Skin Problems in Dogs

skin problems

What are the various skin problems in dogs? 

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

  • Skin sores
  • Skin lesions
  • Dry 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 one of the most common reasons why dogs are taken to the vet. But their skin problems are often ignored as they are not all that 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 dog skin diseases and issues are to be expected?

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

Types of dog skin diseases

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 and sees the dog’s skin feel irritated and itchy. Grass, dust mites, and pollen are common causes of environmental allergies and can lead to symptoms like dog skin itching. 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 may generally ask you to eliminate certain foods over the course of 8-12 weeks to determine the cause of the allergy and accordingly prescribe 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 by the appearance of 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 an 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 prescribe 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 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 known symptoms of lupus and such texture of the skin is found on the nose, eyes, and paws. Lupus can get serious if left untreated.

Curable and incurable dog skin diseases

Skin diseases in dogs are classified into two categories--curable and incurable. 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






Methods to cure dog skin problems

Here are some home remedies and skin disease treatments for dogs that you can try as a pet parent:

  • 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 oatmeal with no added sugar 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 the itching sensation 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 oil helps in skin repair which is needed most during skin infections. It also heals and soothes the skin faster its moisturising properties.

  • Antihistamine

    This is a drug that helps with excessive itching. An important side effect is that it is a sedative which will make your dog fall asleep.

FAQs on 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. Home remedies like the application of Vitamin E oil, application of 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?

What causes dog skin itching?

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