If your dog is scratching more than is usual, then it most likely has a skin disease, parasite, or allergy. Most dog skin problems can be cleared up easily after a trip to the vet.
Allergic dermatitis presents as a rash which the dog scratches at relentlessly. Corticosteroids can be prescribed to relieve the itch, but identifying and removing the allergen is ultimately the most effective treatment plan. Dogs can be allergic to food, grooming products, pollen, and insect bites.
Scratching that is concentrated on the toes and/or ears is likely a yeast infection. Symptoms are itchy, discolored, or irritated shin on the ears and paws, where conditions are best for the yeast to grow. The most common treatment is a prescription topical cream. Occasionally a medicated bath or oral drug may be prescribed.
Sores, scabs, and bumps might be superficial bacterial folliculitis. Shorthaired dogs present more obvious symptoms, but longhaired dogs may have increased shedding and scaly skin. Other skin problems often occur simultaneously with superficial bacterial folliculitis.
A common bacterial infection found in puppies is impetigo. Blisters filled with pus will commonly break and crust over. The blisters are easy to see since they are on the hairless portion of the abdomen. Treatment by topical solution is simple.
Seborrhea is a disorder of greasy and scaly skin in dogs. Sometimes it is a life-long genetic condition. However, most of the time it is a symptom of another problem. Most of the time the cause is hormonal abnormalities or allergies. Symptoms go away when the cause is treated.
Ringworm is not a worm, it is a fungus. The name comes from the circular lesions which form on the affected dog's forelegs, paws, head, or ears. Highly effective anti-fungal treatments are available.
Alopecia, or hair loss, is always a sign of another disease in dogs. It can be caused by stress, nutritional deficiency, or an underlying disease.
Mange is a striking condition, causing intense itching, sores, hair loss, and red skin. The kind of mange determines the treatment.
The most common skin problem for dogs is fleas. Most infestations just cause itching, but some cause blood loss and anemia. Tapeworms and other parasites are carried by fleas as well. Some dogs are allergic to fleas and will develop alopecia and/or allergic dermatitis simultaneously.
The next most common parasite is the tick. The main risk from ticks is the transmittance of Lyme disease, as significant blood loss would require many ticks. Lyme disease is a potentially serious bacterial infection and there are vaccines available.
Acral lick granuloma is a disorder that is a result of excessive licking. The wound is unable to heal and becomes painful, exacerbating the condition. The treatment includes preventing the dog from continuing the behavior. Foul-tasting topical solutions and cone collars are available to solve the problem.
Hot spots are a common with dog skin problems. They are small areas of irritated, inflamed, and red skin. Treatment includes addressing the underlying cause.