Severe Skin Problems in Dogs

Skin problems in dogs can be a major cause of concern for you as a pet owner, because they can be a source of discomfort to your pet. Dogs react to allergens by developing skin problems. Your pet's skin and coat are indicators of his health. Most disorders of the skin can be long lasting and require long term treatment to resolve.

Symptoms of Skin Problems in Dogs:

  • Itchiness
  • Rashes
  • Loss of fur
  • Dry, red skin
  • Foul smell 
  • Crusty or scaly skin

Types of Skin Problems in Dogs Include:

  • Skin problems caused by allergens
  • Hormone related skin disorders
  • Skin diseases caused by parasites 
  • Skin diseases caused by fungal infections


Allergies caused by exposure to allergens such as pollens, chemicals, detergents and damp hay can cause excessive itchiness, red and inflamed skin and severe skin irritation, with pimple-like bumps on the surface of the skin. These can only be cured by the removal of the allergen.

Cushing's Syndrome

This is a common type of hormone related disorder in which excess cortisone causes a symmetric loss of hair over the body. The abdomen also becomes pot-bellied and pendulous. These symptoms are often observed in dogs that are administered steroid medications.

Estrogen Excess and Deficiency

The hormone estrogen can cause skin problems that affect both male and female dogs. An excess of estrogen results in a bilateral hair loss in perineum and around the genitals. An estrogen deficiency results in a thinning coat along with scanty hair growth. Over time, the skin also becomes baby soft.


Hypothyroidism can cause skin problems accompanied by loss of hair. The coat becomes very thin, scanty and falls out very easily. There is no itchiness observed.


Parasites such as ticks, fleas, and mites are the predominant cause of canine skin diseases. These parasites and their bites cause severe itching. Scratching and licking the bites only worsens the problem. Skin problems caused by fleas, ticks and mites are easily identified, even though they may not be visible to the naked eye. Black, gritty trails under your pet's fur indicate the presence of fleas.

Flea allergy dermatitis is a disorder that occurs if your dog is allergic to the saliva of fleas. This can last for weeks after the fleas have been eliminated. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available to provide relief to your pet from fleas and dermatitis. Skin problems caused by parasites are easily treated once they're diagnosed.

Sarcoptic Mange

This is also known as canine scabies, and is caused by a burrowing mite that digs into the skin and causes intense itchiness and crusting. Infection, hair loss and crusting are frequently observed. This is highly contagious and the affected dog should be isolated.


Ringworm, a type of fungal infection, is a common canine skin disease. This is a contagious condition and is identified by the presence of dark patches that are covered with blisters or scales. In most cases, a red eruption appears on the skin. It spreads at the edges as the center, heals and this explains the name ringworm.

Any skin problem experienced by your pet should be noticed, diagnosed and treated quickly to prevent it from becoming a more serious condition.