Uncovering the Reasons: 8 Causes of Scabs on Your Dog’s Skin

Uncovering the Reasons: 8 Causes of Scabs on Your Dog's Skin

When dogs have scabs on their skin, it is usually due to allergies or parasites. Under certain circumstances, however, it can also indicate an underactive thyroid gland, skin fungus, seborrhea, a zinc deficiency, folliculitis, or even Cushing’s syndrome.

Some breeds are also known to have skin problems very often. This includes:

  • Siberian husky
  • Dogs with many wrinkles
  • Chinese crested dog
  • All hairless dogs
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Dogs with long floppy ears

In the following, you will learn about the 8 most common causes of scabs on the skin, their symptoms, and what to do in each specific case.

Are you worried or unsure? Then click here to start the live chat with a veterinarian.

1. Allergies

Around one in five dogs is said to have struggled with allergies. They are triggered by certain irritants – the so-called “allergens”. Typical examples of these are:

  • Pollen and grasses
  • Mold spores
  • Saliva of fleas
  • Detergent and soap
  • Insecticides and chemicals
  • Feathers and cat hair
  • Cigarette smoke

Of all these causes, flea allergy is the most common. Affected dogs react allergically to the saliva of the parasites, which leads to scabs.

But some foods are also suitable here. These include dairy products, soy, grain products, and all kinds of meat. Typical symptoms here are:

  • Severe itching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Discharge from the nose
  • Dry and crusty skin
  • Swelling and redness
  • Constant sneezing

For diagnosis, an allergy test is first carried out. Drugs are then usually used for treatment – ​​so-called “antihistamines”.

In the long term, however, it is important to distance yourself from allergens. Because there is no cure for allergies. Prevention is therefore the be-all and end-all.

Alternatively, such a free feed check can also help to get individual feed recommendations and free feed samples.

Various allergens such as soap or mold spores can cause scabs on the skin of dogs. In most cases, there are also other visible symptoms such as itching, sudden vomiting or reddening of the skin.

2. Zinc Deficiency

In the dog’s body, zinc is primarily responsible for cell growth, wound healing, the immune system, and various metabolic processes.

However, if the dog gets too little of it through its everyday food, then it also systematically leads to skin problems. Typical symptoms of this are:

  • Crusts along the joints
  • Flaky skin around the mouth and eyes
  • Increased hair loss
  • Sudden inflammation of the skin
  • Wounds heal unusually slowly

Dobermans, German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, Great Danes, and Alaskan dog breeds are said to be most commonly affected.

The cause is usually inferior dog food. Here I recommend doing a free food check to find suitable food.

At the same time, you will also receive free food samples from various manufacturers so that you can try them out for yourself. It doesn’t get any cooler than that.

Alternatively, you can also check here which dog food we currently use. We always keep our recommendations up to date.

Dogs with a chronic zinc deficiency are more likely to have skin problems, which can lead to non-healing wounds and scabs, among other things. Here it is important to switch to high-quality dog ​​food for prevention and treatment.

3. Parasites

Hardly any dog ​​is spared from parasites during its life. Whether it’s lice, fleas, ticks or mites. All of them are represented in Germany.

You can usually spot fleas and ticks with the naked eye. For fleas, look for small, moving dots.

However, mites and lice are usually too small for the human eye. Here it is important to pay attention to the corresponding symptoms for diagnosis. Typical signs of this are:

  • Sudden rash
  • Severe itching
  • Dog bites itself
  • Dry and crusty skin
  • Spot hair loss

The problem? Around 50% of fleas carry bacterial pathogens. If these get into an open wound, it can also lead to other diseases.

I personally have had very good experiences with this spray from Amazon. It helps against all types of external parasites and eliminates them within 48 hours.

It also has long-term protection that can last up to 6 months. This probably explains the numerous positive reviews on Amazon.

If dogs get fleas, mites, ticks, or lice, then in addition to severe itching, there are usually problems with the skin. Affected four-legged friends usually have scabs on the skin, red spots, scaly skin, or even open wounds.

4. Hypothyroidism

There is a pea-sized gland on the dog’s neck that has a massive impact on the entire metabolism of the four-legged friend – the so-called “thyroid”.

your main task? The production of thyroid hormones. And it is precisely these hormones that are needed for metabolism, growth, and regulation of the body.

The problem? If there are too few of these hormonal helpers in the dog’s system, this slows down almost all processes in the body. The most common symptoms include:

  • Listlessness
  • Flaky and crusty skin
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Dog sleeps a lot
  • Slow wound healing
  • Dry skin
  • The dog is always tired

According to statistics, older dogs and large breeds are more likely to be affected. In addition to all Great Dane species, this also applies to other four-legged friends:

  • Golden retriever
  • Irish Red Setters
  • Dachshund
  • Airedale Terriers
  • Doberman
  • Labrador Retrievers

There is no cure for an underactive thyroid. The disease can be treated very well by taking the medication regularly. 

Dogs with an underactive thyroid often have to struggle with a slow metabolism and skin problems for hormonal reasons. It can usually be recognized by dry, scaly, and crusty skin as well as constant tiredness.

5. Skin Fungus

Fungal diseases are very common in dogs and can basically occur anywhere. Especially four-legged friends with a weak immune system are affected.

Because with a healthy immune system, the body’s own defenses are usually strong enough to prevent the spread of fungi.

However, if the immune system is weakened due to illness, allergies, parasites, or injuries, then fungi spread very quickly. Typical symptoms here are:

  • Severe itching
  • Moldy smell
  • Changing skin color
  • Dry and cracked skin
  • Skin redness and swelling
  • Sudden crust formation
  • Glossy Skin

Dogs with many wrinkles, long floppy ears, and breeds such as the Shih-Tzu, German Boxer, West Highland White Terrier, and the Poodle are most frequently affected.

Special creams and shampoos are usually used for treatment. Depending on the location and severity, drops and medication are also prescribed.

Poultices with yogurt and the application of coconut oil and tea tree oil should also help as home remedies. Compared to medical treatment, however, the effect is small.

Dogs with skin fungus usually get dry and cracked skin. Among other things, a fungal infestation can also manifest itself through its musty odor, reddening of the skin, crusts on the skin, or swelling. The veterinarian should be consulted for treatment.

6. Folliculitis

If the top layer of skin in dogs becomes diseased and the hair follicle becomes inflamed, then doctors also speak of “folliculitis”. Typical triggers are:

  • Bacteria
  • Mushrooms
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Injuries
  • Allergies

In addition to scaly and crusty skin, there are usually other symptoms. Typical signs are here:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Touch sensitivity
  • Small pustules
  • Isolated hair loss

Since bacteria are responsible for inflammation in most cases, antibiotics are usually recommended. Creams can also help with fungi and injuries.

To prevent the spread, you should also consult a veterinarian immediately. Depending on the cause, shampoos, special drops or baths can also be sufficient.

Dogs with folliculitis usually have multiple red patches on their skin, which can result in a scab. Among other things, affected four-legged friends react very sensitively when touching the area and scratch themselves constantly. The treatment here depends on the cause.

7. Cushing’s Syndrome

Normally, stress hormones are only released in the dog’s body when there is an emergency or when he feels threatened.

With Cushing’s syndrome, however, the body constantly produces stress hormones, regardless of the living situation, so that the dog is always on alert.

In addition to tremors, such a disease is usually accompanied by skin problems. Typical signs are here:

  • Constant thirst
  • Dry and cracked skin
  • Constant panting
  • Food cravings
  • Induration of the abdomen
  • Crusts on the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Skin inflammation
  • Frequent urination

The reasons for this can be varied. In most cases, however, a tumor disease of the pituitary gland is responsible.

If the cause is genetic, then special medications are usually used to treat it. Tumors, on the other hand, are mostly surgically removed.

Dogs with Cushing’s syndrome produce too many stress hormones, disrupting the skin’s balance. Among other things, this is reflected in cracked skin, constant thirst, scabs on the skin, hair loss, and a constant urge to urinate.

8. Seborrhea

Seborrhea is a skin condition that primarily causes scaly and crusty skin in dogs. In some breeds, genetics may be to blame. This includes:

  • Golden retriever
  • Dobermans
  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Dachshund
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Basset Hounds

In addition to genetics, allergies, parasites, nutrient deficiency, autoimmune diseases, and hormone disorders can also be behind it.

Depending on the cause and severity, the symptoms can look slightly different. The skin becomes either very dry and cracked or unusually oily.

Since it is usually accompanied by severe itching, affected dogs also scratch themselves sore more often. Open wounds, bleeding and scabs are common here.

You should see your vet for a diagnosis. There, a blood test, a stool test, and a few dander are usually examined in the laboratory.

Only in some cases is this disease curable. Salmon oil and special shampoos can help to alleviate and prevent the symptoms.

Depending on the type, dogs with seborrhea either get very dry, scaly, and crusty skin, or the complete opposite. In most cases, the cause lies in the genes. In this case, the disease is not curable but can be treated well.

Categories Top

Leave a Comment