Common skin diseases in dogs

The skin is an organ that can be the site of many conditions. But some pathologies can also cause skin symptoms. The condition of the dog’s skin therefore reflects his state of health. Whether the dog is scratching, losing his hair, has oily and smelly skin or has infections on the body or even lumps, it is essential to consult the veterinarian so that the origin of the symptoms can be identified quickly. Certain illnesses affect the dog’s skin and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Let’s do a check in.

The allergies

Common skin diseases in dogs include those caused by an allergy. We are talking about atopic dermatitis. The animal presents pimples, sometimes suppurating plaques, itches, bites itself, becomes irritated due to the severe itching, and this ends up leading to wounds, secondary infections, hair loss on certain parts of its body … skin problems of allergic origin may be due to:

  • Thefood allergy : a single food is often the cause of an allergy in dogs such as a meat product (chicken, beef, lamb, etc.), fish, cow’s milk, egg, and even sometimes corn, wheat or even soybeans …
  • Theenvironmental allergy : dust, cleaning products, pollen, pollutant, parasites are to blame.
  • Theallergy to flea bites : after settling in the animal’s fur, the flea bites the skin of its host to feed on its blood. This parasitic insect can very quickly cause skin problems in dogs if they have a hypersensitivity to flea saliva. Allergic inflammation develops.

Scabies in dogs

Caused by a mite, scabies is a zoonosis since it is transmitted from animals to humans. It causes unbearable itching in dogs. The animal scratches itself until it bleeds. This skin disease mainly affects dogs, which go out a lot, especially in woods and forests where there are many foxes with sarcoptic mange. It is also frequent in pack dogs, those in shelters, in kennels, in farms, especially if hygiene leaves something to be desired in their environment.

Depending on the microscopic mite involved, scabies can also reach the ears if the parasite colonizes the ear canal.


Responsible for itching, pustules and scabs, pyoderma is a bacterial disease which occurs when bacteria normally present on the dog’s skin penetrate its flesh and then colonize it.

Skin cancers

A skin cancer causes growths if left untreated. Its causes are very diverse. It can be of viral or genetic origin, or even develop following too much exposure to phytosanitary products. The tumor is formed when the body produces too many cells. Cutaneous mast cell tumors are the most common form of skin tumor in dogs.

3 pathologies that lead to skin problems in dogs

Strictly speaking, these are not skin diseases, but certain conditions can be suspected when the dog suffers from skin problems.


It is more commonly called Cushing’s disease. It can originate either from pituitary dysfunction or from a tumor of the adrenal glands. We then speak of spontaneous causes. The adrenals produce too many corticosteroids. Sometimes Cushing’s disease is caused by long-term treatment with corticosteroids. In this case, its cause is said iatrogenic.

Whatever the origin of hyperadrenocorticism, the main symptoms in dogs are dermatologically manifested. The hair becomes brittle, the trunk is the seat of alopecia, the skin thins to such an extent that the blood vessels are visible, it smells bad because it becomes oily and blackheads form. The dog presents skin infections and his skin can even calcify. Left untreated, or if diagnosed too late, Cushing’s disease can be fatal.

A tumor of the testicles

This pathology only concerns dogs that have not been neutered. It causes too much secretion of sex hormones. Among the symptoms due to this type of tumor, some appear on the skin as a hyperpigmentation, seborrhea, that is to say an excessive secretion of sebum responsible for a bad smell and the formation of blackheads, the hair loss (alopecia) on the back, stomach, perineal area, reddish lines on the penis. A malignant tumor of the testicles should be treated quickly as it can lead to the death of the dog.


Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disease caused due to decreased production of hormones by the thyroid gland. Some of its symptoms are cutaneous such as seborrhea, hyperpigmentation of the skin which, in addition, loses its elasticity, skin infections, thickening of the skin, loss of hair on the tail, stomach, flanks . This disease requires medication and regular monitoring. It in no way engages the vital prognosis of the animal.

At the slightest doubt it is necessary consult the vet as soon as his dog is scratching and his skin becomes infected. Ditto if we perceive a nodule or an outgrowth by stroking the animal for example. Oily skin that smells bad, a dull or falling hair, the presence of pimples, scabs or pustules but also fleas are all reasons which justify an immediate consultation.

Finally, it is possible to prevent certain skin diseases in dogs, especially those due to poor hygiene or parasites. Regularly cleaning your dog as well as its entire environment and using suitable antiparasitics are the best preventive measures against many skin diseases common in canines.