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About Dog Skin Problems

Some dog skin problems can just be a nuisance, and others can be hazardous to your dogs overall health, as they can lead to other problems. . . But no matter what, they are all usually highly irritating to your dog.

Actually, if you have a miserably itchy dog then it can be very irritating for you too!

Just like in people, a dogs skin is his largest organ, and of course it serves an important purpose -- protecting the inside of the body.

Most dog skin problems are not life threatening, but if left untreated, they can lead to infections by bacteria, parasites or fungus. Many skin problems can be an indication of something internal (allergy), and a lot of dogs are allergic to corn and other grains.

A large majority of cheap commercial dog foods are made with corn and other fillers, which have no nutritional value. It's not always apparent that the food is the problem.

With that being said, it's best to take a look at the different types of skin problems in dogs to figure out whether it's internal (allergy), or external (toxin, bug bite, parasite, etc.).

Dog Skin Problems:
On this page you’ll find short summaries of different skin problems in dogs. For in-depth information on a particular skin disorder, click the links under each headline to learn more about that topic.

Specific Dog Skin Problems

Most skin problems in dogs manifest themselves by causing your dog to itch really bad, especially when they are allergic to something like their dog food.

But, itchiness isn't always a symptom -- sometimes a dog can lose her hair for no apparent reason.

Canine Hair Loss

Hair loss in dogs isn't actually a skin condition itself, but rather it's a symptom of something else. Some of the most common reasons for a dog to lose her hair are:

  • Contact Dermatitis - Usually caused by things put directly on the skin such as topical antibiotics, or chemical agents like household cleaner or carpet deodorizers.
  • Atopy - Usually caused by something your dog inhales that she's allergic to, such as mold, pollen or dust.
  • Demodectic Mange - Caused by the demodex mite, that usually effects dogs that have a weak immune system (from being malnourished).
  • Calluses - Usually happens on the elbows where there's constant contact with the ground.

There are other reasons for a dog to lose his hair, but the above are the most common. Depending on the area and the extent of the hair loss, the cause may be something more serious such as Cushing's Disease.

Canine Dandruff

Dog dandruff is a bit like hair loss, meaning that it isn't always a condition of it's own, but can often be a symptom.

Most dandruff is caused by things like allergies (to food, etc.) and the environment (especially if you live in a dry climate). It can also be a symptom of Mange, Worms or contact with some kind of fungus.

However, there is a particular type called "Walking Dandruff" and it is actually caused by a mite (similar to Mange) and it is contagious.

It's called "Walking" because the mite causes the skin to get dry and scaly, and then the flakes become attached to the mite and appear to move on a dogs back as if they are walking.

Other causes of dog dandruff can be symptoms of an internal problem such as Cushing's Disease, Hypothyroidism, or an infection.

Canine Hot Spots

Hot spots on dogs are usually warm, moist and missing the hair, and they can be very painful for your dog.

The biggest problem is that your dog will want to lick, scratch and bite at the spot, which only makes it worse. The causes are often the "usual suspects" such as fleas, mites, parasites, mosquitoes and ticks.

The area of the body where a hot spot flares up can often help a veterinarian determine the cause, especially if the "usual suspects" above have been ruled out.

For instance, if you dog has a hot spot on her head it may indicate an ear infection. If it is near the rear end, then there may be a problem with the anal glands.

Good grooming habits, especially for dogs with long coats can help reduce the chances of hot spots occurring. Bugs such as fleas, and any type of infectious bacteria or fungus LOVE having undisturbed places to hide.

The better you groom your dog, the less chance you have of him developing any type of dog skin problems.

Dog Scabies

Canine scabies is is another name for a type of Mange caused by the Sarcoptic Mite. These little buggers like to infest areas of the dog that have relatively no hair.

The most common area of the dog these parasites invade are the armpits, elbows, hocks, ears and tummy. They cause extreme itching for your best friend.

When your dog scratches the affected areas, the irritation and infection just gets worse, and can spread all over your dog's body. The infection causes the skin to show small red, puss filled bumps, and often look crusty.

Diagnosing scabies in dogs can be a little tricky, because when a vet does a scraping, there may not be mites present. So, a veterinarian will take a lot of things into account, such as your dog's history with itching problems.

Scabies is also often confirmed by treatment. The most common treatment is a wide variety of topical ointments, shampoo's and dips.

Canine Dermatitis

There are a lot of variations of dog dermatitis, as it's often used as an all-encompassing term for dog skin problems. There are 6 common types of dermatitis in dogs:

  • Lick Granuloma
  • Canine Atopy
  • Hot Spots (see above)
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Sarcoptic Mange (see below)
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis

The causes of canine dermatitis can range from your dog encountering something like poison ivy, to them ingesting something that their allergic to. . . to parasites invading and burrowing themselves in your dog's skin.

Dermatitis can usually be treated with relative ease, after your vet has determined what the cause is. The most common treatments for it involve topical ointments.

Of course, if the cause is parasites such as mites or fleas, then the bugs must be eliminated at the same time you're treating the symptoms.

Mange in Dogs

There are two specific types of dog mange, and they are both caused by a little rascal called a mite.

Demodectic Mange is a very common form of dog skin problems, especially in puppies and young dogs, and is caused by the Demodex mite. When it happens in adult dogs, it's usually more severe, and often a result of a dog being malnourished.These mites actually live on all dogs, and only tend to cause problems when a dog's immune system is weak, such as young developing puppies, and sick or malnourished adults.The most common symptom is loss of hair, and the usual areas affected are the ears, face and feet. The most common treatment is good nutrition (to help the immune system), and topical ointment.If it's not treated, additional symptoms can show themselves, such as developing pussy bumps, redness and severe itching on the effected areas.

Sarcoptic Mange is also known as canine scabies (see above), and is caused by a mite called Sarcoptes scabiei.This type of mange in dogs is very contagious, and is usually caused by your dog coming into contact with another infected dog, or their bedding.These mites prefer to live on the areas of your dog with the least amount of hair, like her elbows and ears, and they cause your dog to itch severely, which is usually due to an allergy to the mite itself.The common treatment is topical ointments, shampoo's and dips. Since these mites can actually survive for quite some time off of the dog, cleaning your dog's bedding and such is a must.

Preventing Dog Skin Problems

As you can see, many dog skin problems are interlinked, and have a lot of the same symptoms. It's very important to keep your dog healthy with good nutrition, and for you to develop good grooming habits.

Also, make sure to pay attention when it seems your dog is scratching or licking a lot, and investigate any spots that seem to be losing hair.

Dog Skin Problems:
One of the most trusted companies in natural treatments, PetAlive by Native Remedies offers several different products that can prevent skin problems in dogs in the first place, but also help treat them naturally if they occur.

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