Common Skin Problems Encountered by Pets

Pets can suffer from a variety of skin conditions due to allergies, illness, and environmental factors. Luckily, the staff at Arroyo Animal Clinic in Sunnyvale, CA is here to help you diagnose and treat skin problems in your furry friend. Has your pet been excessively scratching, chewing, or licking their fur? This is the most common sign that they’re suffering from some sort of skin condition. While some pets may lick or scratch out of sheer boredom, it’s likely a sign they’re trying to find relief from the itchy symptoms of a skin condition. If you’re concerned your pet may have a skin disorder, be sure to schedule them an appointment with our team. We’ll help your four-legged friend feel better!

Helping Your Pet Stay Happy & Healthy

There are many skin conditions that can develop in your pet, leaving them to scratch, bite, or lick the affected area, which only makes it worse. That’s why you should bring your pet to see a veterinarian at Arroyo Animal Clinic at the first sign of trouble. We’ll do a thorough exam and determine what is causing your pet’s issue. This accurate diagnosis allows us to develop a proper treatment plan to find relief from uncomfortable itching. We’ve put together a list of the most common skin disorders for pets, as well as the signs and symptoms, to help give you a better idea of the problem your pet may be facing. Read on to learn more!

Hot Spots

Also known as pyotraumatic dermatitis, hot spots are a sudden acute, localized inflammation of the skin. This condition can be quite painful, usually resulting in pus or discharge, as well as hair loss in the area. Because they are so painful, hot spots may cause your pet to bite or scratch the area, which will only make it worse. To treat hot spots, veterinarians may prescribe an oral or injectable steroid to prevent biting and scratching, as well as a topical antihistamine or antibiotic spray. In some cases, an oral antibiotic may be required to avoid a secondary bacterial infection.

Atopic Dermatitis (Atopy)

This condition can result from either inhaling or coming into contact with certain allergens. The inflammatory condition most commonly affects the ears and feet, and the risk for secondary bacterial infection is elevated due to the pet’s licking and scratching themselves. Treatment for atopic dermatitis can include steroid therapy, oral antihistamines, and topical pet shampoos. All of the following allergens could be the cause of your pet’s atopic dermatitis:

  • Molds
  • Grasses
  • Trees
  • Ragweed
  • Pollen

Hair Loss

Hair loss has many causes, such as dietary factors, imbalances, food or contact allergies, fleas, mange, ringworm, or bacterial skin infections. Pets who suffer from hormonal disorders, metabolic disorders, or cancer may also experience hair loss. The primary way to treat this condition is to determine the underlying cause with an examination. Our team will complete a thorough examination of your pet to diagnose the issue and find a treatment solution.

Dry Skin

As with hair loss, a number of factors can cause dry skin in pets. If you’ve noticed that your pet has flaky skin or dandruff, you might want to consider having them treated for dry skin. The team at Arroyo Animal Clinic can determine the cause of the skin disorder, which will help us find the best way to treat it. Often, you can address the issue with special pet shampoos and conditioners or by supplementing your pet’s diet with omega 3 fatty acids.


Mange is a skin condition caused by an overgrowth of an external skin parasite. While all pet skin has some presence of the parasite, mange occurs when too much of it grows on the skin. This condition typically develops in puppies and kittens or in senior pets. The most common sign of this skin problem is hair loss to the face and extremities. However, crusting, scabbing, and discharge can also occur and be quite painful for the pet. Treatment can include weekly or bi-weekly dips in a specialized medication, as well as shampoo therapy.

Fleas, Mites, and Other Pests

Your pet’s skin can be affected by a number of different species of fleas, mites, and other pests. Bites from any one of these pests can also set off an allergic reaction that requires specific treatment for recovery. Many pet owners find success by using flea, tick, and mite prevention medications. Regular use of such preventatives will keep your pet from getting bitten or infested so they won’t face allergic reactions. If your pet is bitten, be sure to visit our animal clinic in Sunnyvale, CA, where we can determine how to treat the symptoms.

Skin Allergies

Skin allergies are one of the most common skin conditions present in pets these days. They can result from any sort of contact with an allergen, including skin contact with it, consumption of it, or inhaling it. While humans most often exhibit allergy symptoms with a runny nose, coughing, or watery eyes, a pet’s allergies usually manifest in itchy skin and excessive scratching. With the trained eye of a veterinarian, you can help identify what allergen is causing your pet’s problem, and then be sure to prevent contact with it in the future.

Food or Drug Allergies

Symptoms of these allergies occur when your pet consumes either food or medication containing an ingredient they are allergic to. Because their body is allergic to the ingredient, it mounts a defense against it, often resulting in itchy skin or other skin issues. Our veterinarians can determine the cause of your pet’s food and drug allergies by systematically removing specific allergens from their diet and tracking the progress of their symptoms after each elimination. The most common food allergies in pets are wheat, corn, soy, chicken, and eggs. We’ll help you determine the cause of your pet’s allergies, so you can avoid their trouble foods and make sure they stay healthy.


Hives are a specific type of allergic reaction that results from contact with a particular allergen. They appear as round raised bumps and are itchy, causing your dog to scratch. The hives appear quickly, usually within a half-hour of exposure to the allergen, and can also be accompanied by swelling of some regions of the body, like the eyelids. Hives can be caused by insect bites, as well as topical applications and medications. Usually, once the allergen is removed, the symptoms will disappear on their own within 24 hours. However, if your dog has prolonged symptoms, be sure to bring them to see the veterinarian at Arroyo Animal Clinic.

The Best Ways to Prevent Skin Conditions in Pets

At Arroyo Animal Clinic, we want your pet to stay healthy and happy, which is why we do our best to educate pet owners about prevention methods for common skin and health conditions. You can help your pet avoid skin problems by ensuring they lead a healthy lifestyle. The best ways to prevent skin conditions in your furry friend is to:

  • Feed Them a Balanced Diet: It’s important that your pet is fed a diet with all of the nutrients they need to support a healthy lifestyle. Foods rich in fatty acids, like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosatetraenoic acid), are good for your pet’s skin health, as well as their immune system. However, it’s important not to reach excessive levels of these fatty acids, as too much can be harmful to your pet.
  • Maintain a Proper Weight: Overweight pets are at a higher risk for skin conditions and other health problems. This is because fat cells secrete substances that can cause inflammation, as well as contribute to skin allergies and other skin problems.
  • Prevent Fleas: External parasites, like fleas, are a significant contributor to skin conditions. For this reason, it’s important to do everything you can to prevent flea bites, such as regular bathing and brushing as well as treatment with a flea preventative.

Make an Appointment

Are you concerned about the health of your pet? Make an appointment with the team at Arroyo Animal Clinic today. We will help diagnose your pet’s skin condition or other issue and find the right treatment option to keep them in good health. Schedule an appointment by calling our office in San Jose, CA. Our team is ready to ensure the health of your furry companion!


  • Communication & Compassion are Our Goals
  • We Give You Options For Your Pet’s Health Needs.
  • We Educate You So You Can Make an Informed Choice.