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Canine folliculitis is common. In fact, you probably know a doggo who has it. So, what is it? Folliculitis is an infection of some type in the hair follicle itself. It can be caused by a very common mite called Dermodex canis. This is the same creature that causes mange. Or, folliculitis can be caused by bacteria like staph or fungi, like ringworm. Sometimes folliculitis is a result of an allergic skin reaction.

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What are the signs of folliculitis?

Your short-haired pup may look like she's shedding in circles. Not crop-rings, but small circular patches. It can be trickier to spot in long-haired breeds, but if your doggo is itching its tummy or under its front legs—suspect folliculitis.

Sad Chinese Crested dog katoosha / Getty Images
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Is folliculitis contagious?

Typically, bacterial folliculitis isn't thought to be transmissible to humans. But if folliculitis is caused by ringworm, then yes, it can be transmitted. Ask your vet what kind of infection is causing the problem.

Dog being treated for ringworm RuslanDashinsky / Getty Images
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Are there particular breeds more prone to folliculitis?

Certain breeds have a higher tendency to have skin allergies, which can lead to folliculitis. Breeds like Boston Terriers, Scotties, Boxers, and Dalmations are notorious for skin allergies, making them more prone to developing folliculitis.

Boxer with tilted head Mary Swift / Getty Images
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Can folliculitis cause discoloration of my dog's skin?

Yes. In fact, short-haired breeds and dogs with light or white coats can exhibit brown or reddish discoloration as a side-effect of folliculitis. Sometimes the discoloration can come from licking the irritated area. If that's the case, it may be time for the "cone of shame."

Shot of a female veterinarian attaching a cone to the neck of a dog AJ_Watt / Getty Images
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What else causes folliculitis?

If there's no infection present, your vet may suggest a blood test to see if there's a metabolic culprit. Endocrine diseases, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's Disease, can lead to folliculitis.

Dog with vet Ron Levine / Getty Images
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Is canine acne a type of folliculitis?

Sadly, yes. Just like humans, adolescent dogs can develop acne under their chins and around their lips and muzzle. Because it itches, the dog will scratch, open an infected pustule, and spread the infection. Resist the temptation to be Dr. Pimple Popper and see your vet.

Pup itching Wavetop / Getty Images
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Does regular grooming help combat folliculitis?

Short answer: yes. If your baby is prone to sensitive skin and folliculitis, finding an experienced groomer can save you money at the vets and make Fido much more comfortable.

English Bull being groomed Group4 Studio / Getty Images
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What can I do to help my dog not bring allergens indoors?

Wipe your paws! Seriously, one of the easiest and best ways to stop your pup from tracking in the grass, pollen, and other itchy debris is to stop and wipe her paws with a damp towel.

Wipe Your Paws door mat Marilyn Nieves / Getty Images
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Why did the vet scrape my dog's skin and pluck some hairs?

If your vet suspects mites, including the Demodex mite that causes mange, she will likely do a skin scraping for microscopic examination. Pulling a few hairs can also help identify if there are mites on the hair shaft.

Jack Russell shedding smrm1977 / Getty Images
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Why did the vet recommend fish oil for my dog?

Fish oil is actually a pretty powerful compound to combat inflammation. Giving your dog a daily dose of fish oil which is rich in Omega-3s, is a good preventative for folliculitis and can ease the itching inactive cases.

Fish oil capsules pinkomelet / Getty Images
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What is pyoderma?

Pyoderma is another term for a canine skin infection. There are several varieties of pyoderma. If your dog tests positive for bacterial folliculitis, she may also be diagnosed with pyoderma.

Dog elbow with callus pyoderma Todorean Gabriel / Getty Images
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Why did the vet prescribe antibiotics for folliculitis?

If a bacterial infection causes your dog's folliculitis or pyoderma, a three- to four-week regimen of antibiotics will be prescribed, along with medicated baths to ease the itch.

Antibiotics putilich / Getty Images
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What is an epidermal collerette?

This is a term used for when folliculitis has caused crusty and flaky round skin lesions.

Chihuahua scratching Radila Radilova / Getty Images
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Can fleas cause folliculitis?

Yes. Besides biting and creating itchy welts, numerous flea bites and the resulting scratching can create a perfect environment for folliculitis. Especially bacterial folliculitis. Use flea and tick prevention year-round.

Close-up of fat fleas on dog ThamKC / Getty Images
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Can baths help with folliculitis?

First, check with your vet. He may prescribe a medicated shampoo. If you get the go-ahead, look for a shampoo with colloidal oatmeal or aloe to help soothe inflamed, itchy skin, and help your dog heal faster.

Golden getting a bath ArtistGNDphotography / Getty Images

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