15 Skin Diseases in Dogs - COMPLETE Guide


There are many skin diseases in dogs and, in fact, they are part of the most frequent veterinary consultation reasons. It is important to turn to the veterinary clinic or hospital from the first signs because these types of diseases, if not treated soon, can be complicated and very bothersome for the dog.

In this Animal Expert article we will review skin diseases in the most common dogs. We will see what are the symptoms to which we must pay attention and suggest that our dog requires early veterinary assistance. We will also talk about the most appropriate treatments.

Symptoms of skin diseases in dogs

Before going on to detail the most common diseases that can affect the skin of dogs, we will list the most common symptoms They will indicate that there is a dermatological problem. They are the following:

  • Itching or scratching.
  • Alopecia, that is, hairless areas.
  • Dermatitis, which is literally inflammation of the skin.
  • Erythema or redness of the skin.
  • Open sores or wounds.
  • Papules, which are large red bumps.
  • Pustules, lesions with pus inside.
  • Crusts, which are wounds that have dried.
  • Nodules, lumps, grains or masses, which we can observe or feel as protuberances of different sizes.
  • Hyperpigmentation or dark skin.
  • Hyperkeratosis or thickened skin.

1. Flea bite allergic dermatitis (DAPP)

Flea bite allergic dermatitis in dogs is very common and is caused by a hypersensitivity reaction to the saliva of fleas. These parasites feed on blood and, in doing so, bite the dog. This contact is able to trigger the allergy for which a single sting is enough. The dog will scratch and we will see wounds and alopecia, especially in the lumbosacral area. If not treated quickly, the lesions will get worse. Flea control is essential for healing.

2. Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis in dogs or atopy is one of the most common allergies in dogs and constitutes a very common skin disease in dogs. The hypersensitivity reaction can be produced mites, pollen, dust, etc. Although at the beginning its presentation can be seasonal, the truth is that it ends up extending throughout the year. It is characterized by the appearance of pruritus.

This and the intense licking are the causes of dermatological lesions. There may also be a runny nose, eye, sneezing or otitis. It is common to see the feet with brown spots. Among the allergies also stand out the adverse reactions to food such as meat, dairy, soy, etc., which manifest with itching, red bumps or pustules. In both cases it can be difficult to determine what the trigger is.

In the mushroom section we are going to highlight a type that produces a well-known skin disease in dogs, such as ringworm in dogs, which causes circular alopecia especially in young animals and is a pathology that can be spread to other species, human beings included. That is why treatment is essential to eliminate the fungus and establish hygiene measures to prevent its transmission.

4. malassezia dermatitis

Malassezia in dogs is a yeast that can cause skin disease in dogs and that is very involved in otitis. It is considered to be a habitual inhabitant of the skin and only in conditions of imbalance is it pathological. In these cases there will be pruritus and scaling injuries. There may be a bad smell.

Scabies is a skin disease in dogs produced by mites. There are two types of mange. Sarcoptic mange causes intense itching, alopecia and inflammation. It is also very contagious, even for humans, hence the importance of its treatment. Demodectic mange, with a localized presentation, similar to ringworm, or generalized, with alopecia on the head, legs and trunk.

6. Seborrhea

Seborrhea in dogs is a condition in which they occur scales that can be dry, such as dandruff, or oily, due to an excess of sebum production that also produces a bad smell. This skin disease in dogs can be primary, which is treatable but incurable, or secondary, when triggered from another pathology.

7. Pyoderma

Pyoderma in dogs is a deep infection that can appear as complication to different diseases of the skin in dogs. This is because it is easier for infected skin to be infected by scratching, excess licking, etc. You will require veterinary treatment with disinfection and antibiotics.

8. Folliculitis

Folliculitis in dogs is a skin disease in dogs that is characterized by the appearance of small pimples or pustules. It is due to an infection in the hair follicles. It can be mild or deep, when the infection manages to affect internal areas of the dermis, causing boils that break and release pus.

9. Acute wet dermatitis

Also known as "hot spots", acute moist dermatitis in dogs is very painful for the dog, so analgesia is usually included as part of the treatment. Are inflamed areas that exude pus and produce a bad smell. They appear acutely and spread rapidly anywhere in the body.

10. Pododermatitis

This skin disease in dogs is limited to the animal's legs. It can be a consequence of trauma, foreign bodies, allergies, irritants, parasites, etc. It is appreciated erythema, edema, exudate, inflammation or lameness. Treatment requires the diagnosis of the cause.

11. Neoplasms

The neoplasms are abnormal tissue masses that we will appreciate as lumps under the skin. We know them as tumors in dogs. They can be benign or malignant. It is important to differentiate them from other lumps called abscesses that are accumulations of pus that can occur as a result of foreign bodies, bites, etc. Pustules, boils and pimples would be small abscesses that frequently appear as a symptom of different skin diseases in dogs.

12. Injuries

They are not strictly skin diseases in dogs but any trauma or foreign body It is capable of causing more or less serious damage. Superficial wounds can be resolved at home but the rest must be controlled by a veterinarian.

On the other hand, some injuries, usually acute, with reddish lumps and inflammation, are due to contact with some irritating substance, what is called contact dermatitis. It usually affects areas devoid of hair.

Another type of habitual injury is known calluses or bedsores. They are produced by pressure usually in joint areas and are more common in large dogs that sleep on hard surfaces.

13. Hormonal problems

Sometimes, the skin disease in dogs that is manifested to us is not due to a dermatological problem, but is consequence of different pathologies linked to hormonal problems such as hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, hyperestrogenism or hypoestrogenism. They do not cause itching but bilateral symmetric alopecia. All these diseases must be diagnosed and treated by the veterinarian.

14. Behavior problems

Some dogs that experience stress situations and behavioral problems they can redirect their anxiety towards their own body, which translates into injuries from excessive licking, nibbling, etc. Among these skin diseases in dogs, acral lick dermatitis, which appears in tarsus or carpus, stands out.

It seems that there could be a physical cause that provokes that first attention of the dog on its skin, such as mites, fungi or a wound. Needs to veterinary treatment and improvements in the quality of life of the animal. It is hard to cure.

How to cure skin diseases in dogs?

There are numerous pathologies that can damage the skin of our dog and, in addition, they are not always easy to detect. Sometimes you can be alerted by a professional figure in the sector, such as our canine hairdresseror. If it is a mild condition, such as a superficial wound, a flea or substance that has caused a dermatitis, we can solve it at home with a disinfectant, antiparasitic prescribed by the veterinarian or avoiding the harmful product.

However, yes the dog does not stop scratchingIt has inflamed areas, no hair, purulent or masses, we must go to the veterinary center urgently. If the skin is not treated soon, the picture will get worse and the skin will darken and thicken.

Diagnosis of skin diseases in dogs

In case of problems in the skin of the dog, our veterinarian, with the assistance of a Veterinary Technical Assistant, can resort to different diagnostic tests such as Wood's lamp, which detects the presence of fungi, scrapes, which allow the skin to be observed under a microscope in search of parasites such as mites, or, also, cultures or skin biopsies.

For allergies, skin tests can be performed. If a systemic disease is suspected, a blood test will be requested. It is very important to make a good diagnosis to choose the treatment option more suitable

Treatment of skin diseases in dogs

There are many treatment options because, as we have seen, there are causes of different origins. The treatment can be based on eliminate the parasite and prevent its appearance if there is. Disinfect the skin, clean with topical products or shampoos or administer antibiotics in the case of bacterial infections. Corticosteroids and products of similar effect are prescribed to reduce inflammation and itching.

Hormonal problems will require medication and close veterinary monitoring. In addition, when the behavior influences the disease we must change the living conditions of the dog, going to a canine educator or ethologist if necessary. Food allergies are treated with a hypoallergenic feeding. Immunotherapy is also used. Abscesses and malignancies may need surgical intervention.

If you want to know more about tests for diagnosis, veterinary treatment or skin care and the dog's coat, do not hesitate to train in the VETFORMATION Veterinary Assistant courseLikewise, you can also specialize in VETFORMATION Dog grooming course.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Skin diseases in dogs, we recommend that you enter our Skin Problems section.

How to Cure Skin Diseases in Dogs

So that the treatment for skin diseasesbe effective You need to first identify the type of disease that causes the dog's skin problem.

Many of the recommended treatments to treat skin diseases are topical that are applied directly to the skin. (shampoos, ointments, topical insecticides and antibiotic ointments) In addition there are other systematic treatments that are those that are applied orally that are beneficial for some diseases. (Medications taken by mouth or injected)

Before taking justice by your hand it is advisable to go follow the instructions of a veterinarian.

Pests and pests

Two of the main causes of a very varied amount of diseases in the skin of the dog are fleas and ticks. These parasites bite the dogs to feed on their blood, causing itching. This causes the animal to scratch compulsively.. Generally, flea and tick bites generate redness and swelling in the area, which worsens as the dog scratches.

It must be taken into account that this kind of problem must be solved as soon as it is detected, since in addition to causing discomfort and dermatitis in the animal, it can be the cause of more serious diseases, such as canine ehrlichiosis or anemia, in case the infestation is very severe.

Demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange are caused by two mites that produce significant skin inflammation. As the disease progresses, the dog begins to lose hair, in addition to a general itching on the whole body.

This disease requires treatment with specific shampoos and sprays, in addition to medications to manage pain and itching in the animal. Fortunately, when dogs are treated they have miraculous recoveries in a short time and, if the disease did not progress much, there will be no sequels of it on the skin.

Ringworm is a highly contagious disease caused by a fungus that can affect both dogs and humans. It is characterized by the appearance of red patches on the skin in which hair loss occurs.

Usually, It begins as a small lesion that spreads to nearby areas or to other animals and family members. This fungus should be treated immediately detected to prevent its spread.

Allergy irritation

About 10% of dogs suffer from some kind of allergy that causes them atopic dermatitis. While The main cause of allergies comes from food consumptionThey can also be produced by another class of agents such as pollen, insects or parasites.

It is characterized by redness, swelling or inflammation of the skin, eyelids or lips. Normally, when skin conditions occur they are usually accompanied by itching, appearance of pimples and dryness with peeling skin. To treat allergies it is usually suggested to implement an elimination diet monitored by the veterinarian.

Callus appearance

Although calluses are not a disease, they can cause some kind of discomfort due to their appearance at the joints of the dog.

Calluses are black, dry, crusty and bald spots that are formed due to the constant rubbing of joints on hard surfaces. The problem with corns is that, if not taken care of, they can become ulcerated or burst causing, in addition to bleeding, much pain in the animal.

Skin trauma

Accidents can leave permanent sequels on the skin of our pet. Some serious ones, such as scars caused by surgery, burns or blows, will require monitoring and control to avoid future inconveniences.

Major wound treatments will need antibiotics, scars and antiseptics, as well. a badly healed wound can produce from suppuration to major infections, therefore it is better that you take care of the scars and avoid more discomfort to your dog.

The most common place where our dog can get hurt inside the home is the kitchen, therefore it is better not to allow them access, or at least not while cooking.

The appearance of tumors and cysts is a common phenomenon in dogs in advanced ages, and although not all are carcinogenic, they require follow-up to prevent them from growing. These kinds of problems need treatment depending on the size of the tumor or cyst and the severity of the tumor.