At East Valley Animal Hospital, we regularly diagnose and treat skin problems in dogs. Believe it or not, there are over 160 skin disorders that can afflict our furry companions. And this vast number of issues can be associated with a variety of causes. They may be triggered by the environment, stress, a food allergy, a deficiency in certain proteins, fats, minerals, or vitamins, a disorder of internal organs, a parasite, and the list goes on. Understanding the causes and symptoms of common skin conditions will help dog owners identify when their pup is experiencing discomfort. 

Signs Your Dog May Have a Skin Problem

If you notice signs of skin irritation, it’s important to bring your dog to the vet before a small issue becomes exacerbated. If your dog has been exposed to an irritant or has an underlying condition that is causing an issue with his skin he may exhibit these signs and symptoms:  

  • Scratching 
  • Licking
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Bald and/or red patches of skin
  • Scabs
  • Oozing wounds
  • Matted fur
  • Unpleasant odor

Common Dog Skin Problems and Their Causes 


1. Atopic Dermatitis

Canine atopic dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that can be triggered by a number of causes and accounts for a significant number of skin cases that we see at East Valley Animal Hospital. It most often occurs due to an allergy in the environment, to a food or a flea bite. Certain breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Terriers, Irish Setters, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, and Old English Sheepdogs are more commonly predisposed to atopic dermatitis. 

2. Hot Spots

Hot spots are a fairly common skin condition occurring in dogs, particularly in the hot summer months. When Fido has an irritated patch of skin, his natural instinct is to lick, nip, or scratch the affected area. In the process, he can develop a moist bald spot that appears red and inflamed and can easily be mistaken for a bug bite. These irritated spots can be a result of a parasite bite, an allergic reaction, an internal infection or a number of other triggers. When hot spots continue to go untreated, they can become infected with harmful bacteria and may break open, emitting a foul-smelling odor. 

3. Yeast Infections 

Malassezia, or yeast dermatitis, is an inflammation of the skin that arises from an overgrowth of the fungus Malassezia pachydermatis. The ears are the most common location for yeast infections in dogs. One of the symptoms you’ll witness if your dog has a yeast infection in their ears is shaking of the head. This type of infection is seen mostly in cocker spaniels and certain types of terriers. 

4. Ringworm 

Ringworm is another fungal infection that affects the hair, skin and nails of dogs. The name is a bit misleading because it’s not actually a worm. Rather, the appearance of inflamed lesions are round, red, and raised. Ringworm is highly infectious and is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted to humans. Treating ringworm early and disinfecting the house will limit human and other household animal exposure. 

Your Vet in Gilbert

East Valley Animal Hospital, is proud to be your local vet in Gilbert, AZ. We pride ourselves in the compassionate and comprehensive care we offer our four-legged patients. Should any of these common dog skin problems arise with your four-legged friend, we would be honored to care for them.