As devoted pet owners, we’re constantly looking out for the health and wellbeing of our furry companions. Among the various health concerns that can affect dogs, skin conditions rank high on the list. 

They are prone to a variety of skin issues that can range from mild irritations to more serious ailments. Understanding these common skin conditions is essential for early detection and proper management. 

Let’s take a look at ten of the most common skin conditions that frequently afflict dogs.

Symptoms of a dog skin condition 

Like many ailments affecting dogs, the first sign something is wrong is very often a change in behaviour, such as increased scratching, but you may also notice fur loss and redness. Or you might see a lump when stroking or grooming your dog. Perhaps there’s a new, unpleasant smell coming from your pet. 

It’s important to note that unusual or increased scratching could be unrelated to skin conditions and may be a behavioural change or anxiety related.

In all these cases, it’s important to bring them in for examination by one of our vets. Dog skin conditions can often be managed by changes to routine or diet, and preventative medication, though it’s important to be aware of the potential for a more serious underlying problem that requires attention.

Causes of skin problems in dogs 

Just like humans, dogs can develop skin conditions through exposure to certain substances or other environmental factors they come across when out for their daily walk, such as pollen or parasites. 

However, the cause can also be a food allergy that can be managed by a simple change in diet or an autoimmune issue that requires further investigation. Whatever the cause, if you notice an ongoing skin condition in your pet, we recommend you bring them in for examination by a vet or veterinary nurse.

10 of the most common types of dog skin conditions

Dog skin allergies 

Dog skin allergies are one of the most prevalent issues affecting dogs. They can be triggered by various factors, including pollen, dust mites, mould or certain ingredients in their food (see below). 

Symptoms may include itching, redness, inflammation and sometimes even fur loss. Identifying and eliminating the allergen is crucial, which may mean changes to routine, such as places you go for a walk, or things like the dog shampoo you use. Treatments may involve antihistamines, corticosteroids or hypoallergenic diets. 

Food allergies 

Food allergies in dogs can come out as skin issues, among other symptoms like gastrointestinal upset. Common allergens include beef, chicken, dairy, wheat and soy. 

Switching to a limited ingredient or hypoallergenic diet prescribed by a veterinarian is often necessary to manage food allergies and alleviate skin problems. For example, the Veterinary HPM range from Virbac is free from common allergens and we may recommend this as a way of overcoming food-related allergic reactions.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition characterised by greasy or flaky skin, often accompanied by a foul odour. It can result from an overproduction of sebum or an underlying medical condition such as hormonal imbalances or allergies. Medicated shampoos containing ingredients like coal tar, salicylic acid or ketoconazole are typically used for treatment.


Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection which is common in puppies. It presents as pustules or blisters that rupture, leaving behind crusty sores, usually around the abdomen and groin area. Antibacterial shampoos and topical antibiotics are effective in treating impetigo, but severe cases may require oral antibiotics prescribed by a vet.

Yeast infections 

Yeast infections often occur in warm, moist areas of a dog’s body, such as skin folds, ears and paws. Symptoms include itching, redness, greasiness and a distinctive yeasty smell. Treatment typically involves antifungal shampoos, topical medications and addressing underlying factors like allergies or hormonal imbalances.

Fleas and other parasites 

Fleas, ticks, mites and lice can cause intense itching and skin irritation, and even transmit diseases to dogs. Prevention through regular use of flea and tick medication is crucial. 

Treatment may include medicated shampoos, spot-on treatments, oral medications or environmental control measures to eradicate parasites. Oral preventative flea and tick treatments are included in our Pet Health Plan for dogs. Find out more and sign up here.


Dandruff in dogs, also known as seborrhea sicca, manifests as dry, flaky skin and is often a sign of an underlying issue such as allergies, hormonal imbalances or poor diet. Regular grooming, moisturising shampoos and dietary adjustments rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help manage dandruff.

Skin tags

If you notice a lump on your dog’s skin, it may be a skin tag. Skin tags are usually benign growths that commonly occur in older dogs. While generally harmless, they can become irritated or infected if rubbed or scratched. Your vet may recommend skin tag removal if they are causing discomfort or hinder mobility.

It’s important to be aware that dogs can develop skin cancer. We recommend bringing your dog in for examination if the skin tag begins to bleed or develops a discharge. 


Canine lupus erythematosus (CLE) is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin, causing lesions, ulcers and hair loss. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms with medications like corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and topical therapies to alleviate inflammation and discomfort


Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by mites, leading to intense itching, hair loss, and skin lesions. There are two primary types: sarcoptic mange (scabies) and demodectic mange (demodex). Treatment varies depending on the type of mange and may include medicated baths, topical medications or oral medications prescribed by a vet.

Dog skin condition treatment 

Skin conditions can significantly impact a dog’s quality of life, but with proper understanding and veterinary care, most of these ailments can be effectively managed or prevented. 

We recommend regular grooming, parasite control and prompt attention to any changes in your dog’s skin to maintain their overall health and wellbeing. 

Every case is different therefore it’s important to access each case individually so we recommend the most appropriate treatment.

Remember, if you notice any unusual skin changes or persistent symptoms, contact us to arrange a consultation for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Published On: April 30th, 2024 / Categories: Latest News /

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