Dermatitis and Skin Issues in Dogs

Did you know the skin is the largest and one of the most vital organs of a dog's body? The skin barrier can provide a layer of protection against diseases and secondary infections. When dermatitis does occur, it can weaken your pet's natural skin barrier and put them at risk of external threats.

Black and white spaniel lying down

How Does Dermatitis Occur? 

Dermatitis occurs when a dog's skin becomes irritated. Most commonly this is because a dog's immune system reacts to an external factor, such as a food ingredient, dust, pollen, parasites, bacteria and even fungus. This reaction can result in dermatitis and in some cases it can cause an allergic reaction.

The signs of dermatitis are very similar, regardless of the cause. Some of the most common signs include redness, hair loss and excessive scratching. For more information on the specific signs of dermatitis in dogs, select the relevant page below.

Food Allergies in Dogs

Food allergies and food sensitivity can affect dogs at any point. Food allergies are not life-threatening and can easily be managed in the long term if medical advice is sought as soon as signs become noticeable.

Learn more about identifying the signs of a food allergy and the management options your veterinarian may recommend if a food allergy diagnosis is confirmed.

Food allergies in dogs
Illustration of a dog with a red bowl - Royal Canin
Illustration of a dog walking with an environmental allergy

Environmental Allergies in Dogs

Environmental (atopic) allergies are the result of allergens in a dog's natural environment, such as pollen, grass and dust. When allergens cross a dog's skin barrier the immune system responds by causing inflammation of the skin. This results in dermatitis and in some cases, an allergic reaction.

Find out how you can support your dog if they are suffering from an environmental allergy.

Environmental allergies in dogs

External Parasites and Parasitic Allergies in Dogs

Not only can parasites cause excessive itching and scratching but they can also result in dermatitis, especially if your dog has an allergic reaction to a parasite. External parasites, such as fleas, ticks, lice and mange (mites) can be transferred to your dog either by an infected animal or a contaminated object. 

Read about dermatitis and external parasites, the common signs, and the management options your veterinarian may recommend. 

External parasites and dogs
Illustration of a dog scratching - Royal Canin
Illustration of a vet - Royal Canin

Bacterial and Fungal Infections in Dogs

Dogs can develop dermatitis if they're suffering from a bacterial or fungal infection. Bacterial and fungal skin infections, such as ringworm and impetigo, can arise when a dog's immune system or skin barrier has been compromised. Due to a weakened immune system, a bacterial or fungal infection can develop which may result in signs of dermatitis on the skin.

Learn more about how bacterial and fungal infections can lead to dermatitis in dogs.

Bacterial and fungal infections and dogs

Where To Look for Dermatitis Issues on Your Dog?

Dermatitis issues in dogs can appear anywhere on the body, including the coat, eyes, ears and paws. If you notice your dog is showing signs in one particular area, such as the paws, make sure you thoroughly check the rest of the body for additional indications of dermatitis.

Check out this section highlighting the key areas dermatitis can appear on a dog's body for more information. 

Areas where dermatitis can affect dogs
Illustration of a vet with a dog