The 5 Most Common Skin Problems in Dogs: What You Need to Know

The 5 Most Common Skin Problems in Dogs: What You Need to Know

It’s up to you to keep your dog happy and healthy, and maintaining their skin and coat is extremely important. We’re talking regular vet check-ups, cleanings, baths, and examinations. Why? Because skin problems are some of the most common health issues among our four-legged friends, and keeping up with your dog’s hygiene allows for early detection.

It’s essential to know what to look out for so you can take care of your friend, so we researched for you. Below you’ll find out more about signs of skin issues and what the most common skin problems are. 

Is Dog Skin Similar To Human Skin?

This may surprise you.

The animal skin closest to our own is pig skin, not your furry friend’s.[1]

When it comes to your pup, their skin is actually thinner than ours. At least 7 to 10 cells thinner, to be precise. This makes your dog’s skin more sensitive in comparison to our at least 10 to 15-cell thick epidermis. Pups also have a much more rapid cell turnover rate, with at least 20 days (humans are roughly 28 days).[2,3]

Like humans, however, your pup’s skin is the largest organ of their body, and their cuddly layer of fur acts as a protective barrier against the elements.[2,3]

Coat and skin are helpful indicators of overall health. Here’s what to look for: [3]

- Fido’s Coat: Your dog’s hair/fur should be shiny and smooth, not brittle or coarse.
- Fido’s Skin: Your dog’s skin should be supple and clear, not greasy, flaky, or bumpy.

    What Are Some Signs My Dog Has A Skin Condition?

    Your dog’s skin is composed of three major layers: 

    - Epidermis: The outermost layer.
    - Dermis: Contains blood vessels and skin appendages such as sweat glands.
    - Subcutis: Contains the subcutaneous fat and muscles. 

        When your dog’s epidermis is disrupted or irritated, skin problems like inflammation or infection can occur.[3,4]

        Several common symptoms can help you identify if your dog is suffering from a skin problem, some of which include: [2,3,4]

        - Soreness and lesions
        - Excessive dryness
        - Dandruff
        - Abnormal scratching and itching
        - Licking, biting, and chewing
        - Pustules, pimples, or bumps
        - Rashes and redness
        - Crusting
        - Flaking
        - Hair loss
        - Head shaking or tilting
        - Scabbing
        - Odor
        - Discoloration

            You should be routinely checking your dog’s coat and skin for changes or abnormalities, whether that be during bath time or a regularly scheduled check-up. If you notice signs or symptoms of a possible skin condition, consult your veterinarian for the next best steps.

            What Are The 5 Most Common Skin Problems In Dogs?

            Here’s the nitty gritty - skin issues in dogs often have underlying conditions such as allergies, infections, chronic illnesses, and so on. Let’s take a look at our top five list so you can be better prepared:


            Just like us, pups can struggle with common environmental allergens like pollen, dust mites, or mold spores. But it’s not just the outdoors—dogs can be allergic to certain foods or dietary ingredients and medications, fleas, or even have hypersensitivity to skin bacteria or yeast. When a dog has an allergic reaction, it typically shows up with itching around the face, feet, ears, and anus, as rashes, hives, or ear infections.[5]

            A common allergic reaction in dogs is atopy or atopic dermatitis. This is when the dog's immune system is overly reactive to an airborne allergen that has gained entry to the skin due to a weakened or defective skin barrier. It causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy, red, and irritated.[5]

            It’s imperative to safeguard your pup from possible allergic reactions. Veterinarians can run tests to see what your dog may be allergic to, and you can also give your dog specially formulated anti-inflammatory chews designed to relieve allergies, itchy and flaky skin, and runny noses.

            We recommend Itch & Allergy Chews to help heal your pup from the inside out. Unlike other allergy and itchy supplements, PupGrade’s unique blend offers your dog all the nutrients and benefits necessary to relieve uncomfortable itchy, inflamed skin. The formula also helps your pup by boosting their immune system and heart function, as well as offering support for their joints.

            Fleas & Ticks

            Fleas and ticks are common parasites that ‘bug’ dogs (pun intended), feeding on the blood of their host (your pup). Parasitic infections can lead to irritation, discomfort, hair loss, scabbing, redness, and severe itching. It can often be quite painful for your poor four-legged pal since, as we’ve mentioned, their skin is much more sensitive than ours.[6]

            Often, veterinarians will prescribe medication to your dog, like a monthly preventative, if they are suffering from pesky fleas, ticks, mites, or other parasites. However, it’s vital to take steps to protect your pooch. Flea & Tick Spray is a repellant to protect pets from fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and flies. Many commercial bug repellents contain nasty chemicals that can harm your dog. However, this all-natural misty force field contains gentle, safe Brazilian oils like lemongrass, sesame, castor, and cinnamon to create a warm, spiced aroma that pests hate, but you and your dog will love.  

            Yeast Infections

            Several warm, moist areas on every dog are prone to yeast infections, as it loves growing in hard-to-reach places. They can include the ear canals, between the toes, the groin area, the perineum area, the armpit, and even the folds of the face in certain breeds. This type of infection is typically caused by immunity deficiencies or a build-up of oils. Yeast infections bring a host of skin issues, such as scratching, biting, itchiness, hair loss, discoloration, changes in skin texture, greasiness, scaliness, head shaking and tilting, swelling, and an unpleasant odor. [7]

            Ear mites and yeast infections in dogs’ ears often share similar symptoms like head shaking and rubbing, itching, odor, redness, and brown discharge. However, ear mites cause a dark discharge from the ear that can be waxy or crusty. Ear mites are also barely visible (they’re super duper tiny), extremely itchy, and contagious to other animals.[7]

            Certain breeds can be genetically susceptible to yeast infections, such as the Chihuahua, Lhasa Apso, Silky Terrier, Basset Hound, Australian Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, Maltese Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog, Poodle, or the Dachshund. Yeast infections can sometimes indicate a more serious issue, so it is imperative to get your dog to the vet immediately if you notice any symptoms.[7]

            Skin Tumors & Growths

            If you notice a new lump or bump on your pup, your veterinarian is your best resource to advise you on what to do next. Growths on the skin are common in dogs, especially older, senior dogs. Skin tumors and/or growths can be benign (non-cancerous) like warts, cysts, or lipomas, while others can be malignant (cancerous). You will not be able to diagnose your dog via the naked eye. Your veterinarian may need to take samples of the tumor or growth, or simply perform a full examination for diagnosis. [8]

            It’s easy to jump to the worst conclusions, but the truth is that small skin growths, such as skin tags that are not cancerous and typically do not require treatment, are incredibly common amongst dogs.[8] It’s best to remain calm! Always consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pup’s skin. 

            Other Skin Infections

            Doggy skin infections are a very common condition. Typically, skin infections like rashes, pustules, or crusting are often caused by bacterial or fungal culprits. For instance, the previously mentioned yeast infection is also known as yeast dermatitis and is caused by a naturally occurring fungus called Malassezia Pachydermatis. The most common bacterial infection is a staph infection, caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus sp.[9]

            Dogs will usually begin scratching, licking, or chewing at their skin due to irritation and inflammation, however, this reaction can cause even more moisture and bacterial growth.[9]

            Again, your veterinarian is your best bet—after all, they’re the professionals. Depending on the type of infection, they may prescribe a medicated shampoo, antibiotics, an antifungal or anti-inflammation medication, or a combination of these treatments.


            What’s your go-to preventative when it comes to protecting your dog? Let us know!

            Looking for even more ways to protect and treat your best friend to a happier life with less stress and pain? Look no further than right here! PupGrade products are carefully formulated with only the highest quality ingredients so your pup can thrive in a healthy and happy lifestyle.  

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            1. Schmook FP, Meingassner JG, Billich A. Comparison of human skin or epidermis models with human and animal skin in in-vitro percutaneous absorption. Int J Pharm. 2001 Mar 14;215(1-2):51-6. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5173(00)00665-7. PMID: 11250091. 
            2. Skin - the difference between canine and human skin. Vetwest Animal Hospitals. (2020, March 25). Retrieved from 
            3. Coat and skin appearance in the healthy dog: VCA Animal Hospital. VCA Hospitals. (n.d.). Retrieved from 
            4. Elizabeth Racine, D. V. M. (2022, November 17). 6 dog skin conditions you should know about. Great Pet Care. Retrieved from 
            5. Burke, A. (2021, September 21). Dog allergies: Symptoms and treatment. American Kennel Club. Retrieved from 
            6. WebMD. (n.d.). Fleas, ticks, pets, and what to do. WebMD. Retrieved from 
            7. Yeast infections in dogs. Small Door Veterinary. (n.d.). Retrieved January 0AD, from 
            8. Villalobos, A. E. (2023, January 10). Tumors of the skin in dogs - dog owners. Merck Veterinary Manual. Retrieved from 
            9. Falls Road Animal Hospital. Falls Road Animal Hospital | Baltimore. (n.d.). Retrieved from