Dog Skin Scabs

Skin scabs form whenever a dog irritates the surface of the skin through constant biting, itching, scratching and/or licking in the attempt to alleviate itchiness. This itchiness can be caused by parasites (both internal and external), allergies, heredity, chemicals and/or environmental elements.

Irritants Cause Skin Scabs

Irritants cause a dog to further irritate the skin through the scratching and licking of the site in an attempt to stop the itching. This results in a vicious cycle of continuous scratching and licking. Both the scratching and licking, as well as the itchiness itself, increases in severity over time. This further irritates the site, possibly causing it to bleed and form a scab.

Some other common causes include the following:

  • Allergies caused by direct contact or ingestion of an allergen
  • Poor nutrition
  • Mineral deficiency
  • Rash
  • Hereditary
  • Internal parasites: Heartworms, intestinal worms and any larvae
  • External parasites: Fleas, gnats, lice, mites, chiggers, flies and any larvae
  • Depletion of natural skin oils caused by excessive bathing and therefore the drying out of the skin
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to chemicals used in cleaning, or household products and pesticides

It is advisable to avoid any irritants rather than treating the cause, since treatment takes money and time. Treatment can make life miserable for the dog and is time consuming for the owner. The dog will be driven to scratch unless an Elizabethan collar is used to prevent him from licking and chewing.

Direct Contact and Ingestion of an Allergen

Direct contact with an irritant can cause an allergic reaction, as can the ingestion of an allergen. Pesticides and some household products can cause an allergic reaction. Most of these products should be kept out of reach of children and pets. Warning labels should be read for all warnings in the use of these products. Some foods can cause allergic reactions in certain breeds since they are unable to digest the food. Sometimes these reactions cause an itchy rash, resulting in biting, scratching and licking the site, which can eventually form a skin scab. Washing the irritant off of the skin will prevent the formation of a scab.

Proper Diet

The skin needs certain nutrients to ensure its health, gloss and natural defenses against the elements and parasites. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can result in the formation of scabs.

Internal or External Parasites

Fleas, mites, biting insects and their larvae can cause irritation, resulting in a dog biting, scratching and licking the bite site. If a dog irritates the skin enough to cause it to bleed, then a scab can form. Most scabs are itchy and result in the dog continuing the cycle of scratching, biting and licking. Sometimes the bite site increases in size, producing a larger scab. The only way to break this cycle is to apply medication and bandages to prevent further irritation.

Excessive Bathing

Excessive bathing can rob the skin of its natural oils, causing itching. Shampoos can also cause an allergic reaction. In either case, scabs can form if a dog irritates the site further with scratching, biting and licking. Medicated shampoos should be used to ensure that bathing does not irritate the skin.

Proper diet, proper bathing, avoidance of parasites and the elimination of any environmental irritants can prevent the formation of skin scabs on your pet.