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Dog Skin Conditions, From Belly Rashes to Scabs and Sores

If you are noticing your dog scratching excessively or visibly irritated by their skin then they may be suffering from a condition known as dermatitis. Our Stockton vets talk about the possible causes of your pup's skin conditions and when it's a good idea to schedule a vet checkup.

Canine Skin Conditions

Dog skin conditions can be a common concern, while most are mild and some do not even require treatment there are others that will require treatment to prevent them from becoming more severe. If you notice any signs of skin conditions with your dog you should book a vet checkup with your Stockton clinic for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

    Causes, Symptoms and Treatment For Dog Skin Conditions

    There are a number of reasons why your dog may start scratching, licking or biting at their fur. Some of the more common dog skin problems include:


    Bites from fleas and mites are one of the most common sources of itching in dogs, and one of the easiest to treat. Your vet can prescribe medication to resolve the parasite issue. At your dog's routine exam, your vet will be able to recommend medication that you can also proactively give your dog to avoid fleas, mites, or ticks in the first place.

    Environmental Sensitivities

    This is a skin irritation that develops due to contact with certain substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. Symptoms include itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling.

    Suggested ways to alleviate this condition include antihistamines or oatmeal baths. Your vet may recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative depending on the severity.

    Nutritional Sensitivities

    While it is not likely that this will happen as nutritional sensitivities are very uncommon, there is still a small chance of this occurring so you should always be aware of your dog's response to new brands of food. Typically, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues may happen as well, such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is displaying either type of symptom, it's best to book a dog checkup with your vet.


    Some dogs are prone to allergies, making this a somewhat common reason to visit the vet. Allergens that cause itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants or insects, among other things.

    Some of the symptoms aside from itching include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. Bringing your dog for a pet checkup with your vet in Stockton might be a good idea to allow them to diagnose what is causing the allergy and allow your vet to recommend treatment as well as ways to prevent future allergic reactions.


    Hives are a skin reaction that is a common response to allergies. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from bites or medications. Symptoms show as a raised bump that would cause the dog's fur to stick out.

    Occasionally, hives will present with swelling near the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.


    Scabs which might as be described as crusting of the skin can occur for various reasons, usually caused by the healing process of any open sores or wounds. Some of the causes for scabs are:

    • Puppy impetigo
    • Ectoparasites (mites and fleas)
    • Pyoderma (skin infection; wrinkly dog breeds can have skin fold pyoderma)

    The treatment for scabs will vary but some of the more common treatment options are medicated shampoos or ointments, as well as oral antibiotics or an antiparasitic medication.

    Red Spots

    If you are noticing red spots and bumps appearing on your dog's belly during the warmer times of the year they are usually caused by black fly bites. Black fly bites usually heal quickly and cause very little discomfort for your dog and don't require any special care. 

    Unfortunately, black fly bites do share a similar appearance occasionally to ringworm which is contagious and requires treatment in the form of topical or oral antifungals.

    Your dog may not show any signs of discomfort from a ringworm infection. One of the initial ways to differentiate between black fly bites and ringworm is that ringworm will begin with one spot while there will suddenly be multiple black fly bites.

    Small Red Bumps

    Folliculitis is a bacterial or fungal skin infection that will cause many small raised red bumps that can be caused by several different things. These bumps will typically crust over. If you notice these bumps you can bring your pet in for a vet checkup to have your dog diagnosed in order to provide the recommended treatment using oral antibiotics, medicated shampoos or ointments.

    When To Be Concerned

    If your dog's itching persists for more than a few days, you should make an appointment so your vet can diagnose the issue and treat it. Prolonged itching can cause excessive scratching and biting at the itch which can create a self-inflicted injury. This can become serious if left unchecked. 

    Our veterinary professionals, know that chronic recurrent skin problems, ear infections and allergies can be extremely irritating to your pet, and frustrating for pet parents.

    With a range of tests available to us in-house, we look for the root cause of your pet’s skin disorder and offer a customized treatment plan to start the healing process.

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    If your dog's skin has been irritated lately and you would like to book a pet checkup, contact our Stockton vets today.

    New Patients Welcome

    American Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Stockton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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