Grooming and parasites

Skin problems in dogs

Skin problems in dogs

What are the various skin problems in dogs?

Skin problems in dogs are one of the most common health issues and have a variety of causes. It is normal for your dog to itch occasionally but if you notice it biting itself and incessantly scratching itself, then it may be a symptom of an underlying skin problem. If this is the case, then it is very important to get your dog checked by the vet to rule out any skin problems. Like human skin, a dog’s skin is also allergic to certain substances, soaps or agents. Various skin problems in dogs are -

  • Skin Sores
  • Skin sores or lesions
  • Dry skin or flaky skin
  • Rashes
  • Lumps
  • Redness
  • Dandruff
  • Bumps
  • Excessive itching
  • Excessive licking
  • Excessive scratching
  • Hair loss or bald patches
  • Hot spots of inflamed skin (also known as acute moist dermatitis)

Importance of preventing skin diseases

Skin diseases are most common reasons why dogs are taken to the vet to seek treatment. But their skin problems are often ignored as they are not as easy to identify. The skin acts as a barrier and does not allow the infection to spread to the other vital organs of the body which could cause more damage. Therefore, pet dermatology is an essential step towards taking care of your dog.

At what age skin issues are to be expected?

Allergic skin infections usually occur when the dog is between six months to 3 years of age. But skin diseases can start at any age in dogs.

Types of skin diseases in dogs

Here are some of the most common types of skin diseases in dogs that you should be aware of:

  • Environmental Allergies

    - This skin infection is known as atopy wherein the dog’s skin feels irritated and itchy. Grass, dust mites and pollen are the common causes of environmental allergies. Severe allergies need shampoos, tablets, and injections to treat the dog’s skin. New drugs have also been introduced over the years to cure environmental allergies.
  • Food Allergies

    - If the dog keeps scratching its face, feet, ears, and anus, then it might be an indication that the dog has developed a food allergy. Food allergies in dogs are a result of the kind of food it consumes. Some dogs might be allergic to the protein found in beef, eggs, chicken, dairy, wheat or even vegetables. The vet generally asks to eliminate certain foods for over the course of 8-12 weeks to determine the cause of the allergy and prescribes the appropriate treatment plan.
  • Folliculitis

    - Folliculitis is a condition in which the dog’s hair follicles become inflamed and it occurs when the dog is already experiencing a type of skin infection. It is recognised as sores, bumps and scabs on the dog’s coat. The vet may prescribe suitable shampoos, oral antibiotics, and antibacterial ointments to treat the infection.
  • Impetigo

    - Puppies are easy prey to this skin infection. Impetigo is identified as blisters on the pup’s belly that can burst and scab. Antibiotics are prescribed by the vet to treat Impetigo.
  • Ringworm

    - This is one of the most serious types of skin infections and can easily spread to other animals and humans. Ringworm infection is identified as crusty, circular patches observed on the dog’s head, paws, ears and front legs. You must see the vet as soon as possible, who may prescribe a topical treatment to fight the fungus.
  • Yeast Infections

    - This infection occurs in the warm parts of the dog’s body like the ear canal, between the dog’s toe, groin, and perineum. This infection thickens the infected skin, making the dog want to keep biting and scratching the area. The vet may write down topical creams, body washes, and tablets to treat yeast infections.
  • Ticks and Fleas

    - Ticks and fleas are a nuisance to dogs as they stick to their skin and suck their blood. In the process, the fleas’ saliva penetrates the dog’s skin, causing irritation and itching. The infection is identified when the dog’s skin becomes red and inflamed. Fleas and ticks often take residence in the dog’s bedding. Therefore, it is extremely important to regularly wash and keep the bedding clean.
  • Mange

    - Mange is caused by the different species of mites that live on the dog’s skin. This can only be identified by the vet who looks at the infected part of the skin under the microscope. The vet may prescribe tablets and dedicated shampoos to fight the infection.
  • Dandruff

    - Dandruff is not just a cause of concern to humans but dogs as well. Dandruff and dry skin are a sign of hidden skin disease. Normally, shampoos are prescribed by the vet to clean the dandruff, but they might also check for any underlying infection.
  • Lupus

    - This is an autoimmune disease which means that the dog’s immune system attacks its cells. Open and crusty skin sores are the symptoms of lupus and such texture of the skin is found in nose, eyes and paws. Lupus can get serious if left untreated. So, make sure you speak to your vet and find out if your dog has any serious skin condition.

Curable and incurable dog skin diseases

Skin diseases in dogs are classified into 2 categories namely - curable and incurable. Tests are conducted to rule out which category does your dog’s disease falls in. Take a look at the table below to know more details:

Curable skin diseases

Incurable skin diseases

Bacterial Dermatitis


Malassezia (yeast) infections

Cushing's disease (adrenal gland disorder)

Fungal (ringworm) infections






Basic methods to cure dog skin problems

Here are some of the home remedies and skin disease treatments for dogs that you can try:

  • Baths with oatmeal

    - Take some oatmeal and blend it into a fine powder in a blender. Add that powder to the warm water you are going to use to bathe your dog. Make sure the water is not too hot but feels comfortable to your dog. Also, it is advisable to use unsugared oatmeal for this purpose.
  • Medicated Shampoos

    - These shampoos are made specially to cure skin diseases in dogs. They have drying agents or antiseptics that help in cleaning, drying and reducing itching around the wound.
  • Fat-Free Yoghurt

    - Fat-free yoghurt helps in building your dog’s immunity against skin infections. This also helps in soothing the skin affected by yeast infection. A teaspoon or two every day is enough to provide the necessary relief. You may also try probiotic-fortified foods if your dog does not like yoghurt.
  • Vitamin E Oil

    - This filled with goodness oil helps in skin repair which is needed most during skin infections. It helps heal the skin faster and soothes the skin with its moisturizing nature.
  • Antihistamine

    – This is a drug that helps with excessive itching. Its side effect is that it is a sedative that makes your dog fall asleep.

Frequently Asked Questions Skin Problems in Dogs

How Do You Treat a Dog With Skin Problems?

If your dog is diagnosed with skin problems, the best way to help it recover is by following the vet’s treatment plan. Other home remedies like the application of Vitamin E oil, including fat-free yoghurt and bathing your dog with oatmeal can also be useful in treating skin problems.

What is the Most Common Skin Disease in Dogs?

What Does Dermatitis Look Like in Dogs?

Are Skin Diseases in Dogs Critical?

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