Skin Problems: How to Prevent Them on Your Dog
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Your dog's skin has many functions. It is one of the means of protecting his body. It protects him against infections, parasites, and the elements, while maintaining his body's internal environment. Healthy, normal skin, then, is critical to your dog's well-being.

There are, unfortunately, a host of skin conditions and problems that plague our canine friends.


  • Hot spots
  • Parasitic skin diseases caused by fleas, mites, and ticks
  • Hormonal skin diseases due to hormonal abnormalities
  • Allergic skin diseases that result from a reaction to allergens
  • Fungal skin infections, such as ringworm
  • Genetic propensity to skin disease

A common denominator in many of these conditions is skin irritation, discomfort, and the potential for secondary bacterial and yeast infections. Incessant scratching, hair loss, ear infections, and open lesions can result from diseases of the skin. They can even stress your pet to the point of self-mutilation.

What can you do to protect your pet’s skin and keep it healthy? Protein, omega fatty acids, zinc, and Vitamins A, D, E, and B Complex are vital for maintaining normal skin structure and function. These nutrients need to be supplied by the dog’s diet, so make sure your dog eats a high quality food. Supplements can be given to help make up for certain nutritional deficiencies or to give an extra boost to support healthy skin. It is also important to establish a regular and thorough grooming routine, using products that promote skin and coat vitality. Your dog’s environment must also be managed to eliminate exposure to external parasites, such as ticks and fleas.

Your veterinarian is there to help you if you notice that your dog is suffering with any of the these symptoms. Skin disease is difficult for your dog to tolerate, so do not hesitate to seek medical help. Your dog will be much happier after his skin is restored to a sound and comfortable condition.