Scabies Rash in Dogs

Scabies rash is one of the symptoms of sarcoptic mange or scabies in dogs. Sarcoptic mange is a skin disease that afflicts dogs and is caused by an oval shaped, light colored, microscopic mite called Sarcoptes scabei. This mite burrows deep in the skin and causes this extremely itchy skin disease in pets.

Scabies in Dogs

Scabies is a skin disease that’s extremely contagious and caused by mites that have a lifecycle of 21 days. If the disease is untreated, these mites can spread to other parts of the dog’s body where their lifecycle can be longer than 21 days. The infestation of mites is spread from dog to dog by direct contact.

To treat your infected pet, it’s essential to remove the mites from his skin. Dogs of all ages and breeds, and both sexes can get infected by this mite. Pets housed in kennels or shelters, outdoor dogs and pets that have frequent contact with other dogs are more prone to this infection.

Symptoms of Scabies in Dogs:

  • Skin rash
  • Reddened, irritated and inflamed skin
  • Lesions that are red and crusty and appear on the infected pet’s ears, elbows, genitals and torso
  • Itchiness
  • Red bumps that form a crust upon scratching
  • Infections due to constant itching
  • Loss of hair
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Loss of weight

Diagnosis of Scabies Rash in Dogs

A medical history, physical examination and an evaluation of the life style of the pet can indicate whether canine scabies is the cause for the skin lesions and rashes. Skin scrapings aren’t very reliable as even a small number of sarcoptic mites can cause a severe infection even though their presence might go undetected through skin scrapings. Skin biopsies also give false negative results and aren’t reliable.

Vets often resort to a trial treatment when confronted with symptoms such as hair loss, skin rashes and lesions. Since treatment of scabies is generally successful, a course of 2 to 4 weeks is sufficient to provide confirmation that the condition is indeed caused by scabies mites.

Treatment of Scabies Rash in Dogs

There are several treatments that are effective in ridding dogs of the mites responsible for canine scabies. Keeping the environment clean, clipping your pet’s hair and shampooing his hair with benzoyl peroxide shampoo are ways to remove the mites from his skin. Amitraz and Mitaban dips are good treatment options. Lime sulfur dips are also effective when used appropriately. Dogs should be dipped several times every 2 weeks for the treatment to be effective.

However, very young or old dogs and sick pets shouldn’t be treated in this manner as dips can be toxic. There are several topical solutions such as Selamectin, Interceptor and liquid Ivermectin that help you control scabies in your pet. Medications in tablet form are also available. Dogs can also contract bacterial or yeast infections as a result of excessive scratching and should be treated for these as well.


All dogs living under the same roof should be treated along with the infected pet. Keep your pet away from areas where there are large dog populations. Clean your pet’s bedding and the interior of the house. Also ensure that your immediate neighboring environment is clean and get rid of any trash that’s lying about.

It’s important that you feed your pet a healthy and nutritious diet as a weakened immune system can make him susceptible to opportunistic infections. Cleanliness is also vital in the prevention of scabies.