All sorts of things can happen to a dog’s skin when he or she goes rolling around in the business that is life.

Dog skin conditions can range from the acute to the chronic; they can also be primary or secondary.

Diagnosis can be a tough process, with dogs tending to scratch the itch and further irritate the condition site.

There’s also a whole world of abrasions, cuts, infections, and hot spots to consider.

And bacteria, the sort of thing that gathers from swimming or other activities, can also provide a bit of trouble.

Types of Skin Conditions

Some skin conditions come from some sort of problem with immune responses. These “immune-mediated skin disorders” include canine atopic dermatitis, which is a hereditary skin allergy that produces itchiness around the eyes, muzzle and feet.

Atopic dermatitis can be exacerbated by pollen, molds and dust mites. Food allergies have also been known to produce symptoms.

There are also environmental conditions, including hot spots (acute moist dermatitis) and acral lick granulomas.

Hot spots are inflamed or infected areas of the skin that are irritated further by the dog licking and/or biting itself (see the picture on the right of a lick granuloma aka hot spot on my Lulu years ago).

dog granuloma

These spots can spread quickly, sometimes even in a matter of hours, and are most common in dogs with thick undercoats.

Acral lick granulomas are similar to hot spots. These are raised, generally ulcerated areas on a dog’s ankle or wrist. These, like hot spots, are spread by the dog’s incessant licking like the one in the above picture.  It can start out the size of nickle and a couple of hours later it could have quadrupled in size do the licking.

It’s scary to see, but easily treatable.

Why do dogs do this?  Often times it’s simply boredom.  Keep em busy, well exercised and entertained! 🙂

Treatments and Remedies

There are, of course, a number of treatment options for taking care of your dog’s various skin problems. Antibiotics are popular for all the wrong reasons and the best options, in our humble opinions of course, avoid these so-called “solutions.”

Instead, action should be taken as soon as any sign of skin condition is noticed. Start by cleaning the infected area and then disinfecting it. Disinfection should be done with a gentle solution that won’t irritate the dog’s skin further. It should also be non-toxic.

The solution we recommend is from Dr. Becker, a holistic vet.  She says that it gets excellent results for most skin infections, however, I have never tried it myself.  Here’s the instructions:

  1. Purchase Povidone Iodine from your local pharmacy and *NOTE DO NOT USE regular Iodine – it must be Povidone Iodine.
  2. Dilute the solution until it resembles the color of tea by using warm water  before applying it to your dog’s skin.
  3. Then, use a clean wash cloth soaked with the solution and blot the solution over the problem areas of the dog’s skin very gently.
  4. This should clean and remove any bacteria from the area.  *NOTE  You must also gently clean the entire area of surrounding skin in the event that bacteria is present, but you can’t see any evidence.  This stops the spreading!
  5. She  recommends performing this process twice a day to avoid antibiotics and other harmful skin treatments.  While she doesn’t indicate for how long; I would say to continue the twice daily regimen until you see improvement.
  6. The povidone iodine won’t hurt your dog at all if he or she licks it.  However, the licking may irritate an already sensitive skin problem.
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Showing 76 comments
  • Amy Michaud
    Reply

    Hi Janie,
    Raw no, but maybe home cooked if I have some good recipe to go by. I live in Saint Petersburg,Fl and never had a problem with fleas until 1 1/2 years ago it started. What home treatment could I do for her to keep the fleas from getting on her or that kills them right away. Something I can spray in her right after she comes in from going potty . Thanks for your help

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Amy:

      You can read more about the natural flea and tick spray that I’ve been using for six years now here. You spray it on them daily or every couple days, or even weekly; depending how often you need it. In your case and where you live, I would spray daily and also if they get wet. Not every time they go out. Just one good mist all over (not the face of course) daily.

      I’ve talked a lot about home cooking and raw and recipes on this page in the comments, if you want to check around. I also encourage you to at least include a good green supplement to help with the allergies.

      Hope this helps.

      Janie

  • Lilly
    Reply

    Hi Janie

    I have a 9 month old pug with a hot spot. It’s not a bad one, it is just red. The vet checked it and tested it 4 ringworm, bc it was round and it was negative. That’s bc he doesn’t itch it and there’s no pus. Its just slowly getting bigger and he’s losing more and more fur, which is a shame, bc I don’t know how, but I have a pug who does not shed. his breeder said her pugs don’t and it’s true, he has a softer and thicker fur than most pugs. He looks like a little bear. I went and got the povidone iodine you recommended and I also put a thin layer of manuka honey over it, after the iodine, as it is in a spot he could not lick and he is still not itching it. Then come to find out, I saw him itching his eye something fierce and low and behold, there is a tiny hot spot, however, this one is raw. I dabbed the iodine solution carefully, very carefully and then placed some of the manuka honey there, as well.

    I also am giving him, a few granules of bee pollen. About 5 to start to help w allergies.

    I have to say in a matter of days he has markedly improved. My mother helps me with both putting on the iodine and the honey and even she can’t believe the difference.

    I guess my question would be I did cut off some of his beautiful fur, since he’s healing so fast and still only a puppy, does he have a chance of the fur growing back? You can see this big round ring missing.

    Also, would you know, is this rapid healing due to the honey? I forgot to add that I did get a fish oil capsule I break into his food, once a day and it is high quality.

    Thank you so much and if there is anything else you feel I should be doing, that would be great as well.

    I look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks again.

    Lilly

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Lilly:

      Your pug sounds adorable, but I’m sorry to hear about his hot spots. I’m sure his fur will grow back and most likely the rapid healing was probably due to the Manuka Honey which includes so many healing properties. Your dog is very young Lilly. Now is the time to start a life long healthy program for him, so that when he’s older, he’ll have fewer problems.

      I urge you to NOT rely on kibble as his main diet. If you can afford to do so, start feeding a food such as The Honest Kitchen where you simply add warm water and he has a home cooked meal. Add a little meat and/or egg to it. It will help with his kidneys and liver as well. Next, include a good multivitamin for him. I recommend Nuvet. It’s top of the line and economical. You’re already giving a fish oil, so that’s good.

      AVOID chemical flea and tick products which are known to cause cancer, seizures & more. Instead use natural methods such as TripleSure. WATCH VACCINATIONS and I can’t say this enough; don’t be bullied by veterinarians into vaccinating your dog. Read this page please. Vaccinations can cause a tremendous amount of harm, illness & disease. Rabies is the only one required by law and it’s every 3 years. Read the above page and take precaution before ever getting the rabies vaccine.

      Last, take care of his teeth, please. I use and recommend to all of my readers Dentasure. Avoid rawhide, instead provide Deer Antler which is excellent and includes natural calcium.

      All of the above will help with his skin as well. Seek out a good holistic vet in your area. I hope this helps Lilly!

      Janie

      • lilly
        Reply

        Hi Janie,

        Thank you so much, I will check into it. It sounds like the route I would like to take. I just want my little guy happy and healthy, so thank you for all of the advice. It is much appreciated.

        Lilly

        • yourolddog
          Reply

          My pleasure Lilly! 🙂

  • MARY L. HEATON
    Reply

    Can you add a few drops of lavender to the Povidone mixture.

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Yes Mary.

      Janie

  • Rachelle Phares
    Reply

    Hello Janie,
    I have an old “mutt.” He is border collie, German shepherd, Australian shepherd, and chow. About 7 years ago while living in Wichita Falls, TX, Gideon started losing hair skin flaking off in sheets, itching like crazy. It was awful. However, shortly after it started I moved to north east Oklahoma. The condition went away. Now, a year and a half ago I moved across town. That spring it started again, but this time I can’t figure it out. It gets a bit better and then worse again. I took him to a vet clinic (can’t really afford a real vet trip right now, and she gave him a steroid shot and he improved, but now it’s returned with a vengeance. Bless my fuzzy old man, he’s miserable. I’ve put him on grain free, tried medicated shampoo, benedryll, , etc. I don’t know what it is or why moving from the south side of Tulsa to the north side should effect it. I purchased the providone-iodine scrub. But with this massive chow fur- patting on with a rag isn’t going to happen. Also, do I use it with the medicated shampoo? I really wish I could take him to the vet, but times are really lean and it’s just not possible. I can’t do allergy testing. I’m worried. He’s almost 10 years old and recently truly seems to be more rapidly going down hill. His eyes are getting cloudy, he’s having trouble with stairs and jumping. He’s not eating like he used too. Help! I need my fur baby. I can take him to vet next month because I’ll have summer school money on my check, but I want to make him more comfortable until then. Suggestions?

    Be blessed,
    Rae

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Rae:

      I’m sorry to hear about your “old mutt.” Lol!

      Have you pin pointed when it gets better and when it gets worse? I mean, is it seasonal? Or, is it a certain time of day? It could be related to the home you moved into. Carpeting, mold, etc. The fact that you just moved across town, leads me to think it’s the home or at least something around the home. Think back about your other home and this one, both inside and out, and look for differences.

      One of the very best things I know of for allergies (and use) is Colostrum. It will also help with basically most other health issues going on in the body. You only need 1/2 teaspoon daily. However, this should be coupled with a good diet of course. Or, the best diet you can afford that includes fresh foods. Reduce the amount of kibble and add more protein whether it be in form of eggs or meat, or both. Add fresh vegetables Rachelle. Buy frozen green beans and cook until very soft. You can also add fresh veggies and you should, such as alfalfa sprouts which are good for Arthritis, basil, spinach, etc. Carrots are hard for dogs to digest – I would avoid.

      I”m sure your budget is tight with school, but if you can afford to get him groomed, or at least do it yourself, this would be much easier to get the rinse into the skin. I wouldn’t use the medicated shampoo. In fact, I would use an all natural shampoo for dogs or make your own using 1/2 cup liquid castile soap (you can often purchase this at Walgreens or Walmart), 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon of glycerin (you can also get this at Walgreens).

      You can also try using a rinse made with Yellow Dock. Simply add one tablespoon of Yellow Dock to 2 cups of boiling water. Stir and allow to cool or come to room temperature. It goes a long way. POUR ALL OVER HIS BODY MAKING SURE YOU GET THE BACK END, THE BELLY, THE NECK, ETC. DO NOT RINSE. Again, these rinses work better if the fur is a little shorter so that it’s absorbed into the skin. Here’s a link to purchase Yellow Dock Root Powder if you’re interested.

      I think if you push the kibble to the minimum, add more quality protein, colostrum, and use a good rinse, you’ll see your old boy perk up. I just recommended Colostrum to my neighbor for her older lab last week. In one week, what a major difference. She was lethargic the week before. We worked on her diet and added Colostrum and Nuvet.

      I hope this helps Rachelle!

      Janie

  • susan mchenry
    Reply

    I have a 15/16 year old beagle that I rescued a year ago and she constantly chews. She has no hair left on her backside, inside of her legs and is chewing spots on her paws as well. I have medicated wipes to keep the yeast (that’s what my vet said it is) at bay but nothing stops her chewing. It’s obsessive. Anything you can suggest?

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Susan:

      I’m sorry to hear about your little girl. Yeast MUST be controlled from the inside out. If you’re feeding kibble, I would move away from it completely and home cook. Make it high in protein with meat and egg; and add VERY WELL STEAMED VEGETABLES LIKE GREEN BEANS, BROCCOLI, KALE OR SPINACH (the previous three should be used sparingly maybe 2-3 times a week), basil, etc. You can buy frozen, just cook until VERY, VERY SOFT. I would also include a little raw to the diet. One the very best products available for yeast problems in dogs is Repair & Strengthen. It works to heal the entire digestive tract which is where the yeast lives.

      There is absolutely no way around it. You have to build her immune system up so that it’s very strong. You do this with the right diet and supplements. I would also include a multivitamin. We offer a nutritional tablet or a powder. Most dogs readily eat the tablet like a treat, but some won’t. So we offer a tasteless powder as well. You can see both here on this page. Look for Nuvet or Daily Multi with Calcium.

      This page may also help. On this page it will tell you to include Coconut Oil which is good. Either way, you should be adding an oil to her diet daily.

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

  • Ashley
    Reply

    Hello,
    Last week, I started the Povidone Iodine treatment as suggested here and began seeing some improvement in my sweet boy’s belly sores, but after reading the bottle I noticed it says “Do not use for longer than a week without a Dr’s RX”… I stopped the treatment for a few days and they’ve since worsened again 🙁
    I’d love to begin the applying the iodine treatment once again but was wondering if Anyone knows how long/for how many consecutive days you can apply?? It’d be nice if the answer was simply “Until sores are healed”, but after reading the bottle’s caution I didn’t know if that was actually the case or not.
    Thanks so much in advance for ANY help, anyone can offer! 🙂

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Ashley:

      Using the Povidone Iodine treatment as directed in my blog post should be fine to use twice daily until the sores are healed. Dr. Becker recommends it twice daily for minor infections of the skin.

      Janie

  • Stephanie Pileggi
    Reply

    HI there,

    Ive been using the povodine iodine on a recurrent staph infection on my 6b month old puppys belly but it has spread to her eyes. What can I use around the eye area to keep the bacteria away? Is the povidone iodine safe around the eyes?

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Stephanie:

      Are you doing anything else other than using povodine iodine on her? Was she recently vaccinated (when was she vaccinated) and when did you first notice the recurrent staph infection? I’m assuming it goes away for awhile and returns? What are you feeding and are you giving her any supplements?

      Janie

      • Stephanie
        Reply

        She’s on a raw diet. I’m doing the iodine as well as a topical chlorehexidine glucanate gel. I guess her vaccines were finished about a month and a half ago and I think the staph came after that. She’s been on two different antibiotics and the infection goes away but then comes back a couple of days after the antibiotics are done.

        • janie
          Reply

          I would put her on Colostrum and a good nutritional multivitamin for life Stephanie. The antibiotics, while a temporary fix, are most likely causing problems for her young immune system. She could stay on both of these for life and you would be doing her a huge favor now and down the road. Or, you could keep her on the Colostrum for just awhile until it clears up, but keep her on the Nuvet for life. I’m sure it’s a reaction to the vaccines. I’d be very surprised if the infection didn’t clear up using both of these; combined with the raw diet (excellent that you’re feeding her raw).

          Janie

          • Stephanie Pileggi

            Thanks so much for the info. Ive ordered the colostrum online and hoping for the best 🙂

          • janie

            Hi Stephanie:

            Just curious where you purchased your Colostrum? We offer the best here on YourOldDog.com at an excellent price.

            A lot of time, energy and money is what keeps this site going, and has for years. All I ask is that you support the site and purchase the products here when possible vs going somewhere else, especially when I’m offering my help. 🙂

            Janie

          • Stephanie Pileggi

            Was finding it hard to locate but ordered one off of amazon. Ended up being quite expensive since I live in Canada.

          • janie

            Thanks for letting me know Stephanie. I didn’t realize you were in Canada. It typically costs us around $15 to ship to Canada, but I guess it depends where as well. Please let us know how it goes. Just keep at it with the Colostrum; don’t give up and feed the good diet you are already feeding.

            Again, please come back and comment so that other pet owners can hear your story.

            Janie

          • Stephanie Pileggi

            Thanks, I will. And if you want to post a link for your colostrum that would be appreciated.

          • janie

            Hi Stephanie:

            Thank you as well. Here’s the link for the Colostrum.
            https://yourolddog.com/shop/skin-allergies/colostrum/

            I think I mentioned in my original message to you here (you can scan the messages if you want), that you should also include a good multivitamin, if you’re not already giving one. Nuvet is very good in tablet form or a powder. You can read about both on our site under multivitamins.

            The combination of both a multi and the colostrum will make the difference. If you can find one in Canada, then do that to avoid the expense of shipping.

            In the mean time, we’ll keep our fingers and paws crossed. 🙂

            Janie

  • Denise
    Reply

    We have a mutt that we rescued 2 years ago from the side of the highway. He was extremely young the vet guessed about 5 weeks old He has had several staph infections, treated each time by antibiotics which always clear him up. But once meds are done the infection comes back. I have him on Merrick limited ingredient, grain free food. We give him baths and have tried dermabens, iodine shampoo and all other shampoos recommended! I am at a loss and so tired his poor belly is all covered in red pus filled bumps again. Would you recommend trying this for him? I just dont want to go back to he antibiotic it obviously isnt helping and just masking the problem

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Denise:

      I’m really sorry for the delay in my response. We were away for several days.

      You can certainly try the the skin remedy of Povodone Iodine. It certainly can’t hurt.

      However, I urge you to get a skin scraping to find out for sure what it is. It very well could be Demodex which is mange and can cause a lot of health problems if not treated. I just had another reader whose dog had very similar symptoms which had spread to the face and eyes and as it turned out, it was indeed Demodex. Keep in mind that the vet initially told her it was a staph infection when it wasn’t. It wasn’t until the scraping that she learned for sure what the problem was.

      The dog was given an injection along with medicine and he started improving quickly. I also suggested that she put him on a Colostrum which she did and plans on keeping him on for his immune health.

      I absolutely would not keep doing antibiotics. There is an underlying issue that has to be resolved.

      I would love to know what happens Denise. Would you please stop back and share with us? Your story may help another reader.

      Janie

  • Estrella Lujan
    Reply

    I have a dachshund mini 7 years, Princess two months ago a few bumps came out on the skin like white flakes scabs, scratched a lot, she had blood tests, fungis cultures, urine test., XR , Everything came out negative and normal. He was given long-term antibiotics, desparasitaron, allergy medicine, for pain, change the food three times, those rashes were controlled but returned, and again had antibiotic shots for 8 days every 12 hours. (I suffered a lot with her) they diminished but they came back, I bathed her with two different shampoos, she feels very bad it hurts, after all that they leave some and others dry is like acne. Now has more .The vet wants to make another bacteria and fungi test to apply another medication or antibiotic, please help me I am so sad ,the vet tells me that if it is a staphylococcus or bacteria it could be very serious and difficult to remove, and have already applied twice antibiotic.
    Please help me. ( I’m sorry I don’t speak English well)

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Estrella:

      I’m real sorry to hear about your little Princess. 🙁

      Can you share more information with me please such as what are you feeding, do you give supplements, when was she vaccinated last and did you first notice the problem around that time?

      Let me know and I’ll get back to you okay.

      Janie

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