Best Flea Treatment Tips For Dogs

Canines are walking, barking, parasite-attracting machines and it can be frustratingly difficult to prevent the most common parasite, fleas. These tiny insects can be a really big problem if left untreated and by the time you start searching the internet for a solution your dog has probably been suffering for a long time.

Fleas are not simply an itchy nuisance to your dog. A few can turn into a lot very quickly and the more of them on your dog, the more blood your canine companion loses. Fleas can be the start other nasty diseases and problems, which can even be life threatening to your dog.

While it may all seem like doom and gloom when it comes to fleas, the good news is that getting rid of them is fairly straightforward process. The bad news is that it will take a lot of work and patience on your part. You need to be consistent and have a well thought out plan of attack when it comes to treating fleas.

As a dog owner, you are their best and sometimes last line of defence when dealing with fleas. You need to know how to fight them effectively and the best way of preventing them from infesting your dog’s coat.

Treating fleas is not just about getting rid of them from your dog’s coat, but also clearing your home of them entirely.

In this article we are going to be giving you advice on the best flea treatment for dogs, and what you can do to prevent them from coming onto your pet and in your house. You must always be vigilant and if you notice any signs of fleas you must act immediately.

What Are Fleas Anyway?

Dog fleas (Ctenocephalides Canis) are a species of flea that lives as an ectoparasite on a wide range of various mammals, especially dogs and cats. They are closely related to the cat flea, which can live on even more animals and is more common.

Most common dog flea infestations are actually caused by the cat flea rather than the dog flea.

Fleas can live without food for several days, however, females must have a blood meal before they can produce eggs. The little critters can produce around 4,000 eggs on the host’s body in one go and they take about two to three weeks to reach adulthood.

Adult female fleas can live up to two years in the right environment and can lay thousands of eggs during this time. They can live in your furniture, carpet and many other places for a considerable amount of time, so watch out!

Rather than using wings to get around, fleas use their long, powerful legs to jump from one host to another. Their hard bodies are compressed laterally and they have hairs and spines, which make it easier for them to move through a host’s fur.

Are Fleas Dangerous to Humans?

While fleas typically live on animals like dogs and cats, they can make their way onto humans (there is also a specific human flea). Fleas can sometimes bite humans, however, it is unlikely they will cause serious issues apart from a bit of irritation.

Despite this, fleas can cause different reactions in people and different types of fleas can cause diseases such as plague, typhus and cat-scratch disease.

Flea bites on humans typically occur around the ankles and will be extremely itchy. The bite area usually has a small red spot that is no more than around 5mm in diameter.

How to Tell If a Dog Has Fleas?

A dog that is suffering from a flea infestation will be itchy in the affected areas and will usually bite. lick and scratch themselves. Shaking the head often and scratching at their ears is another possible sign that your dog has fleas.

In severe cases, it is possible to see fleas moving and jumping on and off your dog.

Additionally, dogs may show signs of the following problems:

  • They may become anaemic due to blood loss from large infestations of fleas. This is typically more common in puppies.
  • Some dogs can have an allergic reaction to flea bites and can become extremely irritated.

If the infestation has been left too long, your dog can begin to develop sores and infections due to the excess scratching, licking and chewing.

The Main Symptoms of Fleas

  • Here are some of the signs your dog may have fleas:
  • Hair loss
  • Flea eggs on your dog or in their environment
  • Excessive scratching, biting or licking of the skin.
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Pale gums
  • Tapeworms
  • Scabs and hot spots
  • Infection
Allergy Dermatitis Caused by Fleas

As we stated earlier, some dogs can be allergic to flea bites. This is called flea allergy dermatitis and it is a condition where a dog is allergic to flea saliva. If your dog is suffering from this, they may experience more severe symptoms.

While most flea treatments do kill fleas, they do not do it until after they bite. This is obviously a bad thing for dogs with an allergy to fleas and they may still suffer the effects of it after they are treated.

You need to thoroughly cleanse your house of fleas if your dog is allergic to them and you may need to prevent your dog from licking, scratching or chewing their body.

How to Check a Dog’s Coat for Fleas

Fleas can move and jump extremely fast, so you are going to need a good set of eyes to see them, unless the infestation is really bad. They are incredibly small, flat-bodied creatures that are dark brown, almost black in colour. The more blood they take in the lighter in colour they will appear.

To check for fleas on your dog, turn them onto their back and look at the areas that are the best hiding place for them. The areas you should look at are the armpits, around the groin and ears, but they can be in other places.

Black specs on your dog or in your dog’s bed can be a sign of “flea dirt” – fecal matter from fleas. There are a couple of ways you can check for the fecal matter:

  • Place a white paper towel under your dog’s body and rub your hand across their fur. If you find any black specks on the towel, it may be a sign of fleas. To distinguish between normal dirt and flea dirt, look for signs of a dark reddish-brown colour when it is wet. This indicates that digested blood has passed through the flea and been excreted.
  • The other way is to run a flea comb across your dog’s body. Make sure the comb touches their skin through the coat and any black specks you find could be a sign of flea dirt. If you find any fleas on the comb, drown them in soapy water before they have any chance of getting back on your dog.

Flea combs are specially made combs with closely set teeth. The teeth on a flea comb are design to catch and pull fleas out from under the coat where they may be hiding. We recommend a flea comb like this one from Safari Pet Products.

Understanding The Life Cycle of Fleas

Before we go into the treatment process for flea infestations, let’s look at the life cycle of fleas. It is important to understand what you are up against and what works best for the different stages of a flea’s life cycle.

Fleas are a multi-stage life cycle insect. They start off as an egg, then turn into larvae, then a cocoon, and finally they will become a fully-fledged adult flea, ready to cause havoc on your dog’s body.

Let’s Look at Each Stage


Flea eggs are the main population of flea infestations, with up to 90% of fleas being in the egg stage. They are less than 0.5mm in size and are white or transparent, which makes them very difficult to see. At a glance they can look like small pieces of dandruff.

A female flea will lay eggs on the host, but they can quickly roll off and land on the floor. They do not stick to your dog’s coat like flea dirt, so you they can easily be found all around the house.


The larvae of a flea remain dormant until they detect a host. They are negative phototaxic, which means they move away from sources of light. Once they have settled, larvae spend about one to two weeks developing and feeding on flea dirt and organic debris like skin. They will then form cocoons, eventually turning into adult fleas.

You can read more about flea larvae here.


Adult fleas that have access to blood will look to breed and can create around 4,000 eggs a year. Fleas in their fully grown adult form make up less than 5% of the flea population at any given time.

This is why it is important to not only kill adult fleas, but also treat the flea infestation at every stage of its lifecycle. 

My Dog Has Fleas, What Do I Do?

Now that you know your dog has fleas, let us take a look at what you can do about the problem. Remember that if your dog has fleas, they are probably all around the house and on your other pets as well.

If you have a cat, make sure you use flea treatment that is designed for them. Dog flea treatment products can be dangerous to cats. In some cases, cats have been poisoned by simply sleeping in the same bed with dogs who have been sprayed with flea treatment.

How to Get Rid of Fleas On Your Dog and In Your House

There are a number of ways to get rid of fleas and it will require treatment of all the animals in your house and a good tidy up as well.

What is the Best Flea Treatment for Dogs?

When it comes to treating fleas, the sooner you start the better. A large flea infestation will be harder to eliminate, so if you see any signs of fleas get onto it immediately.

The first thing we are going to look at is tackling the adult fleas that are irritating your dog and breeding. There are many options when it comes to flea treatment and we have listed some of them below:

Prescription Flea Medications

One of the best ways of getting your flea problem under control is using prescription medication. There are a wide variety of products on the market, but newer ones seem to be a bit more effective at treating the infestation. In some cases, it is even possible to gain control by treating only the dog.

Interestingly, some of these products do not hard the adult flea itself, but actually prevent the eggs from hatching. This breaks the life cycle of the flea and as there is no reproduction the flea population they eventually die out.

While these products are great for treating fleas, those with dogs who are allergic to flea saliva may want to look at an alternative method. This is because they do not kill the adult fleas immediately, leaving them to bite.

If you are interested in prescription flea treatment medication, talk to your vet. They can recommend the best option for your dog.

Non-Prescription and Natural Flea Treatment for Dogs

We have looked at prescription flea medication, but what about non-prescription or natural treatment. There are many other products or treatment methods that will kill fleas. The main drawback of these is that they can sometimes be less effective than prescription products. We have created a list of some of the best non-prescription or natural methods of treating fleas in dogs below:

Use a Flea Comb

We’ve already talked about using a flea comb to find out if your dog has fleas, however, it is also a great way of getting rid of them as well. Flea combs will keep your dog happy, healthy and well groomed.

Before using a flea comb, make sure your dog’s fur is not tangled as it can cause pain when you use it. Look for a comb that has narrow teeth or bristles that will catch adult fleas, eggs and larvae (although most eggs and larvae do not live on the host).

We recommend this one from Safari Pet Products.

The main drawback when using a flea comb is that it they can be hard to see, making them easy to miss. Missed fleas can easily start the population again, so we recommend combining the flea comb with another treatment method.

Use a Dog Shampoo

There are many dog shampoos that are designed to combat fleas. These can be an effective way of eliminating the flea problem on your dog, while making them smell better.

Using a shampoo designed to eliminate fleas is much the same as any other normal shampoo. Apply to your dog’s coat and lather with water. Leave it for a few minutes and then wash it off with water. Combine this with a flea comb and you have a great flea fighting weapon!

We recommend this natural dog shampoo from Paws & Pals.

Try A Flea Spray

Another option is to try one of the many pre-made sprays for fleas. These sprays will break the life cycle of fleas and will prevent them from forming large numbers. You must follow all the instructions correctly and do not get them in your dog’s eyes.

Vet’s Best Flea Spray is a great option for those looking for a spray product.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Repel Fleas

Apple cider vinegar doesn’t actually kill fleas, but it does make an unpleasant environment for them. Both the smell and taste of apple cider vinegar will make fleas want to move on and it is a great natural flea treatment that you probably already have at home.

Apple cider vinegar is not only great for helping your dog’s flea infestation problem, but it is also great at preventing them. Fleas are much more difficult to deal with once they are on your dog, so it is best to prevent that from happening.

To use apple cider vinegar for flea treatment, just add equal amounts of it and water to a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on your dog when you see fleas, or before they go outside to repel them. You can also use the apple cider mixture around your house when you notice you have a flea problem. Remember to test the mixture on a small bit of the material to see how it reacts.

Make sure you do not spay apple cider vinegar mixture into your dog’s eyes, nose or ears.

You can also add a small amount of apple cider vinegar (about one teaspoon) to your dog’s water as well. This will keep the skin and coat slightly acidic which helps to repeal fleas. This may be better if your dog’s skin becomes irritated by the apple cider vinegar.

Make or Buy a Flea Collar

Mix two drops of lavender oil or tea tree oil to one teaspoon of water. Apply this mixture to your dog’s collar to keep the fleas away.

You can also buy a flea collar that gradually releases insecticide onto your dog’s coat, which keeps fleas off them. Vets do not usually recommend flea collars as they do not deal with the infestation and only keep them at bay.

Use Lemon to Keep Fleas at Bay

Similar to apple cider vinegar, lemon can be used to repel fleas. Fleas do not like the taste of lemon, making it a great natural flea preventative/treatment. Simply add a cup of lemon juice to your dog’s bath or put some on a comb while you are brushing them.

Topical Treatment

Another popular option when it comes to flea control is using a spot-on treatment. These are absorbed into the skin and are perfectly safe for both you and your dog. Topical flea treatment products do tend to be a bit more expensive, however, they are simple to apply. This is because they are usually applied to just between the shoulder blades, rather than the whole body.

Frontline Plus is a popular choice for many dog owners and vets.

Treat the Environment

While you are treating your dog, you also need to go after fleas in their environment. As we know, around 95% of fleas do not live on your dog, so the battle is not over. You need to break this down into two sections, indoors and outdoors.

Treating Fleas Indoors

The first place you should start is in your house. Make sure you sweep, vacuum and mop everywhere, even places where your dog doesn’t go. Fleas can easily move all over your house by hitchhiking on people, clothes and other animals. Pay particular attention to corners and crevices where fleas like to hide or where there could be flea eggs and larvae.

Steam cleaning the carpet can be a good way to kill larvae and after vacuuming, throw the bag away immediately. Remember that vacuuming and shampooing can still leave a good amount of fleas alive, so some chemical treatment may be required.

Wash all your dog’s bedding and any other furniture or material that they lie upon. Additionally, drying is another effective tool when it comes to killing adult fleas, eggs and larvae. Put anything you can into a drying and set it to maximum heat.

The last thing you may want to do is use a flea spray to kill off the remaining fleas. We recommend using something like Vet’s Beast Flea & Tick Spray, which can be used indoors, outdoors and on your dog.

Treating Fleas Outside

Once you have treated the inside of your house, the next thing to do is to move outside. It will be almost impossible to completely remove fleas from the outside of your home, but you can reduce the amount of them.

Use a spray like the one we listed above in shady spots or places where you dog is likely to be.

Preventing Fleas from Getting onto Your Dog and into Your Home

There is always a risk when it comes to fleas. When you take your dog to the park they may encounter fleas and it is incredibly difficult to completely eradicate them from your home. While this is a problem, there are a few things you can do to prevent a flea infestation problem from happening.

Make sure you regularly wash your dog and check their coat for any signs of fleas. Keep them well-groomed and try to stop them from getting close to animals that you know are infested with fleas.

Always remember to regularly wash your dog’s bedding and keep their environment clean. This includes vacuuming, moping and dusting the inside of the house. Keep the outside of your house tidy as well. This means cutting long grass, trimming trees and shrubs and possibly even use an insecticide where fleas could live.

Try to have your flea control treatment ready, so if you do notice any fleas you can start the treatment process immediately. This will prevent the problem from getting any worse. Containing the infestation or effected animal is also important to stop the fleas from spreading.

Final Words on Treating Fleas on Dogs

Fleas can be incredibly difficult to get rid of and they are frustrating to deal with, but they can be beaten. You need to be consistent with your treatment plan and make sure you clean, clean, clean!

If the flea infestation has become serious, it may be worth talking to your vets. Fleas can lead to other diseases and skin conditions, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Tell us your best tips and tricks for dealing with fleas in the comments below.

Now Read: The Ultimate Guide To Dog Skin Conditions and Diseases

Best Tips To Keep Your Dog Warm In Cold Weather

Although our canine companions are equipped with warm fur coats and padded paws, they are still susceptible to the cold. Many people believe that their coats are enough, but the truth is that, much like humans, dogs have varying degrees of tolerance when it comes to colder temperatures.

Even the hardest and toughest breeds of dog can succumb to the effects of hypothermia and frostbite. You need to know the signs of when your dog is cold, what you can do to make them more comfortable and how it can affect them.

What Are the Signs of a Cold Dog?

It is surprisingly easy to tell when dogs are cold. They show many of the same signs that humans do, including shivering to raise their body temperature and trying to find a nice warm spot. Dogs can also act differently when they are cold and they may even be lethargic. If your dog is cold to the touch, this can also be a sign they are cold.

Additionally, if you are feeling cold outside yourself, then you can probably bet your dog is feeling the same way.

Not All Dogs Are the Same

The way your dog reacts to the cold may be completely different to how another one handles it. One dog might feel particularly warm, while another will be looking at ways to warm themselves up. There are a multitude of things that can affect the way your dog reacts to the cold. Let’s look at them below:

Breed and Coat Type

This is an obvious one. Some dogs, like Huskies, are just better suited to cold weather. In most cases these dogs have been bred and developed in colder climates, and they have physical and mental differences that make them better suited for the cold.

For example, Siberian Huskies have a coat that is thicker than that of most other dogs. It is also dual layered, with one layer being a dense undercoat, while the other is longer top coat that protects against harsh Arctic winds. Their coat is so effective that it is able to withstand temperatures as low as -50 to -60 degrees Celsius.

Other dogs, like Greyhounds have an incredibly short coat and they will feel the cold much more.

The Colour of Your Dog’s Coat

Remember in school when you learnt that black absorbs heat and white repels it. Well, this is the same with a dog’s coat. If your dog has a black or darker coat, they will absorb more heat in direct sunlight, which will keep them warmer when compared to their lighter coloured friends.

Size and Weight

Smaller dogs have a larger surface area of skin compared to their insides, which means they will lose more heat relative to bigger dogs (with all other things being equal of course). If your dog is a smaller breed or they are a puppy, they will definitely feel the cold more.

In addition to their size, how much heat a dog loses will also be effected by their weight. Dogs with higher body fat percentages have more insulation when compared to thinner, leaner dogs.

While a higher amount of body fat will keep your dog warmer in the colder months, do not fatten them up.  Excess weight gain can lead to some serious health complications that definitely outweigh the benefits of keeping your dog a little bit warmer.

Age and Health Condition

Very old, sick or young dogs will certainly be more susceptible to the cold. They are not as efficient at regulating their body temperature when compared to fit, healthy dogs in the best years of their life. If you have a young, old or sick dog you need to protect them from the cold more.

Older dogs with conditions such as arthritis and diabetes can suffer more in the winter. Their joints can become achier and it will take them longer to warm up.

Whether Your Dog Has Built Up a Tolerance

If your dog is used to cold temperatures, they are probably going to feel a lot more comfortable when it is freezing outside, than a dog that is used to warmer climates. A sudden burst of cold weather can really effect a dog that doesn’t have a tolerance to the cold.

Not All Cold Weather Is the Same

The temperature that your read off the thermometer isn’t the only factor that affects how your dog feels the cold. We’ve listed some things below that you should watch out for:

  • Dampness and water – Whether it is rain, snow or taking a plunge in the winter sea, any water or dampness can affect how cold your dog feels. Water will soak through your dog’s coat quickly and can make a warm dog cold, even when the temperature outside is not all that cold.
  • Wind – I’m sure we have all been out on a walk on a windy day and there is no doubt that it can make you much colder. This is the same for your dog, except they don’t have a nice windproof jacket like yourself. Wind can easily cut through a dog’s coat and reduces its ability to insulate and protect against cold weather.
  • Exercise and activity – Dogs that move about and our active will generate more body heat than those that don’t. This extra body heat can keep them reasonably comfortable, even when it is cold outside. Try run and be active next time you are cold to see the effects for yourself.
  • Cloud – Cloudy days are typically colder than those that are full of sunshine. Dogs will find it colder on days where there is no cloud because they can’t soak themselves in the sun.

What to Watch Out for in Cold Weather

Cold Weather and Hypothermia in Dogs

Sometimes it’s simply too cold for dogs to be outside, even the hardiest breeds. Leaving your dog outside for extended periods of time when it is seriously cold, can lead to frostbite and hypothermia. These conditions occur when the body is no longer capable of sustaining normal temperature and can lead to death.

If your dog is suffering from hypothermia they may be showing signs of the following:

  • Weakness or collapse
  • Shivering
  • Inaudible heartbeat
  • Trouble breathing

If you come across a dog that is suffering from hypothermia or is showing signs of frostbite, you must call a vet immediately and move them to a warm area.

You can read a bit more about hypothermia here.

Watch for Fleas and Ticks

In cold temperatures, fleas and ticks may seek out warmer areas in your home, including your dog’s cosy coat. Dogs owners can often become complacent about fleas and ticks in winter, but they can transfer to your dog or other pets easy. On warmer winter days they may become more active.

Be On the Lookout for Antifreeze and Rock Salt

While antifreeze and rock salt may make it easier for us to get around when there is ice and snow outside, they can be dangerous to dogs. These products contain chemicals that can be poisonous to dogs. It is important to recognize any of these items and limit your dog’s exposure to them.

Antifreeze smells good to dogs and it tastes sweet, however, it is incredibly poisonous. Even small doses can be lethal to dogs in a short space of time. Make sure you clean up any antifreeze around your property and if you suspect your dog has ingested some, take them to the vets immediately.

Rock salt can easily become stick between your dog’s toes and can damage their paws. After you have taken your dog for a walk, you should give them a good wipe down, paying particular attention to their belly and paws.

The Temperature

The temperature is obviously an important thing to pay attention to. Generally, cold temperatures should not be a problem for dogs unless they fall to below 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit). If the temperature falls below 0 degrees Celsius, owners of small dogs, those with thinner coats, those that are sick, or dogs that are young or old should monitor them for signs that they are suffering from the cold.

Once the temperature falls below around -5 to -6 degrees Celsius, all owners should be aware that their dogs could easily develop hypothermia or frostbite.

Tips for Dogs in Cold Weather

Take Your Dog On Shorter Walks

At temperature extremes, short walks are better than longer ones. Rather than taking your dog for extended walks in cold weather, take them for more frequent shorter ones. Your dogs should still be getting about the same amount of exercise they would be in the warmer months of the year.

If you are having trouble exercising your dog in the winter, try and do more indoor activates with them. This may mean playing more games like tug, so that they burn off more energy.

Keep Them On a Lead

Many dogs become lost in winter because ice and snow can hide recognisable scents that may help them get home. Make sure your dog has a well-fitting collar that doesn’t slip off their head and check that their tag or identification is up to date as well. You can also talk to your vet about micro-chipping your dog, however, you must keep their registration up to date.

Don’t Leave Your Dog in The Car

We all know that leaving dogs in a hot car in summer is a big no, no, but the same is also true in the winter. A parked car can quickly amplify the effects of cold weather and make the inside of it freezing.

Keep Them Fed and Hydrated

Make sure you keep your dog on a healthy diet during winter. As we said, fattening your dog up to give them a little bit more protection from the cold is a bad idea. Excess weight gain can lead to other health conditions or complications that should be avoided.

If your dog is outside for a significant portion of the day, you may want to feed them a little bit more. Dogs that live outside burn more calories in winter to generate enough energy and body heat to keep them warm.

You should also make sure to keep your dog hydrated. Always have enough water available to last them the day and avoid metal bowls outside, as your puppy’s tongue can become stuck to them.

Don’t Go Crazy with Grooming

During the colder months of the year, it is important to not go overboard with your dog’s grooming. Removing too much of their coat will mean that there is less of it to keep them warm. However, leaving too much hair on will make brushing more difficult and could lead to matting of their coat. Ask your vet about grooming your particular breed of dog.

Consider Clothing Layers

While you may laugh at dressed up dogs, the reality is that extra layers in the winter can keep your dog a lot warmer. There are plenty of different coats out there that will keep your dog warm, however, we recommend this one from Zack & Zoey.

Remember that wet coats or sweaters can actually make your dog a lot colder. Have a couple of different ones that you can switch between, so that your dog can stay warm. Some dog owners also like to use little shoes or booties, however, remember to get the right size.

Provide Shelter For Your Dog

We don’t recommend keeping your dog outside for extended periods of time, but if you have to, make sure you provide them with adequate shelter. The shelter should protect them from the wind and wet, and they should have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water.

A shelters floor should be off the ground to minimize heat loss and you should provide them with thick, dry bedding. The opening to the shelter should face away from prevailing winds and you should avoid using heaters or heated pet mats as they pose a fire or burn hazard.

The best thing to do however, is to keep your dog inside during the winter. This will keep them the warmest and safest.

Stay Away from Ice

When taking your dog out for a walk, try to avoid frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You do not know if the ice will support your dog’s weight and if they fall through it could put their life in danger. Additionally, it could also put your life in danger if you try and save them.

Wipe Them Down and Check Their Paws

Like we wrote earlier, chemicals that are used in winter can be poisonous to dogs. During walks, your dog’s paws, legs and belly may pick up chemicals such as antifreeze. Once you finish your walk, make sure you wipe down or wash your dog’s belly, feet and legs to remove any of these toxic chemicals.

It is also a good practice to frequently check your dog’s paws for signs of injury or damage. During winter their paws can easily become cracked or may even start to bleed. A sudden lameness during a walk may be due to an injury or ice accumulation between their toes.

Summing Up Cold Weather and Dogs

It is important to keep your dog healthy and warm during the winter months. While we often think that dogs are better protected due to their coats, they can quickly and easily succumb to cold weather.

How you prepare for the winter will depend on what breed of dog you have, where you live and what sort of weather you will be dealing with. If you do have any major concerns about your dog, make sure you contact your vet immediately.

Now Read: Can My Dog Catch My Cold? 

Ultimate Guide To Dog Skin Conditions & Diseases

Many canines suffer from dog skin conditions and it is the number one reason for owners to take their dogs to the vets. Dog allergies is the most common reason for the skin conditions and irritation, accounting for almost a quarter of veterinarian visits in a day. The average cost to owners is in excess of $180 per visit (depending on where you live) and it is only getting more expensive.

If your dog is constantly scratching, itching, rubbing their face or licking their paws, they probably have a skin condition. A dull, dry coat is also a sign of doggy skin conditions, but what can you do about it?

Identifying canine skin conditions and diseases can be a bit of a tricky business. This is because many of them share the same symptoms above and they may even require multiple trips to the vets to get them under control.

You can reduce the number of trips to the vets by being prepared. Knowing a thing or two about dog skin conditions can save you multiple trips to the vets and a whole bunch of cash.

Dog Skin Cancer, Tags and Bumps

Before we start, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a bit of information about some of the lumps and bumps you might find on your dog’s coat.

If you see or feel a lump on your dog, don’t immediately assume that it is some form of cancer. There is a load of reasons for lumps and bumps from things like insect bites, an abscess or a benign lipoma (fatty lump under the skin).

Dog skin tags are usually benign; however, they can look like a tumour. Tags are slightly different to warts in that they are connected to the skin by a thin base. They can sometimes be moved with a light touch and they are similar in colour to that of skin.

Skin tags can generally be left alone, unless you want it removed for cosmetic reasons. Sometimes, you may need to have them removed if your dog starts to scratch or lick the area, causing irritation or infection.

What Are the Signs of Cancer?

If you are concerned that your dog may have cancer, we’ve put together a short list of what to look out for below:

  • Sudden appearance of lumps, bumps or strange patches of skin.
  • Changes in appearance of lumps or bumps. Like growth for example.
  • Changes in your dog’s behaviour.
  • Other changes like loss of appetite or lethargy.
  • Lesions or scars that do not heal.
  • Other medical issues that coincide with any skin changes. This could be issues with them going to the toilet or respiratory issues.

Check out this article for more information on dog skin cancer.

Diagnosing Dog Skin Conditions and Diseases

If your dog is suffering from itchy skin, hair loss, and skin lesions that are red in colour and oozing pus; a trip to the vets is needed. This is because the skin condition is almost certainly beyond your ability to control the problem with home remedies and over the counter medication. If it has got this bad, your vet will probably prescribe antibiotics or even short term steroids.

For dogs who haven’t got to this stage, we’ve created a quick guide on how to check your dog’s skin condition below.

Step 1 – Examine Your Dog’s Skin

The first thing you need to do is get past all that fur and take a good look at the skin underneath. Use your hands (you might want to wear disposable gloves) to part your dog’s hair and look at the skin. Do you see any, lumps, bumps, sores, redness, dandruff or other things we have discussed in this article? If you do, note them down and get an idea of the area they are covering.

Next, you need to think about when did the symptoms start. Was it during summer? Or was it after they ate a new food item? We’ve made a quick check list:

  1. When did the itching begin? Age of dog? time of the year?
  2. Is it seasonal or is your dog itching all year round? Think about the season here.
  3. Can you link it to a specific environment or event? When your dog is playing outside, or when you go to a new location.
  4. Have any treatments you’ve tried so far worked and if so, what was the result? This may be anything from using a medicated shampoo to changing up your dog’s diet or cleaning their bedding.
  5. What is the severity of the skin condition? Is it minor or is it making your dog’s life miserable?

Make sure you take detailed notes of all of your answers. You can match this up to different symptoms your dog may be experiencing and if you see your vet, it can certainly help them diagnose your dog’s skin condition. Having the information ready for your vet can also save you multiple visits to them, which can help save money.

Once you can diagnose the condition your dog is suffering from, you can start treating it and making their life better!

Step 2 – Matching Symptoms to The Condition

Now that you have a bit of an idea of what symptoms your dog is showing, you can try and match them to a condition. We have listed some of the common skin conditions you may encounter later in this article, so make sure you check them out.

Other websites such as PetMD are excellent sources for checking the symptoms, causes and treatment of different conditions. We definitely recommend having a look on other websites and even try typing your dog’s symptoms into Google to see what comes back.

Last but not least, visit your vet. They will be the best ones to diagnose what skin condition your dog is suffering from. They can see and feel your dog, and they will have a wealth of experience when dealing with skin conditions.

Remember that the symptoms your dog is experiencing can be the result of more than one condition. Many conditions also share the same symptoms as well, so don’t rule anything out.

Step 3 – Reviewing The Information

The last thing you need to do is to review all of the information you have got and see what steps you need to take next.

Many skin conditions in dogs start with itching, scratching and licking. Treating the symptoms alone may mean repeated visits to the vets and expensive bills. You need to treat the skin condition at its cause as it may keep on reoccurring if you don’t.

In this article we have listed a number of different conditions your dog may be suffering from and we will continually update it with new information. Make sure you bookmark this page and revert back to it when need be.

Carry on below for some of the most common skin conditions found in dogs.

Common Dog Skin Conditions and Causes

Here are some of main dog skin problems and conditions you may encounter. It is simply impossible to list all the conditions out there, but we’ve tried to list some of the more common ones you may encounter.


Dogs are highly sensitive to fleas and they can cause nasty allergies, which can lead to serious skin disease. Fleas do not even have to be sighted on your dog to cause severe allergies that can leave your dog feeling very itchy. Dogs who are allergic to fleas will be allergic to flea saliva, which gets passed onto your dog when they are bitten.

Dog Flea Symptoms

  • Here are some of the signs your dog may have fleas:
  • Hair loss
  • Flea eggs on your dog or in their environment
  • Excessive scratching, biting or licking of the skin.
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Pale gums
  • Tapeworms
  • Scabs and hot spots

Why Do Fleas Love Dogs?

Fleas are extremely nimble and tough, and when they are searching for a new host, they can jump 10,000 times in a row (equivalent of around three football fields). They can leap up to two feet in the air and their flattened body lets them quickly and freely move through a dog’s coat.

Found most commonly on a dog’s abdomen, base of their tail or head; fleas have a life cycle that ranges from 16 days to 21 months. The amount of time they live is highly dependent on their environmental conditions and host. Fleas tend to feed about one to two times a day.

Treatment of Dog Fleas

Make sure to use flea prevention products to help control the flea problem on your dog. These products can also help with the itchiness that is associated with flea allergy dermatitis. Common flea treatment options include a liquid based product that is applied to the back of the neck, shampoos, sprays and powders.

Some flea treatment products kill both the adult fleas and the eggs, however, they can vary in efficiency. Never use flea treatment products intended for cats and prescription products are generally more effective and safer than those you will get over the counter.

Another important part of flea treatment is to make sure that all of your pets are treated for fleas, including cats that live both indoors or outdoors.

Flea products are an important part of flea treatment; however, it is also important to keep your dog’s surrounding environment clean and treated. It has been found that 90% of fleas live on your dog and the rest live in the likes of their bedding. Make sure you regularly wash and vacuum their bedding and use flea treatment products if needed.

How to Prevent Fleas in Dogs

Washing your dog’s bedding and using a flea comb on your dog will go a long way to preventing any flea infestation problem. Checking and treating your dog’s environment is an important part of flea treatment. Additionally, it is important to treat the outside of your house as importantly as the inside. Look for any shady places where they could live and use insecticide or nematodes to kill them. Regularly washing your dog can also be a great way to prevent fleas as well.

Read more about treating and preventing fleas on dogs here.


While the name does suggest that worms are involved, ringworm is not an invasion of tiny worms, but actually a fungal infection. It is also highly contagious and can easily find its way onto other animals and even humans. Ringworm typically appears as circular, crusty bald patches.

How Do Dogs Get Ringworm?

There are a couple of different ways dogs can get ringworm. The most common way dogs catch ringworm is through direct contact with other animals or people who have it. Ringworm fungus can contaminate objects like brushes, bedding, cages and clippers, which can then pass it on to dogs who come into contact with the items. Some species of ringworm can also be found in soil and dogs can become sick after coming in contact with the infected dirt.

Dogs who have weaker immune systems (puppies, elderly dogs) will be more likely to develop ringworm and are more likely to develop more severe cases of it. Areas that are densely populated with animals or where there is poor nutrition see higher cases of ringworm. Additionally, if your dog has a wound or flea infestation, they are more likely to develop ringworm as their skin acts as a protective barrier.

Ringworm Dog Symptoms


Symptoms of dog ringworm often include a combination of the following:

  • Hair loss, which can be circular and or patchy
  • Skin that has become reddened or ulcerated
  • Skin that is darker than usual
  • Dandruff
  • Skin that has become crusty
  • A coat that is in poor condition or broken hairs
  • Itchiness (may or may not be present)

Treatment of Dog Ringworm

Most of the time your dog can be treated at home, but a quarantine process should be considered if you have multiple pets at home. Your vet may recommend treatment such as lime sulphur dips, miconazole shampoos and enilconazole rinses for mild cases of ringworm. Shaving your dog’s coat may help with the application process.

In more severe cases your vet may prescribe some anti-fungal medication such as terbinafine, ketoconazole, fluconazole or itraconazole. This treatment process can last several months and should not be stopped until a follow-up diagnostic test shows that your dog is completely free of ringworm. Your dog should also be treated for any conditions that can lead to ringworm, such as malnutrition.

How to Prevent Ringworm on Dogs?

If your dog is undergoing treatment for ringworm, make sure they are isolated so they do not spread it to other animals or people. Always wear disposable gloves when dealing with a dog with ringworm and wash your hands and clothes after handling them. Use a disinfectant to clean the hard surfaces of your house where your dog has been and thoroughly vacuum the floors and upholstery as well.

It can be hard to prevent ringworm, however, there are some things you can do:

  • Make sure your dog’s bedding and environment is clean
  • Keep your dog well fed and healthy
  • Avoid contact with any animals or people with ringworm
  • Keep any wounds clean
  • Quickly treat fleas or other skin conditions

Yeast Infection


Yeast is commonly found on the skin of dogs, especially between their toes, in their ear canal and around their anus. Dogs who have floppy ears have a higher chance of developing a yeast infection, however, all dogs are at risk.

All strains of yeast are actually funguses, and they normally live on a dog’s body without causing any trouble. Dog yeast infection problems arise when there is too much fungus on their body, causing an imbalance.

Yeast organisms will grow and infect the skin of dogs (and people) when the conditions are right. Infections typically occur in high humidity environments, as a secondary infection to an allergic reaction on the skin, or after swimming.

What Are Some of the Signs of Yeast Infections in Dogs?

  • Symptoms and signs of a yeast infection may include the following:
  • Greasy or excessively oily skin
  • Crusty, scaly skin that can look a little bit like dandruff
  • Changes in colour or texture of your dog’s skin. In severe cases your dog’s skin may become leathery, thick, grey or black
  • Excessive scratching or rubbing
  • Licking of the infected area
  • Your dog may repeatedly shake their head to relive their discomfort
  • Hair loss
  • Odor is a common sign of a yeast infection, regardless of the location
  • The infected area may become swollen or warm, and may even become painful
  • Dogs may begin to drool if they have a yeast in their mouths, however, this is extremely rare and is typically a sign of other problems in the mouth.

Treatment of Dog Yeast Infections

Identifying and addressing the cause of the yeast infection if the most important part of the treatment process. This will make the risk of the yeast infection reoccurring much less likely.

Since yeast infections start in the gut, it is important to get your dog’s diet in order. Yeast loves sugar and high starch, high carbohydrate diets can lead to yeast infections. Most commercial dog foods contain about ten times the amount of starch that your dog’s ancestors would have consumed. Feeding your dog, a low carb, low starch diet can definitely help with yeast infections.

Giving your dog a probiotic can help populate your dog’s gut with “good” bacteria that will help their digestive health. There are a whole lot of dog probiotics on the market, so it may be worth talking to your vet about which one will suite your dog the best.

When it comes to treatment of yeast infections, your vet may prescribe oral antifungal medication for more serious cases. Some of these medicines may include terbinafine, ketoconazole and fluconazole.

If your dog has a yeast infection in or around their ears, it can usually be treated topically with appropriate ears cleaners and medications. Bathing the infected area of your dog with disinfecting and degreasing shampoos can also help.

Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s disease is one of the most common endocrine disorders that affects dogs. The endocrine system is a collective system of glands that produce cortisol, amongst other hormones. Cortisol is an incredibly useful hormone that helps modulate the immune system; however, too much of it in the body can cause a lot of damage.    

Why Do Dogs Develop Cushing’s Disease?

Cushing’s disease is commonly caused by a benign pituitary tumour. In dogs, 80 to 85 percent of natural Cushing’s disease cases develop because of problems within the pituitary gland. The other 15 to 20 percent is generally caused by tumours within the adrenal gland.

The disease can also develop when a dog is given a high dose of corticosteroid medication, or medication that is given to them over a long period of time. These drugs may be given to a dog to treat allergies, types of cancer, immune disorders and much more.

Symptoms of Dog Cushing’s Disease

Here are some of the symptoms associated with Cushing’s disease. Remember that some of these symptoms can be associated with other diseases or conditions.

  • Loss of hair
  • Thin skin
  • Bruising
  • Hard white scaly patches on the skin
  • Darkening of the skin
  • Appearance of blackheads on the skin of your dog
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to sleep
  • Weakness
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased panting
  • Increased urination and thirst
  • Obesity
  • Infections that keep on reoccurring

Treatment of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Treating dogs that develop Cushing’s disease from corticosteroid medication is a fairly straightforward process. Dogs should be slowly weaned off these medications, while under the supervision of a vet. Taking your dog off these medications too quickly can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions.

Pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease cases that show mild symptoms may not need any immediate treatment, but dogs should be monitored closely to see if any medication would be beneficial. Treatment typically begins when a dog develops symptoms that can be dangerous to them.

Treatment of pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease usually involves the use of mitotane or trilostance. Both of these drugs can have serious side effects, so it is best to monitor your dog closely if they are on them.


Yes, that’s right, dogs can develop dandruff as well. It is essentially dry flaky skin that is made up of dead skin cells that clump together. Dandruff can be caused by a whole host of different things, from your dog’s diet to infections or allergies.

Causes of Dog Dandruff

  • Here are some of the causes of dandruff in dogs:
  • Yeast
  • Parasites that are both external and internal
  • Infections
  • Obesity
  • Problems with your dog’s diet
  • Environmental conditions- temperature and humidity levels
  • Allergies – anything from food allergies to pollen and dust allergies
  • Cheyletiella mites – these white mites make themselves at home in your dog’s skin and coat, while they lay their eggs
  • Improper grooming


Signs of Dog Dandruff

Dandruff is fairly easy to spot as it will present itself as either dry, flaky skin, or oily flaky skin, depending on the breed. Your dog may also be itchy and they will scratch themselves. Additionally, your dog may experience hair loss in certain areas and they may develop scabs, bumps and pimples as well.

Just remember that hair loss combined with flaky skin is also a sign of Cushing’s disease.

How to Treat Dog Dandruff?

As always, it is important to understand and identify the reason for your dog’s dandruff to treat it effectively. If you believe your dog’s dandruff is simply caused by a bad case of dry skin, there are some things you can do to help them get it under control.

Give Your Dog a Bath

A good wash can go a long way to helping your pooch’s dandruff problem. Make sure you use a shampoo that is formulated for dogs and one that is designed to help with dry skin. Shampoo that is formulated with iodine, sulphur, or systolic acid will help “dry” dandruff cases, while shampoo products with benzoyl peroxide or selenium sulphide will help “oily” dandruff cases.

Regularly Groom Your Dog

Give your dog a good brush once a day. This will help to distribute the natural oils from your dog’s coat and will give their skin a massage, which encourages oil production.

Improve Your Dog’s Diet

Diet is a major cause of cause of dandruff in dogs. Switching to a high-quality pet food and buying some pet supplements can help your dog’s dandruff problem tremendously. Some pet food is specially formulated to help your dog’s coat, so check with your vet to see which one they would recommend. Another tip is to provide plenty of water for your dog.

Dog Hot Spots

Hot spots, or acute moist dermatitis, are red, moist, hot and irritated lesions that are usually found on a canine’s chest, hip or head. They can grow incredibly quickly because dogs tend to scratch, chew and lick the hot spot area, which irritates the skin even more. Left unchecked, they can become very painful and irritating for your dog.

Why Dog Dogs Get Hot Spots

Hot spots occur because of irritated skin. Your dog tends to lick, chew or scratch irritated skin, which cause a hot spot to appear. They can be caused by the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Flea, insect or mite bites
  • Poor grooming
  • Underlying ear or skin infections
  • Constant chewing or licking caused by boredom, stress or other conditions

Are Some Dogs More Prone to Hot Spots Than Others?

Yes, some dogs are more prone to developing hot spots than others. Dogs with thicker, longer coats are more likely to get hot spots than those with shorter, thinner coats. Additionally, dogs who are not groomed properly and have dirty, matted coats have a higher chance of developing hot spots. If your dog likes to swim, or is out in the rain a lot, they can also be more prone to hot spots as well.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Hot Spots?

When it comes to treating hot spots, there are a number of things you can do. If you believe the hot spot is caused by an allergic reaction, it may be worth heading to your vets. Your vet will be able to determine the cause of the reaction, so you can avoid it or give them medication to treat it. We’ve listed some treatment ideas below:

  • Use a non-irritating solution to clean the hot spot
  • Shave the hair around the hot spot to allow air and medication to come into contact with it
  • Medication that prevents and treats parasites
  • Painkillers and/or antibiotics from your vet
  • Supplements that contain essential fatty acids to promote a healthy coat
  • Antihistamines or corticosteroids prescribed from your vet to control itching.
  • Diet change that removes any potential allergens
  • Collar that prevents them from chewing, scratching or licking the hot spot area
  • Balanced diet that promotes healthy skin and coat

What Can I Do to Prevent Hot Spots On My Dog?

When it comes to preventing hot spots, make sure you regularly groom and wash your dog. Try to clip your dog’s hair if it is long, especially during the warmer months of the year.

When it comes to flews, you are going to want to follow a strict flea control program that is recommend by your vet.

Finally, you need to provide a stress-free environment for your dog, where they get plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

Dog Mange

Mange is a highly contagious and inflammatory disease in dogs, and there are two types, demodectic and sarcoptic. We are going to talk about both types below.

Demodectic Mange

This type of mange is caused by the demodex mite, and causes red, itchy and infected skin. The mite lives on your dog and is found in small numbers in the skin of most dogs. This is because most mother dogs will carry mites that then travel to their puppies shortly after birth.

Problems start when your dog has an immune system that does not work correctly and cannot keep the mite population in check. The mite population increases, which causes intense itching for your dog. Following this, your dog’s intense scratching can cause secondary bacterial infection with pus to develop.

Symptoms of Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange can either affect the entire body or affect specific areas only. If the symptoms are localised to one area they tend to be more mild. Lesions can occur in patches on the face, trunk, or legs, but they can be found anywhere. If the mange is generalised, the symptoms will be more widespread and will appear all over your dog’s body. The symptoms you may notice include hair loss, the appearance of lesions and scales, and redness of the skin.

Treatment of Demodectic Mange

If the problem is localised, it is likely to resolve itself and disappear without notice. This usually happens in 90 percent of cases; however, more severe cases may require long-term medication to control the condition.

Your vet may recommend lime-sulphur dips to the affected area, which will help relieve the symptoms. A medicated shampoo can also be used to reduce the symptoms.

All up, it may take at least 12 months or more for problem to be cured, with regular trips to the vets to check on progress.

Sarcoptic Mange (Scabies)

Like demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange is caused by mites; however, this time it is the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. These mites will burrow through your dog’s skin, which causes intense irritation and itching. The scratching caused by the irritation will lead to hair loss and further worsening of the condition.

Symptoms of Sarcoptic Mange

Here are some of the symptoms your dog may display when they are suffering from sarcoptic mange:

  • Skin rash
  • Crust formation in and around the affected area
  • Hair loss
  • Intense scratching and irritation

Symptoms will generally appear two to six weeks after they have been exposed to the mange.

What Causes Sarcoptic Mange?

As we said above, sarcoptic mange is caused by the Sarcpotes scabiei mite. This mite can be easily passed from one dog to another, and most cases are caused by coming into contact with another infected animal.

The most common places your dog is likely to get sarcoptic mange is at dog parks, groomers, kennels, animal shelters and veterinary clinics. All these places have high exposure rates of mange because your dog is in close proximity to other dogs that may be infected.

Treatment of Sarcoptic Mange

If your dog does not suffer from a seasonal form of sarcoptic mange, your vet may treat them with scabicide. This is a drug that kills the itch mite and in some cases your dog may be dipped in scabicidal shampoo to kill the mites on their skin.

Many different treatment methods can also be used to fight sarcoptic mange and can include scabicidal dips such as lime-sulphur, selamectin, doramectin and invermectin.

Depending on the severity of your dog’s condition, they may need to undergo treatment on a weekly basis for as long as six consecutive weeks. Your vet may also prescribe oral medication as part of the treatment process.

Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory, chronic skin disease that is associated with allergies. It is the second most common allergic skin disease in dogs and reactions are usually brought on by normally harmless substances like, dust mites, grass, mould spores and other environmental allergens.

Dogs will typically show signs of atopic dermatitis between three months and six years of age, though dogs can develop it any stage. Sometimes, the disease can be so mild the first year that it does not become apparent your dog is reacting to environmental allergens until the second or third year.

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

The symptoms associated with atopic dermatitis will progressively worsen with time and can be stronger during different seasons of the year. Your dog may experience, constant itching, rubbing, scratching and licking around the following areas:

  • Paws
  • Ears
  • Underarms
  • Groin
  • Around the eyes
  • Snout

What Are the Causes of Atopic Dermatitis?

If your dog shows signs of the disease early in their life, it can usually be associated with a family history of skin allergies. The cause of atopic dermatitis is typically brought on by the following:

  • Airborne pollens (plant material, grasses, etc.)
  • Mould spores
  • Dust mites from the home
  • Animal Danders

Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

Unfortunately, atopic dermatitis usually never resolves or goes into remission. There is no real cure for it, but you can treat the symptoms. Treatment will depend on what is causing your dog’s allergy and what your vet recommends.

Hypersensitisation therapy can be performed for certain allergens. This is where your vet will give your dog injections of the allergen that the react to. It can reduce itchiness in 60 to 80 percent of dogs; however, it can take anywhere from six months to well over a year to see any improvement of the condition.

The other option is to give your dog medicines such as antihistamines and corticosteroids, which can reduce the itching and symptoms. Your vet may recommend spray treatment, which can be used over a large area of your dog’s body with minimal side effects.

Keeping your dog’s area and bedding clean can also help reduce the side effects of atopic dermatitis by reducing the number of allergens. There are also shampoos that can help relieve itchiness as well.

Food Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs

Dogs can not only be allergic to environmental allergens; they can also have a reaction to what they eat. Dermatologic food reactions are non-seasonal reactions that can occur following the ingestion of a food product that your dog is allergic to.

The reaction your dog may experience is excessive itchiness, which will ultimately result in excessive scratching.

Symptoms of Food Allergy Dermatitis

Your dog may show signs of some of the following. If your dog is having a severe reaction you should see a vet immediately.

  • Non-seasonal itchiness anywhere on the body
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gut sounds (farting, bowel movements)
  • Erythema – redness of the skin
  • Scale – flakes of dead skin
  • Baldness due to scratching
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Hives
  • Pyotraumatic dermatitis – excessive scratching can cause an infection of the skin

Treatment of Food Allergies in Dogs

When it comes to treating food allergies, there is not much you can do. The best option is to try and avoid any food substances that your dog is allergic to; however, some vets may conduct hypersensitisation treatment.

Antibiotics or antifungal medications may also be prescribed by your vet if secondary infections are taking place.

Don’t forget to check out our guide on what dogs can eat as well.

Dry Skin On Dogs

Just like humans, dry skin can be hugely irritating and uncomfortable for dogs. For us humans, we tend to slap on moisturiser when we have dry skin, however, it’s a little bit more difficult for dogs. While dry skin may not seem like such a big deal, it can actually be a sign of much larger problems with your dog.

Dry skin in dogs can be associated with a wide range of conditions, ranging from allergies to parasites and even serious medical disorders.

What Causes Dry Skin on Dogs?

While dry skin may not seem like a big deal, it can actually be a sign of more serious health conditions. We have talked about some of these health problems in this article already; however, we have listed most of the causes of dry skin below:

  • Allergies ranging from hay fever to food allergies
  • Parasites like the mites that cause mange
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Systemic disorders like Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism
  • Breed-specific skin conditions (Chinese Crested, Siberian Huskies, etc.)
  • Weather conditions
  • Excessive bathing with harsh soaps
  • Poor nutrition and diet

Treating Dry Skin On Dogs

In cases where dry skin may be the symptom of a larger cause, your vet will try to treat both the dry skin and the condition. Depending on the condition, the treatment method may vary and could require medication. We are not going to talk about the treatment of specific conditions in this section, as we have already tried to cover that earlier in this article.

Some factors, like poor nutrition or excessive bathing, are easier to treat. Switching to a high-quality dog food will provide the necessary nutrients for your dog’s skin and coat. Some dog food products are specially formulated to improve your dog’s coat or skin, so talk to your vet about which one they recommend. You can also use supplements that boost skin health and coat condition.

If your dog’s dry skin is caused by too frequent washing, you simply need to reduce the amount you wash your dog. Additionally, try a veterinarian approved shampoo, which should reduce the risk of drying out your dog’s skin.

How to Prevent Dry Skin on Dogs?

Preventing problems occurring is always better than trying to treat the result, and that’s the same with skin conditions in dogs. While some dogs are more prone to dry skin than others, there are some things you can do to prevent dry skin from occurring:

  • Regularly groom your dog to prevent dirt build-up
  • Get them on a high-quality dog food and diet from the time they are puppies
  • Use supplements that are prescribed by your vet
  • Make routine visits to the vets to check up on your dog’s overall health condition
  • Use preventative medication and treatment on parasites and fleas
  • If your dog has skin folds, make sure you keep them clean
  • Research more about your dog’s breed to discover if they are predisposed to any skin conditions

Other Treatment Tips for Skin Conditions & Diseases

The Treatment of canine skin conditions is dependent on what the problem is. We have listed some of the treatment options along with their conditions above; however, there are some things you can do to make your dog’s life better or cure their condition entirely.

Make Sure Your Dog Has a Good Diet

In some cases, a dog’s skin condition may simply be caused by poor nutrition or diet. We found that switching our Daisy from normal food to a grain free diet completely cured her dandruff problems and dry coat. While a simple diet change may not work for everything, it is a good start.

Another option is to give your dog a supplement. Omega 3 supplements can improve the condition of your dog’s coat and skin, regardless of the problem and cause. It also boosts your dog’s immune system and can help their skin condition heal from within. Dogs who suffer from a weak immune system will benefit greatly from the addition of more omega 3 in their diet.

While many dog foods have omega 3 in them, the quantity is so low it makes little difference to your dog. The manufacturing process of the food can also destroy omega 3 oils, minimising their nutritional benefit. A stand-alone omega 3 supplement will provide more omega 3 and is a great addition to your dog’s diet. Another option is to give them a nice juicy bit of salmon!

Washing Your Dog Is Important

There is a belief by some owners that baths are not good for their canine’s skin and coat. This is certainly not true and bathing is an important part of almost every skin treatment process. Shampoos can be incredibly effective against bacterial and fungal infections, and they can help to reduce the amount of allergens in your dog’s coat. The problem with baths is when owners wash their dogs too often, keep it to once or twice a week max.

Clean Your Dog’s Environment

Cleaning your dog’s bedding and environment can help to improve some skin conditions by reducing allergens. Make sure you regularly wash their beds and vacuum in their area to reduce the build-up of dust. Dirty, unwashed bedding can also lead to infections and can harbour fleas and mites.

Regularly Check Your Dog’s Skin & Coat

Checking your dog’s skin and coat condition on a regular basis can help to prevent serious conditions from developing. A small problem can turn serious very quickly, so keep on top of any developing issues. Additional, make sure you schedule regular check-ups with your vet.

Summing Up Dog Skin Conditions & Diseases

As you have probably figured, your dog’s skin problem could be caused by all sorts of different things from their diet, to serious auto-immune conditions. This guide is meant to give you an idea of what your dog could be suffering from and what the treatment processes are.

Always consult with your vet before undertaking any treatment and they will be the best ones to diagnose your dog’s condition. If you go in prepared however, you should be able to save time and money. You can also help your dog sooner if you have all the information ready to present to your vet.

We will be continually adding to this article and we will be adding content related to specific conditions to this website as time goes on, so make sure you bookmark this page.

Now Read: Eight Great Tips For Dental Dog Health 

Can Dogs Get Hay Fever?

Just like humans, dogs are prone to hay fever (atopy) as well. If your dog is sneezing and scratching more than usual, or has a runny nose or eyes, they may have been affected by allergens in their environment.

An estimated ten percent of dogs in the United States suffer from canine hay fever, which makes it the second most common allergy in dogs. We are going to teach you about what the symptoms are and how to best tackle the annoying allergy.

The most common dog allergy is flea bite hypersensitivity, with as many as 40% of dogs suffering from it. Around a quarter to half of all those dogs that suffer from flea hypersensitivity, also suffer from dog hay fever.

Hay Fever Symptoms In Dogs

Dogs with hay fever are often incredibly itchy all over their bodies. Following the itchiness, your dog may suffer from a rash that breaks out on their feet and face. If this is left untreated, the hair over your canine’s eyes and on their feet may begin to thin. This is because they have scratched and chewed at themselves so much.

In addition to itchy skin, rashes on their body and thinning fur, your dog may also develop watery eyes, a runny nose and excessive sneezing; however, these symptoms are less common in dogs than the skin problems.

All these symptoms indicate a reaction to inhaled allergens, but remember that they can also be caused by other issues with your dog.

If you are concerned about other allergies, check out this link for more info.

What Breeds Are More Likely to Develop Hay Fever?

Any dog can develop hay fever, however, some breeds are more likely to suffer from it than others. We have listed the breeds below that are most likely to develop hay fever problems:

  • Small terriers (especially West Highland White Terrier)
  • Dalmatians
  • Irish setters
  • Poodles
  • Schnauzers
  • Boxers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Shar-Pei

When Do Dogs Develop Hay Fever

Hay fever is a seasonal allergy in both humans and canines, with the greatest problems occurring from spring through to summer and early fall. When you start to feel hay fever symptoms yourself, you can expect your dog to begin develop symptoms themselves. Once your location sees its first proper winter frost, the hay fever symptoms should subside for your dog. If they don’t, there could be another reason for your dog’s symptoms.

While your dog can develop hay fever at any point in their life, they are most likely to first experience symptoms from one to three years old.

Diagnosing Hay Fever in Dogs

When it comes to diagnosing hay fever in dogs, it can difficult to determine what allergen is causing the problem. While blood tests are available for dogs, they aren’t always the most reliable method to diagnose hay fever. Intradermal skin testing is another method, that typically produces more accurate results.

It works by injecting suspect allergens into the shaved skin of a sedated dog. Positive reactions will show signs of swelling and irritated skin within 15 minutes of the injection, while negative reactions will simply disappear.

Dogs can react to one or more of the multiple allergens injected, which will give you an idea of what your canine is allergic to. Despite knowing this information, it can be almost impossible to eliminate exposure to your dog in certain circumstances. For instance, if your dog is allergic to dust in your house, it will simple be impossible to completely control this. This is because your dog’s fur is a magnet that attracts all kinds of environmental allergens.

How Do I Treat Dog Hay Fever?

Completely eliminating environmental allergens is an impossible task, especially seeing as dogs are usually indoor and outdoor pets. Filtering the air or vacuuming the garden is completely impractical; however, you can reduce indoor exposure to allergens with a bit of spring cleaning.

We have put together a list of some of the things you can do to help your canine companions hay fever problem.

Give Your Dog a Bath

Washing your dog regularly will reduce their exposure to allergens and will help with scratching problems. Bathe your dog two to three times a week with plain cool water. You can also use an oatmeal based shampoo like Aveeno to soothe your dog’s itchy skin. After your dog has finished playing outside, rinse their paws to reduce pad exposure to allergens.

Epsom Salt Bath

Soaking your dog’s paws in a bath of water and Epsom salt is a great way to relieve their itchy skin. Make sure you completely rinse their paws with plain water before letting them out of the bath. This is because they could develop diarrhea if they lick their paws with Epsom salt on them.

Use Calendula (Marigold Flower)

Calendula Officinalis, also known as the marigold flower, is incredibly soothing for skin that us irritated and itchy. It can be found at most health food or supplement stores and online. Mix about 10-to-15 drops of calendula tincture to four ounces of water. Put this formula in a spray bottle and spray the irritated areas of your dog’s skin as often as need to help their discomfort.

Wash Your Dog’s Bedding

Regular washing of your dog’s bedding with hot water will help to reduce the number of allergens they come into contact with. After washing the bedding, make sure you completely dry it before returning it to your dog.

Run Your Air Conditioning & Use an Air Filter

Running your air conditioning overnight can help to reduce airborne allergens in your home. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter systems can also be helpful as well.

Avoid Sweeping Too Much

Sweeping the floor with a broom tends to move allergens from one place to another, rather than capturing them. It can also make potential allergens go airborne.

If you are cleaning your house, water filters on a vacuum are a great way to remove particles from the floor and the air.

Try a Supplement & Get Their Diet in Check

For some dogs it may be beneficial to try supplements to improve their immune system, and to promote healthy skin and fur. Fatty acids are essential for your dog’s skin and appear to reduce the irritated skin that they get from hay fever.

Omega 3 is an important fatty acid for skin health and it can have anti-itching properties. You can find these supplements from pet stores, the vets and supplement shops. Some dog foods may also have a higher concentration of omega 3 than others, so you could try changing your dog’s food.

Here are some products that will boost omega levels:

  • Flax Seed oil
  • Hemp Seed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Calendula

When it comes to your dog’s food, it is important that they have a balanced diet that provides them with all the nutrients they need. As we said above, dog food with a higher concentration of fatty acids may be better for your dog’s skin.

Check out our What Can Dogs Eat guide for more information on canine diets.

Trim Your Dog’s Coat

If your canine has long hair, it can be beneficial to trim it. This will reduce the amount of pollen and allergens that will get trapped by your dog’s coat.

Clean Them After They Have Been Outside

As we stated earlier, we recommend you give your dog a bath a few times a week to help with their hay fever. Another thing you can do to reduce the amount of pollen on your dog’s coat is to wipe them down after they have been outside. Use a damp towel or cloth to wipe their body, especially their legs and paws.

Keep Them Indoors When Pollen Levels Are High

We certainly don’t suggest restricting your dog to just the inside of your home over the hay fever months, but it can be beneficial to keep them indoors when the pollen count is high. Windy days when pollen counts are high are especially bad, as the pollen particles can be dispersed over a wide area.

Keeping your dog away from longer grass and vegetation is also another great way to reduce their exposure to pollen particles. Just remember, dogs love to be outside, so don’t keep them cooped up in doors all summer long.

When to Take Your Dog to The Vets

If you find that none of the methods above work for you, or your dog seems to be suffering from an extreme case of hay fever, it may be time to see the vets. Your vet may be able to prescribe antihistamines that relieve hay fever symptoms or drugs that reduce itching and irritation. This medication may be applied topically or through oral methods.

Hay Fever Allergy Shots for Dogs

Immunotherapy, or allergy shots may be the right course of action for dogs that suffer from bad cases of hay fever. Allergy Shots is the process of gradually building up your dog’s resistance to allergens by exposing them to gradually increasing amounts of it.

A skin test will usually be the first course of action when it comes to allergy shot treatment. The skin test will determine what allergens your dog will be allergic to. Once the culprit allergens are found, your dog will be vaccinated with minute amounts of them in the hopes that they will build a resistance to them.

As the allergy shot treatment process is slow, injections will usually continue for about a year. Injections to maintain the resistance to the allergen may also be required periodically.

Wrapping Up

Diagnosing allergies can be a real nightmare, especially when there are multiple allergies at work. When it comes to diagnosing allergies, your veterinarian is the best person to go to; however, we have tried to give you an idea of the symptoms of hay fever in this article. Remember they are:

  • Itching
  • Rashes or irritated skin (generally paws or face)
  • Thinning fur over the eyes or on their paws (from over scratching)
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes

Allergies generally can’t be cured and the only real way to control them is to build up a resistance to allergens or avoid them all together. Using the tips above, you should be able to reduce your dog’s hay fever symptoms, but we always think a trip to the vets is good to make sure the symptoms are not a sign of something else.

While dog hay fever may be annoying for your canine, it is not the end of the world. There is a whole load of things you can do to reduce the amount of allergens your dog comes in contact with and the best thing is, they can help you as well if you suffer from it!

Now Read: Can My Dog Catch My Cold? 

Eight Great Tips For Dog Dental Health

Dogs have a great resilience to dental issues, however despite this they can still develop problems like tartar and plaque build-up and infections. Your dog’s dental hygiene is an important part of keeping them healthy and happy, and nobody likes to smell bad dog breath. As with humans, dog dental problems can lead to a whole host of issues from life-threatening infections to heart, kidney and liver disease.

If you are wonder how to take care of your dog’s teeth and are unsure of the warning signs of dental issues, this article will give you all the information on dog dental health.

Dog Dental Cleaning

Cleaning your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush is easier said than done and if your dog could do it themselves it would make dog ownership a lot easier. A dog toothbrush is much the same as one for humans, however the technique is slightly different.

What Dog Toothbrush Should I Get?

Before we go into the teeth cleaning process we are going to talk about getting the right dog toothbrush for your canine. If you haven’t got a toothbrush for your dog yet you will find that there are a wide range of brushes to choose from. Here’s some tips to find the right brush for your dog:

  • Dog brushes are completely different to a human toothbrush, so avoid using a human brush on your dog. A dog toothbrush is typically softer and the bristles are designed to give you easier access to the harder to reach areas of your dog’s mouth. If you have to use a human brush, make sure it is a soft child’s one.
  • Choose the right size brush for your dog. A bigger dog is going to need a bigger toothbrush and smaller dogs will need a smaller brush that will fit in their mouths.
  • If you want to be more precise use a finger toothbrush. These are brushes that fit on the end of your finger, however they can increase the likelihood of your canine biting you.
  • Some dogs just don’t like brushes. If this is the case for your dog, you can use specially designed dental dog pads and sponges to clean their teeth.

Find a Good Dog Toothpaste

As with brushes there is a vast amount of choice when it comes to dog toothpaste and there are many different flavours to choose from. It may be beneficial to try a few different brands and flavours to find one that your dog likes.

Avoid using human toothpaste when it comes to brushing your dog’s teeth. Human toothpaste contains fluoride and sometimes other ingredients that can be toxic to your dog. Dogs that ingest human toothpaste can experience vomiting and possibly even kidney damage.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth

Before you start cleaning your dog’s teeth you need to get them comfortable with your hand in their mouth. Even when you are not cleaning their teeth make sure to frequently touch around your canine’s mouth and muzzle. This will get them comfortable with your hand around their mouth.

When it’s time to start brushing their teeth take it slow and let them lick some toothpaste off your finger. This will help you determine how well they like the taste of the toothpaste. Once your dog has tasted the toothpaste, gently rub some of it along your dog’s teeth and gums.

After you have done this it is time to bring out the toothbrush. Apply some toothpaste to the brush and let your dog lick the brush. Following this begin brushing your dog’s teeth in a slow controlled manner. Make sure you lift up the upper lip and reward your dog with a treat once you have cleaned a few teeth. Continue cleaning their teeth and rewarding them until all the teeth are cleaned.

Some other tips for Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth With a Toothbrush:

  • If your dog is being difficult, try enlist the help of a friend or family member who can help calm and hold the dog.
  • when you dog is being excessively aggressive or resisting too much it may be better to try another day. If this behaviour continues consult a vet or dog trainer.
  • When you first start cleaning your dog’s teeth limit it to short one or two minute sessions. Once they are used to the feeling you can slowly increase the time from then.
  • Make sure you brush and clean along the gums. Don’t forget the tongue as well!
  • Praise and reward your dog with special treats.
  • Make it routine. Brushing your dog’s teeth more often will result in better dental health and they will become more comfortable with it.
  • Finally, try to brush their teeth after exercise. Your dog will be calmer and less likely to become agitated.

When Should You Start Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth?

As soon as possible! You should really be looking to start dental car when you dog is a puppy. They will become more comfortable with dog teeth cleaning if you start early. Puppy dental care is also important as neglecting it can lead to a life time of dog dental problems.

Pick The Right Food

Along with cleaning your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush, using dog dental food or dry food is an excellent way of keeping plaque and tartar under control. Crunchy kibble food is better for your dog’s teeth than soft food, which is more likely to stick to your dog’s teeth and cause decay.

If you are really struggling to clean your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush, the right dental dog food can be a good alternative.

Try Dental Dog Treats

Another great way of keeping your dog’s dental hygiene in check is to use dental dog treats. Dog dental sticks Pedigree’s Dentastix range are a great way of removing plaque and tartar build-up. You can even get a puppy dentastix so you can start cleaning your dog’s teeth when they are young.

Use Dental Dog Toys

Dental dog toys are a great way to keep plaque and tartar levels under control. There are so many toys from synthetic dental dog bones to the likes of the KONG Stuff-a-Ball. Always make sure you are giving your dog safe toys and avoid some hard toys that can cause tooth wear or breakages.

Giving your dog a good dental toy is an excellent way of getting rid of plaque and tartar, while keeping their teeth strong. Although toys are great, they are not a ‘do it all’ solution and should be used in conjunction with good food and teeth cleaning practices.

Imagine if you just chewed gum instead of brushed your teeth, it simply wouldn’t be enough to keep your teeth clean and it’s the same for your dog.

We’ve created a list of five of our favourite dental dog toys, so make sure you check them out here.

What To Look Out For

Now that we have run through some of the ways to keep your dog’s dental health in top shape, it’s now time to tell you some of the warning signs of dog dental problems. We have listed some of these problems below and if your dog experiences any of these a trip to the vets may be called for. Some of these issues can also be signs of other issues as well that are not related to your dog’s dental health.

  • Change in eating habits or loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Drooling or dribbling that is considered excessive
  • Teeth that are missing or misaligned
  • Teeth that are crooked, broken or discoloured
  • Bad breath
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Bumps or growths that are located within or around the face.
  • Gums that are red, swollen or bleeding
  • Pain when touching the gums
  • Brown or yellow tartar crust along the gum line or on the teeth.

When Should You See a Vet

If you notice any of the signs above we recommend that you get your dog checked out by a vet, especially if it is something like bleeding gums, loss of appetite or a broken tooth. During your dog’s regular check-up at the vets they should inspect your dog’s teeth and if they don’t, ask them to.

Keeping your dog’s dental health in check will save you money in the long run and can prevent some life-threatening illnesses from popping up.

Try to always keep on top of your dog’s dental maintenance, as it can be a real money saver in the long run and might even save your dog’s life. Letting it go past a certain point can lead to costly and painful visits to the vet, and could lead to lifelong damage.

Summing up dog dental health

Keeping your dog’s teeth in good working order is one of the most important things to do as a dog owner. This article should be everything you need to know about dog dental health and what to look out for if you think your dog has dental problems. Keep your dog’s teeth clean and consult a vet if you think there are any problems.

Now Read: Seven Great Dental Dog Toys


Treatment Tips For Dog Bee Stings

Dogs are curious animals and they love to chase anything from other dogs, cats and even insects. Sometimes these things bite back and if you have ever seen a bee sting a dog, it can be a horrifying thing to watch. So what should you do if your dog gets a bee sting and is it dangerous?

Dog Bee Sting Facts

Dogs are interested in everything, and they are fascinated with insects. Anything that crosses their path is considered fair game, even a bee. But while bees seem like a good thing to chase, your dog doesn’t know the risks of chomping down on them. Dog bee stings can be seriously nasty, but why do bees sting in the first place?

Bees sting dogs because they feel threatened by them. While we see our pets as cute and friendly, a bee will find a dog utterly terrifying. They will typically sting when they have been touched, handled roughly or feel that their nests are under attack.

Where Do Bees Sting Dogs?

Dogs usually get bee stings on their face, paws or inside their mouths. This occurs because dogs love to inspect bee’s nests closely, or dig around them to find out what is going on. These bee stings to your dog can be potentially dangerous and the subsequent swelling can close your dog’s throat and block their airways.

How Do Bees Sting?

Bees are the only insect with a strongly barbed sting. This sting lodges itself into the victim’s skin and tears itself loose from the bee’s abdomen, and then the bee dies. Female bees are the only ones that sting and the queen’s stinger is smooth so it can sting time and time again.

Are Bee Stings Dangerous To Dogs?

Bee stings hurt, not because of the small puncture wound, but the poison that is injected. On most occasions dogs will get one bee sting and will just be irritated by it. Multiple bee stings, however can be very dangerous to dogs and could require a trip to the vets.

Dog Bee Sting Allergy & Anaphylaxis

As an owner it can be hard to tell which dog will simply learn a painful lesson, and which ones will have an allergic reaction to the bee sting. Dog bee stings should be monitored closely and should be treated as a potential emergency.

Our canine companions can suffer anaphylaxis, a very severe, allergic reaction that can be life threatening. This can happen incredibly quickly and getting your dog treatment in the shortest possible time will improve the outcome.

Your dog may show the following signs if they have had an allergic reaction to bee stings:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • General weakness
  • Swelling around or extends from the sting area

If your dog is showing signs of any of these after a bee sting, you must take them to the vets immediately.

One thing to remember is that delayed anaphylaxis can occur, so make sure you monitor your dog for an extended period of time after they get a bee sting.

Dog Bee Sting Treatment

One bee sting to your dog can usually be left alone, as long as your dog does not have an allergy to them. A Single sting should only be uncomfortable for a short period of time and if the sting is still present, you can try to remove it by scraping it with a fingernail or rigid piece of cardboard. Try not to use tweezers or forceps as these can force more venom out of the stinger.

Dog Bee Sting Benadryl Treatment & The Vets

If you take your dog to the vets they may recommend a treatment of Benadryl and steroids, if they are having a severe reaction to the sting. Your vet may also want to keep your dog for a number of hours to monitor their breathing and make sure the swelling is going down. In serious cases, dogs may need to go on IV fluids to stop them dyeing or stop the reaction occurring.

Keep Benadryl On Hand

Some dog owners also keep Benadryl on hand, so they don’t have to take a trip to the vets. Ask your vet about Benadryl dosage amounts for your dog and keep the required amount with you. This will mean you probably won’t need to go to the vets, unless it is a serious reaction or the treatment doesn’t show signs of working.

Keeping a supply of Benadryl ready is always a good idea, especially when you are in an area where there are no vets (if you are taking your dog on a long walk for example) or if the vets are closed.

While we recommend talking to your vet about what Benadryl dosage amounts are needed for your dog, we’ve given you a rough idea of the amounts you might need below:

  • Dogs under 30 pounds (13kg) 10mg
  • Dogs from 30 to 50 pounds (13 to 22.6kg) 25mg
  • Dogs over 50 pounds (22.6kg) 50mg

Remember to only use plain Benadryl formula. Your vet may also recommend children’s Benadryl for your dog.

Other Tips

If your dog is showing no signs of an allergic reaction to the bee sting, and they have only been stung once, a simple remedy may be all that is needed. Home dog bee sting treatment may include applying a weak mixture of water of baking soda to the sting area. This will help to reduce the pain caused by the sting. You can also place an icepack that is wrapped in a towel on the affected area to reduce pain and swelling.

What If My Dog Gets Stung Again?

If your dog is unlucky enough to receive another bee sting, you should be better prepared than the first time. You should get the general idea of how your dog reacts to being stung from the first incident, however, dogs can develop anaphylaxis at any time.

Make sure you monitor your dog following the bee sting and if you notice anything different, a trip to the vets may be called for. If your dog had a severe reaction to a bee sting before you should take them to the vets immediately.

Summing Up Dog Bee Stings

Dog’s inquisitive and playful nature can certainly lead them to getting a nasty surprise when they meet Mr Bee. Try to monitor your dog while they are playing outside and inspect the area they are in for any hives. If you notice they are in an area with lots of bees or where there are hives, use the “stay” or “come” command to keep them near.

When your dog is showing signs of anaphylaxis make sure to take them to the vets immediately and if it’s your dog’s first time getting stung, you may want to take them anyway.

Remember that the main places a dog gets a bee sting are:

  • On their paws
  • Face
  • Mouth (including inside)

Knowing the signs of a bee sting and being prepared to react when things go wrong will keep your dog safe.

Now Read: Can My Dog Catch My Cold


Can My Dog Catch My Cold?

When it is that time of the year, you will do anything to keep nasty colds and bugs away from your family, including that four legged friend of yours. You might even wonder how dogs get colds or if they can catch a human cold. You obviously love your dog and you want to keep them healthy, but do you need to keep away from them when you are feeling a bit run down yourself?

This article is a quick rundown of whether that canine friend of yours can or can’t catch the cold or the flu from you.

Can Dogs Catch Human Colds?

When it comes to humans, colds get passed on from one human to another when they come into contact with each other and one is infected with a virus. The common symptoms of colds usually include a sore throat, blocked stuffy nose, excess mucus in the nose and throat, and watery eyes as well. So can you pass these symptoms on to your canine companion?

The simple answer is no; you can’t pass on your cold to your dog. This is because some viruses, infections or even bacteria are species-specific. A human cold will only affect humans, while you won’t be able to catch the dog flu if you are wondering if it works the other way around.

So What Is a Dog Cold?

As mentioned before, dog colds are different to the type of cold a human suffers from. Dogs transmit their colds to other dogs in much the same way as humans transmit the common cold. A simple sneeze from another dog can pass on the virus to your pooch, making them sick.

While the viruses that infects dogs with a cold or flu is different to that of the ones that affect humans, the symptoms are still similar. Your dog may end up coughing and sneezing, while having a runny or stuffed nose with watery eyes.

Assessing a Canine Cold

While the common cold is similar for dogs, there is one big difference when it comes to diagnosing it. Your dog can’t give you a full rundown of all its symptoms and troubles, so you are going to have to diagnose it for them.

A runny nose is to be expected, however, if the discharge from their nose is a yellowish or greenish colour it may not indicate an infection. You should watch for any signs of general weakness or fever and if you can take their temperature with a quality thermometer, definitely try. Coughing, sneezing or loss of appetite aren’t too much of a worry as long as they do not carry on for days.

Some Other Dog Viruses

Here’s a couple of other viral infections for dogs you should watch out for.

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a serious viral illness that can be highly contagious. There is no known cure and it affects dogs and other animals like raccoons, wolves, foxes and skunks. The ferret is also known to be a carrier of the virus. Canine distemper is a relative of the measles virus and is part of the Morbillivirus class of viruses. Older dogs that are not immunized and young, unvaccinated puppies tend to be more susceptible to canine distemper.

It is spread through the air and by direct or indirect contact with an animal that has been infected with the virus. Major symptoms to watch out for include a high fever, watery discharge from the nose and eyes, and reddened eyes. Infected dogs will become lethargic and tired, and they will usually become anorexic. Other symptoms may include coughing, diarrhea and vomiting.

Dogs with weak immune systems may die within two to five weeks after the initial infection occurs.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease, that is usually contracted when dogs spend time in a place with numerous dogs, like kennels or training classes. The virus is so contagious that your dog doesn’t even need to come in direct contact with an infected dog to contract it. The virus can live on items, such as dog toys that have saliva on them or water bowls.

As the name suggests, kennel cough is typified by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. It is found throughout the world and infects high percentage of dogs at least once during their life. Young puppies can suffer the worst complications from the disease, as they have immature immune systems. Older dogs, those who are pregnant and dogs with pre-existing respiratory diseases are also more likely to contract kennel cough as they typically have decreased immune capabilities.

Some of the symptoms are as follows:

  • Persistent, honking cough
  • Watery nasal discharge
  • Retching
  • Mild cases – dogs are normally active and eating properly
  • Severe cases – symptoms progress and can include fever, loss of appetite, pneumonia, lethargy and even death in extreme cases.

Dogs that come in contact with the virus will typically show these symptoms within four to ten days.

Treatment of Kennel Cough

The treatment of Kennel Cough depends on the severity of the infection. If your dog has only mild symptoms and is active, alert and eating well, your vet may tell you to keep your dog rested, hydrated and make sure they get good nutrition. More severe cases may lead to your vet prescribing medication that will help reduce inflammation and coughing. Bacterial infections may be treated with a course of antibiotics and if your dog has pneumonia they will be hospitalized.

Can Dogs Catch the Flu from Humans?

We’ve talked about the common cold and a couple of dog specific viruses your dog can catch; however, we haven’t talked about the flu. The flu shares similar symptoms with the common cold, but if your body is feeling achy and you have a fever, you might have the flu.

The flu virus is spread from person to person in much the same way as a cold. Unlike a common cold, the flu can last a lot longer and can develop into much more serious conditions, such as pneumonia.

If you have the flu and you’re wondering if it can be transmitted to your dog, you will be happy to hear that it can’t. However, there is a dog-specific flue that you should be aware of.

Canine Influenza

Canine influenza, or dog flue is a respiratory infection that is much the same as the one that infects humans. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “The first strain reported in the United States, beginning in 2004, was an H3N8 influenza A virus … In 2015, an outbreak that started in Chicago was caused by a separate canine influenza virus, H3N2.”

The symptoms of canine influenza are again very similar to that of the human kind. Your dog may experience a lingering cough, sneezing, a fever, and discharge may appear from their nose and eyes.

Treatment for Canine Influenza

Your vet will likely prescribe antibiotics or other medication to treat the dog flu. They should also be well hydrated, rested and need plenty of nutrition to recover properly. Make sure you also isolate them from other animals to prevent the transmission of the virus.

When to See a Vet

It is important to remember that most respiratory conditions or viruses such as the cold will improve within several days. Some dogs’ immune systems are not as prepared as others and if your dog is either very young or very old, it is best to have them checked over by a vet.

While we think you should definitely take your dog to the vet if they have a week immune system, we also recommend that any dog should be taken to the vets if they are experiencing any sort of viral infection. Your vet will be able to diagnose what is wrong and recommend the required treatment, even if it is just getting a good rest.

Other things to remember is that your dog should be well hydrated and fed with notorieties foods that will help them recover. Make sure they get plenty of rest and don’t forget to isolate them if you are a multi-pet household. With a little, rest, relaxation, lots of fresh water and healthy dinners, your dog should be back to their normal self in no time at all!

Now Read: What Can Dogs Eat