Being a pet-parent comes with a lot of responsibilities. Dogs suffer from a whole range of skin diseases that begin with common apparent symptoms of excessive scratching and licking of skin. Whether the habit of scratching suddenly developed or it has come along with the rescued adult dog, you should figure out the reasons and get your furry friend cured.

Common Skin Diseases:

Common dog skin diseases include:

  1. Allergies
  2. Dandruff
  3. Hot spots
  4. Tick and Fleas
  5. Mange (demodectic and sarcoptic)
  6. Skin Infections


Major Causes of Skin Diseases:


Whenever you find your dog getting troubled with a skin disease, the following causes should be looked into:

  1. Quality of dog food (Nutritional deficiencies)
  2. Environmental conditions (Pollution or toxic conditions in surroundings)
  3. Parasites/ Bacteria
  4. Allergic reactions to certain food, environment or things
  5. Type of Shampoo and Frequency of Bathing
  6. Skin type of dog
  7. Weather (Dryness and summer heat)
  8. Grooming Routine/ Lack of grooming
  9. Weak Immune system


Common Dog Skin Diseases: Causes, Symptoms, Preventions and Treatments


  1. Allergies:

Some dogs demonstrate allergic reactions to smoke, pollution, certain foods or contact with certain materials.

Environmental allergies are caused by inhaling smoke or pollens or by the skin coming in contact with grasses, molds or dust mites. It’s a tough job to identify such allergies and to avoid the causes as they are part of your surroundings. However, your vet will help you identify these types of allergies through tests. Medicated baths or anti-allergy like Benadryl can be the only effective treatments. Great trouble comes at an older age when the dog’s sensitivity doubles up.

Food allergies are caused when your dog is sensitive to certain foods like egg, milk, meat, grains etc. If anti-allergies aren’t effective on your dog, then try changing his food.

Allergies due to contact commonly include the sensitivity of a dog towards carpet cleaners, shampoos, specific plants, scent and perfumes, shampoos or bee-stings. It can be easily identified by figuring out the things your dog comes in contact with in daily routine. In case of bee-stings, treat the allergies by using antibiotics after consulting your vet. Symptoms of contact-allergies are breathing problems, cough, and swellings in certain skin areas.

  1. Dandruff:

Skin type of dogs is what matters here-dry skin types usually suffer from dandruff and, in consequence, excessive itching.

Treating or preventing dandruff is easy as you just need to change the dog’s shampoo. Anti-dandruff dog shampoos contain ingredients like salicylic acid, sulphur, and iodine. In case of excessive dandruff, you may bathe your pooch on alternate days for about a week. Later on, you may decrease the bathing rate till dandruff gets treated completely.

  1. Hotspots:

Hotspots are itchy skin disease caused by excessive itching, scratching and licking of wounds by the dog. Red inflamed sores are seen in the affected areas and can be easily identified. Hotspots or moist dermatitis occurs when excessive licking by the dog moistens the skin for bacterial growth in the area.

Treating mild-stage hotspots is easy. Just trim the dog’s hair from around the sore to let it get dry. Clean the sore wounds with antiseptic sprays based on water and dry out the area. Topical creams like hydrocortisone may be applied to sore after the vet’s prescription. Keep the dog from licking the sore by placing Elizabethan collar around the dog’s neck.

If the sore is in severe condition, consult the vet for treatment.

  1. Ticks and Fleas:

Ticks and fleas are gifts of neighbor’s dogs or stray dogs when they come to play with your dog. It’s hard to keep away every other dog from yours.

Dogs are extremely irritated by ticks and flea bites on their skin. The fleas search out for the warmest places of the dog’s body. The irritation can make your dog go crazy as the flea lays more and more eggs and spreads out its army in the dog’s fur.

Prevent fleas by getting a topical treatment for fleas every month. If it’s too late for your dog, you can try out medicated shampoo for fleas and bathe your dog twice or thrice a month till the problem is gone.

Prevent ticks by keeping the grass, shrubs, and trees regularly trimmed. Ticks should be removed as soon as possible after they invade your dog’s skin. Ticks cause tick paralysis, ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and encephalitis within 10 hours of their first feeding on dog’s blood. They can be removed using tweezers. They can be prevented by using topical treatments that are available.

Anti-allergies can help relieve the excessive itch caused by fleas and ticks.

  1. Mange (demodectic and sarcoptic)

Dogs with oily-skin types usually suffer from mange. The recommended shampoos for oily-skin type dogs should contain benzoyl peroxide, coal tar, and selenium sulphide.

Mites are the major cause of mange that is generally of two types: sarcoptic and demodectic.

Sarcoptic Mange is a mild form of skin problem without many consequences. It passes on from parent dog to its pups. Treatments include skin scrapes after 14 days, oral or topical injections, and shampoo treatment.

Demodectic Mange is a skin condition in which mites reproduce excessively in certain areas like dog’s face (localized Mange) or in the whole body (generalized Mange). It doesn’t require much treatment but in severe cases, consult your vet for injections and shampoo treatments.

  1. Skin Infections:


Skin infections vary among different dog breeds and commonly include bacterial infections and fungal infections.

Bacterial Infections is caused by excessive scratching of a particular skin area by your dog as in hot spot. If the infection develops around the area of ears, yellow discharge may be seen as a symptom. Sores and inflammation are other symptoms. They can be treated by keeping dry the sores and by using specific topical ointments. Antibiotics are recommended by vets in adverse conditions.

Fungal or yeast infection occurs in moist areas like armpits, feet, ear etc. It develops on the existing allergic areas of your dog that are damp, and encourage fungal growth. Dogs with floppy ears and layers of skin folds are more prone to developing fungal infections. For treatment, you need to consult the vet.


Author Bio:

James Shore is a part-time dog-trainer and dog behavior consultant. He is a professional freelancer with years of experience in dog training. He is interested in finding out fun ways to handle dog behaviors, specifically, Labradors to help dog-owners enjoy their companions at all times. His pet-passion led him to develop to help people.

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