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Dog Skin Care

  • Heidi

Common Problems and How to Avoid Them

We spend a lot of time thinking about our own skin. What kind of soap should we use? Which lotion will work best during the long, dry winter months? It turns out that dogs can have skin problems too, but we often ignore them. Here are a few common canine skin issues and how to fix them.

Itchy, dry skin

The tricky part about itchy, dry skin is determining the cause. Sometimes, it’s the climate or excessive bathing wreaking havoc on your dog’s skin. However, these symptoms can also appear because of breed-specific issues, allergies, or medical problems – like infections, parasites, hypothyroidism, or Cushing’s disease.

To address this problem, talk to your vet about your dog’s symptoms. They can help identify potential triggers in your dog’s diet, grooming regimen, or genes. Treating itchy, dry skin in your dog can be as simple as changing shampoos or dog food to adding supplements or medication that manage underlying conditions.

Acne and Blackheads

Zits? On a dog? Believe it or not, this inflammatory condition can develop anywhere on a dog, including the lips, belly, and along the back. Dogs get acne for the same reasons we do: Clogged hair follicles. And, just like in humans, blemishes can appear as small red bumps, pimples, or blackheads.

When dogs have acne, there’s usually a genetic predisposition to the condition. Breeds who get acne more often include:

  • Boxers
  • English Bulldogs
  • Schnauzers
  • German Shorthaired Pointers
  • Weimaraners
  • Mastiffs
  • Rottweilers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Great Danes

There isn’t a cure for doggy acne, but your vet can offer nutrition and bathing tips that can help. The important thing is not to pick any bumps that you notice on your dog because they can become infected and require antibiotic treatment.


If you’ve noticed a strange mass or lesion on your dog, it could be a wart. These growths can be bumps, flat and scaly, or grow inward. This common skin problem develops because of papilloma viruses, which are very resistant and can survive for long periods in the environment. Because of that, your dog can become infected through contact with another animal or items like toys, bedding, and food or water bowls.

Papillomas can appear on dogs in several areas, including their mouths, skin, eyelids, and genitals. They’re most common in puppies, young dogs, or dogs with otherwise compromised immune systems. Sometimes, a papilloma goes away on its own. But, if they become persistent, your vet could recommend surgically removing it.

If you have concerns about your dog’s skin, contact your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

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