Does your dog have loose skin? This may sound like a strange phenomenon, but think about it- have you ever seen a dog with loose or sagging skin? Skin may sag a bit around their neck and jaw, but also on other areas of the body which may result in folds of skin on your pet.

While some specific breeds may be susceptible to loose skin, it can also be a sign of a serious underlying medical issue that merits veterinary attention. Here is what pet owners need to know about their canine companions with loose skin.

Why do dogs have loose skin? 

If your dog has loose or saggy skin, do not panic; see your veterinary provider to first rule out a medical issue that can lead to drooping skin. Perhaps your pet has had loose or droopy skin since the day they were born.

Many breeds do, but while some conditions affect canines from birth, others may be brought on by factors in their environment. Every dog is different and distinct, so the safest and best way to determine the cause and reason why your dog has loose skin is to see a veterinary professional.

As for the reason why dogs have loose skin, there could be many different causes. From the pet’s specific breed to changes in their body weight, a dog’s skin can be drooping, saggy, or loose throughout their whole life or periodically in phases.

Sometimes, with fluctuations in your dog’s level of body fat, the skin can become looser, droopier, and less elastic than it previously was. Has your dog recently been in a fight or spat with another animal? This may also be a reason for the loose skin, particularly around your dog’s neck area.

Speaking of your pet’s neck, some breeds are inherently prone to drooping or sagging neck skin, typically under the jaw. This excess skin is called a ‘’dewlap, and is perfectly normal for many dogs to have. Many industry professionals refer to the droopy skin under a dog’s neck as a condition called ‘wet neck.’

Are dogs meant to have loose skin? 

The answer to whether dogs are meant to have loose skin is complicated. Yes, in some instances, genetics plays a prevalent role and dogs born in the family line are predisposed to sagging or loose skin.

The reason for this is primarily to do with the dog’s production of hyaluronic acid, which is found in the tissue under the animal’s skin- and that may be part of their genetic makeup and predispositions.

So, does that mean that it is normal for a dog to have loose skin? If your dog is not one of a breed that is known for sagging skin- like bulldogs and bloodhounds, for example- loose skin could be a sign of Cutaneous Asthenia, a canine condition that causes drooping skin and chronic pain in younger dogs.

While this is not uncommon, it is not normal for your dog to suffer from any conditions that cause discomfort, so see a vet for more advice regarding treatment options and keeping your furry friend more comfortable.

The best advice for owners concerned about their pet’s drooping skin is to seek veterinary attention. This can help to pinpoint the cause of loose skin and determine if it is merely the dog’s predisposition, or if it is a medical issue that merits treatment. After all, you do not want your pet to suffer or struggle unnecessarily when help could be a mere veterinary visit away.

What causes dogs to have loose skin? 

So, what are the most common and prevalent causes of dogs to have loose skin? One such reason is the aforementioned Cutaneous Asthenia, also called Ehler-Danlos Syndrome, which is a genetic condition that is passed on from a dog to their offspring and for which there is no way to test your pet for it.

What other medical issues could cause a dog to have sagging or loose skin? For one, significant weight loss can cause loose skin, but so can weight gain as it tends to make the skin appear loose, droopy, and less taut.

Hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing’s disease, can also result in sagging or droopy skin. This condition occurs when there is too much production of cortisol, a hormone related to the development of your dog’s skin.

Dehydration can also take a toll on the health of your pet’s skin and coat, and could cause your dog’s skin to lose elasticity and become saggy or droopy in appearance.

Take your pet to your veterinarian for assessment, as well as to determine and rule out serious medical reasons for your dog’s loose skin. It will provide owners with definitive answers and potentially a viable treatment plan going forward.

Do all dog breeds have loose skin? 

No, all dog breeds do not have loose skin and, yes, some specific breeds are predisposed to loose or sagging skin genetically. You have likely seen or are familiar with these distinctive, droopy-skinned breeds- or perhaps you own one yourself! Some of these unique dogs include the Chinese shar-pei, Basset hounds, Bulldogs, Mastiffs, and Bloodhounds- as well as some hybrids and combinations that include these breeds in their lineage!

Be particularly vigilant about grooming your pet when you have one of these dogs for a pet. These breeds can have a problem with moisture in their wrinkles or skin folds, which may lead to bacteria and fosteryeast infections, so keep their skin clean and dry.

If you notice an odor, it could be a yeast infection in the skin folds, which is not only uncomfortable for your pet, it can jeopardize their health and wellbeing if left untreated.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.