Your Guide to Common Skin Problems in Dogs

Ask any vet and they’ll tell you that skin conditions are one of the most common reasons owners seek treatment for their dogs. Problems tend to happen more during the warmer seasons when allergies are more likely.

Common skin problems in dogs can also be a signal of an underlying health condition. Read on to find out why it’s always important to seek the advice of a qualified vet about a skin issue before complications set in.

Recognizing Dog Skin Conditions

Itching is one of the most obvious signs that your dog may have a skin condition. It is quite normal for a dog to itch from time to time. Frequent or long periods of itching could mean something more serious going on.

Dogs relieve itchiness by rubbing their heads against an object. They may also scratch irritated areas with their paws. You might also notice your dog licking their paws to relieve irritated skin. Here are some other signs to look out for:

  • Patches of dry skin
  • Sores, rashes, bumps, lumps, and redness
  • Excess dandruff or hair loss

You may observe that your dog itches following mealtimes, during a certain season, or after cleaning the house. These could be warnings of underlying atopic dermatitis or a skin allergy. 

Other common kinds of dog skin conditions include bacterial and fungal infections as well as allergies to parasites. Here’s the lowdown on some of all these types of conditions:

1. Environmental Allergies

Typical allergens for dogs are pollen, grass, and dust mites. Any of these can trigger itching when your dog comes into contact with them. We call this kind of condition in dogs “atopy.”  

Your vet can carry out a blood test to help diagnose your pet’s reactions. In severe cases, you may need to use a specialist shampoo or administer tablets. Sometimes your vet might recommend an injection to treat the allergy.

2. Food Allergies

If your dog continually itches their face, feet, ears, or anus, it could mean they have a food allergy. Allergies can develop from eating certain proteins found in dairy products, eggs, or meat. Dogs can also become allergic to wheat and vegetables.

Your dog may need to go through a dietary elimination process. This can take 2-3 months but your vet will let you know how best to carry it out so that they can prescribe the right treatment.

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3. Folliculitis

This is an infection caused by inflamed hair follicles. It can be the result of another skin condition like mange. You’ll be able to tell if your dog is suffering from this condition from any sores, bumps, and scabs that appear on the skin. 

Your vet may prescribe a specialist shampoo, a course of antibiotics, or an antibacterial ointment.

4. Impetigo

Puppies are most likely to get impetigo, a bacterial skin infection. Impetigo can also indicate an underlying skin condition. Lesions may appear on the dog’s stomach as blisters. These can burst and then form a scab.

Your vet will typically prescribe antibiotics and may carry out further tests to rule out other issues.

5. Ringworm

This is actually a fungus and is highly contagious to other animals and humans. The infection starts out as circular, crusty bald patches. You will typically find these on a dog’s head, ears, paws, and front legs. 

Because the condition is so infectious, it’s vital to contact your vet immediately if you spot any signs of irritation. There is a topical treatment that can kill off the fungus and stop it from spreading.

6. Yeast Infections

Warm areas on a dog’s body such as between your dog’s toe, groin, and perineum are where yeast infections have a habit of breaking out. 

When there is a yeast infection, you might notice a thickening and discoloration of the skin. The condition tends to have a nasty smell. Your vet can prescribe topical creams, washes, and tablets.

7. Ticks and Fleas

When fleas bite their saliva can cause an allergic reaction. That can be very itchy indeed. Dogs will scratch profusely, sometimes so hard that their fur can fall out in patches.

Fleas can survive outside the body on things like carpets or bedding. Ensure that you vacuum and clean your pet’s bed regularly. Discuss preventative treatments with your vet.

8. Mange

This is a severe skin condition. There are 2 main kinds of mange: 

  • The Demodex mite causes one of them and mainly affects young and older dogs 
  • Sarcoptes mites cause the other type of mange that is first apparent in the ears

Other signs of mange include:

  • Hair loss on the face and legs
  • Severe itching and redness around the affected areas

If you suspect your dog has mange, wash their bedding and ensure other animals avoid contact with them. Treatments include tablets and specialist shampoos.

Diagnosing Common Skin Problems in Dogs

You should always check your dog’s skin regularly. Leaving common skin problems in dogs for too long can cause unnecessary complications and expense.

If you need reassurance about your dog’s skin condition, contact us now for immediate online access to a qualified vet. For further peace of mind, we can offer straightforward, hassle-free, pet insurance for your dog and other pets.

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