Peeling Dog Skin

by Steph
(New York, NY, USA)

Reader Question: What Is Causing My Dog's Skin To Peel?

I noticed a few weeks ago that my family dog had a strange, raw patch of skin right between the end of her neck and the start of her belly. The hair was falling off with skin attached, leaving a lawyer of raw skin. I treated it myself by putting some Vaseline on it and noticed within a week that it helped (or so I thought).

Well today, I saw that she has more than one raw patch of skin. She has 4 that I counted. One was in the same place that I found before, the second and third were under her hind legs, and the forth (which was the worst one on her) was under her front, right leg. The forth one was blood red, and had been bleeding a little and the rest seem to be just raw, pink and irritated.

She is on a healthy diet; dry food=kibbles n' bits usually, and no table food. We bathe her using the same shampoo we have since she was a puppy. And we've lived in the same place for some time now. She doesn't scratch or chew at herself, I checked for fleas and ticks and she doesn't have any. Other than the raw patches of skin that she has, her skin seems healthy everywhere else.

Does anyone have an idea of what could be causing her hair to fall out
and her skin to be so raw and, if so what could I use to treat the patches?

Thank you for all help in advance, I appreciate your time.


Vet's Advice To Reader Regarding Dog Skin Peeling

Hi Steph,

The list of potential causes for your dog’s skin problems is quite long, and coming up with an accurate diagnosis usually requires that we run some tests. The way I’d approach your dog’s case if she were my patient would be to first perform a complete physical exam looking for anything that might be related to your dog’s condition and then run a skin cytology (a simple and inexpensive test) to rule out a bacterial or yeast infection and check for any usual skin cells that might point us in one direction or another.

If an infection were present, I would treat that (probably with oral antimicrobials in addition to topicals due to the severity of her symptoms) and see what happened. If she got better and stayed better, perfect. But, if her condition did not resolve completely we’d have to start looking for an underlying cause (many skin infections in dogs develop secondarily to another condition like allergies). If your dog did not have a skin infection, we’d be looking at running a skin scraping to rule out mites, a fungal culture for ringworm, and perhaps even a skin biopsy to get to the bottom of the problem.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

Comments for Peeling Dog Skin

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Jan 17, 2017
Scared she will not make it..
by: Anonymous

Hello.My dog is very very sick..she is an outside dog, along with my other dog.In her facial area, her skin and fur have came off leaving it dry, and crusy like.She also has this on her front, and hine legs, and underneath her stomach is the worst. It is very itchy for her, she scratches off patches off her fur leaving it to be raw skin and bleed. I am very worried she will not make it. She looks so horrible. I do not know how much it will cost to get a vet.. and I don't know if we have the money. She shakes, cries, and moves timidly.. I am scared for my dog. We have givin her Vaseline..does not work.Almost all of her fur is falling off, she has raw skin showing, and bleeds. She does not have fleas or anything! Does anyone know how to help her on our own? Pray for us.

Dec 10, 2016
by: Anonymous

This is happening to my dog. No matting, never had one mat.

May 09, 2016
Beware of diatomaceous earth!
by: Anonymous

YOU MUST ONLY BUY AND USE FOOD GRADE DIATOMACEOUS EARTH. If you do not get FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth, you can make your pet very, very sick! I made the mistake of buying what the clerk at Home Depot recommended to me when he said "You can even eat it". Well, it was not food grade and both my pet and I have suffered severe lung problems from inhaling this product! You must understand, diatomaceous earth is made from silica and must not be inhaled. It hangs in the air and carpets for a long, long time and is a known carcinogen. Do not even think about using diatomaceous in your home where pets and small children walk so near to the floor.

Dec 02, 2015
Hair Peeling
by: Anonymous

I have seen this condition myself. It is called Cuff. This is when there is matting of the fur. If the animal bumps something or another animal catches a grip on him/her it peels the hair right to the skin. Best advice....no matting allowed.

Mar 12, 2015
Yep, Same problem I think.
by: selina strom

I got Tristan Bear a Husky/Akita? mix from Animal Control when he was 1 1/2 to 3 yrs (based on his dentition) and now he is at least 11 yrs. old. 3 months ago we took him in to be groomed and he came back out with 4 shaved areas of his thick black coat due to hot spots that were found. The vet immediately put him on Keflex. His skin healed, but, his fur did not grow back and his skin was severely scaly and flaky (worse than a usual winter dandruff), plus, his hair was thinning on his torso and hind quarters. No mites. No mange. No fleas.He has been on the same food for years. I started giving him Fish Oil with 1,500mg for his 95# of EPA, for his skin and put a sweater on him outside when temps were single digit and subzero. He is getting hormone tested and they are doing another skin scraping to check for fungal or bacterial causes. He is not itching or exhibiting excessive licking or I'd think allergies. He otherwise acts healthy and is not bothered by this, but, it is stressing me out.Even if he has no hair I will love him, but, I may have to rename him Mr. Bigglesworth.

Jul 20, 2014
by: Anonymous

Have you thought about sprinkling het bed with diatomaceous earth?

Sep 17, 2012
My dog too!
by: Monica

Same issues with my dog (mutt that's maybe Shepard or a husky mix). Started off with patches that would peel, (never itchy) which we treated at the first vet for 2 weeks with cephalexin. Got a little better, but didn't clear it completely. I put bag balm on some spots, they actually festered and developed a huge amount of puss and I could see she lost the layer of skin! We rushed her to the emergency vet, where they checked for mites--no mites. They were positive for bacteria, though, so we treated for 3 more weeks of cephalexin (sensitive bacterial results). We are washing her with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo. We have tried all the super-expensive grain free dog foods, but it still keeps recurring. She has experienced this problem for about 3 years. I replaced all her dog beds, and now I wash them regularly with bleach. She has had this problem living at 2 different homes too. The dermatologist was stumped too as to the cause.

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