Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

What does ringworm look like on a dog?

Ringworm, contrary to popular belief, is a fungus similar to athlete's foot. It produces infective seeds known as spores, which are extremely resilient and difficult to remove from the environment. Ringworm can infect all animals' skin, including dogs. Today, our Poway veterinarians talk about ringworm in dogs and what it looks like.

What does ringworm look like in dogs?

Ringworm can affect dogs in a variety of ways, the most common being hair loss with a crusty covering in specific areas or, in rare cases, no symptoms at all. Ringworm patches on dogs can be gray, scaly, or scarlet. Younger and older dogs, as well as those with long hair, are particularly vulnerable.

Bring your dog to the vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Dry, brittle hair
  • Inflamed, red skin rash
  • Circular or patchy areas of hair loss
  • Scales that look like dandruff
  • Scabs or lesions on the skin
  • Darkened skin
  • Reddened skin
  • Inflamed folds of the skin around the claws or nails
  • Itchiness

How do dogs get ringworm?

Ringworm in dogs can be contracted through direct contact with an infected animal or contaminated objects, such as grooming tools or bedding. Ringworm is a fungal infection that thrives in warm, humid environments, making dogs more vulnerable when kept in overcrowded or unsanitary conditions.

How does ringworm get diagnosed?

Take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you think they may have ringworm, as they will require treatment to recover. Veterinarians diagnose ringworm using a number of techniques. Your veterinarian may examine your dog's fur and skin with an ultraviolet lamp. This is the most trustworthy test, but results take 10 days to come in.

What are the treatment options for ringworm?

Ringworm treatment options include oral medications as well as lotions, sprays, and shampoos. If your dog or other pet has a history of skin problems, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian may recommend treating all of your dogs simultaneously. A layperson may mistakenly believe that ringworm causes rashes, hair loss, and other ailments. If you suspect your dog has ringworm, there are a number of effective treatments available.

Depending on the severity of your dog's ringworm condition, your veterinarian will help you choose the best treatment for them. The following are the most common ringworm treatments:

  • Topical medication
  • Antifungal oral medication
  • Environmental decontamination (such as deep cleaning a carpet to keep the infection from spreading)

How can I keep ringworms from spreading?

Ringworm spreads through direct contact with an infected animal or contaminated substance. If carpets, curtains, and linens are not cleaned, ringworm can linger on them or become trapped in their fibers.

Even if there are no obvious symptoms, a pet may have ringworm. Ringworm spores are persistent and can survive for a long time in the environment, so keep your infected dog in a single room. If you treat your dog but do not completely eliminate the virus from your home, he may become ill again.

Soft furniture and carpets should be thoroughly vacuumed and steam cleaned on a regular basis to remove spores. Disinfectants should be used for any other cleaning needs. Consult your veterinarian for the most effective disinfectants.

How long should I quarantine a dog with ringworm?

Although ringworm can last for six weeks to eighteen months, it is not as serious as other conditions. It will not endanger your dog's life or cause permanent injury. The best thing you can do is keep your dog in a separate room and limit his or her interaction with other pets and family members while therapy is in progress.

Ideally, you should keep your dog quarantined for six weeks while you fight ringworm. Although this may appear difficult, it should be infinitely easier and far less expensive than constantly fighting ringworm.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you believe your dog may have contracted ringworm? Contact our Poway vets today for an expert opinion and treatment options.

New Patients Welcome

Best Friends Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Poway companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (858) 679-7387

Open Modal