If you notice your dog scratching, itching, licking or rubbing more than normal, then he might have a skin condition. If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog, then you should examine the areas that seem to be most problematic. Here are some of the most common symptoms of dog skin problems:
- Red Patches, Spots or Pimples
- Scabs, Crusts or Thickened Skin
- Flaky or Scaly Patches
- Itching, Scratching, Rubbing or Licking
- Hair Loss
- Bad Skin Odor
If you notice any of these signs of a skin condition in your dog, then you should take your dog to the vet for proper examination.
Causes of Dog Skin Conditions
Skin problems in dogs are sometimes the result of environmental allergens. Dog skin allergies tend to show up in very specific areas of your dog including: face, ears, paws, base of the tail, under elbows and in the groin area. Allergies typically appear between ages of 3 months and 6 years. Be sure to ask your veterinarian if an allergy test is right for your dog.
Environmental allergies can include pollen, mould spores and dust mites. These allergens are airborne and may appear year-round, aside from pollen, which is more common in springtime. Your dog’s skin is a crucial barrier to allergens for keeping your pup healthy, which is why your dog’s skin care should be a priority.
Dog skin allergies tend to be chronic and will require lifelong management. This means bathing your dog with an anti-itch shampoo to help soothe his skin. Nutrition also places a vital role in your dog’s skin health — switching to a dog food formulated to support skin health can help ease the irritation.
Parasites and Fleas
Fleas, lice and mites all can cause skin irritation in dogs. Bites from parasites are irritating, causing dogs to bite and scratch themselves, damaging their skin. Some dogs can be particularly sensitive, or “hypersensitive,” to bites from parasites, as a single fleabite can cause a lot of discomfort for your pup.
Much like your dog’s overall health, bacterial and fungal infections can cause skin problems for your dog. Infections can be caused by a number reasons including allergies, but open wounds or cuts are most susceptible to infection and generally pose the greatest threat to your dog’s skin and overall health. Be sure to consult your veterinarian if you think your dog might have a skin infection.
Similar to humans, dogs can develop food sensitivities as a result of a reaction to certain kinds of proteins in your dog’s food. Your vet can perform an allergy test to determine if your dog has any food allergies, and recommend a dog food that is formulated to ease problems for dogs with food sensitivities.
Supporting Your Dog’s Skin Health
The first thing you should consider when you suspect some sort of skin problem in your dog is to consult your vet. They can help determine the cause of any skin irritation to help you choose the best course of remedy. Their recommendations can include one or all of the following:
Can help address skin infections or severe itching
Can support to calm sensitive skin. It can also get to the root of the problem by helping identify the cause (such as food sensitivity). Food with plenty of essential fatty acids also supports healthy dog skin and a shiny coat.
Can help your dog get some of the fatty acids or other nutrients he needs to help him heal.