Common Dog Skin Rashes

Dog skin rashes can occur for a number of reasons. Dogs are vulnerable to a host of parasites that can affect the skin. They can also develop skin infections that lead to rash. Here are some of the most common dog skin rashes.

Dog Allergies Are a Common Cause of Skin Rashes

One of the most common causes of dog skin rashes is allergies. Contact dermatitis, in which a rash appears after the dog's skin has come into contact with an irritant, causes skin rashes. Food allergies can cause skin disturbances in dogs as well.

It can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of an allergic reaction, so your vet may need to perform a number of tests. Most allergies in dogs can be successfully treated by removing the irritant from your dog's environment, or by administering medication if this isn't possible.

Mange Skin Rashes in Dogs

Mange is another very common dog skin rash. Mange is a parasitic infection of the skin. There are two types of mange, demodectic and sarcoptic.

Demodectic mange occurs primarily in dogs with weakened immune systems. These skin rashes develop when demodex mites, which normally live in the hair follicles of your dog's skin, overpopulate and cause an infection. Normally, your dog's immune system would keep these mites from over-proliferating, but if your dog's immune system is weakened by illness, stress, or extreme youth, he may develop a skin rash anyway. Because demodectic mange is caused by mites that occur naturally on your dog's body, it can be difficult to treat.

Sarcoptic mange, or canine scabies, occurs when sarcoptes mites invade and infest the skin of a healthy dog.

Symptoms include:

  • hair loss
  • itching
  • red pustules
  • yellow crusting

Sores, lesions, and secondary infections can develop. Shampoos, dips, and even oral medications are available to help clear up dog skin rashes due to mange.

Yeast Infection Skin Rash in Dogs

Dogs often develop skin rashes due to yeast infections of the skin. Yeast infections of the skin are itchy, smelly, and often crusty. They can cause the skin to thicken and take on an elephantine appearance. 

Yeast are a fungus that lives naturally in and on your dog's body. Again, the healthy dog's immune system keeps these normal flora under control. However, if conditions on the skin are allowed to become just right for the proliferation of yeast fungus, then yeast fungus will proliferate. Yeast need warmth and damp in order to thrive. 

Often, other skin conditions, such as allergies, can contribute to the development of skin yeast infection rash. That's because some skin conditions can cause the skin or over-produce skin oils, leading to a more moist environment that encourages the growth of yeast. Yeast infections of the ears are also common, especially in dogs with large ear flaps, since these flaps can hold moisture inside the ear and make it easier for yeast infections to take hold. Yeast infection skin may be treated with oral or topical anti-fungal drugs.