Common Dog Skin Diseases

Dog skin diseases can have a number of causes, ranging from allergies to systemic disease. Some of the most common dog skin ailments are related to parasites and acne. Read on to learn about some of the most common skin conditions in dogs.


Mange is one of the most common dog skin conditions and it can be difficult to treat. Demodectic mange occurs in young puppies and dogs with weakened immune systems. It happens when the demodex mites normally present in the hair follicles of a healthy dog grow out of control. This overgrowth occurs when your dog's immune system is no longer strong enough to keep populations of these mites in check.

Sarcoptic mange happens when your dog becomes infected with scabies. It's contagious to humans and can be difficult to treat.

Cheyletiella mange, or walking dandruff, happens when your dog becomes infected with cheyletiella mites. Cheyletiella mites burrow under your dog's skin, causing severe dandruff symptoms. When the mites move on your dog's skin, it looks as if the dandruff itself is walking.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Flea allergy dermatitis is another of the most common dog skin diseases. It's also the most common dog allergy, and is difficult to control, because even the bites of one or two fleas can cause an allergic dog to suffer immense irritation. It occurs when dogs suffer an allergic reaction to flea saliva. Flea allergy dermatitis causes severe itching and biting of the hindquarters, tail and legs. Your dog may develop hot spots and skin lesions.

Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Canine atopic dermatitis is a genetic skin disorder that usually occurs in dogs six months to three years of age. It's caused by allergies, and may appear seasonally or perenially, depending on the type of allergies triggering your dog's atopic dermatitis. Causes of canine atopic dermatitis include allergies to food, dust mites and pollen. Your vet can help you determine the cause of your dog's allergies and provide appropriate treatment.


Ringworm is a common fungal infection that accounts for a large number of dog skin diseases. The fungus causes a small, round, hairless sore. The skin at the center of the sore may grow scaly, and the sore may grow larger over time. Pustules may appear, and the area may or may not become irritated.

Ringworm usually appears on a dog's tail, feet and legs. It's contagious to humans and may require treatment with antifungal medication.


Pyodermas are bacterial skin infections in dogs. Staph bacteria are usually responsible for such diseases. Pyodermas can manifest as irritated, yellow pustules. Ulcers may develop and your dog's skin may appear inflamed.

As pyodermas progress, your dog's skin may appear crusty in places. He may experience hair loss and his ulcers and lesions can emit a foul odor. Pyodermas usually occur on your dog's torso, but they can also occur on the face, especially the chin. This condition, know as chin acne, is actually a bacterial infection of the skin.