At Catawba Animal Clinic, we often see dogs suffering from skin conditions, and these issues can arise for many reasons, such as external parasites, allergies, and endocrine disorders. Today, our Rock Hill vets talk about common skin conditions in dogs and how to treat them.

The Skin of Your Dog

Dogs can develop a variety of skin conditions, including scabs, rashes, and red bumps. Skin conditions in our canine companions can develop for a variety of reasons, including external parasites and allergens. Mild skin problems can often be treated at home, whereas more serious issues usually necessitate veterinary care.

Here, our veterinary team in Rock Hill lists some of the most common skin problems in dogs and explains how they can be treated.

Dog Skin Conditions


Rashes can appear anywhere on a dog's skin, but they are most common on the belly and can be caused by a variety of factors, including insect bites and contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis occurs as a result of your dog coming into contact with something, such as fertilizer, lawn chemicals, or poison ivy.

If your dog's rash is caused by contact dermatitis, quickly give them a bath, to remove any remaining traces of the irritant.

Is the rash the result of an insect bite? If it isn't bothering your dog, the rash should go away on its own. But, if the bite is irritating your dog or if the rash is caused by an allergen, bathe your dog in cool water and use a colloidal oatmeal shampoo. 

Redness/Irritated Skin

The most common symptoms of allergies in dogs are redness, irritation, and itching. The most effective way to treat this condition is to identify the source of the allergy, which could be a specific food, something in your pup's environment, or even fleas.

While your vet is working with you to determine the source of the allergy and a treatment plan, you can help alleviate your dog's symptoms by bathing them with an oatmeal shampoo or giving them an oatmeal bath.


Crusting of the skin, or 'scabs,' could be the primary issue or the result of a popped and crusted pimple (pustule). Ectoparasites (mites and fleas), puppy impetigo, or pyoderma, a skin infection that affects dog breeds with wrinkly skin, can all be causes of scabs.

The treatments your vet uses to treat your dog's scabs will depend on the underlying cause of their condition and could include antiparasitic medication, oral antibiotics, medicated shampoos, or ointments. 


Small bumps on your dog's skin that are crusted may be caused by a fungal or bacterial skin infection known as 'folliculitis'. Your vet will most likely treat this with antibiotics and an ointment or medicated shampoo.

If your dog's bumps are large, flat, and don't have any crusting they could have hives caused by an allergic reaction. These hives are generally treated with steroids or/and antihistamines. However, while hives aren't usually life-threatening, swelling caused by an allergic reaction could restrict your dog's airway, making it imperative to call your vet immediately.

Hot Spots

Hot spots are hot, moist areas of skin on a dog's skin that commonly appear in the summer as a result of excessive chewing or licking of the area. This licking introduces bacteria into the irritated area, causing it to become hot. These hot spots are most common after a dog has been swimming or playing outside on a hot day, but they can also be seen in dogs with dense undercoats.

If your pup's hotspot is uncomplicated, it can be treated by cleaning the area with a diluted chlorhexidine solution or by simpling clipping the fur in the area to let the skin breathe.

You can help prevent hotspots by keeping your pup well-groomed and drying them after they have been out in the rain or swimming.


If your dog has skin sores that aren't healing properly or have no obvious cause, they could be caused by cancer or another underlying health condition that is preventing normal healing. It is critical to keep the sores clean and to get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Is your pet showing signs of a skin condition? Contact our vets in Rock Hill today to schedule an appointment for your dog.