Why Do Dogs Have So Many Skin Problems?

The most common medical problem we see in dogs is skin or ear related. Opposed to humans who react differently to allergens (i.e. nasal symptoms), dogs get skin irritations. These symptoms can range from poor coat texture or length, to itching and biting, to hot spots and self mutilation. Allergies can also contribute to chronic ear infections.


Allergens that can cause a reaction in dogs are much the same as those which cause reactions in humans; including pollens, dust mites and molds.  To diagnose these allergies, look at the timing of the reaction. Does it happen year round? This may be mold or dust. If the reaction is seasonal, pollens may be to blame.


Food allergies or to be more precise, food sensitivities are very common in dogs. Much of the information presented here is drawn from “Hair and Skincoat Problems in the Dog” by Lowell Ackerman D.V.M. and an interview with Dr. Scott Krick of the VCA Sinking Spring Veterinary Hospital. Food allergies account for only about 10% of allergy problems in dogs, but they are easily treated so it makes sense to test for them if you suspect they may be the culprit of your dog’s skin problems.


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