Canine Skin Conditions: From Simple to Serious

Canine skin conditions are commonly caused by allergies, parasites or infections. However, they can also be signs of serious illness.


Almost all dogs suffer from fleas, ticks or other parasites during their lives. A flea allergy can cause your dog severe skin problems. Mange is another dog skin problem caused by parasitical mites.


Many dogs suffer from contact, inhalant and food allergies. You may be able to determine if your dog's skin conditions are due to an allergy; look for a pattern to your dog's chewing and scratching behaviors.

Skin Infections

Skin infections are common, especially in dogs who are already suffering allergy or parasite-related skin conditions. Symptoms of canine skin infections include:

  • Pustules
  • Odor
  • Purulent (pus) discharge

Yeast infections appear in areas where moisture could collect, such as the ears. They smell foul and make the skin greasy, red, and itchy.

Serious Symptoms

There are some canine skin conditions that indicate more serious conditions, such as diabetes, Cushing's disease, or hypothyroidism. They include:

  • Unexplained hair loss
  • Change in pigmentation or color of the skin
  • Thickening or darkening of the skin
  • Thinning of the skin