Skin Bumps That Are Crusty on Dogs

Updated February 17, 2017

Skin ailments are common in dogs, and they can have a variety of causes. Veterinarians treat more skin problems than any other disorder in dogs. These problems are often minor and are easily remedied with topical ointments or creams, but skin rashes can also be symptoms of more serious issues.


Most crusty skin bumps are caused by scabies. Scabies, also known as sarcoptic mange, is caused by small mites that burrow into a dog's skin. Scabies are highly contagious and very uncomfortable for the dog. The symptoms are dry scabs and scratching that begins at the ears and the elbows that progresses down the legs. Over time, the infection becomes pronounced and the infected areas will begin to smell bad. Veterinarians typically treat this infection with cortisone for the itching and a dip to eradicate the mites.


Like people, dogs can be allergic to things in their environment such as fleas, fly bites, foods, even chemicals and plastics. Veterinarians will first work to remove the allergen that is causing the bumps or a rash. Once fleas and insect irritations are eliminated as potential sources for the allergic reaction, the vet may suggest a change in diet to a food that contains only natural ingredients. If this is also not the cause, the vet and owner then have to investigate allergens in the environment. Usually, removal of the allergen solves the issue.

Bacterial or Yeast Infection

Bacterial skin infections and yeast infections usually have their roots in other illnesses. Often, an antibiotic treatment prescribed for another illness may disturb the dog's immune system and allow surface bacteria or yeast on the skin to grow unchecked. Usually bacterial or yeast infections cause hair loss and drainage in addition to crusty scabs and bumps. Another possibility is that a bite, scratch or flea infestation allowed the infection to grow. If a bacterial or yeast infection is the cause, the veterinarian will prescribe an antihistamine, antibiotic or topical cream.


Crusty, itchy skin bumps can also be caused by eczema. Eczema is caused by a sensitivity to something in the environment, but it can manifest differently in different dogs.Some dogs lose hair and get oozing patches; others get crusty bumps. Eczema is usually treated with cortisone creams, special shampoos and antibiotics.

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About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.