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Easy Steps to Identifying Ringworm on Dog’s Skin



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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If you’re a dog owner, it’s essential to be able to identify common skin conditions like ringworm. This fungal infection affects dogs of all breeds and ages and can lead to discomfort, itchiness, and hair loss if left untreated.

In this section, we’ll cover the signs and symptoms of ringworm, common dog skin conditions, and the steps you can take to identify ringworm on your dog’s skin.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ringworm is a common fungal infection in dogs that can cause discomfort and hair loss.
  • Identifying ringworm on a dog’s skin involves looking for symptoms such as red circular patches, patchy hair loss, changes in skin color, itchiness in the affected area, changes in behavior, and consulting a vet for professional diagnosis.
  • It’s important to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of ringworm to ensure proper treatment.
  • Understanding common dog skin conditions and practicing proper hygiene can help prevent the spread of ringworm.

Easy Steps to Identifying Ringworm on Dog’s Skin

Ringworm on Dog's Skin
  • Look for red, circular patches: Ringworm often causes a distinct circular rash on the dog’s skin.
  • Check for hair loss: Infected areas often have patchy hair loss.
  • Observe any changes in color: The affected skin may appear darker or lighter than the surrounding skin.
  • Monitor for itchiness: While not always present, some dogs with ringworm may scratch or bite at the affected areas.
  • Notice any changes in behavior: If your dog seems more lethargic or less interested in activities they usually enjoy, it could be a sign of illness, including ringworm.
  • Consult a vet: If you suspect ringworm, it’s essential to get a professional diagnosis as many skin conditions can look similar.

What is Ringworm?

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect both humans and animals, including dogs. It is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes, which thrive in warm and humid environments.

Dogs with weakened immune systems or those that have prolonged exposure to dampness are more susceptible to contracting ringworm.

Diagnosing Ringworm in Dogs

Dogs can suffer from a variety of skin conditions that may look similar to ringworm, making it essential to get an accurate diagnosis before starting treatment. A proper diagnosis ensures that your dog receives the correct treatment, preventing the condition from worsening or spreading. Here are the steps involved in diagnosing ringworm in dogs:

  1. Physical Examination: The first step to diagnosing ringworm in dogs is to perform a physical examination. Your veterinarian will look for characteristic symptoms such as circular lesions on the skin, hair loss, and skin scaling.
  2. Wood’s Lamp Examination: A Wood’s lamp is a handheld ultraviolet light that can help detect the presence of ringworm. The lamp emits a specific type of light that fluoresces certain types of fungi, including those that cause ringworm. If the veterinarian suspects ringworm, they will use the Wood’s lamp to examine the affected area.
  3. Fungal Culture: If the Wood’s lamp test is inconclusive, your veterinarian will take a sample of the affected skin and perform a fungal culture. In this test, a small sample of skin or hair is sent to a laboratory where it is placed in a special medium that encourages fungal growth. If the fungus that causes ringworm is present, it will grow in the medium, confirming the diagnosis.
  4. Skin Scraping: In some cases, your veterinarian may perform a skin scraping to rule out other skin conditions. During this test, the veterinarian will use a scalpel blade to scrape the affected area gently. The sample will then be observed under a microscope to determine if the symptoms are consistent with ringworm.

It’s crucial to consult your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has ringworm or any other skin condition. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination and recommend the appropriate tests to identify the underlying condition.

Treating Dog Ringworm

If your dog has been diagnosed with ringworm, there are several treatment options available. Treatment typically involves a combination of topical and oral medications, as well as home remedies that can help alleviate symptoms and clear the infection.

Topical Medications

Topical medications such as shampoos, creams, and ointments are often prescribed to treat ringworm. These medications may contain antifungal agents such as miconazole, clotrimazole, or ketoconazole, which work to kill the fungus causing the infection. Topical medications should be applied directly to the affected area according to your veterinarian’s instructions.

Oral Medications

If the infection is severe or widespread, your veterinarian may prescribe oral medications such as terbinafine or griseofulvin. These medications work by stopping the growth of the fungus from the inside out. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and duration of treatment, as oral medications may have potential side effects.

Home Remedies

Several home remedies can also be effective in treating ringworm in dogs. Apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and coconut oil are popular choices due to their antifungal properties. These remedies can be applied topically to the affected area, but it is important to consult with your veterinarian before trying any home remedies.

Fungal Infections in Dogs

Ringworm is just one type of fungal infection that can affect dogs. Other common fungal infections include yeast infections and blastomycosis. It is important to properly diagnose the type of infection in order to determine the appropriate treatment.

Your veterinarian can perform tests to confirm the diagnosis and provide the most effective treatment plan.

By following your veterinarian’s treatment plan and practicing good hygiene, you can help your dog recover from ringworm and prevent future fungal infections.

Preventing Ringworm in Dogs

Preventing ringworm in dogs is essential to maintaining your pet’s overall health and well-being. Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that is commonly found in dogs and other animals. Here are some preventive measures pet owners can take to prevent ringworm in their furry friends:

  1. Practice good hygiene: Ensure that your dog’s living space is cleaned regularly, and all areas your pet frequently visits are disinfected to reduce the likelihood of infection. Similarly, wash your pet’s bedding and toys frequently to prevent the growth and spread of ringworm.
  2. Be mindful of contact: Avoid contact with other dogs or animals known to have ringworm, as the condition can be quickly transmitted. If your dog has to interact with other pets, make sure you know the pet’s health status and whether they have any skin conditions before allowing contact.
  3. Regular veterinary check-ups: Regular visits to the veterinarian are vital for keeping your pet’s health in check. During these visits, your vet can check for any underlying health issues that may make your pet susceptible to ringworm or other skin conditions. They can also provide advice on how to maintain your pet’s skin and coat health.
  4. Proper Grooming: Keep your pet’s fur coat and skin healthy by proper grooming. Brushing your pet’s coat regularly helps distribute skin oils and remove any dead skin. Bathing your pet once a month with flea and tick shampoo can also help prevent skin infections like ringworm.
  5. Boosting Your Dog’s Immune System: Feeding your pet high-quality, nutritious food and adding immune-boosting supplements can help improve your pet’s immune system and prevent ringworm. Consult with your vet for recommendations on supplements or diet for your pet.

By following the above preventive measures, you can help ensure that your furry friend stays healthy and happy, free from ringworm and other skin infections. Early detection, regular veterinary visits, and good hygiene practices are the keys to keeping your pet healthy and preventing ringworm and other skin conditions.

Understanding Fungal Infections in Dogs

Fungal infections are common in dogs and can affect their skin, hair, and nails. The most frequent fungal infection in dogs is ringworm, caused by dermatophyte fungi. These fungi can live on the skin, hair, and nails of an infected dog and can be transmitted to other dogs or humans through direct contact.

Dogs with weakened immune systems or other skin conditions are at higher risk for fungal infections. Environmental factors, such as hot and humid weather, can also increase susceptibility to fungal infections. Common symptoms of fungal infections in dogs include itching, redness, and hair loss.

It’s important to note that some fungal infections can be contagious to other pets or humans. Therefore, it’s essential to take preventive measures to avoid the spread of infection.

Common Fungal Infections in Dogs

In addition to ringworm, other common fungal infections in dogs include:

  • Blastomycosis
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Aspergillosis
  • Candidiasis

Causes of Fungal Infections in Dogs

Fungal infections in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Weak immune system
  • Prolonged use of antibiotics or corticosteroids
  • Environmental factors, such as hot and humid weather
  • Exposure to contaminated soil or water

Treatment of Fungal Infections in Dogs

The treatment of fungal infections in dogs depends on the severity of the infection and the type of fungi causing it. Antifungal medications, both topical and oral, are often prescribed to treat fungal infections. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

Preventing Fungal Infections in Dogs

To prevent fungal infections in dogs, it’s essential to keep their skin and coat healthy and clean. Regular grooming and bathing can help prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria on their skin.

Keep your dog away from contaminated soil or water and avoid contact with infected animals. If you suspect your dog has a fungal infection, seek veterinary care promptly.

Common Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect a dog’s skin, hair, and nails. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of ringworm in dogs to initiate proper treatment and prevent its spread to other pets and humans. Here are some common symptoms of ringworm in dogs:

  • Circular lesions that are scaly and red in appearance
  • Loss of hair in circular patches
  • Itchiness and irritation in the affected area
  • Dry, flaky, or crusty skin around the lesions

It is important to note that not all dogs display the same symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can vary depending on the individual dog’s immune system response.

If you suspect your dog has ringworm, it is important to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. This is especially important if your dog is exhibiting symptoms such as fever, lethargy, or loss of appetite, as these can indicate a more severe infection.

Other Conditions that Resemble Ringworm

It’s not uncommon for other skin conditions to mimic the symptoms of ringworm in dogs. However, misdiagnosis can lead to improper treatment and prolonged discomfort for your furry friend. Here are some other conditions that can resemble ringworm:

ConditionSigns and Symptoms
Hot SpotsMoist, red, and itchy patches on the skin, often with matted fur. Typically localized and spread rapidly.
MangeIntense itching, patchy hair loss, and scaly skin. Caused by mites burrowing into the skin.
SeborrheaExcessive dryness or oiliness of the skin, dandruff, and a musty odor. Can occur in specific areas or all over the body.

If you suspect your dog has ringworm but are uncertain, it’s important to have a vet examine the affected area and perform diagnostic tests to determine the exact condition.

Ringworm in Pets: Zoonotic Potential

If your dog has been diagnosed with ringworm, it’s important to be aware of the zoonotic potential of this fungal infection. While ringworm is not typically dangerous, it can be transmitted from pets to humans, particularly those with weakened immune systems.

Ringworm is highly contagious and spreads through direct contact with infected pets or objects such as bedding, combs, or brushes. Children are particularly vulnerable to ringworm, so it’s important to take precautions to prevent the spread of the infection.

If you or someone in your household has been in contact with an infected pet, monitor for symptoms such as red, or circular rashes on the skin or scalp, and seek medical attention if symptoms arise.

To prevent the spread of ringworm, it’s important to maintain good hygiene practices such as washing hands thoroughly after handling pets, cleaning and disinfecting objects that may be contaminated with spores, and keeping infected pets isolated until treatment is complete.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

If you suspect that your dog may have ringworm or any other skin condition, it is important to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Although some cases of ringworm may clear up on their own over time, it is generally recommended to seek veterinary care to ensure an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Self-diagnosis may not always be sufficient, and delaying treatment can result in the spread of infection and prolong the healing process.

Veterinarians may use a variety of methods to diagnose ringworm in dogs, including skin scrapings, fungal cultures, and Wood’s lamp examinations. These tests can help confirm the presence of ringworm and rule out other skin conditions that may resemble it.

In addition to diagnosing ringworm, a veterinarian can also recommend the best course of treatment for the specific case. This may involve a combination of oral and topical medications, as well as home remedies to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.

Overall, it is important to seek veterinary care when diagnosing ringworm in dogs or any other concerning skin condition. Early detection and treatment can help prevent the spread of infection and promote a faster, more complete recovery.

Maintaining a Healthy Skin and Coat

Dogs with healthy skin and coat are less susceptible to skin conditions like ringworm. To maintain a healthy skin and coat for your dog, here are some tips you can follow:

  • Provide your dog with a balanced and nutritious diet that is rich in essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Regularly groom your dog by brushing their coat, bathing them with a mild shampoo, and trimming their nails.
  • Ensure your dog has access to clean water at all times to stay hydrated.
  • Prevent your dog from scratching or biting their skin by addressing any underlying medical conditions or behavioral issues that may be causing it.

By following these tips and maintaining a healthy environment for your dog, you can prevent skin conditions and reduce the risk of ringworm and other fungal infections. It is important to ensure your dog receives regular veterinary check-ups to maintain optimal health and detect any potential skin conditions early on.


Q: What are the common symptoms of ringworm in dogs?

A: Common symptoms of ringworm in dogs include circular lesions, redness, itchiness, and hair loss.

Q: How can I identify ringworm on my dog’s skin?

A: You can identify ringworm on your dog’s skin by looking for circular lesions, redness, itchiness, and hair loss.

Q: What is ringworm?

A: Ringworm is a fungal infection that affects the skin of dogs.

Q: How does ringworm affect dogs?

A: Ringworm can cause circular lesions, redness, itchiness, and hair loss on a dog’s skin.

Q: How is ringworm diagnosed in dogs?

A: Ringworm in dogs can be diagnosed through various tests, including a fungal culture or microscopic examination of skin samples.

Q: What are the treatment options for dog ringworm?

A: Treatment options for dog ringworm include topical antifungal medications, oral medications, and home remedies.

Q: How can I prevent ringworm in dogs?

A: To prevent ringworm in dogs, practice good hygiene, keep your dog’s environment clean, and avoid contact with infected animals.

Q: What are other skin conditions that resemble ringworm in dogs?

A: Other skin conditions that resemble ringworm in dogs include allergies, bacterial infections, and autoimmune diseases.

Q: Can ringworm in pets be transmitted to humans?

A: Yes, ringworm in pets can be transmitted to humans. Take precautions to prevent the spread of ringworm from pets to humans.

Q: When should I consult a veterinarian for ringworm in my dog?

A: It is necessary to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan if you suspect your dog has ringworm.

Q: How can I maintain a healthy skin and coat in my dog?

A: Maintain healthy skin and coat in your dog through proper grooming, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups.


Ringworm is a common fungal infection that can affect dogs. Early detection and proper treatment are essential to ensure the infection does not spread to other pets or humans. Maintaining a healthy environment and practicing good hygiene can help prevent the spread of ringworm.

If you suspect your dog has ringworm, it is essential to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. While some home remedies may provide temporary relief, professional veterinary care is necessary for a complete cure.

Additionally, maintaining a healthy skin and coat can help prevent skin conditions like ringworm. Regular grooming, proper nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups can help ensure your dog’s overall health and well-being.

Remember, the zoonotic potential of ringworm means that humans can also contract the infection from infected pets. Therefore, it is essential to take precautions and practice good hygiene when dealing with a pet with ringworm.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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