You’ve never really paid attention. You have loved on her every which way but loose, but you’ve never really noticed what color her skin is before now.

You’re not even sure what color you should expect her skin to be. Is she all right? Is she allergic to something? Let’s examine some answers to the question — Why is my dog’s skin pink?

Why is my dog’s skin pink?

You’ve just realized that your dog skin is pink. Is that something to worry about? Here are the basics about a dog’s normal skin.

Each dog’s skin color varies between pink and black all depending upon the dog’s individual genetic history and which pigments are common to the breed. Therefore, it is usually entirely normal for a dog to have light pink skin.

As long as her skin is smooth and free from other symptoms, and she is sporting a full, shiny, healthy coat, oh, and she is also free of fleas and ticks, there is a good chance that there is nothing to worry about. Her skin is probably healthy.

Why has my dog’s skin become pink?

To reiterate, light pink skin without other symptoms, etc. is probably healthy skin, however, if her skin is red and accompanied by other symptoms, your dog is dealing with a skin problem.

Your dog could just have dry skin which can cause severe itching. Not only can indoor heating in the winter cause dry skin, but so can indoor cooling can, as well.

However, another cause of skin problems in dogs, and at least as common, is skin allergies. Let’s take a look at some of the most common skin allergies in dogs.

Atopic dermatitis (eczema)

Eczema is a long-term problem, a skin condition that usually presents itself early and stays with its victim. Eczema is an allergy that takes place when the allergen is inhaled — an allergen, such as mold spores, dust, or grass. Some foods can cause eczema to flare up.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a rash that occurs when the victim comes into contact with or touches the allergen — an allergen, such as a chemical or toxic plant, or the perfumes and dyes in their shampoos. Contact dermatitis can, at times, cause more pain than itching.

Food allergy

Dogs can commonly be allergic to eggs, dairy, chicken, beef, wheat, and even some vegetables. A food allergy will usually present as itching on the ears, face, feet, and anus.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis means swollen hair follicles and is most often the product of another skin condition. It presents as scabs, sores, and bumps.

Dandruff

While some dandruff is no more serious than dry skin and can be treated as easily, but some “scurf” or dandruff can point to a deeper issue, such as an infection.

Ringworm

Ringworm is actually a fungal infection and not a worm at all. It is quite contagious to not only other animals but to humans, as well.

Circular bald patches on a dog’s head, ears, front legs, and paws will eventually present with ringworm. They will be crusty-looking. Scratching will make the skin also appear red and inflamed. 

Impetigo

Pups most often are the victims of impetigo. Blisters present on the stomach. They, then, burst and form a scab. 

Yeast infection

Warm, hidden areas are perfect targets for yeast infection. Between the toes, in the ear canal, and in the groin are perfect spots for the yuk to set up.

She may scratch and even bite at the area that’s infected. The infected area may become discolored and begin to smell bad.

Mange

Mites cause mange. They live in the skin and hair. Dogs may get one of two types of mange: demodectic mange or sarcoptic mange.  Demodectic mainly affects puppies, elderly dogs, or at-risk pets, while sarcoptic mange can affect any dog.

Sarcoptic mange is accompanied by a severe itch that is usually first detected on the dog’s ears. Symptoms include loss of hair on the face, as well as the legs, and redness to go along with the intense itch.

Lupus

When a dog has lupus, the body’s immune system declares war on itself, its own cells, making it an autoimmune disease. It presents with crusty, open sores which do not heal normally. These sores are normally found on the eyes, nose, and paws.

Is my dog’s skin supposed to be pink?

A human or a dog can use or be around something all their lives and then, suddenly become allergic to it. While it is probably fine and even normal for her skin to be pink, when it begins turning red, it’s time to start looking for other symptoms.

All dogs scratch themselves here and there, but when you begin to notice constant scratching of the ears or belly, rubbing of the face, or chewing of the paws, it’s time to pay closer attention.

Watery eyes, nasal discharge, inflamed skin (dermatitis), red skin, rash, scabs, lesions, gray skin patches, hair loss, thick dandruff, bad smell, dull coat, head shaking, brown discharge from ears, or skin infections are all signs of skin allergies and require further investigation.

What to do about my dog’s skin becoming pinker?

My dog’s skin is getting red. What do I do now? Let’s see what the next step should be.

You need to do some investigation.

Before treating, you must know what treatment you need to use, and before you can know what treatment to use, you must investigate the situation. Let’s take a look at what you could do.

You probably first need to take a trip to the vet.

A good first step would be a trip to the vet. Your vet may have the knowledge and tools to detect conditions that you could not. When you go, make sure to have in hand a history of her symptoms along with the time of year they happened. Some of the next steps may come from your vet’s advice.

She may need to go on an elimination diet.

An elimination diet is composed of food prepared by you — a fresh protein and a fresh carbohydrate…not your common beef and rice, but we’re talking lamb and squash, ostrich and sweet potatoes, or ocean perch and red skin potatoes…

An elimination diet should be followed for about 8-12 weeks. The list of choices is really fairly broad, and there are a few rules. Just ask your vet. This can help determine a specific food allergy.

She may need skin allergy tests.

Skin allergy tests can help to more squarely determine what your dog is allergic to, however, these tests tend to be quite expensive, so many cannot afford them.

She may even need blood tests.

A blood test may be needed if the cause is not found quickly and easily or if the symptoms are severe, because this may point to an underlying condition that is serious, even life-threatening, in extreme cases.

Now it’s time for treatment.

You have done your investigation, so now it’s time for treatment. Here are some things to try.

If she has a food allergy…

If she has a food allergy, a therapeutic diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can cut down on inflammation and itching.

If she is allergic to perfumes and dyes…

If she is allergic to perfumes and dyes, a medicated shampoo may help. Allermyl is a prescription medicated shampoo that stops bacteria growth on a dog’s skin.

Over-the-counter “medicated” shampoos exist, but they only temporarily cool the skin, and then, the problem comes right back. You need to always try to get to the root of the problem.

She may need prescription medication for the symptoms of the skin condition.

Most often steroids and antihistamines for the inflammation and itching, prescription medications can be prescribed by your vet.

She may need exhaustive medical treatment for an underlying issue.

If there should be a serious underlying medical issue, your dog will obviously need to be treated for that problem, because while steroids, antihistamines, or even topical treatments may help temporarily, the problem will come back until the base problem is solved.

She may need complex treatment for a combination of symptoms or conditions.

Depending on exactly which symptoms your dog has and how exactly she is diagnosed by her vet, she may need complex treatment if her issues are complex. Say, for instance, she has food allergies and a yeast infection, her treatment will be a little more complex than if she only had dandruff.

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.