- Alopecia (Hair Loss): Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments
- Parasites: Internal and External
- Allergies and Hotspots
- Yeast Infections
- Least Common Skin Problems in Dachshunds
- Why diet is important for healthy skin
- Coconut Oil for Healthy Skin
- Home Remedies
Dachshunds are a pretty hearty breed and this includes serious skin conditions with the exception of the occasional parasitic infections, scrapes, and poor diet. Dachshunds are particular colors that are more prone to alopecia which while unsightly do not affect your Dachshund’s overall health.
While parasites, both internal and external, may not be the first thing you think of when you notice something going on with your Dachshund’s skin, but some skin conditions do occur when parasites find their way to your companion.
Most skin conditions are not genetic with the exception of alopecia in the diluted colors. Therefore, with proper nutrition, grooming, and treatment, most skin conditions can be cleared up and not cause lingering effects.
|Itchy skin disorders||Fleas, Ticks, Demodectic Mange, Sarcoptic Mange, Environmental Allergies, Food Allergies, Yeast Infections, Seborrhea|
|Skin ailments with loss of hair||Color Dilution Alopecia, Pinnal Alopecia, Environmental Allergies, Food Allergies, Seborrhea, Autoimmune Disorders|
|Skin ailments with dull, thinning hair||Fleas, Internal Parasites, Yeast Infections|
|Red, inflamed skin||Ringworm, Demodectic Mange, Sarcoptic Mange, Acute Moist Dermatitis (Hotspots), Yeast Infections, Autoimmune Disorders|
|Skin ailments with a foul odor||Acute Moist Dermatitis (Hotspots), Food Allergies, Yeast Infections|
|Obsessive licking||Acral Lick Granuloma|
Alopecia (Hair Loss): Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments
1. Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA)
Color dilution alopecia is a genetic condition that is recessively inherited and is commonly found in diluted colors such as blue and chocolate. Thinning hair and patches of baldness, especially on the trunk is a good indication your Dachshund suffers from CDA.
- Symptoms: There will be a thinning or complete loss of hair mainly on the trunk and ears of the Dachshund. Occasionally, there will be thinning hair on the legs, tail, and face. Symptoms will begin between six months and three years of age.
- Causes: Color dilution alopecia occurs in diluted colors such as chocolates and blues. The hair is generally sparser in diluted colors and the follicles are not as hearty.
- Treatment: Some instances of color dilution alopecia will have a secondary skin infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics.
- Prevention: This form of alopecia cannot be prevented. Dogs that have developed color dilution alopecia should not be bred.
2. Pinnal Alopecia
Pinnal alopecia is best described as baldness on the ears of your Dachshund. There is no itching associated with pinnal alopecia and it will generally show signs between six months and one year of age.
- Symptoms: There will be hair loss behind the ears and will start between six months and one year of age. It can affect one or both ears and is pattern baldness without any itching.
- Causes: The cause is unknown but some believe it is hereditary. It can occur quickly or gradually over time.
- Treatment: There is no treatment as this is strictly cosmetic and cannot be cured.
- Prevention: Since there is little information as to the cause of pinnal alopecia, it is difficult to prevent.
Parasites: Internal and External
Parasites, both internal and external, can quickly become problematic and cause harm to your Dachshund. Routine fecal exams and physical exams will catch an infestation early so treatments can be administered quickly and be more effective.
3. Fleas (Flea Allergy Dermatitis)
Flea infestations can quickly debilitate your Doxie and cause secondary health problems. It is best to check for fleas year-round so you can quickly treat them if you see these parasites appear.
- Symptoms: Scratching, biting, and rubbing are good indications that something is bothering your Dachshund. Red, irritated skin and small bumps from flea bites will also be present.
- Causes: Fleas will bite your dog, feasting on their blood, and can cause secondary health issues if not treated quickly.
- Treatment: Perform a thorough physical exam looking for any sign that fleas are present; bathing your dog is a great way to find any fleas. Use a flea repellant shampoo and then ask your veterinarian about a flea preventative, either topical or oral, for your Doxie.
- Prevention: Flea treats your yard regularly to eliminate the parasites outdoors and put your Dachshund on a flea preventative that will need to be administered every 4-6 weeks as directed.
Ticks can be nasty little parasites, especially the smaller ones that can be difficult to find. Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease and can make your dog very sick.
- Symptoms: Sometimes there really are no symptoms to indicate that your Dachshund has been bitten by a tick until the tick has embedded itself into their skin and is causing irritation. Then, scratching and red, irritated skin around the embedded tick can be seen.
- Causes: Ticks will not just bite your dog; they will bite and then embed their head underneath the skin where they can feast readily. Ticks carry disease and you will want to keep your dog tick-free to prevent any illnesses from occurring.
- Treatment: Remove the offending tick carefully; do not leave the head embedded under the skin. Then thoroughly wash the area with alcohol and schedule a visit to your veterinarian for blood work.
- Prevention: The obvious answer is to avoid areas where ticks are present. However, this really does not work if you live in the country or like to go hiking and be in nature. After your Doxie has been outside, thoroughly check them for ticks. An oral or topical tick preventative is a great way to ensure your companion will not be bitten by ticks.
Ringworms are not worms at all, but a fungus that gets its name from the red, raised ring that appears on the skin. The fungus lives on the skin and in the hair follicles and while it is unsightly and contagious, it does not generally cause other health issues.
- Symptoms: Patches on the skin will become red and have a raised appearance; some will be in the shape of a circle or oval. Hair loss will be in circular patterns and the remaining hair will appear brittle.
- Causes: A fungus that lives on the skin will cause skin irritation and hair loss. This fungus is contagious and can transfer to other animals and humans.
- Treatment: Topical ointments and medicated shampoos are essential when treating ringworms. You will also want to thoroughly clean your dog’s bedding and any area they like to lounge including couches, crates, and rugs.
- Prevention: Avoid other animals and humans that are infected. Keep bedding clean and also proper grooming will help prevent ringworms.
6. Intestinal Worms
You may not think that intestinal worms will cause skin problems in your Dachshund. But, intestinal parasites will deplete your dog’s immune system and nutrients. Dogs that are infested with intestinal worms will have a dull coat and may even experience hair loss.
- Symptoms: Dull or lackluster coat will be the first symptom of intestinal worms. Your Dachshund may even experience hair loss and weight loss. The brittle or coarse coat is also an indicator of a parasitic infection.
- Causes: All dogs are born with intestinal worms and they can even pick them up in their environment or from other dogs.
- Treatment: Routine fecal exams and dewormings are essential. Your veterinarian will set up a schedule for routine fecal exams to ensure your dog does not have an infestation.
- Prevention: It is difficult to prevent intestinal worms; routine de-wormings are essential as well as regularly removing your dog’s waste from their yard or kennel.
7. Demodectic Mange
Demodectic mange is an inflammatory disease that is caused by the Demodex mite that has invaded the hair follicles and burrowed under the skin. It can be localized or generalized and will lead to skin infections, lesions, and hair loss. Untreated, it can cause severe discomfort for your Dachshund.
- Symptoms: Lesions usually appear on the face, ears, and legs causing itching and redness. If you also notice lesions on the trunk of your Dachshund, the mange mites have migrated and the infection has become generalized requiring a more aggressive treatment plan.
- Causes: While the Demodex mite normally resides on your Doxie’s skin in low numbers, when they begin multiplying uncontrollably and causing severe inflammation is when the demodectic mange occurs.
- Treatment: Many times localized demodectic mange will resolve itself without needing treatment. However, if there is a secondary skin infection from your dog scratching, antibiotics will be needed.
Generalized demodectic mange will require a special shampoo and bathing instructions as well was antibiotics and flea/tick preventative that also eliminates mites. Ask your veterinarian which product is best for your Dachshund.
- Prevention: A high-quality food, as well as a lower-stress environment, will help keep your Doxie from having demodectic mange outbreaks. You will also want to keep them on the flea/tick preventative usually given every 4-6 weeks. Frequent bathing with a specialty shampoo is also recommended.
8. Sarcoptic Mange
Sarcoptic mange is also an inflammatory disease but is caused by the Sarcoptes scabies mite and is often referred to as canine scabies. The mite will burrow beneath the skin and is transferable to humans and other pets.
- Symptoms: Your Dachshund will have intense itching and will scratch or bite at their bodies, usually their legs and underbelly. Hair loss will occur and if left untreated for long, the skin will turn black and scaly.
- Causes: The Sarcoptes scabies mite will have been transferred to your Doxie and multiplied while burrowing just beneath the surface of the skin.
- Treatment: A skin scraping will verify that it is sarcoptic mange and then your veterinarian will set up a treatment plan that will include shampoos and dips, topical creams, and oral medications.
Your dog will need to be dipped in a lime-sulfur solution or an amitraz solution to eliminate any adult mites. Then a topical ointment will be applied to eliminate eggs and new hatchlings. Oral medications such as antibiotics will treat any underlying or secondary infections.
- Prevention: Dogs with healthy immune systems are less likely to develop sarcoptic mange even if exposed to the mite. However, since it is a mite, prevention is difficult especially if your Dachshund is exposed to others that carry this mite.
To prevent re-infestation you will want to thoroughly clean your dog’s bedding and even treat your yard and home for mite infestations. You can also ask your veterinarian about a flea/tick preventative that also eliminates mites and give every 4-6 weeks as directed.
Allergies and Hotspots
9. Environmental Allergies
Just like people, Dachshunds can be prone to developing environmental allergies that can cause skin problems. Seasonal environmental allergies are easily treated with oral medications and limiting your Doxie’s time near the allergen.
- Symptoms: Intense itching after being exposed to the environmental allergen is a good indicator that your Doxie is suffering from allergies.
- Causes: Depending on the allergen, the causes of environmental allergies will vary. Seasonal allergies tend to be related to pollen, grass, and ragweed.
- Treatment: Allergy medications prescribed by your veterinarian will help alleviate your dog’s allergic reaction. If the allergy is mild, then over-the-counter allergy medication may be recommended by your veterinarian.
- Prevention: Avoid allergens is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction from occurring.
10. Food Allergies
While it is not common for Dachshunds to develop food allergies, it can happen and can cause skin problems when they ingest the allergen. Modifying their diet and removing the cause of their allergy is relatively easy.
- Symptoms: Dry, flaky skin or red, irritated skin can occur when a food allergy is present. You will notice hair loss, itching, and biting that cannot be diagnosed as another condition.
- Causes: Just like in humans, certain foods can cause allergic reactions. Chicken is a common protein that dogs can develop an allergy to.
- Treatment: Eliminate the food that is causing the problem. If a secondary skin infection has occurred from your Dachshund’s itching, oral antibiotics may be needed.
- Prevention: Completely avoid the food or foods that you know your Dachshund is allergic to, you will quickly become an ingredients reader to determine if kibble and treats are safe for your Doxie.
11. Acute Moist Dermatitis
More commonly known as hotspots, acute moist dermatitis is when the skin has become inflamed and a bacterial infection is present. It is localized to one or two areas and usually starts out as a small red area that quickly becomes a lesion that is painful, hot, and oozing.
- Symptoms: The area will start as a small red spot that is warm to the touch. If left untreated, your Dachshund will scratch and bite at the hotspot causing a larger oozing lesion that is hot to the touch and very inflamed.
- Causes: Hotspots generally occur in the summer months and can start from fleas, mosquito bites, or other irritants that your dog begins licking, biting, and scratching causes the skin to become inflamed.
- Treatment: A trip to your veterinarian is needed in case there is an underlying problem causing the hotspots. The hair surrounding the affected area will be clipped and the area cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Oral and topical antibiotics will also be needed as well as oral and topical steroids to decrease the inflammation. An e-collar will also be advised to keep your Doxie from licking and biting the area.
- Prevention: Keeping your Dachshund free of external parasites will help prevent hotspots as will regular grooming and bathing.
Yeast infections are very common, even in Dachshunds, and can occur anywhere on the body but are most common in the ears. If left untreated, it can spread and cause severe skin problems. Yeast infections are not generally the primary infection but the result of an underlying problem.
- Symptoms: Scratching or biting at the infected area and red, irritated skin are symptoms of a yeast infection. Scaly or bald spots and a foul odor are also an indication that there is a yeast overgrowth.
- Causes: Usually, a yeast infection is a secondary problem and there is another issue such as environmental or food allergies, reaction to antibiotics, or hormonal imbalances.
- Treatment: Consult your veterinarian to determine what has caused the overgrowth of yeast so the primary problem can be addressed. Clearing up a yeast infection without first treating the primary problem will just cause the yeast infection to come back again.
- Prevention: Since there are so many different things that can cause a yeast infection on the skin of your Doxie it is difficult to take preventative measures. A well-balanced diet and proper grooming will help as well as routinely cleaning their ears.
Least Common Skin Problems in Dachshunds
Acral Lick Granuloma
This is when your Dachshund will obsessively lick an area, usually on a front leg near the carpal joint. This obsessive behavior is not believed to be caused by any underlying health problem but is a psychological problem that can cause self-inflicted trauma and infection.
- Symptoms: Obsessive licking of the front legs, sometimes the rear legs as well, near the carpal joint or wrist.
- Causes: Believed to be psychological, acral lick granuloma can cause secondary problems such as open wounds, infections, and inflammation.
- Treatment: Re-direction when you notice your Doxie beginning to obsessively lick. Oral antibiotics and topical ointments if there are open wounds.
- Prevention: Since it is a psychological disorder, the best way to prevent it is by re-directing their behavior when you can watch them. When you cannot watch them, wrap their legs with vet wrap or put a soft cone around their necks so they cannot cause harm to themselves.
Autoimmune disorders in Dachshunds are not common but can occur and this does include Cushing’s Disease. An autoimmune disorder occurs when your dog’s immune system kicks into overdrive and begins attacking itself and causing secondary health concerns such as skin conditions.
- Symptoms: Symptoms will vary depending on the type of autoimmune disorder that is present but can include recurring skin infections, excessive thirst, lethargy, increased urination, and hair loss.
- Causes: Many autoimmune disorders do not have specific causes and are still being researched.
- Treatment: Each autoimmune disorder will have a specific treatment plan that your veterinarian will implement. Secondary skin infections will be treated with topical ointments and oral antibiotics.
- Prevention: For the most part, you cannot prevent an autoimmune disorder in your Dachshund. A quality food, as well as supplements and a specialized treatment plan, will help keep the immune system in check and prevent outbreaks.
Seborrhea will generally affect the skin along the back where the sebaceous glands are abundant. The skin will become flaky and look like typical dandruff. In more extreme cases, dandruff will become excessive and there will be a foul odor. Another form of seborrhea, called seborrhea oleosa, will have oily skin and excessive hair loss as well as a foul odor.
- Symptoms: Symptoms include hair loss and white flaky skin, usually along the back.
- Causes: There can be several different causes including hormonal imbalances, poor diet, allergies, fungal infections, and lack of grooming.
- Treatment: Treatments will depend on the severity. Your veterinarian may recommend adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements to your Doxie’s diet, regular bathing with anti-seborrheic shampoos, corticosteroids, and antibiotics for any secondary infections.
- Prevention: Proper diet and grooming is a good way to prevent seborrhea from occurring, however, sometimes that is not enough and you will need to add supplements to their diet to ensure their skin and coat is getting optimal nutrients.
Why diet is important for healthy skin
Dogs, just like humans, need a well-balanced diet that is filled with vitamins and minerals for not just a healthy body and immune system but for healthy skin and hair. Research different foods for your Dachshund and look for ones that have an analysis of over 24% protein and over 12% fat for optimal skin and coat health.
You can also add omega-3 fatty acid to your Doxie’s diet with supplements such as Zesty Paws Pure Salmon Oil supplements or Pet Naturals Skin + Coat Chews to ensure your Dachshund is getting the right nutrients for their skin.
A proper diet will help boost your dog’s immune system which is essential when fighting any type of infection including those that affect the skin. A healthy Dachshund will have an easier time overcoming skin ailments.
Coconut Oil for Healthy Skin
There is so much information online about the benefits of coconut oil for healthy skin in dogs. I am a firm believer in the use of coconut oil, but I use coconut oil that is organic, cold-pressed, and unrefined.
All of my dogs that are 12 weeks old and older get coconut oil melted over their food once a day to keep their skin and coat looking fantastic. Coconut oil is rich in healthy saturated fats and fatty acids making it amazing for your Dachshund.
Benefits of coconut oil in dogs:
- Relieves itchy skin and allergies
- Has antifungal properties
- Shiny coat
- Soothes dry skin and hotspots
- Helps with cracked noses and paw pads
- Improves digestion
- Helps prevent fleas and ticks
- Stops bad breath
- Increases energy
- Boosts cognitive function
- Helps the immune system
While I am all for home remedies rather than overmedicating or the overuse of chemicals, there are times when you will have to make a trip to your veterinarian. Skin infections should not be taken lightly and you will want the proper treatment to quickly heal your Dachshund.
Once your Dachshund has had a skin problem and you have consulted your veterinarian, you will be better equipped to treat them at home if the problem happens again. Flea and tick treatments are also easily treated using home remedies.
Skin problems in Dachshunds are generally not a common occurrence, however, problems can arise especially when your Doxie’s diet is lacking in the proper nutrition or they are not groomed often. Scrapes, bumps, and parasites can also affect your Dachshund’s skin.
It is important to visually inspect your Dachshund from head to toe at least three times a week paying close attention to any ruffled hair or hair loss. If you notice hair loss, itching, biting, or excessive rubbing you will want to thoroughly go over your Doxie to try and find the cause of the itch.
Always consult your veterinarian when you suspect your Dachshund has a skin ailment or an underlying condition causing their skin to be irritated. You want to ensure your dog is healthy, comfortable, and getting the best nutrition for long, easygoing life.