La dermatite atopique chez le chien

Atopic dermatitis in dogs


Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammation of the skin, dogs suffering from it develop allergies (environmental, food, etc.).

Their skin lets too much water evaporate, which prevents it from playing its role as a protective barrier.

The skin condition is very similar to eczema in humans.

If left untreated, atopic dermatitis can quickly become over-infected and cause serious damage.




The skin is dry, red and inflammatory lesions appear. The dog is very itchy and will frantically lick the injured areas, increasing the risk of over-infection.  

Small pimples, oozing and thicker skin may then appear.

The localization is mainly at the level of the belly, in the large folds (armpits, between the thighs), around the legs, between the fingers and around the head (ears).

The disease evolves in flare-ups, with periods of calm and periods of crisis.




The condition may be genetic and therefore hereditary, but this is not always the case. Some breeds are more often affected than others, like Beaucerons.

The signs can appear between the ages of 1 and 6 years

The causes, in addition to the genetic origin, can be varied:

  • Exposure to mites or fleas (dogs are often allergic to flea saliva)
  • Exposure to mites or fleas (dogs are often allergic to flea saliva)
  • Use of unsuitable shampoos or lotions (drying, or containing products that are not suitable for dogs)
  • Intense stress situations




The diagnosis must be made by a veterinarian, based on the symptoms, the location of the lesions, and the answers given by the owners.

It is important not to try self-medication, at the risk of seeing the situation worsen.



First of all, the clinical signs and lesions should be treated, and the treatment should be combined with hygiene care.
Secondly, it will be necessary to understand where the allergy comes from in order to try to get rid of it (mites, food, etc). Desensitization can be considered if the exact cause of the allergy has been found.

Some chronic conditions such as atopy require lifelong treatment to control the disease and keep the dog comfortable.

It is important to mention that an atopic dog is not contagious, neither to other dogs nor to humans.



Preventing crises

Seizures can be reduced in intensity or length by implementing simple gestures:

  • Treat your dog monthly against fleas
  • Adapt his diet, why not in hypoallergenic
  • Use lotions and shampoos adapted to their condition
  • Keep a good skin hygiene


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