Common Dog Coat Problems

It can often be difficult to maintain a healthy dog coat with so many unexpected problems that can pop up. Dogs are prone to many diseases and infections of the skin and coat. Some of these diseases and infections may require medication to alleviate the problem.

There are others that can be taken care of with a simple bath. Knowing which disease or infection is plaguing your dog is key to the success of the treatment. You cannot treat a skin infection the same as you would treat a disease affecting the skin and coat.

There are a couple common groups that skin ailments fall under, and with some basic knowledge you can attempt to figure out which one is affecting your dog's coat.

Parasitic Skin Diseases

One of the most common skin diseases is caused by fleas. Fleas feed on the blood of the animal, but they must bite through the skin in order to reach it. This biting is often extremely itchy, causing the animal to scratch and irritate the skin. An abundance of fleas can cause the dog to scratch and bite excessively. If this is left untreated then it can lead to self-mutilation.

Mites, lice and ticks are also prone to causing this sort of self-mutilation. Another type of parasitic skin disease is mange.

Mange is broken up into two groups:

Ticks, fleas, and mites are usually simple to notice, but mange is mainly noticeable when hair loss occurs. Reddening or scaling of the skin is another common sign that your dog may be infected with mange. Demodectic mange is usually a hereditary problem.

Bacterial Skin Infections

The most common form of bacterial skin infections are staphylococci, or staph bacteria. This kind of bacteria is not transferable to humans or other pets, so you do not have to worry about a breakout. You can usually notice staph bacteria early on by observing yellow pustules forming on the skin. The skin will also be red and irritated.

As the bacteria advances there will be hair loss, crusted areas on the body, and some lesions. Almost all parts of the body are susceptible to staph bacteria, but it is commonly agreed upon that the rear is the most common area. Obese dogs are more likely to suffer from this kind of bacterial skin infection.

Fungal Skin Infections

Microsporum and Trichophyton are two types of fungi that commonly infect a dog's coat. The common name for the skin infection resulting from either of these fungi is ringworm. The fungi that causes ringworm thrives in dead skin tissue, such as hair and shed skin cells. T

he first sign that your dog has ringworm is hair loss, which is often in circular patterns. Although, the key sign is that the center of the circle will appear dry and crusty. Ringworm is known to originate on the head and legs of the dog, but it can spread to other areas if left untreated. Younger dogs have been known to develop ringworm more than older dogs.