There are many issues that can lead to the development of potentially serious skin conditions in dogs. The best way to deal with any skin condition is, of course, to take the animal to a veterinarian. However, understanding the basis for some of these conditions may allow pet owners to treat some of them at home.
The most common culprit for excessive itching and scratching is, of course, a flea infestation. These tiny parasites aren’t always as obvious as pet owners may think, so they should thoroughly inspect their animals and comb their fur with a specialized flea comb prior to ruling out fleas as the underlying cause of itchy skin.
Canine atopy is a medical term for environmental allergies. A surprising number of dogs suffer from allergies to food or environmental conditions; some dogs are even allergic to the oils on their owners’ skin. Try switching the dog to an organic, grain-free dog food to rule out a grain allergy, and if that doesn’t work, head to the vet for a more detailed diagnosis.
Demodectic Dog Mange
Mange is a skin disease that is caused by mites. It causes severe itching and the development of bald patches and can come along with often serious secondary illnesses. Mange is most common in puppies, but it can be seen in dogs of any age and must be diagnosed via a skin scraping test.
The most common fungal skin infection that can affect dogs is ringworm, but there are other forms of fungal infection that can also cause itchiness, redness, and bald patches. Lesions due to fungal infections are most likely to appear on the dog’s ears, head, tail, and paws.
Know When to Head to the Vet
If a dog is suffering from severely itchy skin accompanied by hair loss or has lesions that are red and oozing pus, it’s best to seek the help of a professional. Over the counter medications are likely not going to solve the problem alone, and the common causes of skin disease listed above are just a few of the most likely culprits behind it. Only a veterinarian can offer a detailed diagnosis.