10 Dog Skin Conditions To Watch Out For, According To A Vet

Have an itchy dog? These could be the reasons 🐶

Do you think your pup might be suffering from a skin condition?

Most skin conditions actually have very similar symptoms. Your vet can help you diagnose and treat your pet, but in the meantime, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the range of skin issues that commonly affect pups.

We reached out to Dr. Corinne Wigfall, a veterinarian working with SpiritDog Training, to learn more about the different kinds of dog skin conditions.

Common signs of skin conditions in dogs

Dr. Wigfall offered tons of different signs you’ll probably spot if your pup has a skin condition:

  • Itching or scratching constantly
  • Hair loss
  • Flaky or crusting skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Red or pink patches on the skin
  • Any sort of discharge on the skin: clear, red, white, green, gray or black
  • Itchy ears
  • Small red bumps on the skin, most commonly seen on the belly
  • Flea dirt (most often seen around the base of the tail)
  • Licking or sucking at the toes
  • Pink or brown staining of the feet (look at the underside where the pad is)
  • Scabs, pustules or boils on the skin
  • Smelly skin

Most common dog skin conditions

While there are tons of different skin conditions that can affect your pup, these are some of the most common ones among dogs.


If your dog gets bit by fleas, she can have an allergic reaction known as flea allergy dermatitis. This can affect your pup by causing inflamed skin, bald spots, increased licking and possibly infected sores on the area where she was bit.

Similarly, Dr. Wigfall said other ectoparasites, such as mites and ticks, can cause similar reactions in dogs.

Seasonal allergies

Just as humans can suffer from seasonal allergies, so can dogs. This means your pup’s allergic to something that pops up seasonally, like pollen, that can result in obsessive scratching, itching or chewing.

Atopic dermatitis

Also known as environmental allergies, atopic dermatitis is when your dog’s allergic to things in her environment, like dust, as a result of having a defect in her skin barrier. If your pup has this skin condition, you’ll likely notice signs such as itching, inflammation, and patchy and red skin.

Food allergies

If your dog’s allergic to an ingredient in her food (like beef, chicken or soy), she could be showing signs of a food allergy. The most common ones include itchiness on her face, paws, belly or butt, fur loss, and recurring ear infections.


A common bacterial infection, pyoderma (also referred to as impetigo in younger puppies) can look like pimples on your dog’s skin. “These infections are often a secondary component to primary allergies,” Dr. Wigfall told The Dodo.

Yeast infection

Yeast infections can happen anywhere on your pup, including on her belly, ears or paws. Common signs include crusty skin; a distinct, musty odor; and tons of itching. Yeast infections are also more common in dogs who have flaps or wrinkly skin because the infection can fester in those areas.

Ear infections

If your dog has an ear infection, this can affect the outer, middle or inner canal. You may notice swelling on your pup’s ear and maybe even some discharge. “These are often related to underlying skin allergies, but owners may not realize this at first,” Dr. Wigfall said.


If your dog’s hair follicles become inflamed, that’s a sign of folliculitis. One of the most common skin infections your dog can get, folliculitis can lead to signs such as dark spots on your dog’s skin, reddish swelling and pain around the affected area(s).


A skin disease caused by parasitic mites, mange can present itself with hair loss, itching and skin infection.

There are two different kinds of mange that your pup can get, sarcoptic mange (which is when your dog is infected with the Sarcoptes scabiei mite) and demodectic mange (which is when the mites actually move in and live on your dog’s skin).

Growths on the skin

Another common skin condition that almost all dogs will have at some point is bumps on the skin, ranging anywhere from harmless lipomas (fatty tumors) to cancerous tumors to warts and cysts.

If you think your dog has a skin infection, your best bet is to contact your veterinarian to see exactly which one it is and how to treat it.