Brown dog with itchy skin
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5 common signs to help pet parents recognize dog skin problems!

By Daniel Mar Journalist

Updated on the

Dog skin problems are a common reason why dog owners need to have a veterinarian nearby. Learn about the causes and signs to recognise them.

A dog can be affected by a large number of skin problems. If you notice that your dog is itchy, scratching a lot and showing signs of skin lesions, something is wrong. Dog skin problems can cause plenty of discomforts. It is important for dog owners to learn about the common causes of skin problems as well as the most important signs to diagnose them.

Causes of dog skin problems

A large number of factors lead to the formation of skin problems. Here you have a list of the most common causes of dog skin problems:

  1. Fleas: It is not unusual to see a dog developing a flea allergy. This type of allergy can be severe. Dogs get skin problems because they are allergic to the flea saliva and become very itchy after being bitten. Prevention methods can be used to treat this allergy as well as the flea infestation on your dog and its surroundings.
  2. Mange: Mange is a skin disease caused by mites. The signs of a mite infection usually depend on which mite species is present on the body. For example, Demodectic mange causes hair loss and sores.
  3. Ringworm: It’s highly contagious and can spread to other animals (and humans). Ringworm lesions in dogs typically manifest as circular bald patches. These can be treated with medicated shampoo or oral medications depending on the severity of the infection.
  4. Food allergies: Dogs can also develop an allergy to the food they eat. There are many signs of food allergies like itchiness and increased bowel movements. Discovering what food makes your dog allergic is difficult and sometimes forces you to exclusively feed your dog a diet for a period of 8-12 weeks (food elimination trial).
  5. Environmental allergies: It occurs in young dogs (less than three years of age). These are usually genetic. Environmental allergens are the cause of this allergy. Environmental allergies are usually diagnosed as a matter of exclusion. Nonetheless, dogs can also be tested for this allergy with an intradermal skin test or a blood test.
Causes of skin problems

5 signs of dog skin problems

You may already know some of these signs of dog skin problems. Here you have the most common ones:

#1: Itchy Skin

Among the most common dog skin problems, itchiness is the winner. Dogs with itchy skin (called pruritus) are very common. In fact, vets have declared that dog itching accounts up to 40% of all vet consults for a skin problem. Dog owners don’t like it when their dog scratch all the time as, it not only looks uncomfortable, but it can also be painful.

#2: Allergies

Allergies are very common. Only one bite can be enough to trigger dog skin problems. Allergens like pollen cause environmental allergy. It is a challenge to manage, especially during allergy season. The signs are itchiness, loose stools and vomiting.

#3: Sores

Other common causes of pruritus are primary bacterial infections. Dogs can often have hot spots which can spread very quickly. Whenever you spot any red sores on your dog, go to the vet.

#4: Hair loss

Another common sign of dog skin problems is hair loss. This symptom indicates that something is not right with your dog. However, to determine exactly what the problem is, your vet might carry out tests such as a skin scraping to examine the skin cells under a microscope. Nonetheless, a variety of problems cause hair loss.

#5: Dull coats

A dull coat is another common sign of dog skin problems. Fortunately, dogs with dull coats often improve with diets containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. On one side, omega-3 fatty acids are important in reducing inflammation. On the other side, omega-6 fatty acids are necessary to maintain the integrity of your dog's skin. Sometimes dogs can’t get these from food so you must provide it to them. For example, Linoleic is an important omega-6 fatty acid that dogs cannot synthesize from food.

Signs your dog has skin problems©Shutterstock

How to take care of dog skin problems?

Here you have some tips which could help you cure and prevent dog skin problems:

  • Regularly comb your dog to check for fleas and ticks. Always have flea/tick medication around.
  • If your dog has trouble sleeping due to the itching, consider giving him some sleeping medication.
  • Give fish oil capsules at mealtime since these have plenty of vitamins and minerals which are good to fight off skin problems.
  • Don’t switch your dog’s food regime.
  • Leave in conditioner after you bathe your dog.

Follow these pieces of advice and you can easily prevent dog skin problems. However, if the situation is critical, go to the vet for further assistance.

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