My dog has Crusty Scabs on his Back

my dog has crusty scabs on his back

My dog has crusty scabs on his back and this led me to conduct some research on what the causes could be. I discovered quite some skin conditions that I have known about but which I could not associate with scabbing, which is likely to occur if they are left to develop into severity. Below we explore crusty scabs on dogs back, their causes, treatment and why they may appear red, blood or black.

My Dog Has Crusty Scabs on His Back

My dog has crusty scabs on his back. What does this mean?  Scabbing on the skin is normally a protective response. Scabs form in areas where your dog has previously been wounded to protect the area from germs as well as to protect the cells beneath from exposure and allow them time to heal. Scabs normally tend to be dark red or brown and crusty. At times, though, black scabs may appear on the skin.

Beneath the crusty scabs is raw skin that is undergoing healing. Once the healing process is done, the scab falls off revealing new healthy skin. There are a number of reasons why your dog’s skin may be hurting resulting in the formation of crusty scabs.

Possible Reasons Why My Dog has Crusty Scabs on his Back

Upon conducting some research online, the available information indicated that quite a number of factors could result in scabbing. These include:


The unmistakable ring common in both canines and humans occurs as a result of a contagious fungal infection that is highly contagious. It appears as a raised circular lesion which could be pink or red. The center of the ring is crusty. This condition is quite itchy and uncomfortable for your dog. Once noticed, the vet can prescribe anti-fungal medication. Remember to protect yourself and other dogs as it is easily transmitted.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

When dogs suffer flea bites, they react differently. For some, flea allergy dermatitis may develop from the fleas’ saliva. This results in red raised bumps that are quite itchy. With time these become crusty. To get rid of this kind of scabs, talk to your vet. They may recommend medicated flea shampoo or flea dips. Topical steroids may also be offered to treat the allergic skin reaction. In addition to the solution offered by your vet, ensure you wash their bed thoroughly in hot water. Frequently vacuum the carpets and upholstery to get rid of dog fleas from the house.


This refers to bacterial skin infection. The condition is characterized by lesions and pustules, crusted skin, dried discharge as well as partial hair loss in some cases. Once the pus-filled swellings burst, your dog will have crusty scabs on his back.

Dogs suffering endocrine diseases like hyperthyroidism, food, flea or contact allergies as well as those suffering parasitic infestation are at high risk of suffering the condition. Treatment for the condition usually involves antibiotics to clear up the infection as well as topical medication to heal the lesions.


Often secondary to other infections such as scabies, mange or seborrhea, folliculitis in dogs refers to the inflammation of hair follicles. The most common form of it is bacterial folliculitis which involves the hair follicles getting invaded by bacteria.

When a dog suffers this, it will have pimple like bumps that with time develop into crusty pustules. These may fall off with time leaving behind the red stained skin. Folliculitis in dogs is most common at the back, groin, neck and groin areas. Left untreated, the infection may grow deeper into the skin making the dog to show general signs of illness such as pain, extreme itchiness, and lethargy.

Talk to your veterinarian for appropriate treatment. Where the infection is beyond the upper layer and has penetrated the epidermis, oral antibiotics may be recommended. Mild cases though can be treated using medicated shampoos as well as using antibiotic creams. It could take up to eight weeks for the infection to clear.


This is a skin condition caused by some tiny mites. Although dogs carry some of these on their skin without many effects, they can grow out of control when conditions are right. Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious and easily spreads to other dogs. A dog that suffers this will scratch excessively resulting in inflammation, sores and crusty scabs. Although most common on the ears, face, and legs, it can affect any part of the body.

Demodectic mange, on the other hand, is not contagious but results in similar symptoms. Treatment for mange includes both oral and topical medication. Special dips and medicated shampoos may be recommended by your veterinarian to fight the infestation.

Skin Infection

Skin infections take various forms and may appear on their own or secondary to other conditions. Yeast infections are most common on the ears and paw but can easily spread to other parts of the skin. In puppies, impetigo may strike your pup resulting in sores and scabbing bumps. Skin infections resulting in crusty scabs can be treated using topical antibiotics. Your veterinarian can do this once they examine the infection.

With all this information, I couldn’t quite tell what was ailing my pup. My guess was an infection but there weren’t enough pointers to this. Luckily, we were scheduled for deworming and I waited to go see the vet before intervening. The vet ascertained that the reason why my dog had crusty scabs on his back was that he had been hit by something and the skin was healing well.

My Dog has Red, Bloody or Black Scabs at his Back

A lot of skin conditions tend to be itchy. When no intervention is made and the itch progresses to severity, the dog is likely to harm themselves when seeking to relieve through scratching. This may result in your dog having red or bloody scabs at his back. This appearance only lasts as so when the oozing blood is fresh. Once it has dried up, the discharge adopts a dark color resulting in crusty black scabs.

Additionally, any scabs that are covering up the wounded skin to give room for healing tend to be black. This part of the skin remains so until the area is completely healed and the scabs finally fall off. This is common where your dog suffered an injury on his back such as a scratch during a fight or due to trauma from an object.

My Dog has Crusty Scabs on his Back Treatment

Are you wondering what treatment options there are for crusty scabs? Well, if my dog ever gets crusty scabs at his back or any other part in the future, the first step will be to identify the cause. The information provided above can offer great guidance in identifying this. The other option would be seeing your vet. This is more so in cases where you can’t point out what the cause is.

With this in your mind and by evaluating the severity of the scabbing, eliminating the cause where possible would be appropriate. This involves treating infections, parasitic infestation as well as eliminating allergens from the dog’s environment. Once this has been attained, topical treatments to allow for the fast healing of the damaged skin can follow. This may involve the application of topical ointments as well as home remedies such as aloe vera gel.


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