Dermatitis in dogs – Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Dog dermatitis is a condition that the  vast majority of people are unaware of. Contrary to popular belief, this illness is really more prevalent. Because there are so many distinct kinds of canine skin issues that come under this general category, it is not more widely understood. Dermatitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the skin in dogs, and it can be caused by many different factors with many common symptoms in which we will be going over in this article. 

What is dermatitis in dogs?

The term “dermatitis” refers to a broad range of inflammatory skin disorders. One of the most prevalent types of canine dermatitis is allergic dermatitis, which frequently presents as red, itchy skin brought on by allergies to particular things such as grass or fleas. Another typical type of canine dermatitis known as seborrhea results in crusty, flaking skin and other symptoms on your dog’s body parts (like the ears). 

The three most common types are: allergic, contact and seborrheic. Each one requires different treatment methods so before taking any action on your own, always speak with a veterinarian, especially if your pet has an allergy.

What are the different types of canine dermatitis?

Canine dermatitis can take many distinct forms, such as allergic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and seborrhea. An allergic reaction to a material, like pollen or insect bites, might result in allergic dermatitis. When the skin comes into contact with an irritant like soap or chemicals, it can result in contact dermatitis. Seborrhea is a persistent skin ailment that results in greasy, flaky skin and can be brought on by a variety of things, including hormone imbalances, heredity, and some drugs. Bacterial, fungal, and parasite dermatitis are other forms of dermatitis in dogs.

Symptoms of dermatitis in dogs

Dermatitis, also known as skin inflammation, is a common condition in dogs that can cause a range of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of dermatitis in dogs include:

  • Redness, swelling and itching
  • Dry, flaky or scaly skin
  • Open sores or wounds on the skin
  • Scratching
  • Loss of hair
  • Bumps or blisters (from an allergic reaction to an allergen that causes skin to swell up)
  • Infection (e.g., dogs may lick or scratch at their skin to the point of causing bleeding)
  • Pus (swollen area filled with white blood cells, bacteria and other fluids)

Dogs with severe cases of dermatitis may also feel pain or discomfort, illness, or behavioural changes like lethargy or hostility. It is crucial to visit a vert for an accurate diagnosis and treatment if you observe any of these symptoms in your dog.

In rare instances, an allergic reaction to specific things, such as foods, chemicals, or environmental allergens, may be the underlying cause of dermatitis in dogs. In other instances, an underlying medical problem, like a skin infection or hormone imbalance, may be the cause of the disorder.

Causes of dermatitis in dogs

Dog dermatitis can be caused by a wide range of factors and there are a number of potential causes which include allergic reactions, infections, and underlying medical conditions. Among the most typical are:

  • Allergies: Dogs may become allergic to certain foods, irritants in their environment, or even flea bites. This happens most frequently when a dog is exposed to something they have never been exposed to before and their immune system has an adverse reaction.
  • Contagious diseases: skin infections frequently result from communicable disorders like mange or even ringworm. Consult your veterinarian about having your dog tested for these disorders if they exhibit extreme itching or have skin lesions that don’t heal on their own. In most cases, they are treatable and curable. Bacterial, fungal or yeast infections of the skin can cause dermatitis in dogs as well. These infections can be caused by a  variety of factors, including exposure to contaminated environments, underlying medical conditions or weakened immune systems.
  • Hormonal imbalances: The health and appearance of a dog’s skin can be impacted by hormonal changes, which can result in dermatitis. Hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease), and other hormonal imbalances can all contribute to this.
  • Environmental factors: Dogs’ skin can become irritated and develop dermatitis when exposed to certain environmental variables, such as high humidity, UV rays, or extreme temperatures.
  • Medical conditions: A dog may be more prone to acquiring dermatitis if they have certain underlying medical issues like diabetes, cancer, or immune system diseases.

To identify the underlying cause of your dog’s dermatitis and create an effective treatment plan, you should speak with a veterinarian

How is dermatitis diagnosed in dogs?

A veterinarian would often conduct a physical examination on the dog and ask the owner about the dog’s medical history before making a diagnosis of dermatitis in dogs. Redness, swelling, itching, and hair loss are examples of symptoms of skin inflammation or irritation that the veterinarian will be on the lookout for. Additionally, they could look for underlying issues like infections or allergies. In some circumstances, the veterinarian may suggest other tests, including skin scrapings or allergy testing, to confirm the diagnosis and choose the most appropriate course of action. Veterinarians can carry out certain tests when looking for dermatitis, such as:

  • Blood tests
  • Wood’s lamp
  • Hair plucks
  • Tape strips
  • Flea combing
  • Skin scrapes
  • Skin biopsy

Treating dermatitis in dogs

Depending on the underlying cause of the problem, many treatments are available for canine dermatitis. However, some common therapeutic strategies might be:

  • Medication: In addition to treating any underlying infections, your veterinarian may recommend drugs to help decrease inflammation and itching. Corticosteroids, antihistamines, antibiotics, and antifungal drugs may be among them. Medications such as Cyclavance, which is a prescription only medicine, is indicated for the treatment of chronic manifestations of atopic dermatitis in dogs. 
  • Shampoos and other treatments: To assist calm and repair your dog’s skin, your veterinarian may advise using medicated shampoos or other topical treatments. These might include lotions, gels, or sprays with medicines or other useful substances, as well as shampoos with ingredients like oats, aloe vera, or tea tree oil.
  • Diet and environmental changes: In certain circumstances, altering your dog’s diet or surroundings may aid in dermatitis prevention or symptom relief. For instance, your veterinarian might advise switching to a hypoallergenic diet if your dog has a food allergy. Your veterinarian may also suggest using air purifiers or other precautions if your dog is sensitive to environmental allergens in order to limit exposure.

To get the best outcome, it’s critical to adhere to your vet’s recommendations and keep a careful eye on your dog’s symptoms. To fully address the illness, more tests or specialist treatment may be required in some circumstances.

What is Cyclavance used for in dogs?

The brand name for a drug using ciclosporin as its active component is Cyclavance. Ciyclosporine is frequently administered to dogs to treat a number of ailments, such as allergies, immune-mediated skin problems, and specific types of cancer. To stop the immune system from attacking healthy cells or overactive immune cells, it suppresses the immune system. Cyclavance is prescribed by a veterinarian, and only canines should be treated as instructed. It’s critical to follow your vet’s advice and keep a close eye on how the medication is working for your dog.

How can I treat my dog’s dermatitis at home?

It’s crucial to follow your veterinarian’s treatment recommendations if your dog has dermatitis. Your veterinarian can occasionally suggest certain drugs or shampoos to assist treat the issue. You can take a few steps at home to assist treat your dog’s dermatitis in addition to following your veterinarian’s advice:

  1. Keeping your dog’s skin clean and well-groomed: Brushing your dog’s coat frequently and giving them a wash with a mild, hypoallergenic shampoo can help get rid of irritants and allergens from their skin.
  1. Keep your dog’s bedding clean: Washing your dog’s bedding frequently in hot water can help get rid of allergens and irritations that could be the root of their dermatitis.
  1. Avoid exposing your dog to potential allergens or irritants: Try to discover and stay away from the chemicals that are causing your dog’s allergic reactions if they have allergic dermatitis. This could entail utilising air filters, altering your dog’s nutrition, or avoiding particular situations or activities.
  1. Use a humidifier: Inflammation and irritation of the skin might become worse in dry air. You can lessen your dog’s discomfort and keep their skin moisturised in your home by using a humidifier.
  1. Provide your dog with plenty of fresh water: Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water since dehydration can exacerbate dermatitis.

Is dermatitis in dogs permanent?

Dermatitis in dogs normally does not last a lifetime. Dermatitis typically responds well to treatment, and the symptoms go away. However, in order to identify the underlying cause of the dermatitis and create a treatment plan to address it, pet owners should work closely with their veterinarian. To stop dermatitis flare-ups in the future, it could be essential to modify the dog’s nutrition or surroundings, depending on the dermatitis’ underlying cause. To prevent recurrence, long-term care of the illness may be required in some circumstances.

How long does it take for dermatitis to clear up in dogs?

Depending on the underlying reason and the chosen treatment, dermatitis in dogs can heal in a variety of times. With the right care, mild episodes of dermatitis typically go away within a few days to a week. The entire resolution of more severe cases could take several weeks or even months. To choose the best course of action for treating their dog’s dermatitis, pet owners should speak with their veterinarian. The veterinarian will be able to advise on when to anticipate improvement and how long it might take for the condition to get better.

Is dermatitis in dogs contagious?

Dog dermatitis is typically not communicable. If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of dermatitis, it is best to contact a veterinarian because some skin disorders can be transmitted from one dog to another. The veterinarian can identify the underlying cause of the dermatitis and will be able to advise you on the best course of action. When dealing with a dog who has dermatitis, it is generally a good idea to maintain excellent hygiene, such as washing your hands after handling the dog and keeping the afflicted areas tidy and free of irritants. This can aid in healing and stop the spread of any potential infection.

However, if a dog has dermatitis which was caused by certain conditions, those conditions may be contagious. These conditions could be:

Fleas: fleas can jump from one dog to another, so all animals within the household will need treating. Humans cannot catch fleas but they may be bitten by them.

Ringworm: worms can spread between dogs and even to humans. Ringworm is a fungal infection and in dogs it can be a scab or inflamed patch of hair. With humans, ringworm will be itchy and appear as a rash, usually red and circular.

Mites: harvest mites are orange and tiny mites which are found in the summertime, usually towards the end of summer. Harvest mites can affect multiple animals and can cause a rash on your pet which is very itchy. They’re usually on the legs or belly.


As you can see from the material in this article, itching and scratching are symptoms of canine dermatitis, which is a relatively common ailment. Allergies, fleas, mites, or even an illness may be to blame. Prescription drugs and over-the-counter ointments are just two of the various remedies that can be used to make your pet feel better. Your dog may require both oral antibiotics and topical therapies that are given directly to the skin’s afflicted areas if their coat develops a bacterial infection.