Skin is the largest organ on the human body and it’s no different for your pup. Chances are that during your dog’s life they’ll encounter at least one form of skin irritation. Here are some of the most common and what to look for.
Fleas- A known nuisance to most dogs but for those with a flea allergy, reactions like rashes and fever can spread throughout the whole body. The best treatment is preventions as eliminating fleas is a costly and time consuming process.
Seasonal or Food Allergies- Allergies are difficult to diagnosis in dogs as environmental factors change so often. To help your vet in the process bring in examples of food, treats and toys. Also, pay attention to any changes in diet, laundry detergent or bedding as these are common causes of skin irritation.
Ringworm- Despite the misleading name (it actually has nothing to do with “worms”), ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that spreads easily between animals and humans. Ringworm symptoms are itchy patches of hair loss and inflammation that can appear scaly and sometimes have a “bullseye” appearance.
Addison’s or Cushing’s Disease- The symptoms of metabolic diseases affect the adrenal glands and have very diverse symptoms that may include discolorations of the skin or changes in the coat.
Stress or Boredom- Licking and chewing, especially at the legs and paws, is common response to anxiety. Pups suffering from separation anxiety are particularly at risk. Dogs who are not getting enough mental stimulation may resort to this behavior as a way to entertain themselves.
Grooming Products- Certain products, especially those made for humans, can irritate your dog’s skin. Vets can recommend grooming products that are suited to your dog’s skin type.
Imbalanced Hormones- Imbalances in the reproductive hormones can cause generalized hair loss known as Alopecia. Chihuahuas, Miniature Pinschers, Yorkshire Terriers and other short haired breeds are prone to Alopecia.
Neurological Disorders- When the signals from the brain to the spinal cord or peripheral nerves get intercepted, it can lead to pain, itching or odd sensations that cause the dog to inflict damage to the skin. Other neurological diseases like Canine Distemper attack the brain and skin cells.