Dog Skin Diseases

Wellness, last updated 30th, Apr 2013, Kritika Manchanda


Roxy is constantly itching and has dry and flaky skin. It can be warning sign to many skin problems. So as a responsible pet parent it becomes your duty to keep an eye on them and follow a proper skin care regime. It is common for canines to have skin infections and problems in the hot and humid months. But with a little bit of care the problems can be kicked away.

The various kinds of skin infections include –

· Parasitic infections

· Flea infestations

· Ticks

· Bacterial infections

· Fungal infections

· Tumours

· Allergies

Some general symptoms of Skin Problems that you must keep a tab on are –

· Constant scratching

· Uncontrollable itching

· Licking and chewing of fur

· Redness or inflammation

· Rashes and blemishes

· Skin discolouration

· Dry and flaky skin

· Hair loss, especially in patches

Some of the most common skin problems include –

Allergic Dermatitis

In simple words allergic dermatitis is nothing but a kind of skin allergy. It can be caused by just anything that your pet may be allergic to. A dog grooming product – soap, shampoo, conditioner, perfume etc. an ingredient in your pet’s food and even environmental factors can cause this allergy. You need to keep a watch and as soon as you think that a particular ingredient or product might be the allergen, immediately discontinue its use.

Look out for symptoms like – itching, redness, rashes, blemishes etc.

Take the pet to the vet. The vet would do the required test and only then recommend some medicines (antibiotics) and ointments.  In some cases the vet may also five steroid shots to ease the itching and redness.


Impetigo is a bacterial infection which mostly affects puppies. Pus filled blisters appear all over the hair less part of the abdomen and if not taken care they spread too fast.  Although the infection is not very serious but should be got under control before things gets out of hand and your little babies have to suffer a round of injections and medicines.


This is a fungal infection that is highly contagious to other animals and to humans. Puppies and stressed dogs are highly prone to ringworms. But there is a possibility that a normal and healthy adult dog may also catch the infection. Ringworm is transmitted via contact with infected animals, bedding, dishes and other materials.

Symptoms of ringworm include round patches that show hair loss with a red ring at the periphery. Ringworm requires veterinary treatment with antifungal medications and extensive cleaning and sterilizing of the home.


Mange is a type of skin disease cause by parasites. It results from an infestation of mites in the skin and hair follicles. Mange can appear throughout the body and but be careful of the red patches on the face, neck, and neck.

The common symptoms are – itching, red skin, hair loss, crusty patches and lesions, dehydration etc.

If left untreated mange can be quite a problem for both the pet and the pet parent. There is no particular breed that is at an increased risk, but experts believe that puppies and dogs less than 18 months of age are more prone to develop this infection.

Fleas and Ticks

A pet parent who is unaware of  ticks and flea s is surely not from this world. Ticks and fle as are one of the common and certainly most talked about skin problems in canines.

The symptoms include – itching, scratching, excessive licking, hot spots (Hot spots are known as moist dermatitis. In this condition the skin appears inflamed and irritated.)

Ticks and fleas are more prevalent during the hot and humid months. The weather and the fur of the animal prove to be the best surviving conditions for them. In an affected dog flea droppings and eggs are visible to the naked eye. Ticks can be commonly seen around the neck, head, inside the toes, tail and armpits.

If left untreated they multiply very quickly and the end result can be fatal for your pet. Skin infections, constant itching and scratching, rashes and bleeding and tick fever are some of the severe after effects.

So it is better to keep a watch on your naughty ones, especially if they enjoy playing around in the garden. Keep running your fingers through the fur and always brush them regularly with a flea comb.

The possible solutions can be – anti flea shampoos, soaps, sprays and tick collars.

Dry and flaky skin

It can be warning sign for many skin diseases. Dry, flaky and itchy skin is a common sign of allergies, infection or other skin disorders. But it is nothing too serious. Many times it happens due to seasonal changes or the improper use of grooming products especially soap or shampoo. Give them a balanced and healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals. Also for a healthy and shiny coat, omega – 3 and omega – 6 fatty acids are required.

Yeast infection 

Yeast infections usually affect the dog’s ear but they can show up anywhere else. First the infection targets the outer ear; from there it shifts to the middle ear. The transition from middle ear to inner ear is very fast.

The causes can include – allergens like dust, pollen, smoke and pollution, cleaning and grooming products. You should also note that there are certain Dog food products or ingredients that can trigger yeast infection in canines.

Main symptoms are - rubbing and constant itching in the ear, waxy residue, redness, swelling and foul odour from the ear.

Now that you know what are the various kinds of infections and their symptoms, I am sure it wold be easier for you.

As we all know that ‘Prevention is better than cure’, so here are some preventive measures that you should follow to keep your pet’s skin glowing and healthy –

·      Use natural, hypoallergenic  soaps and dog shampoos recommended for pets

·      Never use human shampoos and soap. The pH level of dogs highly varies from the pH level of humans, so even the mildest of mild baby soaps can be harsh on their skin

·      Do not bathe them too much as this would lead to loss of essential oil from their skin

·      Regular grooming is the key for a healthy skin and a glossy coat

·      Each breed requires a different regime, so get the right equipment and act accordingly

·      Brush your dog daily, it would keep the coat shiny and the skin healthy. Also you would be able to check for ticks, cuts, wounds and abrasions if any

·      Clean them thoroughly after the walk, especially in rainy season

·      Give them a well-nourished and balanced diet without any artificial ingredients

·      Give them lots of clean drinking water

The skin is the mirror of your pet’s overall health. Make sure they remain happy and healthy and if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned, consult your vet.

So be happy so that your lovable companions are also healthy and happy!!!