The coat and skin appearance of your dog will tell you how healthy it is. An excellent coat needs to be smooth and a little shiny. It also needs to be clear and somewhat supple. However, the biggest concern would be the amount of skin on the dog. Should it have so much skin around certain body parts? This article helps us understand why a dog can have extra skin on the neck.
Most dogs have extra skin around the neck. The extra skin is there primarily because it allows their mothers to carry them as puppies. Other causes include helping to trap a prey’s scent when hunting and to get out of the grip of another dog or animal.
Why Does My Dog Have So Much Extra Neck Skin?
Grabbing the dog by its scruff will help you understand whether there is extra skin or not. Yet, excess skin around the neck of your dog should not be a surprise. It is a natural occurrence in most canines. This extra skin is what is referred to as scruff. It allows the owner to hold it whenever they want the dog to do something.
Extra skin is most common on hunting dogs. This excess skin helps the dog become a better hunter. It allows the dog to keep its prey’s scent relatively close, making it easier for the dog to track it down.
This skin can also help the dog protect itself from an attack. Usually, the loose skin allows it to turn and remove itself from any grip.
Dog moms often hold their pups by their necks. That means that the scruff allows for enhanced flexibility whenever the dog’s mom wants to carry its pups from one place to another.
Holding the dog’s scruff often makes it be a little more submissive. However, it would be best not to carry your dog by its scruff, as this could be painful for them. You may have noticed that dogs hold each other’s necks when fighting. The idea here is to force the other into submission.
Is It Normal For a Dog To Have Extra Neck Skin?
It is pretty normal for dogs to have extra skin around the neck. However, some dogs tend to have more than others. Most hunting dogs have more skin, which is critical in improving their hunting abilities. You’ll also note that some breeds have additional skin around the lower bit of the neck area. While the extra skin on the upper part is called scruff, that on the lower part is called a dewlap.
As mentioned, this skin is more prevalent in specific dog breeds. The Shar-Pei is one of the most beautiful dogs with an additional coat on the neck. This guard dog boasts many wrinkles, which makes it stand out among the rest. The Neapolitan Mastiff, the Pug, and the Dogue de Bordeaux are other popular breeds with skin on the neck.
Further, extra skin on the neck in a puppy could help predict how much the puppy is likely to grow. The more skin the dog has, the more room it has to grow. An increased skin amount allows for the dog to become bigger and even healthier. At the same time, extra skin on the neck could show that the adult dog is significantly healthy.
While a dog can have extra skin on the neck, it should not be too saggy or loose. This could show that the dog is not as healthy. Instead, this skin needs to be relatively flexible and smooth yet sturdy and firmly attached to the neck.
Why is My Dog’s Skin Sagging?
Various reasons go into explaining why the skin of your dog is sagging. Some are natural, yet some are for health reasons. Some of the top reasons your dog’s coat is hanging include the following.
- Salivary gland issues: An injured salivary gland could result in relatively swollen skin. With this condition, the saliva pools under the skin instead of the mouth. Remember, this problem could arise from injuries caused by neck collars. Bite wounds and chewing foreign materials are some of the other causes of salivary gland issues.
- Trauma: Trauma around the neck could make the skin around the region sag. For instance, puncture wounds and dog bites could make the lymph pool under the jaw. These wounds require immediate medical attention.
- Thyroid issues: Hypothyroidism is relatively common in dogs, making the skin sag. The skin could also become thinner with too much shedding. You’ll also notice significant dryness and flakiness. Further, the face and the neck will droop, making the skin around this region droop.
- Swollen lymph node: Dogs come with lymph nodes around the neck. Any swelling of such nodes will make the neck area appear much bigger than usual. Usually, vets will recommend the FNA surgical procedure, which helps aspirate some cells in the region.
- Nerve paralysis: Nerve paralysis around the neck area makes it swell. This significant increase in skin size will cause it to sag.
- Genetic disorders: Some genetic disorders could force the skin to sag. However, this is an issue that you will note while the dog is still young.
What Causes A Dog’s Belly Skin To Sag?
There are instances when the skin around the dog’s belly sags. This condition is thanks to various aspects, including the following.
- Parasites: Parasites can significantly affect the health of a pup. These parasites cause a potbelly, which can cause the skin around it to become loose.
- Cushing’s disease: This condition will affect the skin and muscle tone of your dog. It ensures that the dog overproduces specific hormones that stretch the skin so far. In turn, your dog remains in a flabby coat.
- Hormonal changes: These changes will often happen in female dogs. For instance, false pregnancies could make the skin stretch and become significantly loose.
Does The Skin Sagging Mean That My Dog Has Cutaneous Asthenia?
No, skin sagging is not limited to cutaneous asthenia. Instead, various conditions could make the skin sag. Some of these are genetic disorders, swollen lymph nodes, thyroid problems, and nerve paralysis. Yet, it would be best to understand what cutaneous asthenia is. Here are a few insights.
Cutaneous asthenia is a condition that stems from insufficient collagen. Collagen is a naturally-occurring protein molecule that helps keep the skin ligaments taut. This condition is painful for most dogs, thanks to the instability of their joints during this time. Further, the disease makes the skin susceptible to tears and sagging.
Its most common symptom is skin folds. You’ll also witness various swellings under the elbows and the paws.
Unfortunately, this condition is not curable. However, a vet can help manage the situation, improving the lifespan of your puppy. This vet will treat any lacerations on the skin, ensuring that the dog is in no more pain.
Once you notice a considerable change in how flexible the dog’s skin is, it would be best to get help from a vet. The vet will recommend the best solution to whichever issue is at hand, including surgical procedures.
What to Do If My Dog Has a Lot of Neck Skin?
Under normal conditions, specific dog breeds will come with lots of neck skin. Some species have more skin than others, depending on the purpose of the given breed. This skin helps improve their scenting abilities, which is critical when hunting prey. The skin also allows dog moms to hold their pups when moving them from one place to another.
There will be no reason to worry about anything once you notice the naturally-occurring neck skin on your dog. However, if you notice unusual swellings or sagging, it would be best to indulge a medical professional. Vets will help determine whether it is normal swelling or a sign of health complications.
Further, observe whether your dog is in pain. Significant pain after neck skin swelling could be a sign of cutaneous asthenia. While this condition is incurable, a vet will help manage the situation to avert a fatality. For instance, this vet will treat any lacerations on the dog. This move aims at reducing the pain suffered by the dog.
Suppose yours is a puppy. It would be best to check whether the problem arose from parasites. Parasites could cause significant belly swelling, which stretches the skin. This stretching leaves the skin sagging and loose. There could also be a considerable accumulation of skin folds around the skin. In this case, deworm and treat the pup for parasites.
Do All Breeds Have a Lot of Skin Around the Neck?
Not all dog breeds come with excess skin around the neck. Usually, the amount of this skin varies from one dog breed to another. However, guarding and hunting dogs seem to have a much more significant share of the skin. You could attribute this to the role excess skin plays, improving their ability to smell prey and keep tracking it.
For example, the Neopolitan mastiff breed comes with unique skin folds around the neck. These skin folds extend from the dewlap to the eyelids. The uniqueness and excessiveness of these folds make the breed stand out among the rest. You could also consider the Basset Hound, which is a great hunting dog. This dog boasts numerous skin folds, which help improve its scenting ability.
Various other breeds come with excess skin around their necks. The most popular ones are the French Bulldog, the English Bulldog, the Chinese Shar-Pei, and the English Mastiff.