Family Veterinary
Mobile Clinic

Call or Text 1-800-993-7941

Serving the Sanford and 

Southern Pines areas of North Carolina

Category: Skin Treatments for Dogs

Causes of Skin Problems in Dogs

There are many causes of skin problems in dogs, most of which require a veterinarian to diagnose and treat.  In order of commonality, they are

  1. Fleas.  If your dog isn’t on a prescription flea medication, the problem is fleas.  Go to a veterinarian and get prescription flea control.  If the problem isn’t fleas, they can diagnose what the cause is.  Either way, your itchy dog will get relief fast.
  2. Environmental allergies.  Many dogs have seasonal allergies.  Depending on the severity, your dog may need prescription medications to relieve the itching.  Some can be managed with bathing and topical medications, which we have here.  If the problem doesn’t resolve within a few weeks or it gets worse, take your dog to a veterinarian.
  3. Food allergies are much less common than fleas and environmental allergies.  However, in dogs that have flea and/or environmental allergies, food allergies are more common.  Food allergies develop over time, so it is more likely for a dog to become allergic to the food they’ve been getting for a long time than to be allergic to a new food.  The only way to treat a food allergy is to remove the allergen from their diet.
  4. Other ectoparasites- demodectic and sarcoptic mange are types of mites that can cause skin allergies in dogs.  Sarcoptic mange is incredibly itchy; demodex is a sign of a compromised immune system.  Oral prescription flea medications treat both kinds of mites, so see a veterinarian if you think your dog has mange.
  5. Bug bites or stings can lead to hot spots.  Most of these cases can be treated at home.
  6. Endocrine disorders.  You will never solve a dog’s endocrine disorder on your own.  They need to be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.
  7. Cancer.  Some cancers can cause skin problems in dogs.  If your dog’s problem isn’t resolved within a month or if it keeps coming back, take them to a veterinarian.

Skin Treatments for Dogs

None of these products will work unless you are treating the underlying cause of the skin problem.  In any case, the problem should improve within a week and resolve within 2-4 weeks if you’re treating the right problem with the right products.  Don’t try another product if you chose poorly- see a veterinarian so your poor dog gets relief.

Preventing Skin Problems in Dogs

  • Use a prescription flea control product from your veterinarian year-round.  Not only will you prevent fleas, but you will also prevent tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis.  You will also prevent both sarcoptic and demodectic mange.
  • Keep your dog’s coat brushed out.  Mats and clumps of fur trap heat and moisture on the skin, leading to secondary bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Feed a high-quality diet.
  • Treat environmental and food allergies properly- see your veterinarian for help.
  • Don’t put oils on your dog’s skin.  They don’t treat anything.  If your dog’s coat is dry, use a humidifier in the room where they sleep and supplement their diet with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Keep your dog clean, but don’t bathe more often than every 2 weeks unless you’re under the direction of a veterinarian.