Healing Scabs on Dogs

Numerous conditions can cause legions or injuries on your dog's skin, and it's important to know how to handle healing scabs as a result. 

Causes of Scabs

Legions, sores, rashes, cuts. Any number of things can leave a scab behind. It's important to pay attention to these things; if you notice reoccurring scabs over your pet's body, it could be the result of a more serious problem you should have checked out by your vet.

Parasites or mites can be one cause of reoccurring scabs as the dog scratches at them and irritates his skin.

Contact dermatitis is a rash commonly seen in dogs. It's a result of allergies to many possible things, including:

  • household cleaners
  • detergent
  • pollens
  • plants

Along with scabs, you might notice bumpy, red skin. Food allergies can bring about similar symptoms.

Among many other things, scabs can also result from:

  • Demodectic mange
  • "Walking dandruff" (or Cheyletiella)
  • Sarcoptic mange
  • hot spots ("summer sores")

Keep in mind, these conditions don't cause the scabs, but rather cause the skin to itch or be irritated, and your dog can't help but scratch, bite and lick obsessively. 

How to Get a Dog to Stop Biting, Licking and Scratching

Often it can be difficult to get your dog to stop fussing with the scab you desperately want to heal. You have a few alternatives you can try.

The first one that may come to mind is the Elizabethan collars, often referred to as "E-collars." E-collars are made from hard plastic, either white or clear in color, and tie behind their head with a ribbon. Your dog won't like it, and it can make eating a chore, but if all other options aren't working, this may be your best bet to keep your pet from doing more damage to himself.

Some companies now produce a "no-cone collar," or a "no-bite collar," which is a thick collar that limits motion of the head to reduce that unwanted chewing. 

If licking is a bigger problem, it might make sense to try something like Bitter Apple, a spray or a cream with a nasty taste placed on the affected area to deter your dog from going after it. Unfortunately, this might not be the best solution, as the cream or spray can sting and cause your dog discomfort on raw skin. 

What Treatments Can I Use?

There are a few medications you can use, both to speed up the healing process and to alleviate some of the itchy discomfort your dog is feeling.

Topical sprays might be prescribed by your vet. These sprays are most common for hot spots and flea bites. They can help the healing process.

Skin creams containing Aloe Vera are recommended. They're very soothing to irritated skin. However, as Aloe is toxic to dogs, use it sparingly and make sure he doesn't ingest it. 

Lotions containing B and E vitamins are an alternative to Aloe for itchy and dry skin. 

Hydrocortisone cream will significantly help speed up the healing of the scab. It can also aid in preventing infection and alleviate discomfort. Check with your vet before using Hydrocortisone.

How to Prevent Dry Skin

The best way to avoid scabs is to try and avoid skin conditions to begin with. See about getting a good dog shampoo for dry skin (such as an oatmeal shampoo) for regular baths.