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Dog Skin ProblemsThe sound of a dog constantly scratching or licking can be as irritating as nails on a chalkboard. Cat Skin ProblemsIf your cat's dignified poses have given way to constant scratching and licking, a skin problem may be to blame. But don’t blame your pooch for these bad habits -- a skin condition is probably the culprit. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. Cats are susceptible to skin infections, parasites, allergies, and many other conditions commonly seen in people.
It is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your pet’s health. Never ignore professional veterinary advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site.
Feline AcneThey may not have to worry about a prom night disaster, but cats get pimples, too.
Allergic DermatitisDogs can have allergic reactions to grooming products, food, and environmental irritants, such as pollen or insect bites. A dog with allergies may scratch relentlessly, and a peek at the skin often reveals an ugly rash.
Possible causes include stress, poor grooming, a reaction to medication, an underlying skin condition, or even the plastic bowl you put out with her food or water. Corticosteroids can help with itchy rashes, but the most effective treatment is to identify and avoid exposure to the allergens. Your veterinarian may recommend a specialized shampoo or gel to clear up the breakout, or antibiotics if a bacterial infection accompanies the acne. Yeast InfectionIf your dog can't seem to stop scratching an ear or licking and chewing her toes, ask your veterinarian to check for a yeast infection.
Bacterial InfectionsIn many cases, bacterial skin infections develop as a result of another skin problem.
For example, feline acne can make a cat's hair follicles more vulnerable to infection, resulting in folliculitis. Bacterial infections may be treated with antibiotics, but it's important to address any underlying skin conditions to prevent a recurrence.
Yeast InfectionsYeast infections are caused by a fungus and are also more likely in cats that have other medical problems. FolliculitisSuperficial bacterial folliculitis is an infection that causes sores, bumps, and scabs on the skin.
Symptoms may include a black or yellow discharge, redness of the ear flap, and persistent scratching of the ear. Yeast infections respond well to treatment with antifungal medicine, but be sure to get a diagnosis from a veterinarian before using anything on your cat.  RingwormRingworm is another type of fungus that affects cats, especially if they are under age 1. In longhaired dogs, the most obvious symptoms may be a dull coat and shedding with scaly skin underneath. Folliculitis often occurs in conjunction with other skin problems, such as mange, allergies, or injury.
Ringworm is highly contagious and can spread to other pets in the home, as well as to people.
Treatment depends on severity, but may include specialized shampoos, ointments, or oral medications. SporotrichosisYet another fungus -- although rare -- sporotrichosis produces small, hard skin lesions that may leak fluid.
Sporotrichosis is considered to be a public health concern, because the fungus is known to spread from cats to humans.
For these reasons, cats with sporotrichosis should be treated promptly, and caregivers should be meticulous about hygiene. Allergic DermatitisCats can have allergic reactions to grooming products, food, and environmental irritants, such as pollen or flea bites.


In some cases, it's a genetic disease that begins when a dog is young and lasts a lifetime.
But most dogs with seborrhea develop the scaling as a complication of another medical problem, such as allergies or hormonal abnormalities.
Symptoms of other allergies include chewing on the paws or base of the tail, or scratching the ears. Allergies can also cause hair loss or skin lesions anywhere on the body, including the belly. There are a variety of treatments to soothe itchy skin associated with allergies, but avoiding exposure to the irritants is the best strategy. The term "ring" comes from the circular patches that can form anywhere, but are often found on a dog's head, paws, ears, and forelegs.
Shedding and Hair Loss (Alopecia)If you live with cats, you learn to cope with cat hair on your favorite sweater. But if you notice your cat is losing more hair than usual or has bald patches, see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Puppies less than a year old are the most susceptible, and the infection can spread quickly between dogs in a kennel or to pet owners at home.
Abnormal hair loss can be a warning sign of several illnesses, as well as fleas, stress, allergies, or poor nutrition.
FleasThe idea of tiny insects feeding on the blood of your cat may make you shudder, but fleas are a very common problem. Shedding and Hair Loss (Alopecia)Anyone who shares their home with dogs knows that they shed. You can look for them or their droppings in a cat's coat, especially where the fur is pale.
Other signs of a flea infestation are persistent scratching, crusty skin lesions, and thinning hair above the base of the tail. But sometimes stress, poor nutrition, or illness can cause a dog to lose more hair than usual.
To eradicate fleas, you’ll need to treat your cat, as well as your furniture, bedding, and rugs. If abnormal or excessive shedding persists for more than a week, or you notice patches of missing fur, check with your veterinarian.
It not only kills fleas on your cat, but those in your home should eventually be eliminated as they fail to reproduce.
Sarcoptic mange, also known as canine scabies, spreads easily among dogs and can also be transmitted to people, but the parasites don't survive on humans. Ear MitesEar mites are tiny parasites that are drawn to the wax and oils inside a cat’s ear. Demodectic mange can cause bald spots, scabbing, and sores, but it is not contagious between animals or people. Signs of ear mites include excessive scratching of the ears, head shaking, and a strong odor and a dark discharge from the ears. You may not see the tiny insects themselves, but flea droppings or eggs are usually visible in a dog's coat. Severe flea infestations can cause blood loss and anemia, and even expose your dog to other parasites, such as tapeworms. Large infestations can lead to scratching, restlessness, unusual coat appearance, and hair loss. Because lice are species-specific, you do not need to worry about getting lice from your cat.
Stud TailAlso called tail gland hyperplasia, stud tail refers to overactive glands on the top of the tail. To properly remove a tick, grasp the tick with tweezers close to the dog’s skin, and gently pull it straight out. Twisting or pulling too hard may cause the head to remain lodged in your dog’s skin, which can lead to infection.


Place the tick in a jar with some alcohol for a couple of days and dispose of it once it is dead. In addition to causing blood loss and anemia, ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other potentially serious bacterial infections. Other treatment options include diligent grooming of the tail and the use of specially formulated shampoos. If you live in an area where ticks are common, talk to your veterinarian about tick control products. Eosinophilic GranulomaIf your cat has raised ulcers or lesions on the nose or lips, she may be having a type of allergic reaction known as an eosinophilic granuloma.
Color or Texture ChangesChanges in a dog's skin color or coat texture can be a warning sign of several common metabolic or hormone problems.
This reaction can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the face, pads of the feet, and thighs. Food allergies or fleas are sometimes to blame, but the lesions can also result from bacterial infections. Skin TumorsA lump in your cat's skin is not necessarily cancer, but should be checked by a veterinarian.
Acral Lick GranulomaAlso called acral lick dermatitis, this is a frustrating skin condition caused by compulsive, relentless licking of a single area -- most often on the front of the lower leg. The area is unable to heal, and the resulting pain and itching can lead the dog to keep licking the same spot. Treatment includes discouraging the dog from licking, either by using a bad-tasting topical solution or an Elizabethan collar.
Persistent dandruff may be a sign of poor nutrition, inadequate grooming, or an underlying medical problem. Skin TumorsIf you notice a hard lump on your dog's skin, point it out to your vet as soon as possible. Compulsive licking, chewing, or sucking on the skin may lead to irritation, infection, and thinning hair (a condition called psychogenic alopecia.) Cats may groom compulsively in response to stress, such as moving into a new home, but may also overgroom due to a medical problem such as arthritis. If this describes your cat, talk to your vet about stress reduction and behavior modification strategies. When to See the VetCheck with your veterinarian as soon as possible if you find any oddities on your cat’s skin -- flaking, scaling, redness, or bald patches. Even if the skin looks fine, your cat should be examined if she is scratching, licking, or biting herself excessively.
Hot SpotsHot spots, also called acute moist dermatitis, are small areas that appear red, irritated, and inflamed. They are most commonly found on a dog's head, hips, or chest, and often feel hot to the touch. Hot spots can result from a wide range of conditions, including infections, allergies, insect bites, or excessive licking and chewing. Immune DisordersIn rare cases, skin lesions or infections that won’t heal can indicate an immune disorder in your dog.
Anal Sac DiseaseAs if dog poop weren't smelly enough, dogs release a foul-smelling substance when they do their business. The substance comes from small anal sacs, which can become impacted if they don't empty properly. A vet can manually express full anal sacs, but in severe cases, the sacs may be surgically removed.
When to See the VetAlthough most skin problems are not emergencies, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis so the condition can be treated. See your veterinarian if your dog is scratching or licking excessively, or if you notice any changes in your pet's coat or skin, including scaling, redness, discoloration, or bald patches.



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