Common Skin Problems in Dogs

There are a lot of things to love about dogs: their rambunctious energy, their hilarious antics, and the way they look at you like you’re a cross between a god and an ice cream sundae. But one thing those of us who share our lives with dogs don’t love is when our four-legged pals suffer from skin problems. Still, these ailments are part of life with a dog. Fortunately, there’s quite a bit we can do as pet parents to keep our dogs comfortable and happy—and to get them back on the road to wellness if they start showing symptoms of skin issues.

Regular grooming helps protect your dog’s skin, and is a great way to bond with your pet.

Brushing your dog’s fur regularly will help to remove dead hair, dirt and excess oil from their coat. This helps reduce the amount of time that your pet spends licking and biting at its coat, or scratching its skin.

Regular brushing of a dog’s coat prevents mats from forming in the hair and helps keep the skin healthy by increasing blood flow to the skin surface. The increased circulation helps prevent infections on the body, which can occur when mats get wet from rain or snow storms or from excessive licking by your pet.


Allergies are the most common skin problem in dogs. Allergies can cause itching and inflammation, which may lead to redness and hair loss. The most common allergies are caused by parasites, food or environmental factors. If your dog is allergic to something external, his skin will become irritated when he comes into contact with it. For example, if your dog is allergic to grass or pollen then he will probably scratch himself constantly when he’s outside because these things make him itch.

If you notice these symptoms in your dog then it’s a good idea to take him for a checkup with the vet so that she can find out what’s wrong with him and how best to treat his condition. At first glance it might seem like there’s nothing wrong but this isn’t always true—there could be something going on inside that we just don’t see on the outside yet!

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange is a skin condition caused by a mite that burrows into the skin, causing hair loss and irritation. It’s highly contagious and can be transmitted from dog to dog, but it’s most common in puppies.

The mites that cause demodectic mange are microscopic roundworms that live on your dog’s skin. They look like tiny red dots or brownish specks under the microscope, so they’re easy to miss unless you know what you’re looking for. The first sign of demodectic mange is usually excessive scratching or rubbing of areas around the face and neck, but as these areas become raw from scratching, other symptoms may appear.

Dry skin

Dry skin is a common problem in dogs. Dry skin can be caused by fleas, allergies, or other conditions. If your dog has dry skin and you suspect that it is caused by fleas, you should consult your veterinarian immediately. Treating flea infestations with a good flea control product will help to relieve the symptoms of your dog’s dry skin.

Dryness of the skin can also be a sign of another underlying problem such as inflammation or an auto-immune disease (where the body’s immune system attacks its own cells). These types of diseases require veterinary care for treatment and prevention.

If your dog has dry skin on his paws or ears, you may want to apply moisturizer directly to those areas at least once per day until his coat returns to normal—though this may take several weeks if he has been suffering from it for some time.

External Parasites

External parasites are among the most common skin problems in dogs, and they can be found throughout the United States. Some of these parasites include fleas, ticks, lice and mites. If your dog has been diagnosed with an external parasite problem (or if you suspect he has one), you’ll want to ensure that he receives both preventative treatment for future infestations as well as immediate treatment for any current infestations.

Hormonal Alopecia (Seasonal Flank Alopecia)

Hormonal alopecia is a seasonal problem. At the onset of winter, dogs with this condition will suddenly start losing big clumps of hair on their flanks and sides, which creates a “cottage cheese” effect.

The good news? Hormonal alopecia is not contagious or a health problem; it’s just something that happens to some dogs in the fall and winter months. If you want to prevent your dog from experiencing this condition, don’t shave him in the summertime—this will only make things worse when October rolls around!


Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to a number of symptoms, including hair loss, skin issues and weight gain. Hypothyroidism is one of the most common diseases found in dogs and it’s important for pet parents to understand how it affects their pets so they can seek treatment if needed.

If your dog has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or if you’re concerned about them having this condition please talk with your veterinarian about what options are available for treatment.

Interdigital Cysts and Hyperkeratosis

Interdigital cysts and hyperkeratosis (thickened skin) are common problems in dogs. They can be caused by a number of factors, including allergies, poor diet, and genetics. Some dogs may develop these conditions as a result of abnormal hair growth or excessive moisture to the paws.

Treatment for interdigital cysts and hyperkeratosis can include medication to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with the condition. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove excess skin or cyst tissue.

Pyoderma (Bacterial Skin Infections)

Pyoderma is a bacterial infection of the skin. There are many different types of bacteria that can cause pyoderma, including Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus intermedius (also known as “intermediary” or “skin-associated”), Corynebacterium spp., Pasteurella multocida and others.

Pyoderma is usually treated with antibiotics and/or topical medications such as a shampoo or cream. It can also be treated with medicated baths in veterinary clinics if you want to try home remedies first — but please note that any time you treat your dog at home without professional advice it’s important to be very careful not to hurt them!

Ringworm Fungal Infection

Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes scaly patches on the skin. If your dog has ringworm, you may notice circular, scaly areas on their skin or hair loss.

If your dog has been infected with ringworm, it’s possible for you to get it too! People who are immunocompromised (meaning they have a weakened immune system) are at risk of serious complications from ringworm—if this describes you or someone in your household, make sure to talk with your doctor about how best to prevent yourself from getting sick.


If you suspect your dog has a skin problem, please consult your veterinarian immediately. Allergies should be treated as soon as possible to reduce discomfort for your pet and can also prevent skin infections from starting.

If you are able to diagnose the problem early on, it’s more likely that your dog will make a full recovery with minimal treatment required.