Dog Health Insider

The Dog Owners Guide To Puppy & Dog Skin Conditions

Dog Skin Conditions

There are a variety of dog skin conditions that can be an absolute pain for a young puppy or adult dog. Below we have listed nearly every single skin problem that can affect your beloved pooch.

A dog’s coat relies on a number of important factors for it to remain glossy and healthy – every dog needs to be regularly groomed as the coat can quickly deteriorate leading to brittle fur, a dull coat and even hair loss if it is not carefully looked after and cared for either through regular grooming or a good diet.

Of course owners do not always have the power to avoid problems with their dogs coat or skin as there are a number of nasty skin conditions that can not only affect a dogs coat and skin but can also have a negative affect on their behavior too.

Parasites like ticks, fleas, mites and lice can really leave their mark on a dog’s skin but there are other puppy and dog skin conditions caused through disease and other factors that can be equally damaging.

Whether it is through hormone related skin problems, cancer, genetics, allergies, scabies, worms, poor nutrition (diet), lack of grooming or autoimmune and immune mediated skin diseases each and every problem should be treated as soon as any symptoms have been noticed – not only will this improve the chances of a swift treatment and recovery but it will enable the vet to determine whether there are other more damaging factors affecting the dog’s overall health (as opposed to just the skin).

To make things easier we have listed all of the puppy and dog skin conditions into different categories including itchy skin problems, hormone related skin problems, skin problems (with discharge) and autoimmune and immune mediated skin diseases.

Itchy Skin Conditions In Dogs And Puppies

Fleas are one of the most common causes of itching and scratching in dogs and puppies. These nasty little parasites survive by feeding on a dog or puppy’s blood (the Cat flea i.e. Ctenocephalides felis is actually the most common type of flea to affect dogs and puppies.)

Damp hay itch which is also called Pelodera affects dogs and puppies that have been sleeping on damp hay or grass. The symptoms will include small red pimples that cause severe itching.

Chiggers which is also known as Trombculid mites can sometimes also be referred to as red bugs or harvest mites. They are only a problem during their larvae stage and are often found the late summer in grassy areas.

Chiggers larvae will normally affect areas around the mouth, ears and in-between the toes. The larvae will suck on the dog’s skin causing severe itching, scabs and sores.

Canine lice (Pediculosis) are actually quite rare in dogs and puppies and are normally dogs that are in poor condition. The lice are normally found in matted hair concentrating in areas around the ears, shoulders, neck and head. There are two types of lice – one that feeds that on the skin scales (biting lice) and sucking lice that feed on the blood. These nasty little parasites cause severe itching.

Ticks which you can see in the picture on the left are nasty little blood sucking parasites (and there are many different types). These parasites can cause a variety of nasty diseases including Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotter Fever, Canine Babesiosis, Canine Ehrlichiosis and Canine Hepatozoonosis online traffic school.

Ticks do not jump or fly but will crawl on tall grass or plants and will then wait for a host to pass by. As soon as the Tick has crawled onto their host they will attach themselves to the hosts skin where they will suck the blood until they have had their fill.

Maggots can also be found on neglected dogs that are in a poor condition. Maggots or fly larvae can also infest infected wounds or matted coats.

Scabies (Sarcoptic Mange) is probably one of the most upsetting and debilitating dog skin conditions which is caused by Sarcoptes Scabiei mites. Scabies will cause frantic itching, hair loss. The skin can also develop sores due to the constant itching – the sores can also become infected.

Lick granuloma is more common in larger breeds where the dog has repeatedly licked their wrist or ankle. This condition is also called Acral Pruritic Dermatitis and will eventually lead to an area where the skin is shiny, red, ulcerated and smooth.

Cuterebra/Grubs are like something out of a horror movie – the grubs are often found around the ears, chin or on the abdomen but beneath the skin. The grubs are actually fly larvae that measure about one inch in length.

Walking dandruff which is also known as Cheyletiella mange is often seen in puppies aged from two up to twelve weeks of age. Symptoms of the condition will include dry scaly and flaky skin which will normally affect the back and neck area.

Canine atopy is one of those puppy and dog skin conditions that causes intense itching and is often seen during the summer when the pollen count is high. This skin condition will normally increase in it’s intensity every year.

Food allergies which is also known as Food Allergic Dermatitis is caused by an allergy to an ingredients in the food being fed to the dog or puppy. The symptoms will include red skin, pustules and spots – the condition will be very itchy and the affected area may start to weep due to the repeated itching.

Hormone Related Skin Diseases In Dogs And Puppies

Cortisone excess is one of those puppy and dog skin conditions that will cause hair loss over the body. The abdomen may also appear bloated – this condition is sometimes seen with cushings disease.

Hypothyroidism is one of the most common dog skin conditions with symmetric hair loss – but does not normally cause itching. The coat will appear thin and the hair will fall out easily.

Growth hormone-responsive alopecia will cause significant hair loss that will normally affect male dogs and starting around puberty. Some breeds are more prone to the disease including Boxers, Airedales, Miniature Poodles, Chow Chows, Keeshonds and Pomeranians.

Hyperestrogenism basically means that too much estrogen is being produced. This is one of those dog skin conditions that can affect both males and females causing hair loss around the genitals and perineum. The vulva and clitoris may also become swollen.

Hypoestrogenism is the opposite of Hyperestrogenism and occurs when the body is not producing enough estrogen. This condition tends to occur in older females that have been neutered. Hair will become thin especially around the vulva and skin will appear smooth and silky to the touch.

Puppy and Dog Skin Conditions With Hair Loss

Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes crusty pustules to appear in a circular motion. The circular patches will measure about 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. The patches will have hair loss at the centre of the ‘ring’ with a red ring right in the middle of the patch. Ringworm can affect any area of the dog’s body.

Pressure sores are caused by a dog or puppy lying on a hard surface for long periods. The sores will be grey in color, hairless and thick in texture and wrinkled.

Demodectic mange is normally localized (affecting one area) and is often seen in puppies. Hair loss can affect the legs, trunk, lips around the mouth and even the eyelids.

Sebaceous adenitis is one of those puppy and dog skin conditions that is often seen in specific breeds – especially Poodles and Akitas. Hair loss will affect the back, head, face and neck.

Collie Nose which is also known as Nasal Solar Dermatitis will cause hair loss on the muzzle and on the nose. The problem can also lead to severe ulcers. The nose may also become lighter in color and can be associated with an autoimmune problem.

Acanthosis nigrans is a skin condition normally seen in Dachshunds. Hair may fall out under the arm pits or on the ears. The skin may also appear greasy and smelly.

Color mutant alopecia which is also known as Blue Doberman Syndrome can actually affect any breed. Hair will fall out all over the body and pustules may also appear.

Seborrhea comes in two forms (dry and greasy). The dry type has symptoms very similar to severe dandruff. In the greasy type the skin may become yellow/brown and very oily and smelly. This problem may appear secondary to another skin condition.

Vitiligo is often seen in Rottweilers and Belgian Tervuren. The symptoms will include hair loss that will affect the head and face – the hair may also change color.

Zinc responsive dermatosis is caused by the affected dog having a Zinc deficiency and will affect arctic and northern breeds. There will be hair loss over the face, nose, elbows and on the hocks and the skin will appear crusty and scaly. The feet may also develop cracked skin.

Puppy & Dog Skin Conditions which may weep and discharge puss

Cellulitis is one of those puppy and dog skin conditions that can also be seen in humans. The symptoms may include pain, redness and there maybe areas of pus just beneath the skin.

Folliculitis is caused when the shafts of hair start to protrude through the centre of each pustule. This condition is fairly similar to the symptoms associated with Impetigo. As the skin disease progresses the pustules will become bigger and harder when touched.

Impetigo which is also called puppy acne looks similar to a bad case of acne and often affects young puppies. Thin brown crusts and pustules will start to develop on areas of the body where there is no hair (so especially around the groin and abdomen).

Mycetoma is normally caused by a fungal or bacterial infection which will cause pain and swelling. The cause of the condition is when a dog has been injured and bacteria or fungi manage to gain access through the wound causing the area to swell. Pus may also start to drain through the dog or puppy’s sinus tract.

Skin Fold Pyoderma is when the skin under the folds or wrinkles become red, inflamed and smelly. Areas that are normally affected are the tail fold, nose fold, vulva fold and under the lips fold.

Interdigital Cysts is when there maybe swelling and inflammation inbetween the dog or puppy’s toes – there may also be pus present.

Puppy Strangles which is also known as Juvenile Pyoderma is a skin disease that will cause swelling and inflammation on the lips, ears and eyelids. Pustules may also appear with pus present. The Lymph Nodes may also become swollen. Puppies around the age of four months are most commonly affected.

Actinomycosis and Nocardiosis is one of the rarer types of dog skin conditions that can cause abscesses. The sinus tracts may also start to drain pus. The condition tends to respond very slowly any form of treatment.

Acute Moist Dermatitis is a skin disease that is also referred to as ‘Hot Spots’. The skin will become inflamed and will spread all over the body and hair will also start to fall out. The skin will be very moist with discharge and pus all over the body. The dog will also chew the affected areas causing the condition to become worst.

‘Hot Spots’ is another of those dog skin conditions that is more common in certain breeds especially those with floppy ears particularly Golden Retrievers and Newfoundlands. The ‘Hot Spots’ will also develop as a result of an underlyng skin disease. The disease can occur in hot weather and when the dog has become wet and not been dried properly.

Autoimmune And Immune Mediated Dog Skin Conditions

Toxic epidermal necrolysis is one of the most painful dog skin conditions where ulcers will start to affect the foot pads and mucus membranes. The skin will also start to shed too.

Systemic lupus erythematosus can cause lameness with ulcers also developing on the foot pads.

Nodular panniculitis will cause hard lumps to develop under the skin around the back and sides. The lumps will then burst open and discharge will start to drain. The lumps will then heal as they start to scar.

Pemphigus vegetans is another of those puppy and dog skin conditions that cause pustules to develop on the skin folds. The condition will eventually heal with wart like growths.

Pemphigus vulgaris is a condition where the vesicles and bullae start to develop ulcers and become crusty. Although the disease can affect any area on the dog’s body it will normally affect the areas around the mouth and lips. The nails may also shed and ulcers may start to appear on the foot pads.

Pemphigus foliaceus is a skin disease that causes red patchy skin that develop quickly into pustules and then dry causing yellow crusts. This skin disease can affect the whole of the body and the skin may also appear lighter in color. The feet may also start to thicken and even crack.

Erythema multiforme will cause the skin and mucus membranes to erupt – this is another of those dog skin conditions than can be caused by certain medications.

Discoid lupus erythematosus normally affects the flat area on the nose causing ulcers and a change in color

Bullous pemphigoid is a skin condition that is very similar to Pemphigus vulgaris and will normally develop on the junction of the skin and mucus membranes. One of the most common areas to be affected is around the mouth.

We hope you have found our guide to puppy and dog skin conditions useful, if you want information on lumps and bumps and cancer related dog skin conditions then you need to look at our page on Cancer in dogs.


1. A Guide to canine seborrhea: Discover the causes, symptoms and treatment for this nasty skin disease.

2. A Guide to eczema in dogs: Discover the causes, symptoms and treatment for canine eczema.

3. A Guide to pyoderma in dogs: Discover the causes, symptoms and treatment for canine pyoderma.


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