Black Scabs on Dog Skin, Belly, Back, Crusty

Black scabs on dog skin

My dog has black scabs on their skin, what could they be? This is a common question in dog care forums. While there is no single reason that would suit all the scabbing issues in dogs, knowing the various causes can help narrow down to the most probable cause. In this post, we examine black scabs on dog skin, belly, ears and crusty scabs.

Black Scabs on Dog

A healthy dog skin coat retains its natural pigmentation, is free of crusting, scaling, scabs, infected and hot spots. The skin is smooth and in generally good condition. When your dog scratches excessively, has fur falling out and there is scabbing on the skin, it could indicate that there is some underlying skin problem. Black scabs on dog skin indicate that there has been dried out blood or infections with drainage that has dried up on the skin in most cases. Conditions that cause itching and scratching as well as trauma on the skin can result in scabbing. These are discussed below.

Black Scabs on Dog Causes

Whether the scabs on your dog’s skin are on the ears, belly, back, neck or any other part of their body, here are some of the things that could be attributed to their presence.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Long-term allergic reaction to fleas can result in the formation of black scabs on dog skin. According to, a dog that suffers chronic flea allergy dermatitis will develop pyoderma with time. This is a bacterial inflammation occurring in the hair follicles. As a result, there is the formation of pimples that pop. Upon drying these will form dry black scabs. This is also likely to be followed by yeast infections.

To get rid of the effects of flea bites, treatment includes shampooing your dog with oatmeal shampoo. To protect him from licking the scabs, you can make him wear a dog tee-shirt. Take your dog to the vet too so they can treat the allergy and fumigate your home if necessary so as to eliminate the fleas.

Comedo Syndrome

Also referred to as Schnauzer back, this is a condition most prevalent in miniature Schnauzers. It affects the area along the spine where black crusty bumps develop. These raised scabs may be accompanied by loss of hair as well as reddening and thickening of skin around it. In addition, some dogs’ skin will adopt an oily nature and have a terrible smell accompanying it.

Although this condition is not life-threatening, the smell and appearance that come with it may make living with your dog worrisome. Since it has a genetic predisposition, the comedo syndrome tends to persist throughout the life of a pet. This happens in varying degrees. Treatment is aimed at managing it and making the dog comfortable and odorless. Benzoyl peroxide medicated shampoos can help if used regularly.

Parasite Bites

When parasites such as fleas and mites bite on the skin of dogs, some bleeding is likely to occur. It is also possible for irritation to occur on the skin. This will then lead to licking, biting and scratching on the site of a bite. As a result, more bleeding is experienced. When this dries up, it results in dark-colored scabs forming.

The most appropriate way to curb this is by getting rid of the parasites. To take care of the skin irritation and black scabs, medication may be necessary. In severe cases, the areas may also have to be bandaged to help break the itch-scratch cycle.

Skin allergies

A dog that is suffering allergic reactions on the skin will scratch their belly, ears, and flanks. The skin then gets inflamed and there are lesions. If not dealt with in time, secondary skin infections may develop. Affected areas may also develop skin loss as well as darkened skin scabs.

While any dog can develop skin allergies, Boxers, English Setters, Labrador Retrievers, West Highland White Terriers, Bulldogs, and Dalmatians are some of the breeds predisposed to the condition.

Allergies occur when your dog is exposed to allergens and the immune system produces antibodies to fight them. In the process, there is skin inflammation and itchiness which result in black scabs on dog skin over time.

Some of the things likely to cause a reaction in your dog include flea allergy discussed above, mold, dust and pollen, manufactured products such as shampoos and garden chemicals as well as food allergies.


When a dog suffers trauma, it may result in bruising or bleeding. This can be experienced during fights with other dogs, scratches from cats as well as injuries sustained outdoors. The area that has been affected could see a formation of black scabs as any blood surrounding it dries up. Cleaning the area will eliminate the scabs while antibiotics can help facilitate quick healing and prevent infections.

Fly Strike Black Scabs on Dog Ears

Also referred to as fly bite dermatitis, fly strike mostly occurs in dogs with erect ears. It is as a result of flies biting on the skin around the ears which results in sores and dried blood. This can be seen as black scabs on dog ears.

The solution to ending this is in treating the dog with a product that will keep the flies off. Clean the ears thoroughly and dab them dry using a cotton ball. Apply your ointment of choice after this. Where the bites are severe, your vet may offer topical antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.

Another cause of black scabs on dog ears is ear mites. These are microscopic parasites that feed on the dog’s ear wax. Ear mites can be eliminated by cleaning up the ears and treating them with olive oil. Topical insecticides can also be used.

Black Crusty Scabs on Dog

Scabs that become crusty are usually as a result of the accumulation of some fluid. This is therefore common where scabbing is as a result of an infection that is emitting some drainage. In cases of bleeding, the scabs will also possibly crust.

The longer it takes before the affected area is cleaned, the worse the scabbing gets. Cleaning up the area should help loosen up the crusts and help them come off on their own. If this doesn’t happen, do not attempt to forcefully get the black crusty scabs off as this could wound your dog’s skin further.

Black Scabs on Dog Prevention Tips

To help prevent scabbing in your dog:

  • Feed your dog a well-balanced diet. At times, scabbing can result from vitamin and mineral deficiency. For a glossy coat and healthy skin, your dog needs a great diet. Offer this to prevent him from loss of fur and to ensure their natural defenses are up to the task every time.
  • Keep your dog away from environmental irritants especially if they are prone to allergic reactions.
  • Eliminate any allergens affecting them from their food and environment.
  • Bath your dog regularly and using the correct products to maintain a healthy skin.
  • Deal with parasites as soon as you notice them and put into place parasite control measures to avoid future infestation.
  • Where the scabs are as a result of scratching, ensure you break the cycle. This can be done by eliminating the cause of itching or using medication to alleviate the itch. In some cases bandaging the itchy area may be necessary.



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