13 Signs of Skin Issues In Dogs

Dogs go through skin problems just as humans do, but, sadly, they don’t have an extensive skincare regimen to prevent them. 

That’s why they need their human parents to step in for them. 

To ensure that you’re prepared the next time your dog experiences skincare issues, it’s good to be well-informed about the signs before they occur. In some cases, topical treatments can help, while in others, you may have to take your little buddy to a vet. 

In this guide, we will discuss different dog skin issues and some tips to help you treat them easily.

Signs of Skin Issues In Dogs

As a well-aware parent, you must identify the major dog skin issues before they start to worsen.

Two dogs running on a beach.

So here are 13 common signs of dog skin issues, along with helpful skincare tips that you can follow comfortably.

1. Scabs 

If your dog’s skin is getting crusty, it’s a sign of an approaching skin problem. Scabs can be the leftover from a pustule or might be caused due to other serious reasons, such as: 

The ideal treatment for skin scabs is a medicated shampoo. However, the vet might also recommend antiparasitic medication or an oral antibiotic. 

2. Rash

Like humans, rash on dogs is also a bad sign, especially if it’s on the belly. Some common reasons behind a belly rash are: 

  • Insect bites 
  • Contact dermatitis (if your dog has recently come into contact with lawn chemicals or fertilizer)
  • Allergies 

If the rash is due to contact dermatitis, you should wash off the irritant residue from the dog’s skin. However, if it’s due to insect bites or allergies, you don’t often have to worry as the rash goes away on its own. 

But if the rash seems to be bothering your canine friend, go ahead and give them a cool bath with a medicated shampoo. 

3. Red Bumps

These small bumps are a sign that your dog may have a fungal infection called folliculitis. Or, they may have a bacterial condition that needs to be treated with antibiotics. 

You should consult with a vet if you spot small red bumps on your dog’s body. 

4. Large Bumps

If the bumps are more prominent and don’t have any crusting, they could be an allergic reaction. When you spot them, talk to the vet immediately as they swell up and block your dog’s airway. 

A professional will probably give steroids or antihistamine medicines to your little friend. 

5. Red Spots 

Red spots, flat in appearance, can often be spotted on dogs’ bellies in early summer and late spring. These spots are not harmful and go away on their own. 

However, they might be tricky to differentiate from ringworm spots as both appear pretty similar. While red spots result from black fly bites and are not bothersome, ringworms need to be treated with oral antifungals. 

The significant difference between the two is that ringworms appear on all body parts, while red spots only stay in the belly region. 

6. Hot Spots 

Hot spots refer to moist and irritated skin areas with hair matting on the top. When your dog constantly licks an area, bacteria could enter the skin, leading to hot spots. 

Mostly, hot spots appear in humid seasons, especially if your dog has been around water for a long time. 

7. Red Skin

Red, irritated skin is a common sign of dog allergies, resulting from environmental factors or flea bites. 

Fleas not only irritate your pet, but they also transfer several diseases to it. When they enter your home, they can also infest your bed sheets, curtains, and carpets. Then, when your pet gets in touch with these things, fleas start causing constant scratching in them.

Moreover, the red skin can also turn into secondary dog skin problems like bleeding or wounding upon aggressive scratching.

As a solution, you can bathe your dog with an oatmeal shampoo to hydrate and soothe the irritation. 

8. Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are one of the most common dogs skin issues. Your dog might have yeast (fungus) already living on its skin; however, it is usually harmful. 

But as soon as your dog’s skin goes through some changes, like allergies or sweating, the production of yeast increases significantly. As a result, its body tries to suppress the overproduction of yeast, causing prominent skin crusting, itching, and odor. 

This leads to the thickening of dog skin to the point it starts looking like an elephant.

Simply put, yeast infections are not contagious for your dog, but they can cause extreme discomfort to it. 

So consult your vet to identify any underlying causes of the infections.

9. Itchiness 

If your little buddy is continually itching, you should know something’s up. Itchy skin could be due to allergies in the ears, groin, armpits, and feet region. An oatmeal shampoo would do for mild allergies, while for severe ones, you may have to talk to a doctor. 

Another cause of itchiness is external parasite infection, especially on the tail and the inner thighs. 

Besides, other parasites latch onto the dog skin or human skin and suck all the blood from their host’s body. Usually, they are known as Ticks. When you see any such creature on your dog’s skin, you need to rush to your professional health care as soon as possible.

He will prescribe specific medications after diagnosing the type of infection. 

10. Flaky Skin and Dandruff

Dry skin is another sign of skin problems. So the first natural step is to enrich your dog’s diet with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to prevent skin flakiness. 

However, if the flakes are too prominent, the root cause could be seborrhea. It’s a condition in which the dog’s body starts producing excess sebum. 

Dryness can also be a primary sign of dog dandruff. However, it can also be caused by an unhealthy diet or cold (dry) weather. 

But if you see your dog continuously scratching, you must go to your doctor to identify any hidden allergy. Once your vet diagnoses it, you can then go for the most suitable treatment for it.

11. Dark Spots

Did you think only humans had to be worried about dark spots? Well, dogs can’t seem to escape this problem either. Dark spots in dogs are often due to inflammation, while in other cases, they may result from hormone imbalance. 

Your vet may recommend some topicals suitable for the dog skin to treat this problem at home.

12. Sores 

For this one, you’d have to monitor the dog skin for some time. If the sores don’t seem to be going away, it’s likely there’s an underlying condition – maybe even cancer. 

However, that’s not always the case, as most sores heal themselves gradually. 

Since pressure sores are more common in larger dog breeds, you can prevent this by giving them a cushioned place to lie on. 

13. Bald Patches 

Hair loss is one thing, but if your dog has developed bald patches due to shedding, it’s likely a symptom of one of the following conditions: 

When this happens, you must take your little bud to the vet as they will need medical attention. 

How Does a Vet Diagnose Dog Skin Issues?

A woman talking to her dog.

Typically, it’s tricky to identify the causes of dog skin issues. That’s because there are so many underlying reasons and symptoms that are similar to other health problems in dogs

So to be sure that your dog is not in trouble, your vet will do a thorough check-up and some preliminary tests. Plus, they may ask you to observe your dog’s behavior for a few days to catch any missing signs.

If you find or notice anything on your own, you must tell your vet no matter how insignificant they are. You can never know how helpful any information can be in diagnosing and treating your dog’s skin issues.

For instance, if you have used any new shampoo to clean your pet or a new dog food product that made him react unusually. 

Just note down every little detail and inform your vet about it to help him reach the root cause of your dog’s skin condition.

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Dog Skin Care Tips

Here are some dog skin care tips that could help you a lot:

  • The best way to keep your dog healthy is through proper nutrition and grooming. Make sure you’re feeding them appropriately for their age. 
  • You could also use an oatmeal shampoo for bathing them every once in a while as it helps keep allergies and infections at bay. 
  • Keep a keen eye on your dog’s behavior. If it starts acting differently, immediately go to your vet.

The Bottom Line

Your dog can also have skin issues that you may or may not identify on your own.

Some of the common ones are dog dandruff, red spots, baldness, and unusual marks. So as soon as you notice one of the signs mentioned in this guide, take your dog to the vet for medical attention. 

Last but not least, provide a healthy and clean environment to your pet to avoid any such dog skin issues.

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