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.

Fleas

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.

Ringworm

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.

Dandruff

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 

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