Dermatitis in Dogs: What You Should Know

Dermatitis in Dogs: What You Should Know

Have you noticed your pooch scratching or licking more than usual? Is the skin red, inflamed, or flaky? If so, it could be a sign of dermatitis.

Dermatitis is a common skin condition in dogs, as well as cats and other animals, that can cause them a lot of discomfort and lead to more serious issues like open wounds and infections.


What is Dermatitis?

Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that can have multiple causes and manifests itself with different symptoms. In general, if your dog has scabs, lesions, bald spots, bumps on their skin or excessive itching or licking, they may have dermatitis. It can be caused by anything from allergies to food or environment, insect bites including fleas or mites, hormonal changes due to aging or stress levels, bacterial or fungal infections, or even underlying medical conditions like cancer.

The most important part, is if you notice your pet is having a serious problem, you should take them to the vet immediately. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose fairly quickly based on the severity and location of the dermatitis.


Treatment Options for Dermatitis

If your pet is having severe symptoms, your veterinarian will likely prescribe topical creams to reduce inflammation and provide relief from itching, regardless of what the main cause is. Depending upon what the cause is, there are a variety of treatment options.

For parasites and other types of infections and infestations, the appropriate medications will be prescribed. Allergies can be treated with antihistamines and supplements to reduce the body's immune response. Fish oil and Omega 3 supplements are great options for natural immune regulation. Medicated shampoos and sprays are also available without a prescription and help tremendously.


At its core, dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by one (or several) factors that can range from environmental irritants to underlying medical issues. As pet owners it’s important that we recognize signs of discomfort in our furry friends so that we can get them the help they need quickly before it becomes worse. Understanding what causes this condition and exploring all available treatment options can help ensure our pets are healthy for many years to come!

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