Dermatitis in Dogs: What to Know

Dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition, some types of which are estimated to affect up to 30% of all dogs. It causes excessive itching and discomfort if left untreated. While dermatitis is a lifelong condition for pups, proper treatment and management can significantly reduce symptoms and increase quality of life. In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look at what dermatitis is, how to recognize it, and what steps you can take to treat and prevent it.

Understanding Dermatitis in Dogs

Dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin, can be classified according to its cause or characteristics. Common forms of dermatitis in dogs include allergic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and atopic dermatitis. Various factors can contribute to the development of dermatitis in dogs, including allergies, irritants, and infections. Certain breeds can have a genetic predisposition to developing dermatitis, such as Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Pit bull terriers, English bulldogs, Boxers, and German Shepherds.

Symptoms of Dermatitis in Dogs

It’s vital for dog owners to know and be on the lookout for symptoms of dermatitis, which can include:

  • Severe itching of the skin
  • Excessive scratching of the skin
  • Excessive licking of the skin
  • Biting the skin
  • Red patches on the skin
  • Skin inflammation
  • Bald spots
  • Thinning fur
  • Foul odor coming from the skin
  • Open sores
  • Scabs

Causes of Dermatitis in Dogs

Several factors can contribute to the development of dermatitis in dogs. Some of the most common include:

  • Allergens: Pollens, dust mites, mold, and certain food
  • Parasites: Fleas, ticks, and mites
  • Environmental Factors: Chemicals, detergents, and other irritants
  • Infections: Bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections
  • Genetic Factors

Diagnosis and Treatment of Dermatitis in Dogs

If you think your dog may have dermatitis, it’s important to see a veterinarian promptly. The vet will conduct a thorough examination, review of your dog’s health history, and lab tests to determine the proper diagnosis and treatment path. Lab tests can include blood work, allergy testing, skin scrapings, fecal tests, imaging, and more.

Treatment for dermatitis varies based on the underlying cause. Some common treatments include medications and topical treatments, along with preventative measures as described in the next section.

Dermatitis Prevention Tips

The best way to deal with dermatitis is to stop symptoms before they start. This preventative approach should include:

  • Regular Grooming: Keep your dog clean and well-groomed to remove potential irritants from their coat
  • Flea Prevention: Keep your dog on a regular flea preventative medicine
  • Balanced Diet: Your vet may recommend a hypoallergenic diet or supplements
  • Clean Environment: Maintain a clean living environment, free from potential allergens and irritants
  • Routine Vet Visits: Regular check-ups with your vet can help identify and address skin issues early

Dermatitis Care for Dogs in Tampa Bay

Dermatitis can be a challenging condition for both dogs and their owners. However, with proper knowledge and care, it is manageable. Dog owners should learn to recognize the symptoms of dermatitis so they can get quick care before it leads to further issues. If you’re in Tampa Bay and your dog is showing symptoms of dermatitis, Affordable Pet Hospital is here to help. We offer comprehensive, competent care for your dog so they can lead a comfortable and itch-free life. Reach out to us by calling 813-991-9898 or requesting an appointment online.