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What are the main skin diseases in dogs?

A dog’s skin is a very exposed part of his body. Enveloping the body, it can be affected by external aggressors, but also reflects an internal imbalance. It is not uncommon for certain pathologies to cause skin reactions. When the dog is scratching, losing its hair or its skin is covered with sebum, pimples or redness and gives off a bad odor, it is important to consult the veterinarian quickly. Some serious illnesses can manifest themselves in this way. Let’s discover the main skin diseases likely to affect dogs.

What are the main skin diseases in dogs?

Skin diseases are numerous in dogs. Here are the most common.

The allergies

The dog may have atopic dermatitis, which is a skin disease caused by an allergic reaction. In this case, the pooch may develop various skin symptoms, including redness, pimples and festering patches. The animal cannot help scratching and biting itself, which causes wounds, hair loss and secondary infections.

These skin disorders of allergic origin can appear on certain parts of the animal’s body or on its entirety. These can be various forms of allergies:

  • Food allergies: dogs can suffer from allergies when in contact with certain foods and develop skin problems in response. Fish, certain meats, cow’s milk, certain cereals, eggs and many more can trigger various allergic symptoms.
  • Parasitic allergies : Fleas can cause allergic reactions in dogs. It is more precisely their saliva which, when bitten, causes hypersensitivity and inflammation.
  • Environmental allergies : Dogs are just as sensitive to certain allergens as humans and cats. Some doggies develop allergies to pollen, dust, certain cleaning or hygiene products, etc.


Scabies is a disease caused by a mite and which has the characteristic of being a zoonosis, that is to say that it can be transmitted to humans. This disease spreads very quickly among dogs that live in groups in shelters, breeding farms or kennels, as well as among doggies who frequently go out for walks in forests and woods.

The doggie affected by scabies suffers from very severe itching which pushes it to scratch until it bleeds. The disease can extend to the whole of his body or be located mainly around the ears and the auditory apparatus.


This bacterial skin disease is caused by an imbalance that causes bacteria that are normally present on the dog’s epidermis to penetrate into its skin and flesh. They then cause severe itching, scabs and purulent pimples.

Skin cancers

The dog can develop skin cancers of genetic or viral origin or even due to prolonged exposure to harmful products, in particular phytosanitary products. The dog’s body then produces cells excessively, which causes the formation of skin tumors. Mastocytoma is the most frequently encountered in dogs.

Diseases that cause skin disorders

The dog can contract other diseases which are not of cutaneous origin, but which can lead to the development of symptoms on the level of the skin.

  • Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s disease : this disease linked to the dysregulation of the pituitary gland or to a tumor of the adrenal glands tends to cause a first phase of symptoms at the cutaneous level. The dog loses its hair, which is brittle, its skin becomes thinner and reveals blood vessels, it gives off a strong odor and may have pimples.
  • hypothyroidism : this endocrine disease linked to a reduction in the production of thyroid hormones has the consequence of causing skin disorders. The dog presents with hyperpigmentation, excessive sebum production, thicker and less supple skin, hair loss and localized skin infections.
  • A testicular tumor : In uncastrated male dogs, excessive secretion of sex hormones can cause the formation of tumours. Some signs are visible on the skin, with hair loss, excessive sebum secretion and the formation of blackheads.

What are the signs to watch out for?

As we have seen, a dog with a skin disease can show several types of symptoms. Here are the ones to watch out for:

  • itching (the animal scratches repeatedly and abnormally, sometimes until it loses its hair),
  • skin lesions (crusts, pimples, pustules, red patches, dandruff, etc.),
  • growths on the skin,
  • a bad smell in the skin,
  • parasites in the coat.

If you notice one or more of these signs, it is best to consult the veterinarian. He can prescribe an appropriate treatment based on his diagnosis. Of course, he may need to carry out additional examinations and analyzes to identify the allergy or the disease in question.

In any case, never neglect a skin problem, because it can hide a serious or even fatal illness. It is better to act quickly to set up a treatment as soon as possible and thus avoid complications.

Regular brushing and appropriate care are an opportunity to maintain your dog’s coat and skin, but also to detect the slightest suspicious sign. Better to prevent as soon as possible for the well-being of your little companion. Finally, always make sure to offer your pooch a quality diet, to carry out the necessary annual vaccination reminders and to regularly administer antiparasitics.

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