Skin conditions in dogs are a common cause of vet visits. They tend to be more common during the warmer seasons where allergies are more likely and can cause significant discomfort and even pain for your pet. They can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition that has not been diagnosed.
Dogs can have many skin conditions ranging from mild to severe, many of which will require professional treatment in order to deal with them before they worsen. If a skin condition is left untreated for some time, it’s not unusual for the problem to worsen and require more time and effort to treat. Environmental allergies, parasite allergies and bacterial skin infections are some of the most common skin disorders in dogs. The following are skin conditions your dog might suffer from at some point.
Itching that suddenly occurs on areas such as the chest, stomach, feet and face can be a sign of an environmental allergy and is usually triggered when your dog comes into contact with the source of the irritation. This type of allergy is quite similar to hay fever in humans, although dogs show it through itchy and irritated skin rather than sneezing. A vet can order a blood test which will help you diagnose what’s causing the allergy. Common irritants include dust mites, pollens, and grass. You can find medication, injections and shampoos to help your dog deal with this type of allergy.
Food allergies can often lead to increased itching in dogs, most commonly in areas like feet, face and anus. Dogs can sometimes develop food allergies from protein in their food, although it can be caused by anything in their diet including vegetables and wheat. Similar to humans with food intolerance problems, the best way to determine what your dog is allergic to in their food is to put them on an 8-12 week long elimination diet to rule out various potential causes. Your vet will advise you on the best steps to take throughout this process and it’s important to avoid introducing your dog to any suspected allergens during the elimination diet.
Despite the name, ringworm is not a worm but rather a fungus that is very contagious to both humans and other animals. If your dog has ringworm, it will manifest itself as a fungal infection that shows up as crusty, circular bald patches often found on the dog’s front legs, paws, ears and head. Dogs with ringworm may also appear to have inflamed, red skin from where they have scratched at the area and irritated it. If you suspect that your dog has ringworm, it’s important to contact your vet immediately and get an appropriate topical treatment.
Folliculitis, or inflamed hair follicles, occurs when your dog has other skin problems, such as an allergy or mange. The hair follicles will become infected and this shows up on the dog’s body in a series of bumps, sores, and scabs on the skin. If you suspect that your dog has developed this condition as a result of another skin issue, you can get antibiotics, ointments and shampoos from your vet to soothe the skin and treat the issue.
Any warm areas on the dog’s body can attract a yeast infection. Yeast infections tend to spread in areas that are hard to reach such as your dog’s ear canal, in between the toes or around the groin area. The skin can become thicker, which will result in your dog itching and biting at the infected area more often. As a result of the yeast infection, the skin can often become discoloured and may have a bad odour. Your vet can prescribe medicated washes, tablets and topical creams to help soothe the symptoms and cure the infection.
Impetigo can often be an indication of an underlying skin condition and tends to be more common in puppies. As with any health condition in a young animal, treatment from your vet is essential as soon as you suspect that there might be an issue. Lesions caused by impetigo can appear on your dog’s stomach as a series of blisters, which may burst and scab over if allowed to worsen. Antibiotics and medicated washes can be prescribed to treat your dog for impetigo and it’s worth having your vet run some tests to diagnose the cause.
Fleas and ticks can be kept at bay with regular spot-on flea treatments, but they do tend to be more common at certain times of the years. Fleas and ticks will bite your dog’s skin and feed on their blood. This can lead to an allergic response which causes irritation and itching. Signs of a parasite allergy can include inflamed, red skin, excessive scratching, and chewing at the fur. In extreme cases, your dog’s fur might fall out in clumps. If you suspect that your dog has ticks, you can learn more about ticks on dogs and how to treat them at Bella and Duke. Their handy guide for how to deal with ticks on dogs will talk you through the process of getting rid of the parasites and helping your dog get back to normal. Bella & Duke sell a range of raw food for cats and dogs, which can be ordered online for home delivery.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own cells. In dogs, a tell-tale sign of lupus includes open and crusty sores on the skin which are taking longer than they should to heal. They are usually seen around the eyes, nose and paws. If it is left untreated, lupus can become very serious, so if you’ve noticed this sign in your dog it’s important to see a vet as soon as possible.
Mange is a serious skin condition that is caused by several mite species living on the dog’s hair and sin. The worst type of mange is known as sarcoptic mange, caused by a specific type of mite. It is a very irritating, itchy skin condition and will usually show up as hair loss, severe itching, and redness. Treatment includes dedicated shampoos and oral tablets.
If your dog is suffering from a skin condition, itching is usually the most obvious symptom. However, without the help of a vet, it can be difficult to determine exactly what is causing irritation and discomfort to your dog. While it’s normal for a dog to scratch themselves occasionally, the most common sign of a skin problem is prolonged or frequent itching. Other signs and symptoms include dry skin, rashes, skin sores, lumps, redness, dandruff, and hair loss. Check your dog regularly and keep an eye out for any of these symptoms and notice if they tend to be reacting to certain things. You might find that your pet scratches more after you’ve used certain cleaning products, during a certain season or after mealtimes, all of which can be a sign of an underlying allergy.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from any of these skin conditions, it’s important to get support from your vet as soon as possible.