Dog Health & CareDog WormsHow-To Dog Articles

How to Recognize Skin Disorders in Dogs

How to recognize skin disorders in dogs is vital, as disorders of a dog’s skin is the number one ailment of veterinarians and dog groomers. Canine skin disorders consist of dermatitis, food allergies, skin mites, skin wrinkle infections and hair pore infections. Dogs with very matted or greasy hair are not showing skin disorder as much as abuse or neglect. These are seen by dog groomers, who usually do not diagnose or treat the dog, but can confirm the condition so you can take your dog to the vet. Unfortunately, dogs who are abused or neglected are usually not taken to a groomer or a vet.

Alias names

A dog’s skin disorder can belong to different categories, depending on the cause. Names for general skin disorders in dogs are: (1) immune mediated skin disorders, (2) infectious skin diseases, (3) flea allergy dermatitis, (4) hereditary and developmental skin diseases and (5) cutaneous manifestations of internal diseases. Each one has its own symptoms, problems and causes. Keeping informed continuously about skin disorders of dogs is very important for the health of the dog.

Medical names of different types of skin disorders

A large number of skin disorders can be found on most dogs. These can be anywhere from nasal solar dermatitis, skin rashes, collie nose, calluses, mange, parasites and elbow sores. The larger dogs are more apt to have the sore elbow calluses due to their large size and heavy weight. Different categories of skin disorders have different types and names, with various breeds more susceptible to their own unusual skin conditions.

Pronunciation of “skin disorders in dogs”

[skin] [dis-awr-derz] [in] [dawgz]


Skin disorders in dogs refer to an unusual health condition of the dog that affects its coat and skin, requiring some form of treatment to remove it.

Clinical signs of skin disorders in dogs

  • Allergies
  • Anal sacs
  • Bad smell or odor to the dog’s coat or skin
  • Color changes of the skin means hormonal, cancerous, genetic, or skin trauma
  • Dry flaky skin means nutritional deficiencies, too much or too little bathing, too much or too little brushing, or seborrhea
  • Ear infections
  • Excessive licking
  • Hair loss can be caused by various sources yet not itch – nutritional deficiencies, ringworm, mange, hormonal imbalances and congenital problems
  • Hair loss with itching – allergies, a lick granuloma and thyroid issues
  • Hot spots
  • Illness
  • Lumps and masses – abscess, cyst or tumors
  • Oily and greasy skin may refer to seborrhea
  • Personal grooming decreases
  • Skin infections
  • Skin parasites
  • Teeth or gum infections

Causes of skin disorders in dogs

Not all disorders of the dog’s skin are caused by medical reasons. Many times they may be caused by medications such as estrogen, steroids or cortisone. Dog breeds that are known for bacteria that settles into the deep wrinkles are breeds like the boxer or the Chinese shar-pei. If regular maintenance is not utilized for dogs with deep wrinkles or skin issues,  they can develop problems like skin-fold Staph, bacterial dermatitis and lip-fold pyroderma. Cocker spaniels are fam ous for ear infections because of the long hair growing deep in their ears.

One of the largest problems with dogs that affects their skin is the flea allergy dermatitis, an allergy to the flea’s saliva. The dog breaks into a irritating and very red skin rash, requiring the dog’s owner to use some form of flea dip or flea shampoo. This works wonderful to get rid of the fleas, but not the dog’s allergic reaction to the saliva. Improving on the dog’s immune system with natural products is the best way to handle this problem.

Causes of skin disorders of dogs’ ears

The skin on a dog’s ears is covered with hair. It is also a catch-all for dirt, bacteria, mites — forming skin diseases in the ear flap. The hair in some breeds build-up more than others, requiring that breed to have its ears cleaned and observed more than others before an infection develops. If the waxy secretions are light brown in the dog’s ear canal, it is considered normal. If the outer ear is sensitive and touching it makes the dog cry out, or the inner ear is red and inflamed — a vet appointment is needed.

Clinical signs of skin disorders in a dog’s ear

  • Abnormal dropping of an ear[s] or tilting of the head. The sore side is almost always the side tilted downward.
  • Black debris or pepper-like deposits inside the ear canal or around the canal opening
  • Build-up of heavy wax or secretions in the ear
  • Color of the inside of the ear is deep red, hot to the touch or irritated
  • Odor that is foul coming from within the ear canal
  • Parasites in the ear
  • Scratching at the ears vigorously
  • Shaking of the head
  • Swelling inside or outside of the ear
  • Ticks lodged around or in the ear
  • Touch of the ear area causes the dog to cry out or quickly turn away

Overall check list of the dog’s health condition

COAT — (1) Scaly (2) Dry (3) Oily (4) Hair loss

EYES — (1) Discharge (2) Squinting (3) Redness (4) Discoloration

EARS — (1) Inflamed (2) Discharge (3) Head shaking (4) Parasites (5) Odor (6) Excessive hair inside (7) Head tilting (8) Lumps

SKINS — (1) Mats (2) Sores (3) Parasites (4) Lumps

TEETH — (1) Lumps (2) Loose teeth (3) Retained baby teeth (4) Tartar

MISC — (1) Abnormal stools (2) Abnormal urination (3) Coughing (4) Scooting on their rump across the floor (5) Lumps (6) Sores

Recognizing skin disorders in dogs prevents a lot of misery and pain for your pet. It also can help a bad situation from getting worse.  A daily or weekly brushing and handling the dog can tell you what is going on with the skin or body. By the time it gets real bad, the dog will already be in trouble. They do not know how to talk, and usually have a high pain tolerance—preventing them from showing a


Previous post

How to Recognize Roundworms in Dogs

Next post

How to care for a Scottish Deerhound