Pet Dermatology And Allergies in Farmington, PA
Skin problems in dogs are more common during the warmer seasons, which is when seasonal allergies (such as those to pollen and plants), insect bites and other allergic symptoms are more likely. It’s important to pay attention to any skin conditions your dog suffers from, even if they appear relatively minor. Skin symptoms in dogs – such as itching, rashes or bald patches, could be an indicator of an underlying cause or health condition that hasn’t already been diagnosed by a vet or vet nurse.
To help you understand the range of dog skin problems and identify the more obvious symptoms typically associated with each issue (as well as an potential underlying cause), we have summarised 10 of the most common skin conditions in dogs.
Symptoms of Dog Skin Conditions
Itching is one of the most obvious symptoms if your dog has a skin condition, but it’s difficult for pet owners to determine exactly what’s irritating your dog without a full veterinary examination.
While it is quite normal for a dog to occasionally itch, just like a person may occasionally scratch their skin, frequent or prolonged itching is a tell-tale sign of something more serious going on.
Dogs may try to relieve the itch by rubbing their head against an object or scratching the irritated area with their paws. You may also see your dog licking their paws or other areas of the body to soothe the irritated skin.
Other signs suggesting an issue with the skin condition includes the following symptoms:
- Skin Sores
- Skin sores or skin lesions
- Dry skin/flaky skin/scaly skin
- Intense itching
- Excessive licking
- Excessive scratching
- Hair loss/bald patches
- Hot spots of inflamed skin (also known as acute moist dermatitis)
The Most Common Types of Dog Skin Conditions
The most common types of dog skin conditions include contact allergies; bacterial infections; fungal infections, and parasite allergies.
1. Environmental Allergies
A sudden onset of itching – particularly to the face, feet, chest and stomach – can indicate an environmental allergy, triggered when your dog is in contact with the cause of irritation.
2. Food Allergies
Increased itching often involving the face, feet, ears and anus are signs of a potential dog food allergy, and are one of the most common skin conditions in dogs. Dogs can develop food allergies from the type of protein consumed as part of their diet – for example, beef, eggs, chicken and dairy – although some dogs also suffer from allergies to wheat or even vegetables.
Folliculitis means inflamed hair follicles and often occurs when your dog is experiencing another skin problems such as mange or skin allergies, as the hair follicles become infected by the underlying skin condition. It appears on the body in sores, bumps and scabs over the skin.
Ringworm, despite its name, is not a worm but a fungus that is highly contagious to other animals and humans. The fungal infection appears as crusty, circular patches and is often found on a dog’s head, paws, ears and front legs. Your dog’s skin can also appear inflamed and red from where they have irritated the area from scratching. It’s imperative that you contact your vet straight away if you spot any signs of irritation, who can prescribe a topical treatment to kill the fungus and prevent it from spreading.
5. Yeast Infections
Warm areas on a dog’s body attract yeast infections, which love to grow in hard to reach areas, such as the ear canal, in between your dog’s toe, groin and perineum. With a yeast infection, the skin can thicken, causing your dog to itch and bite at the infected area. Yeast infections and similar skin diseases can lead to discolored skin and tend to smell unpleasant.
6. Ticks and Fleas
Ticks and fleas affect your dog’s skin by biting and sucking their blood. Flea saliva enters the body after insect bites, which can cause an allergic response that irritates your pet’s skin, causing them to itch profusely. Severe parasite allergy symptoms in dogs include inflamed, red skin. Pets will often scratch the bite marks, and dogs may chew at their fur to relieve the itching. In extreme conditions, their fur can fall out in patches.
Mange is a severe skin condition caused by several species of mites that live on the dog’s hair and skin.
Like humans, dogs can get dandruff or ‘scurff’ and dry skin; this can be a sign of an underlying problem, like an infection. Some dogs are prone to having dry skin, particularly in winter and it may be affected by their diet; high-quality sources of protein, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can all help keep the coat healthy.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease which means the body’s immune system attacks its own cells. Unfortunately for our pets, open, crusty skin sores which take too long to heal can indicate an immune disorder, these will often be seen around the nose, eyes and paws.