It’s a regular Friday afternoon. You’re dug in deep in your couch and ready to binge-watch all through the evening. Your pup is also digging the vibes and has decided to lay beside you on the couch. Then, as you stroke its fur, while watching, you notice a crusty scab on your dog’s underside.
What could this be?
A scab on your dog could mean several things at first glance. It could be an indicator that your dog has allergies, parasites, or other underlying infections.
This discovery should not cause you to panic. Most dog scabs have an existing treatment that can help reduce their presence and growth.
If you happen to be in this situation, a quick visit to your vet will help you solve it in a breeze.
Let’s take a deeper look into the appearance of scabs on your dog.
What are scabs on your dog?
Scabs appear on your dog’s skin and have varying shapes, sizes, and coloration. For most parts, a scab occurs as a slight bump, dried blister, or a flaky rising on the skin.
Scabs occur when a dog suffers from mites, sores, dry skin, or some infection. When this happens, the affected sites become irritated or painful at the same time.
You can spot all kinds of scabs with ease on your dog if it has short fur coverage. The scabs will look like scaly patches to the naked eye.
However, the task could prove a tad more difficult if your pup has a longer fur cover. If this is the case, then you’d have to stroke your dog or push back the fur to inspect the skin.
Where are you likely to find scabs on your dog?
There are no specific places on your dog that scabs exclusively appear. Scabs can attack any part of the dog.
Over the years though, many cases of scabs have been mostly seen to occur around the back and neck areas of a dog.
Another commonplace for scab growth is around a dog’s skin folds. As your dog moves, the constant friction can cause irritations and result in the development of scabs. Fold scabs regularly grow around the upper legs and under the belly.
Once you touch a scab, your dog may react by nudging your hands away for a quick scratch.
Does age, breed, or size affect a dog’s chances of getting scabs?
The scab problem does not target only a specific demographic of dogs. As I earlier said, its causes stem from several factors. However, certain factors may make your dog more prone to scabs than others.
Also, check in with your vet as some breeds will have a harder time recovering from scabs. This also applies to dogs that have excess skin, long droopy ears, and excess weight.
Older dogs that have drier skin can also find a hard time recovering from scabs. This is because they hydrate less and tend to have coarser skin as a result.
Signs and symptoms of scabs on your dog
Skin scabs commonly hint at other underlying conditions affecting your dog. That is why you should get concerned once you spot any of the following signs on your pet:
- Hair loss
- Bald patches
- Swelling or lumps
- Dryness of the skin
- Scaly skin patches
You must take heed to these symptoms.
Important also is that you record when the dog gets a reaction. Your dog may show such irritations after eating certain meals or during particular seasons. You may also discover that your dog has allergic reactions to certain cleaning products.
The more abreast you are with such information, the quicker the treatment process will be.
Tell-tale signs from your dog
Aside from the above set of symptoms, your dog may also pick other habits to show discomfort. You may find your dog:
- Licking away at the scab with a lot of force.
- Scratching the scab(s) using their paws.
- Trying to nibble on the scab as it heals.
- Scratching the scabs by rubbing the affected area against the floor, walls, or furniture.
Things that cause scabs on your dog
As many causes may lead to scab development, I’ve taken the liberty to classify them under 3 categories.
They include parasites, allergies, and infections.
These are little organisms that invade your dog for food, habitat, and procreation. Now, many of them prove hard to see, especially when they invade the dog’s insides.
Also, several parasites can bring scabs on your dog. They include:
Mites cause a disorder in dogs called mange. This condition arises when many mites nestle in your dog’s skin and fur.
There are two common types of mites.
This includes the Scabies Mites which have the reputation for causing sarcoptic mange. This type of mite is much rarer and causes irritation and itching.
The other type is the Demodex mites that cause the demodectic mange. These types of mites do not cause as much itchiness and thrive inside your dog’s follicles.
Fleas can cause your dog’s skin to turn dry and itchy. In turn, your dog may start scratching and a scab will form from that.
Fleas are a pain in the neck because they are not easy to spot. According to a study, half of all flea species carry disease-causing bacteria. If a carrier flea invades a wound, chances are that a scab-causing infection will follow.
Ticks are other bothersome parasites that can plague your dog. They feed off your dog’s blood by burying their heads deep into the skin.
Now, bites from ticks cause itchiness that makes your dog scratch. Continuous scratching results in the development of a scab on your dog’s skin.
To remove a tick, you only need to use a pair of tweezers. Ensure that you grab it by the head and pull it gently from the skin. If the tick breaks, the remaining parts in the dog’s skin can cause an infection.
Allergic dermatitis is a common factor that can cause scabs on your dog’s skin. Other top dog allergies to look for include:
Some pups will react to food allergies by developing serious skin irritations. As the dog continues feeding and scratching from the aftereffect, a scab may form in the process.
That said, you must monitor your dog’s reactions to foods. More so when you are just introducing them to some new kibble.
It’s an irony that pollen may also affect a dog’s skin yet dogs love to jump and run through flower fields.
Some dogs react to pollen when it gets into contact with their skin. This reaction causes the dog to scratch and even catch dermatitis. In the end, it gives rise to scabs.
- Cleaning solutions
Dog shampoos and specific cleaning soaps may also cause allergic reactions to your dog. These reactions end up building a patch of scab in the long run.
You have to show vigilance each time you introduce your pup to a new shampoo. If you notice a skin reaction after use, then stop using the product and take your dog to a vet. I mean, if that is the case, then it’s even better to stick to your old dog shampoo.
Scabs are also known to form from diseases and infections. If either doesn’t get early treatment, the effects can get worse.
So, ensure that you take your pet to the vet ASAP if you suspect it has a viral or bacterial infection.
In the present time, the most common infections are:
Ringworms are actually a kind of fungus. They reveal themselves as dry, red, scaly, and irritated scabs on a dog’s skin.
- Bacterial infection
Bacterial infections manifest on the skin as small bumps. The most common type is folliculitis. This happens when the hair follicles on your dog become inflamed.
A build-up of this also causes scabbing to occur.
- Yeast infection
If a dog gets exposed to an overwhelming presence of yeast, then a scab-causing irritation might ensue. This will likely happen when your house is warm and has high levels of humidity.
Other serious causes of scabs on your dog
Other causes of scabs can include:
a. Hormonal imbalance
Hormonal imbalance can cause your dog’s skin to have varying dry and oily areas. This can cause irritation that brings about scabs.
Hormonal imbalance may come from an inheritance or develop with time.
b. Immune disorder
The most common disease from an immune disorder is lupus. This autoimmune disorder makes a dog’s immune system launch recurring attacks on its healthy cells.
This can lead to skin lesions and death to the affected dog if left untreated.
How to treat scabs on your dog
There are a few methods you can use to treat scabs on your dog. I have highlighted the best hassle-free process below.
- Use warm water to rinse the scab. You should let the water sit long enough to soak and soften the dead tissue around the scab.
- You can use a wet cloth to keep the scab area moisturized. The goal here is to prevent the scab from peeling off. The water keeps the scabby part from drying which will later cause itching.
- You can then use a prescribed antibiotic and anti-itch spray on the moisturized scab surface.
- Afterward, apply an approved topical ointment. This helps to cast off the scab without having to peel anything.
- Keep the treated area covered. Use an after-clean ointment for this part.
- The last effort entails wrapping gauze around the treated scab. If the area is very big, then use ingestible oil to cover it. A good sample is coconut oil.
When should you see a vet?
Most canine skin problems are not too critical. But that does not mean that you overlook the importance of seeking help from a vet.
A qualified vet is the best option for knowing what’s really bugging your pooch. A vet will effectively diagnose and suggest the correct treatment methods for your dog.
So, when should you consider visiting a vet?
You should consider seeing a vet when you suspect that the condition of your pet has worsened. Serious conditions in dogs exhibit themselves as excessive licking or scratching from the dog.
Other symptoms of a severe condition involve discoloration, redness, scaling, and balding of the skin.
Once your vet pinpoints the root cause of the scab, then your dog may start its road to recovery. The good news is that many of these skin problems will respond well to the prescribed treatment.
How to prevent scabs from growing on your dog
Preventing scabs means targeting the many things that act as the root cause. Your vet will offer the safest guidelines for prevention.
Together with your recorded observations, you can narrow down on the most effective treatment plan.
Anyways, the main guidelines require that you:
a. Maintain a healthy diet
Improving your dog’s diet can reduce the problems arising from malnutrition and deficiency. Such problems include dry skin that makes a dog scratch and develops scabs.
A good diet must include essential minerals and vitamins.
b. Do frequent brushing
Brushing your dog’s coat frequently helps to remove flaky patches and dead skin. If left on the dog, they can irritate.
Scabs also form when such elements build up around the dog’s skin. It gets even worse if it gets mixed up with dirt.
c. Use approved coat and skin supplements
Giving your pet a balanced diet may not be a sufficient solution at times. Sometimes your dog’s body may refuse to respond well to a good diet alone.
In that case, you may want to try out Omega-3 and 6. These two will boost your pup’s nutrition as well as promote the health of the dog’s skin and coat.
d. Bath your dog frequently
As unlikely as it may seem, bathing still serves a vital part in sustaining your dog’s skin health. This is especially if your dog’s scabs are a result of allergies, sebum build-up, or bacterial infections.
Take care that you don’t use soaps containing aggressive chemicals when bathing your dog. Such soaps will only revert your dog to scab-causing irritations.
Important: Washing your dog too much will also bring dryness and remove natural oils from the skin. Only wash your dog about once every week.
e. Use an antifungal shampoo
Antifungal shampoos help to reduce the occurrence and effects of fungal infections. This means that your dog won’t experience much itching and irritations that lead to scab formation.
f. Use Benadryl
Using Benadryl helps to alleviate the risk and symptoms caused by allergies. It reduces rashes, itchiness, and other things.
Only administer regular Benadryl and not “Benadryl-D”. Benadryl-D contains a decongestant that is a strong toxic on dogs.
The appearance of a scab on your dog should not cause an alarm.
Still, ensure that you see a vet for an accurate diagnosis. You may end up discovering underlying conditions that your canine may be silently suffering from.
Most of the time your appointment will be an in-and-out affair. Your dog will get treatment and also get discharged in a single session.
What’s your experience with scabs on your dog? How did you spot the scab and what were your reactions? Have you tried any of the above treatments and preventive measures? What were the results?
I would love to hear more from you, so, feel free to walk all over the Comments Section below!
I hope this guide has given you some useful insights for handling scabs on your dog.