dog with a skin condition itching and scratching on grass

Everything You Need To Know About Dog Skin Conditions

If you’ve ever had an itch that you just can’t scratch, you’ll know how a pup with one of the many dog skin conditions can feel. They can affect your dog’s mental and physical health. Dog skin conditions can be painful and itchy, or cause flaky, oozy, or dry skin.

And they’re also, well… annoying. For both dog and human.

If your dog is one of the sufferers of a dog skin condition, you may be familiar with way more lotions, creams, and dog food options than you ever thought necessary.

But while the only thing your dog can do is scratch that itch, pet parents can get down to the bottom of it. And we’re here to help.

What are dog skin conditions caused by?

Just like people, some dogs are more prone to skin conditions than others. These dog skin conditions can be temporary, in response to something like an allergen or bite. Or they can be chronic and long-lasting.

Unfortunately, most dog skin conditions are of the chronic variety. Which means they don’t get better without treatment through medicine or lifestyle changes.

Here are a few things that can cause skin problems:

  • Food allergies (read things that can poison your pet but know that some dogs are allergic to proteins like chicken, or grains such as wheat in food)
  • Environmental allergies (like grass or pollen)
  • Stress (such as separation anxiety in pets)
  • Hormone imbalances (pet foods can contain hormone treated protein)
  • Parasites like fleas


In some cases, dog skin problems can be transferred to humans. So for the sanity of everyone involved, if your pup starts itching, consult your vet straight away.

Getting a vet diagnosis is important. They’re medical experts who know your dog’s history, as well as any breed-specific predispositions. For instance, Beagles often struggle with skin conditions.

beagles often have dog skin conditions

A HUHA success story with dog skin conditions

A one-year-old Labrador cross Huntaway was surrendered to HUHA last year. He’d suffered from dog skin conditions since he was a puppy and his family had tried nearly everything without success. Kelvin’s hair would fall out, leaving him with dry and itchy bare skin.

His skin conditions were so bad that vets had suggested resorting to euthanasia as a very last resort. Instead, the family surrendered the sore and sad Kelvin to HUHA. Here’s what Kelvin looked like when he was surrendered to HUHA.

Luckily, HUHA acted quickly and took lots of well-informed steps to get that skin in tip top shape. Most of the measures are the same ones Kelvin’s family had already tried, with the addition of two new changes: diet and shampoo.

Three months later

By August, just one month later, Kelvin had new fur growing. His skin health was looking up!

By October, three months later, Kelvin had made a full recovery. He looks so different, right?

HUHA did a great job, though anyone who’s struggled with dog skin conditions knows it’s not always a straightforward process.

There’s a huge variety of skin lotions, medicines, shampoos, and specialised diets to choose from. Even with professional help, it sometimes takes some trial and error. So how do you succeed?

Dog skin conditions and treatments

Kelvin’s original family tried hypoallergenic diets, expensive medication, and endless visits to the vet to no avail. The products HUHA used in their treatment of Kelvin were Whoop – Itch & Ouch lotion and shampoo and Addiction Pet Foods.

They’re made here in New Zealand and can be ordered online. Both are cruelty free, hormone free and chemical free. They’re a good place to start!

Of course, these are only two products of many that could help alleviate some of the itching and scratching.

Food to improve dog skin conditions

On the food side, some people have good luck with raw food (read the pros and cons of raw food) whereas others find that adding coconut oil or apple cider vinegar can help.  

Raw food might not be an option for you. If you’re looking for pellets, we’ve heard good things about Acana Wild Coast food. This is grain-free and uses novel proteins (fish, in this case), which are less likely to cause a reaction. We’ve also heard recommendations for Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin food too.

Medication to improve dog skin conditions

Some dogs might need some extra help from medication. For instance, you may not always be able to alleviate reactions from environmental allergies. Or your dog might have an underlying problem which requires treatment.

Speak to your vet about anti-itching medication to potentially help your dog, for example. The options on the market can vary from occasional anti-histamines through to regular treatments like cortisone or atopica, which is designed specifically to treat dermatitis.

Puppy school love is emanating from this dog

Be persistent and open minded

Just remember: every pet is unique. They each have their own environment and physical needs. Something that works for one dog might not work for another.

The moral of the story is to keep at it. By working alongside your vet and being patient, you’re likely to find a solution.

Pet insurance

Having dog insurance can save you heaps on vet visits. Pet insurance makes getting healthcare for your pet much easier on your pocket. Which means you have more time for the important stuff, like keeping your dog happy and healthy.

Dog skin conditions – over to you

Have you found a solution to the dreaded itchy and scratchy show? Share your tips in the comments below.

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