrier, who is now almost 6 years old, had demodex mange when she was a pup--vet said because she was weaned too young and her immune system didn't develop. We fed her supplements and raw food plus high-end kibble, but what finally turned the tide was olive oil mixed with powdered sulfur. We put that onto the itchy spots in a paste form and covered it--she actually wore a tight fitting t-shirt so she couldn't lick it or scratch the spots bloody. We also bathed her in a shampoo from Nature's Sunshine Products that contained paw paw. Evidently it isn't made anymore, but you can add paw paw to shampoo and allow it to sit on the dog for 10 minutes. That is also good for fleas.
Good luck.
Nancy A


If you haven't already tried it, I would recommend giving probiotics, especially if the dog has ever been of antibiotics. Apart from improving digestion and absorption of nutrients, it has also been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system in humans. You could either use a high quality brand for humans in a lower dose or one made for animals. I have used a human-grade product on my cat with good effect.


I had skin problems with my westies, feeding raw food but found that some of the itching was coming from too much fish oil irrating the skin. I cut it out and just fed the premade raw diet and all her raw spots from scratching have diappeared.

POSTED BY RJK :: TX USA :: 08/05/2008 10:21 AM


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