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Q&A: My dog has dark skin patches – what is it?



Chewy, a special needs Jack Russell Terrier, is available for adoption at Russell Rescue.

Guest blogger, Dr. Lauren Brickman,
started as a veterinary technician at Garden City Park in 1997 and went
on to veterinary school at Ross University. She currently writes a
popular pet health and care column for that she has shared with us today.

Q: My Chihuahua is developing dark skin patches under her front leg and on her tail. What causes these black patches?
Could it be fleas?

A: Sometimes these dark patches can be normal. They can occur in areas of friction (under legs, armpits) or they can be normal pigmentation in your dog’s skin that occurs with age.

Continue reading Dr. Lauren’s answer after the jump.

Dogs with severe skin allergies can develop black patches but the skin
in that area is thick, itchy, and almost like elephant skin. That is
called lichenification and it is caused by inflammation.

Fleas typically do not cause dark patches but will cause hair loss
along the back of the hind legs. Your dog would also be itchy if there
were fleas. Make sure to get a good monthly flea preventative from your

If these dark skin patches seem dry or troublesome to your pet, it may be a good idea to have your vet take a look.

If you have questions about your pet’s health, you can submit them to Dr. Lauren at

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