The Most Common Skin Infections In Dogs And How To Spot Them

Dogs have become our constant companions. From being house pets to colleagues, dogs are truly everywhere! With the increase in pet ownership across the US, it has become necessary for owners to know about common issues that affect their dogs and cats as well. Pet parents need to know about common issues so that they can keep an eye out for symptoms and bring their dog in to see the veterinarian as soon as possible. You want the happiest healthiest dog possible, right?

Dogs are rambunctious creatures. They’ll happily stroll through every terrain they come across, meet and greet everyone they come across, and then some! This can get them into trouble sometimes. They can pick up infections, bugs, and parasites that their pet parent then has to deal with. 

It is important to treat any medical skin issues in animals on an emergency basis. Because their physiology is very different from ours, they need constant care and attention to prevent larger issues. If you have dogs at home, here are some skin conditions you should know about! 

Ticks 

Ticks are among the top parasitic skin infections that dogs get across the country. These parasitic creatures take up residence on your dog’s skin, hiding in the fur. They are like little vampire bugs that suck blood from your dog till they are engorged and then fall off. 

Your dog can get Rocky Mountain fever, Lyme disease, and anemia in your dog. If not treated in time, these are fatal. Ticks are ectoparasites that are large enough for you to feel. When you’re cuddling your dog, examine his skin for bumps, redness, and swelling. If you find a tick, carefully kill and dispose of it before setting an appointment with your vet. Your vet might also ask you to check your house for ticks because they can get reinfected if more ticks are residing around your property. 

Fleas 

Fleas are another common ectoparasite infections in dogs and cats. They are much, much smaller than ticks, and are very difficult to spot. They leave small black dots on your dog’s skin, called flea dirt. Often, pet owners know about fleas from flea dirt rather than seeing an actual flea! 

Fleas are controlled by a variety of topical, edible, and injectable medications. Once your vet examines your dog, they will recommend a course of medication for ticks and fleas that suits your dog depending on the level of infestation. Topical medicines are very popular and can help with other conditions as well. For example, Revolution controls fleas and heartworms in dogs so you’re getting two things done at once. 

Allergies 

Allergies have become extremely common in dogs in recent years. Because we have significantly more dogs exposed to a variety of allergens, the instance of dog allergies has gone up. Allergies can be of many types, from food allergies to environmental allergies. 

If your dog has been having chronic ear infections, is a picky eater, and scratches himself a lot, then you should talk to your vet about examining your dog for allergies. Hair loss can also occur if your dog is scratching and licking himself a lot.

Allergies can make your dog listless, lethargic, and irritable. They can cause weight loss if they are allergic to something you’re giving them and they don’t want to eat it. It is important to get allergies checked out as soon as you can because the process to figure out the allergen can take months! 

Pyoderma 

Pyoderma is one of the most common skin infections that dogs get and is the reason why a large proportion of dogs end up at the vet. If your dog’s skin is red, swollen, itchy, have pustules, if your dog has hair loss in places, and is crusted over in places, then you should visit your vet about the possibility.

It is a common bacterial infection of the skin. Generally, it occurs in folds of the skin, and around wounds. Even small cuts on the skin can develop pyoderma. If your dog is recovering from an injury, they are at risk of pyodermas. You should speak to your vet if you see any of the above sings developing around a wound. 

Thankfully, these are easily treatable skin infections. Some breeds, like Pit Bulls and Shar Peis, are especially prone to it. If you have these breeds, then you should make sure to take preventative measures to keep infection at bay. Besides bathing your dogs, you need to make sure that they are thoroughly dried as well. Regularly clean between the skin folds as well. You can use a damp cloth or you can also look for medicated pet wipes to keep your pooch happy and safe!