Dog Health Care: Skin Diseases Symptoms and Treatments

Scratching, sniffing, itching or chewing the coat; are these sound familiar to you? If so, your pooch might be suffering from skin infections!

Just like us, our furry friends can also show sensitivity to certain everyday substances or allergens. These allergies can be painful for your pooch and can cause great discomfort as well. Some allergies that affect skin can also lead to changes in the dog’s coat and can cause wounds like crusting, scaling and pustules.

So, if flaky, dry skin is making you and your dog uncomfortable, here are a few things like causes, symptoms and treatments you need to know to protect your dog.

What Causes Skin Allergies in Dogs?


While there are several factors that affect the health of a dog but skin allergies or allergic dermatitis tops all of them. Some of the most common causes of these skin related allergies are as follows:

Environmental Conditions:


Environmental conditions or environmental allergies are seasonal and occur mostly in young dogs. These allergies are also genetic and certain breeds of dogs are more prone to attract them. When the dog comes in contact with an allergen like pollen, mites, dust, or mold, etc. excessive amounts of histamine is released by hypersensitive antibodies, which causes allergic reactions. So, if your pet comes in contact with these common allergens, you will find him scratching face, feet, eyes or ears.


Dog skin allergies



Fleas are the pests that bite dogs and feed on their blood. They carry infections that can make a pet sick. The saliva in their bites can cause an allergic reaction which can further lead to severe skin problems.

A dog exposed to shabby bedding and surroundings is more prone to flea allergy dermatitis. If you see changes in the back half of the dog, at the thighs or the base of the tail, chances are that your pet is suffering from a FAD.

Dog mange:


Mange is a contagious type of skin disease that occurs due to mite infection in dogs. These mites enter the pet’s skin through a burrow thereby causing itching and irritation on the coat.

If a dog has high exposure to kennels, animal shelters or dog parks, the chances of having mange will increase. Mange can cause skin rash, crust formation, intense scratching or hair loss in the dog.



Another common cause of skin infection in dogs is ‘Ringworms’. Contrasting to the name, ringworms are not caused by any worms; instead, it’s a fungal infection that leads to a skin infection in a canine.

They are generally circular and appear like a crusty bald patch on the pet’s coat. The infection is quite contagious and can easily infect other healthy animals as well as humans.

Dog Dandruff:


Like humans, dogs can also have dandruff which can lead to dry skin and irritations. Irritants like pollen, dust, flea saliva can be the culprits behind dog dandruff. Endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism and Cushing can also cause dandruff.

Foods Allergies:


While some breeds are genetically predisposed to the food allergies, some are likely to develop with time. Food allergies in canine are usually due to lack of proteins and the most common allergens are dairy products, chicken, egg and beef. So, next time you see your dog itching face, feet, ears or skin, feed him right food.

Yeast Infections:


Yeast resides on the skin, commonly between the toes, ears, canal, and around the anus.  If you find your pooch rubbing these areas, he may have an overgrown yeast infection. Yeast infection tends to cause hair loss, reddened area and skin thickening.

Breed Specific Skin Allergies


There’s no saying if your pooch is vulnerable to a particular form of skin allergy. But, there are certain dog breeds show allergic symptoms after their immune systems recognize an allergen or substance as harmful.  Enlisted below are some common breed-specific skin allergies found in dogs.

American Bulldog:


Skin allergies

These pets tend to attract both foods as well as environmental allergies that can hamper the skin.

Besides, they can have canine ichthyosiform dermatoses, which is usually a rare genetic defect that causes allergies.  Therefore, if you suspect your pet’s skin red from the belly, armpits and groin, take him to the vet and find out the cause.

Standard Poodles:


If your poodle has excessive hair loss, chances are that he is a victim of granulomatous sebaceous adenitis. Adenitis is a hereditary condition that affects the oil gland causing skin problems in the pooch. However, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A therapy and other oil treatment can help in the recovery process.

Labrador Retrievers:


Labrador Retrievers are quite susceptible to the skin infections as their immune system overreacts to allergens like pollens, foods, bacteria and much more. Besides these allergens, the immune system of this breed also produces a protein called IgE (immunoglobulin E), which triggers a chemical causing inflammation and skin irritation.



Spaniels usually have ear and lip fold infections. While the lip fold infections occur because of the weight of the jowls, the ear infections are because of long, heavy ears.

Doberman Pinschers:


Doberman Pinschers usually have hypothyroidism, which affects his skin and can cause various skin infections. The condition causes the dog’s skin to become flaky and dry thereby causing many problems.

How to Prevent Canine Skin Infections


An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure!

The same adage goes when treating the dog with skin infections.  While the treatment depends on the cause of your pet’s allergic reaction, some precautionary measures can prevent the problem from worsening.

  • Feed a high-quality and balanced diet
  • Groom your dog often to avoid the buildup of debris and dirt
  • Keep folds, nails and ears clean
  • Keep the surroundings clean and hygienic
  • Regularly wash your pooch’s bed
  • Schedule regular visits to the vet to monitor your canine’s health

Although some skin conditions cannot be prevented at home and need a vet, if you become a conscientious owner who examines his pet often, you are more likely to catch infections before it gets out of hand.

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