• Shelley Beyer

Canine Skin Problems and Solutions


Are you worried that your dog might have a skin problem? Skin problems are one of the top concerns dog owners bring to their veterinarians. It isn’t surprising. Just like humans, they’ve got a lot of skin exposed. Here are some signs to look for before going to your veterinarian.


Signs of Skin Problems


  • Itching

  • Dandruff

  • Dry Skin

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Hot Spots

  • Skin Sores

  • Scabs and Lesions

  • Rashes

  • Lumps/Bumps

  • Hair Loss


Potential Conditions


Alright, so your dog has some of the signs listed above, but what do they indicate? Check out this list of the most common skin conditions your dog could have. Remember, while this is informative, it shouldn’t replace a visit to the vet! Many of these may be underlying symptoms of bigger things, so you should always seek professional advice!


Food Allergies


If your dog is itching more frequently, especially around their feet, face, ears, or anus, it could be a sign of a food allergy. It is often one of the proteins that dogs react to the most, but it could be anything like wheat or vegetables too. Just like with people, you’ll have to do an elimination process for 2-3 months to figure out the cause or have allergy testing done.



Environmental Allergies


You notice the sudden itching is mostly on your dog's face, stomach, chest, and feet; these focused areas could indicate something your dog touched. Your vet would need to do blood work to see if it is a common allergen like grass, dust, or pollen. Usual treatment includes a mix of topical ointments/creams and injections. Your vet will work with you to find a good plan.



Dandruff


Just like us, dogs can get dandruff and dry skin too; though, some dogs are more susceptible to this than others. Try to keep their diet full of omega 3 and 6 and protein-rich to help reduce this potential issue. You can use a dandruff shampoo to help too. If the problem persists, talk to your vet to make sure there isn’t an underlying issue.



Yeast Infections


There are certain warm spots on a dog's body where yeast infections may grow: the ear canal, toes, groin, and perineum are all ideal places. You will notice a thicker, discolored skin that will often smell bad. Your dog will scratch and bite the infected area, which will add to the inflammation. If you notice these symptoms, talk to your vet.



Ticks and Fleas


Everyone is familiar with these small nightmares. Your pet will be irritated by the saliva of parasites and may even cause damage to themselves to get relief from the constant itching. Inflamed, red skin and hair loss are results of too much scratching. The best treatment for this is preventative; it is critical! Clean their bedding regularly and use flea treatments on a regular schedule. If your dog already has a problem, talk to your vet for more invasive treatment options.



Ringworm

Did you know that ringworm is not a worm? It's a fungus, and it is highly contagious to other animals and humans! A big sign is circular bald patches that are usually red and inflamed from scratching. If you notice these, contact your vet immediately! They will have a topical treatment to kill the fungus and keep it from spreading.



Impetigo


Puppies are usually more susceptible to impetigo than adult dogs. It's a condition that could be a symptom of another issue too. The signs are pus-filled blisters that can burst and scab back up. You'll most likely see them on the hairless stomach and chin of your dog. Antibiotics and special washes are both solutions, but sometimes your puppy may grow out of it. Call your vet so they can run some tests to rule out the possibility of another issue.



Folliculitis


It may be a big word, but it just means inflamed hair follicles. It is usually part of another condition such as mange. Physically, you’ll see sores, bumps, and scabs all over your dog’s body. Topical treatments are the most common solution to this problem.



Mange


Mange is a severe condition. There are two types of mange. One is the demodectic kind that either affects mostly very young or old dogs with other underlying conditions. The second one is known as sarcoptic mange and generated by a different type of mite. The itching and hair loss usually starts by the ears first and moves down the face and legs. Be sure to wash all the bedding, avoid contact with other animals, and talk to your vet. They can run tests and recommend topical treatments too.



Lupus


Lupus is an auto-immune disease - that means your dog’s immune system is attacking itself. Yikes! For your pets, this will likely show up as crusty open skin sores that don’t heal very well, especially around the face and paws. It can be very dangerous if left untreated. So, don’t hesitate to talk to your vet if you notice any of the signs.



Hopefully, this takes the mystery out of your dog’s skin problems for you. Remember, when in doubt, you can and should take your dog to the veterinarian! Take detailed notes of all the symptoms your dog is showing before you go to your appointment. It is always better to be safe than sorry!