Different forms of dermatitis in dogs are classified based on the cause and the symptoms your pet is experiencing. To properly treat your pup, your vet must first determine the specific type of dermatitis.
Your dog may develop contact dermatitis due to an immune system hypersensitivity (allergic contact dermatitis) or a substance that directly irritates the dog's skin (irritant contact dermatitis).
Allergic contact dermatitis in dogs is a type of dermatitis characterized by the appearance of transient lesions upon contact with allergens.
In this case, your pup's skin is sensitive to an otherwise harmless substance. For instance, suppose your dog is allergic to the shampoo you use to bathe them. In that case, dermatitis symptoms will appear every time you clean them with that specific shampoo.
On the other hand, irritant contact dermatitis occurs when your dog's skin comes into contact with a substance that directly damages the skin. This substance can cause damage after protracted exposure, but dermatitis symptoms can also appear after a single brief exposure. Some plants, for instance, release substances that irritate the skin, resulting in contact dermatitis if your dog comes into contact with them.
Atopic dermatitis in dogs is an inflammatory, chronic condition of the dog's skin associated with allergies. In many cases, dogs have a genetic predisposition to develop this form of dermatitis.
A recognizable sign of atopic dermatitis in dogs is persistent itching, although in most cases, you'll notice lesions or redness on your pup's face, ears, front legs, paws, belly, or armpit.
In addition to dogs with a genetic predisposition for developing atopic dermatitis, certain dog breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds, are more prone to this condition.
Certain dogs may be hypersensitive to tick, flea, or mite saliva, causing irritation or inflammation of the dog's skin. If your dog develops parasitic dermatitis, you will likely find lesions on the lower part of their back, inner thighs, or tail area.
The good thing about this form of dermatitis is that it is relatively easy to treat; effectively eliminating fleas will eliminate the cause of dermatitis.