Common Skin Problems in Dogs

Picture of a dog running in a field

Do you suspect that your dog has skin health problems? If you haven’t taken a trip to the vet yet, you might want to do so because a medical professional is the only person that can establish a diagnosis.

However, sometimes it is a good idea to get yourself acquainted with a set of clinical signs that you should be on the lookout for, especially if your canine friend has had skin problems in the past. In this post, we’ll look at some of the most common dog skin problems, their symptoms, and what you can do about it (including some home remedies).


Dogs are sensitive to flea bites, and they can even develop allergies in time. Flea allergies can be rather severe, especially when they go untreated. To prevent the development of dermatitis, you should use flea prevention products, especially now that they can be found pretty much anywhere and that you don’t even need a subscription to purchase them.

There are green alternatives, too, even though they are less effective than their chemical counterparts. When you’re trying to get rid of fleas or prevent them from affecting your dog again, it’s important to also clean and disinfect the areas where your canine friend spends a lot of his time, and sometimes that might mean the whole house, and your pet’s bedding in particular.


Mange is caused by a variety of species of mites. Mite infections can be non-seasonal, so they happen all year round. Some species are found in the dog’s hair follicles while others can be found in the skin. Because mange is caused by different pathogens, it has different symptoms, but typically, it causes bald spots, hair loss, and sores.

Sarcoptic mange is known for causing intense itching, sores, and reddened skin. Hair loss is another common manifestation of this disease. However, because they usually live in the skin, you can’t see the mites, so only a veterinarian can diagnose your canine buddy and choose the right treatment.

Food Allergies

Pet food nowadays is packed with all sorts of dyes, additives, preservatives, and taste enhancers, and if you didn’t know that already, a raw diet is much better than any other kind. On top of that, your dog might already be allergic to dairy, egg, or various types of meat and you might not even be aware of it.

Most dogs show gastrointestinal signs in such cases, but skin allergies aren’t uncommon, either. The diet chosen by your vet could contain proteins that your dog is not allergic to. To determine whether a food allergy is an issue, you can have your dog take part in a food elimination trial.


Ringworm is caused by a fungal infection, is extremely contagious, and has been known to spread to animals, but also to humans. The lesions you might notice in a dog that has been affected by ringworm are crusty bald patches in the shape of a circle. In many cases, this issue can be treated effectively and conveniently using either medicated shampoo or oral medication.

Environmental Allergies

Just like humans can be allergic to dust, pollen, grass, and certain types of plants, so can dogs. Environmental allergies are usually diagnosed by excluding other factors. If your dog doesn’t have any food reaction, an infection, or an allergy to fleas, or any other skin problem, for that matter, an environmental allergy could be the culprit. Allergic tests are available, and blood work can also reveal some useful information.

Because limiting exposure of your dog to the allergen can be impractical or even impossible, the treatment largely involves using a variety of medications, diets, medicated washes, and the use of dog vitamins for skin problems.

Bacterial Infections

Infections are usually caused by an allergy that makes your dog scratch his skin until it bleeds. That’s when the bacteria that physiologically lives on your canine buddy’s epidermis and fur gets the perfect opportunity to thrive in a medium.

The area swells, reddens, and sometimes an abscess can be created when it is the result of a trauma. Take your dog to the vet to find out the exact type of infection and get the correct treatment.

Yeast Infections

Yeast can be found on a dog’s body in areas like between the toes, around the anus, and in the ear canal. It can cause an ear infection in dogs with floppy ears. Since yeast organisms are opportunistic, they will grow and cause an infection every time they have the chance. Such infections are more common in humid climates or during the summer, or after your dog has taken a swim.

Some yeast infections cause hair loss and itchiness, but others just cause reddened areas and a skin thickening. In most cases, the areas affected have a foul smell. You could attempt treatments such as using vinegar for dogs skin problems in this case, but you will have to be extremely persistent and wash your dog with a solution of it and water several times a day. Baking soda for dog skin problems can work, too, but many dog parents find that it’s inconvenient to use a homemade alternative than applying a medicated ointment or shampoo.

Autoimmune Disorders

Dog allergies and skin problems can also be caused by autoimmune diseases such as Canine Lupus or Pemphigus. These typically cause severe issues with crusting and ulcerations, and your dog’s general health might be affected, too. Unless you get the right medication and the advice of a veterinarian, you have no means of treating your dog correctly.

Besides, with autoimmune diseases, it is more a matter of managing the symptoms as best as possible rather than trying to cure it because complete recovery is usually impossible.


Much like their human companions, dogs can also get dandruff. It can be caused by skin irritation, dry skin, and sometimes the presence of a fungus, too. In most of the cases, this issue can be resolved with the use of supplements for dogs’ skin problems such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, minerals (zinc), or certain vitamins (B).

Dandruff can also be an indication of a lack of protein in your dog’s diet. High-quality protein sources that can help with maintaining the health of your dog’s coat and skin are salmon and lamb, for example.

Dog Skin Problems – Home remedies

As we have mentioned already, you can use apple cider vinegar and baking soda to get rid of some problems. You can utilize the first to relieve hot spots and improve different skin conditions while the baking soda you can use as an itch reliever on insect bites.

Epsom salt can be used for when your dog has itchy paws. All you have to do is combine half a cup of Epsom salts with one gallon of water and then soak your dog’s paws in it for approximately ten minutes. Your dog’s paws will heal in a matter of up to four days.

You can also use coconut oil for dog skin problems by applying it directly on skin that’s itchy, red, dry, or looks like it was bitten by fleas. Warm up the coconut oil in your hands first and gently massage it into your dog’s skin. It might take a bit of consistency, but you’ll see results if you do this every day.

How often to bathe a dog with skin problems? While some people might think that it’s natural for them to give a nice bath to their dog once every couple of days, the truth is that dogs don’t need that as often as we, humans do. There are natural oils that a dog’s skin secretes and that play an essential part when it comes to preventing skin issues. If you get rid of them by bathing your dog too often, he will develop skin conditions specifically because of a lack of sebum.

Talk to a vet to find out how often you can bathe your canine companion if he is already suffering from a skin problem. In most cases, you’ll have to do this only on specific body areas and combine medicated baths with systemic medication.



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