DEMODEX: Your Six Step Guide to Beating it

Here's the Secret Sauce:bath-time1.jpg

Demodectic mange mites are a special kind of misery. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether it’s harder on the dog or the owner. You must be frustrated — we were! But please understand, getting rid of Demodectic mange (Demodex) for good can’t be simplified into a one-hit-wonder. It’s a pity that it is not widely taught that there’s more to winning the war than killing mites. That’s why we wrote this — to help you succeed.

Your dog’s mange is not a random occurrence nor was it caught somehow. Demodex 100% caused by underlying internal problems. Correcting them is the only way that long-term resolution is possible. Below is our structured holistic program that addresses the big picture. These are the core steps that have helped thousands of dogs get healthy again, and even saved some “incurables” from being put down.

All of these steps are essential! They work together holistically. You can add to them, but nothing can be taken away.

  1. Flush your dog’s skin with benzoyl peroxide shampoo.
    Bathe your dog with a 2½ to 3% benzoyl peroxide pet shampoo immediately before every Mite Avenge treatment to flush and open the skin. Additional flushing baths are fine and can be done as often as daily if desired. Demodex mites are coated in thick sticky sebum and further protect themselves by creating barriers out of waste, detritus, and oils that oxidize into brick-like blockages. Benzoyl peroxide shampoo is the only thing known to cut through the gunk. It works somewhat like peeling back the layers of an onion, as regular use gradually chips away at the layers of obstructions that protect the parasites, which can be at least 5–6 layers down. The optimal technique for flushing out debris and mites can be found here.
  2. Apply Mite Avenge immediately after shampooing. The treatment schedule for Demodex is twice a week. Treating more often is fine but treating less often is not. Infrequent or inconsistent treatment encourages mite migration, reverses the progress made clearing out follicles, slows recovery by killing fewer mites, and allows more eggs to be laid. Additional Mite Avenge applications can be done as often as daily if desired. Continue treating with Mite Avenge until the skin returns to its normal healthy condition and hair has regrown. That’s your sign that the overpopulation of mature mites is under control. Then continue treatments for four more weeks to wipe out the nymphs that will continue hatching. A common cause for recurrence is stopping treatments prematurely. Demodex repopulate quickly and the tough ones die last, so people who cease treatment prematurely or have not fully corrected the underlying causes often end up worse off than they started.
  3. Repair and restore immune health. Behind every case of Demodectic mange is a naturally weak or compromised immune system. In turn, yeast issues inevitably follow. Your dog may not show outward symptoms but make no mistake, both are present. These conditions do not self-repair and may continue to decline because of the immuno-suppressive properties of yeast and mites. You can’t turn things around until you resolve these problems. This means you must provide extreme support to the four areas of the immune system that most affect Demodex. To understand what your dog is going through and what you can do about it, give the Immune Pillars section on our site a quick read. Should you need them, our online store has a great selection of carefully vetted immune support products. They can be purchased individually or in pre-selected bundles designed to give as much benefit possible in each price point.
  4. De-yeast your dog daily. Yeast is the mites’ primary food supply. It also attacks the immune system, causes painful irritation, odor, infection, and loads of other problems. It is a powerful enemy that must be attacked from both the inside and out. Diluted povidone iodine wipe-downs and paw dunks daily (twice a day in advanced cases) are the best form of external de-yeasting. Detailed instructions on these easy procedures are available on the povidone iodine page in our online store. Internal yeast control includes digestive tract restoration, and anti-fungal supplements, and anti-yeast foods. In-depth information can be found under the Immune Pillars tab on our website.
  5. Fix the diet. Eliminate all sugars, wheat, corn, and other grains from your pet’s diet. Ditto for placeholder fillers, junk additives and high carbohydrate ingredients. These substances increase the mites’ food supply, displace much-needed nutrients, and create internal problems that undermine your dog’s recovery. It is widely accepted that a species-appropriate raw diet is best but if that is not possible, feed a high quality, balanced, grain-free food made from natural ingredients and is low in carbohydrates. (For example, brown rice and legumes are preferable to potatoes and white rice).  
  6. Limit all stress. Physiological and emotional stress are terribly damaging to immune health. Many of our customers can attribute the onset of the disease, or a treatment setback, to stress. Whenever possible avoid travel, stressful situations, sudden changes, vaccinations, and medical procedures. Natural calming remedies can be helpful when your pet becomes anxious, or prior to any situation that may cause them stress. Make sure your dog gets regular exercise and lots of rest too.

Important bonus tips:

  • Brush your dog daily! This increases circulation and helps remove yeast flakes, surface detritus, and excess hair. These add to the mites’ food supply, harbor yeast and bacteria, and congest the skin. The simple act of gentle daily brushing is a powerful one-two punch for skin health and can also help reduce itching. Use a tool that effectively exfoliates and stimulates the skin, yet won’t damage or cause additional irritation with daily use. If you don’t have something already, consider our Furminator.
  • After treatment is complete, continue brushing daily and examine the skin closely for signs of yeast buildup or mange symptoms. These are indicators that the dog’s immune system isn’t strong enough to keep things under control on its own yet. If you see symptoms reappear, get back on the full 6-step program before things spiral out of control again.

It’s important to accept that this is a process that takes time. You have committed to a far safer approach than chemical options but the journey can ebb and flow depending on the conditions of the underlying causes and other life changes. In addition to this primer, our blog has in-depth articles on the disease’s underlying causes, what to expect when treating mange, immune support, Frito feet and many other great topics.

And that's it, good luck! You can do this. We'll be here with you every step of the way.