You might be shocked to learn that dogs are considered “elders” or “geriatric” when they hit age 7. Even if you still think of them as your precious baby, you need to be aware of senior dog issues so you can protect your pet as they age.

Besides looking out for signs of arthritis, heart disease, and cancer, you should be aware of old dog skin problems.

This guide will go over some of the most common skin conditions that geriatric dogs may experience.

Hair Loss

Just like many humans lose their hair as they get older, so can dogs! You might notice your senior dog losing hair more often, their hair thinning, or even full-on bald patches.

This could just be a natural sign of aging. However, this could also be a sign of a parasitic infection, hormone issues, bacterial infections, or malnutrition. To be safe, if you notice sudden or drastic hair loss, especially hair loss in chunks or patches, it’s worth a trip to the vet to rule out serious issues associated with older dogs.

Skin Infections

Your dog’s immune system will slowly get less effective as they age. This means that older dogs are more susceptible to infections whether that’s from parasites, bacteria, viruses, or fungus.

Skin infections are quite common since the skin is where they’ll likely contract one of these infectious factors. Look for these symptoms of a skin infection:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Pain/irritation
  • Discharge
  • Easy bleeding

If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog in to get diagnosed and treated before the infection becomes more serious.

Allergies and/or Skin Sensitivities

An aging immune system also means that senior dogs are likely to develop allergies and skin sensitivities. Signs of skin irritation, allergies, or sensitivity include:

  • Redness
  • Flaking skin
  • Scaly skin
  • Irritation
  • Constant licking/itching skin

This can also cause your dog’s skin to dry out, which would result in more itching and irritation.

Hot Spots

Moist dermatitis, aka hot spots, aren’t exclusive to older dogs, but they are more common in senior dogs. Senior dog skin is more delicate from aging, which means they’re more likely to tear their skin and become infected by the bacteria that usually causes hot spots.

Hot spots can occur on any part of your dog’s body. They look like red circular sores that dogs often itch and lick for relief.

Skin Masses, Tumors, or Lumps

Tumors and lumps on the skin are usually a sign of a deeper issue like cancer, infection, malnutrition, genetic issues, or hormonal problems. However, masses and lumps are still considered a skin condition because they result in skin changes.

These masses may also be strictly a skin condition that’s benign in nature. If you notice a lump or skin mass, be sure to get it checked by the vet to rule out any serious issues. They may suggest removal or it may be OK to leave it if it’s not causing any issues.

Senior Dog Skin Conditions to Watch Out For: Wrapping Up

These are just a few of the most common senior dog skin conditions that could affect your senior dog. As your pet ages, they’re going to be prone to more diseases and infections. Be sure to watch out for any negative symptoms and keep up with regular check-ups.

Have a concern with your pet? Ready for their next check-up? Contact us to set up an appointment.