skin problems, conditions and disorders are a common
health issue addressed by veterinarians.
dog’s skin is their body’s largest organ
and is reflective of your dog’s overall health,
both mental and physical, and can be affected by inside
as well as outside sources. Because of this it can be
difficult to determine what the exact cause of the problem
might be, however we’ll take a look at some common
causes of dog skin problems and complaints.
dogs, dogs living in an unhealthy environment, or dogs
with an inadequate diet tend to be the most attractive
to parasites that can affect your dog’s skin.
Problems caused by parasites range from mild to severe
and each type of parasite can cause a different reaction
in your dog.
dog owners will have had to deal with fleas at some
stage, and with correct treatment these can be reasonably
well controlled. Fleas are an irritation at best and
a major problem at worst - not just to our pets but
to us as well. However, the health effects of fleas
can be worse than just the associated itching. Dermatitis
caused by fleas is responsible for more than half of
all dog skin problems treated by vets.
(Ixodes species) are brownish-white and can be initially
mistaken for a wart, but on closer inspection the legs
can be seen, while the head is buried in the epidermis.
Having gorged on the dog's blood it grows to the size
of a bean or pea. Normally a dog will tolerate one or
two ticks without showing any signs of irritation and
they will only be noticed during grooming, or examination.
Ticks have been implemented in carrying dozens of diseases.
The most common ones known to dog owners are Lyme's
disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Canine Ehrliciosis.
spirit soaked onto the tick suffocates it, thus loosening
its grip. It can then be removed with tweezers. Never
attempt to pull the tick off without soaking it first,
as the head will remain and cause infection. Treat the
area with insecticide. A special dip/shampoo can be
obtained from the vet if infestation is severe. Specially
designed tick removers are available from your local
are less common on dogs than ticks and fleas, but there
are still many reported cases. They are tiny, white
and difficult to find, with the most tell tale sign
being their eggs which will be attached to the hair
follicle of the dog.
most common form of mange is caused by a tiny mite that
lives in the hair follicles of the infested dog. There
are a few other forms of mange which are discussed in
detail in the dog mange article. Dog mange can be very
serious and can cause your dog much distress and physical
can be serious and can also be spread to humans. It
often starts as a red area, then it develops into a
small ring that slowly grows. The affected area in dogs
will usually be hairless, irritated and possibly have
scabs. If your dog has widespread ringworm, it is probably
an indication of overall poor health.
of Dog Skin Problems and Disorders
Skin diseases can be very irritating for your dog, but
they are often easy to detect although the cause may
not be quite so apparent.
Always collect information and discuss it with your
veterinarian in order to get an exact diagnosis.
skin problems and dog skin disorders may show one or
more of the following symptoms:
Anal glad problems
• Brown, black or grey discoloration
• Chronic inflammation of the inner ear canal
• Foul odor to the skin
• Greasy coat
• Hair loss
• Itching- mild to severe, meaning blood is
• Large brown flakes
• Pimples and blisters that may discharge
blood or pus
• Redness and irritation
• Scabs or crusts
• Skin flaking, resembling dandruff
• Very dry skin
• Dog Warts
Causes of Dog Skin Problems
A dog’s physical or mental imbalance, together
with unhealthy environmental factors can become apparent
by manifesting as a skin condition, however there are
some common causes.
The single most important thing you can do to keep your
pet healthy is to feed them a nutritious, balanced diet.
Many skin disorders are related to poor quality diet
and many commercial brands of dog food contain preservatives,
colorings and additives which have been linked to kidney,
bladder, skin, stomach and spleen cancers, leukemia,
liver dysfunction, major organ failure, immune system
collapse, severe allergic reactions, birth defects,
blindness, chronic diarrhea, hair loss and behavior
problems. Make sure that you thoroughly research what
you are feeding your dog and only feed the best quality
Dog’s can have a reaction to some of the sprays
and products that we use around our homes and gardens.
Do your research before using these around your home,
and if you must use them, make sure that your dog is
far enough away for a safe amount of time. Dogs may
also be sensitive to certain pollutants in the air.
Some dogs may have negative skin reactions to vaccinations.
There is no way to tell whether or not your dog will
react negatively to specific vaccinations, but if it
does happen, go back to your veterinarian immediately
and they will be able to help you. The necessity and
health impact of vaccinations is heavily debated between
the conventional and holistic veterinary communities.
Atopic dermatitis is a skin allergy disease caused by
hypersensitivity developed by your dog's immune system
to several very common substances like molds and dust
It is a common allergic condition affecting about 15%
of dogs in which the dog has an inborn tendency to be
allergic to various environmental allergens. Once this
inborn allergy develops, dogs tend to have scratching
spells for the rest of their lives. Most atopic dogs
are allergic to fleas, food and dust mites.
your dog scratches and licks himself very often (particularly
licking and chewing the paws, abdomen and legs), and
his/her ears are hot to the touch, he/she may be suffering
from atopic dermatitis.
to see if your dog's saliva causes stains. A red to
brown stain is another indicator that your dog is atopic.
In persistent cases, the skin on the abdomen changes
color from pink, to a bright red then to black.
Mental issues can show themselves as physical skin problems.
Dogs who are very bored, angry or irritable or lack
stimulation on a daily basis may show their problems
through the skin.
Dogs also exhibit allergies to the food they eat. And
this is perhaps the most tedious to diagnose because
food allergies can mimic any of the other allergies
mentioned. Indications will be facial itching, limb
chewing, belly itching, recurrent ear or skin infections.
dog foods contain many fillers, coloring agents, preservatives
etc which give rise to a higher incidence of allergies
than natural or raw diets., however some dogs may be
• Beef products
• Milk products
If you come across your dog itching after the provision
of specific food materials, then a food allergy should
are many recorded incidences of allergies of dogs to
corn or to wheat. However, the food allergies vary from
dog to dog. Read the labels clearly before feeding your
dogs with commercially prepared pet food.
allergies are often linked to hyperactive behavior noticed
in some dogs. Added colors, preservatives, and high
fat diet can cause these food allergies in your pet
and so, you need to be careful in providing a new kind
of diet to your dog. After any change of diet your dog
should be closely monitored for any signs of allergy.
first thing to do is to put your dog on an elimination
diet by removing all possible allergy causing ingredients
from your pet's diet. Your dog is allergic to only one
or two of the many ingredients in their dog food diet,
and a protein is usually to blame. In order to find
the offensive food, you must eliminate all of them and
start from scratch. You can do this by feeding a homemade
meal of a protein and starch source your dog has not
you have chosen your 12 week diet, feed your dog ONLY
that specific diet for the full 12 weeks. NO treats
of any sort - you have no idea what food source is causing
your dog’s dog food allergy. Observe
your dog closely. If your dog’s symptoms show
a marked reduction or elimination after the 12 week
trial, then attempt to feed your dog its original diet
once again. If the symptoms return, then you know that
your dog has an allergy to something in that specific
your dog has particular areas where he is developing
dog skin conditions, follow these few steps to clean
and treat the area.
Clip away excess hair covering the spot on the skin
• Bathe your dog, using a mild organic soap or
shampoo focusing special attention on the area. After
drying the hair and skin, clean the area with a black
or green tea. This can be done often, and using these
teas helps to dry up the moist areas of the skin, by
supplying a tannic acid.
• Apply natural vitamin E oil or an Aloe Vera
gel extracted from a living plant, which can be found
at most health food stores.
To provide your dog with some instant relief, there
are a few natural remedies that will soothe the inflamed
skin and reduce some of the itching:
Aloe Vera cream or gel - Aloe is natural healer that
is used to treat various skin issues on humans and animals
alike. You can apply the aloe to the irritated skin
either directly from the plant or in a gel/lotion form
sold in stores.
• Milk of Magnesia has been found to help itchy,
irritated and dry skin. Pour onto a cotton ball and
apply to the skin of your dog.
• Oatmeal Shampoo with Aloe is great for dogs
prone to skin rashes. The oatmeal keeps their coat healthy
while the aloe heals the skin as explained above.
• Mixing baking soda with water and applying it
to the skin of your dog can be help give relief from
your dog from intense scratching, licking or biting
of the skin spot, as prolonged scratching can cause
bleeding and possibly infection.