Identifying Dog Skin Conditions When Brushing

Brushing your dog with the proper tools can help you spot a variety of dog skin conditions early so they may be successfully treated. Left ungroomed, your dog's coat can mask signs of external parasitic infection, bacterial infection, allergic reactions and underlying health conditions. You can keep your dog looking good and healthy at the same time.

Check the Skin While You Brush the Coat

After bathing your dog, gently finger-brush the coat, pulling the hair back from the skin to visually check for skin problems. You can also check the skin as you blow-dry your dog's hair (on the lowest heat setting).

Next, brush your dog with breed-appropriate grooming tools for a more thorough check. Here are some basic guidelines for brushing and combing your dog's coat according to its length:

To inspect long-haired breeds, use a pin brush, brushing hair away from the skin to expose it.

To groom short-coated breeds, use a rubber brush or hound glove, pulling back the hair to expose the skin.

Skin Conditions to Look For While Brushing Your Dog

Continue to familiarize yourself with these and other dog skin problems you can identify during brushing:

  • External parasitic infestations, signaled by crawling or embedded fleas and ticks, scaling indicating mange caused by scabies, and hair loss caused by ringworms
  • Allergic reactions, including flea allergy dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, food allergy dermatitis, staphylococcal dermatitis, urticaria (hives)
  • Sunburn, heat burn, chemical burns

Miscellaneous conditions, like pimples, dandruff, sebaceous adenitis (yellow scaling), folliculitis, lick dermatitis, baldness, callouses, cysts, tumors, skin cancer