Dermatitis in Dogs

Dog skin problems and conditions can be a bit of a mystery. Dogs itch, rub, and even break out in hives for seemingly no reason. And after awhile, pet owners can get concerned about the possible causes for their dog’s symptoms.

What is Dermatitis in Dogs?

Dermatitis is a broad spectrum of inflammation of the skin. The cause of dermatitis in dogs can be allergies, parasites, infections or other health problems. Allergies are usually caused by food, environmental or seasonal allergens. Parasites may also cause it. Infections that affect the dog’s skin and hair follicles can also lead to dermatitis if left untreated or improperly treated with antibiotics that do not address the infection causing it.

What Causes Dermatitis in Dogs?

Several factors can cause dermatitis in dogs. These include:

  • Allergies. Allergies are the most common cause of skin problems in dogs and can be triggered by anything from food to environmental allergens or fleas.
  • Fleas. Fleas are a common problem for many pet owners, but if your dog has a sensitivity to them, they may cause an allergic reaction that leads to dermatitis.
  • Food allergies. A dog’s diet plays a large role in the quality of their skin and coat health, so make sure you’re feeding them a healthy variety of foods that don’t contain any ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction like beef or chicken (which often come from animal sources).

What Are the Symptoms of Dermatitis in Dogs?

The symptoms of dermatitis in dogs vary depending on the type of inflammation affecting their skin. If you notice your dog scratching and licking a specific area of their body, this could be a sign that they have an allergy or other condition that can cause itching and redness.

See also  What to Do If Your Dog Has Unpleasant Odors

If you notice redness on the skin around your dog’s eyes, mouth or nose, it may also be a symptom of dermatitis. Other common symptoms include:

  • Scabs
  • Loss of fur due to scratching and biting at the affected area
  • Dry skin

How is Dermatitis Diagnosed in Dogs?

Dogs with dermatitis can be diagnosed through a combination of the following tests:

  • A skin biopsy. This procedure involves removing a small sample of skin and examining it under a microscope to look for signs of inflammation, infection or other issues.
  • Skin scraping. This exam involves using a scalpel to remove cells from your dog’s skin so they can be examined under a microscope.
  • Skin culture. If your dog has an infection, taking samples from their lesions can help identify the bacteria causing it so that it can be treated appropriately.
  • Cytology testing involves examining cells taken from your dog’s lesion(s) under a microscope to look for things like parasites and allergies; these results are then matched with those of other dogs with similar symptoms (disease phenotype). Dogs who do not have any visible lesions may still need this test performed if they show signs consistent with dermatitis (e.g., itching).

How is Dermatitis Treated in Dogs?

  • Antibiotics: Your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic for your dog. This will help clear the infection and speed healing.
  • Anti-fungal drugs: If a fungal infection is present, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-fungal medication to treat it.
  • Steroids: Steroids injected into the affected area or applied topically help reduce inflammation and irritation, which can often make a dermatitis flare up less severe and more manageable.
  • Lubricants: Using a lubricant such as petroleum jelly or mineral oil on your dog’s skin can help reduce itching and discomfort by keeping his coat shiny and soft instead of dry, flaky, and crusty due to excessive scratching or licking at his paws/legs/body parts.
  • Antihistamines (oral): Oral antihistamines work by reducing histamine production in your dog’s body so that he feels less inflamed than normal when experiencing an allergic reaction.
  • Antibacterial shampoos (topical): If bacteria have become infected with the yeast fungus causing paw pad dermatitis, then it is important to use antibacterial shampoos daily until symptoms clear up completely.
See also  How to Treat Pimples on Dogs

Dogs with dermatitis need to see a vet.

If your dog has dermatitis, it’s important to visit a vet as soon as possible. Your vet can prescribe medication to help with the itching and inflammation of the skin, which will make your dog feel better. A vet may also be able to tell you what caused the flare up in the first place and give advice on how to treat or prevent future flare-ups. In some cases, changes in diet or exercise may be necessary for long-term success.

It’s important for dogs with dermatitis not just because it hurts but also because it can lead to secondary infections if left untreated over time if left untreated over time (which are much more serious than a few days worth of itchiness).


Dermatitis is uncomfortable for any pet, and it can cause a lot of problems. If you’ve been looking for information on dog dermatitis and skincare, hopefully this article has helped you out in some way or another. We know that caring for your pets can be stressful—not to mention expensive—but we hope this article will help ease some of that anxiety. Thanks again! And feel free to reach out if there’s anything we haven’t covered here that you were hoping to find.