I wrote in my blogs about environmental allergies in dogs, skin problems, external parasites, and what to look for, and what to do. But I never mentioned what a dog’s skin looks like.
The skin is the largest organ of your dog’s body. It provides a protective barrier against the environment, regulates temperature, and gives your dog its sense of touch. Depending on the species and age, the skin may be 12 to 24% of a dog’s body weight.
The skin has 3 layers:
1/Epidermis – the outermost layer. It protects from foreign substances. The epidermis is composed of multiple types of cells.
2/ Dermis – the middle layer. The dermis supports and nourishes the epidermis and skin appendages (hair follicles, oil glands, sweat glands, and claws). The blood vessels are located in the dermis, and they supply the epidermis with nutrients. These also regulate skin and body temperature. In the dermis are also located sensory nerves and hair follicles.
3/ Subcutis – the innermost layer. The subcutis is the innermost layer of the skin. It contains subcutaneous fat and muscles. The word subcutaneous means “beneath the skin.”
Your dog’s skin is unique, just like yours. However, many things should be the same for all dogs with healthy skin.
- Your dog’s skin should be pink or black, and sometimes both. It depends on the pigments common in the breed.
- Your dog’s skin should be free from redness and inflammation, dandruff, itching, scabs, spots, and lumps.
- Your dog’s skin should be smooth.
- The coat should be shiny, soft or harsh, thick or thin, depending on the breed unless you have a hairless breed, obviously.
What should I look for when checking my dog’s skin?
- Look out for scabs, dry patches, flakes, inflamed areas, excessive scratching.
- External parasites, like ticks, fleas, harvest mites.
- Poor hair quality and dull coat can indicate underlying health problems.
- Redness and discharge in your dog’s ears could be linked to skin problems.
How often do you check your dog’s skin?