Dog Coat and Skin

How To Check Your Dog’s Coat and Skin

Keeping a close eye on the condition of your dog’s coat and skin will prevent any infections or infestations becoming too serious. If you notice any change in the coat’s condition, there will probably be some underlying problem. Most of these are easy enough to treat, however.


Breeds American Staffordshire Terrier striped dog
While this Staffordshire Terrier is resting, it's a good time to check his coat

It is important to check for fleas and ticks and apply the ointments or relevant treatments provided by your vet when necessary. Regularly brush your dog’s coat to prevent matting and to keep the skin healthy. If the skin feels hot to touch, that is a sign of inflammation and should be referred to the vet.

Check for any dry or red skin as this can be an indication of a bacterial skin infection or a yeast infection.

If you notice any signs of fever, loss of appetite, itching, painful skin, skin abscesses, pus leaking from the skin, or inflammation, your dog may be showing symptoms of a staphylococcal (often shortened to staph) infection, which is a highly contagious bacterial infection. It is most often passed on from other dogs, can affect all dogs at any age, and can also be passed on to humans.


Mixed breed puppies in basket terrier mix mutts
Choose a time when your dogs are relaxed to that you can check for lumps, bumps or parasites

Lumps and Bumps

Some dog breeds are more susceptible to lumps and bumps than others. The general rule is that if you notice a rapidly growing lump or a bleeding lump, you should contact your vet immediately. Make a note of where the lumps are, and any other details associated with them. A vet will only be able to tell what it is once they have extracted and examined the cells.

The natural response is to assume the worst, but a huge percentage of dogs develop deposits of fat called “Lipomas” that are completely harmless. Technically they are benign tumours, and they are most commonly found around the rib cage of middle-aged dogs, so don’t panic if you discover one.

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