Scabs on Dogs Back, Head, Belly, Black and Crusty Treatment

Black scabs on dogs

Whether you are dealing with black, white, brown, crusty or dry scabs on dogs, we have it all covered. We explore the causes of scabs in dogs, back, skin, ears, head, neck, belly, and legs. You will also learn what treatment is appropriate for your pet.

Scabs on Dogs

Scabs are dry, protective crusts which form over a wounded skin during the healing process. The cause of the scabs may not be obvious. Different skin conditions can see your pooch having them. Their size, number, and characteristics will depend on the cause and severity of the condition. In the same way, treatment will differ. Below we explore various causes of scabs on dogs.

Scabs on Dogs Skin Causes

What causes scabs on dogs? Various factors contribute to the presence of scabs on dog’s skin. These could be environmental, parasitic or hereditary and could be as simple as contact allergies to serious skin conditions. Scabs on dogs can appear on a localized point or all over the dog’s body. Below are some specific causes.


Parasites on the skin of the dog could cause scabs on dog’s skin. These could include insects, fleas, lice, mites, gnats or chiggers on dogs. It gets worse for dogs when the parasites lay eggs on their skin resulting in licking, biting and scratching. This kind of trauma on the skin leads to bleeding and open sores which with time form scabs. After scabbing the dog becomes itchier, scratches to get relief and thus there is a continuous presence of scabs on your dog that keeps getting bigger.

Over Grooming

While cleaning your dog up is an important undertaking, if overdone or done using the wrong products it could see your dog suffer scabbing. Excessive bathing is known to cause scabs on dogs as it dries out the skin by stripping it off its natural oils. As a result, there is flaking and itching resulting in scabs. This can be avoided by using mild shampoos to ensure the natural oils are not stripped off your dog’s skin.


The different forms of allergies in dogs can cause irritation to your dog. Contact allergies are known to cause irritation and inflammation on the skin. Ingesting allergens can also cause a reaction. Some of the accompanying symptoms of allergies in your pooch will include bumps on the skin and scratching. These are then followed by licking and biting which in turn cause formation of scabs. Knowing what the irritant is and eliminating it is the best way of preventing scabs caused by allergies.

Poor Nutrition

Nutritional deficiency leads to illnesses in dogs. A well-balanced diet is necessary for ensuring a healthy dog coat. A lack of vitamins and minerals can see the natural defense of the body against parasites decline these then infest the dog causing lumps which scab with time. The dog also has low immunity subjecting it to various skin conditions.

Scabs on Dogs Back – Dog Scabs on Back

My dog has crusty scabs on his back or my dog has scabs all over his back, what does it mean? Having scabs on dogs back is common and could mean a lot of things. It could be caused by any of the above mention conditions.

The scabs on the back may be black or white depending on the cause. Fleas are common especially if the dog has been itching prior to the formation of the scabs. A good bath accompanied by topical treatment of the fleas could help. In severe cases, dog scabs on the back may cause your dog to shed some hair. If it gets to this consult your veterinarian.

Black Scabs on Dog Ears

The presence of black scabs on dogs could be indicative of an infection. This requires thorough treatment using antibiotics. In other cases, it could be indicative of sarcoptic mange. This is caused by some microscopic mites which are invisible to the naked eyes. The condition is itchy and results in your dog scratching a lot. It is also possible for your dog to develop allergic reactions to the mites.

The mites love to infest hairless areas of your pet. It is therefore common to see black scabs on dog’s ear flaps, belly, and elbows. In addition, sarcoptic mange will cause the skin to be red and scaly. A direct contact between your dogs will see the spread of the mites. As such, homes with multiple pets will see all their dogs suffering the same kind of scabs.

Small Scabs on Dogs Belly and Legs

Small scabs on dogs belly and legs are common during the warm months of the year. These are mostly caused by various skin conditions.

Scabs on dogs belly
Scabs on dog’s belly

A common condition is a superficial bacterial infection. It is as a result of the overgrowth of staph bacteria which are normally found on the skin in controlled amounts.

Crusty Scabs on Dogs Head and Neck

When there are scabs on dogs head and neck, it is possible for them to be caused by pyoderma. This is a bacterial infection normally occurring secondary to allergies. Although this can be taken care of to some extent by using a medicated shampoo, the dog needs oral antibiotics to clear off the infection.

When a dog has scabs on the head,  140 they may initially manifest as bumps filled with pus. These are then followed by a buildup which results in crusty scabs. They can be controlled using hypoallergenic diets to curb the allergic reactions. In case these do not work, talk to your vet for further direction.

Scabs on Dogs Nose or Snout, Back and Tail

The above-mentioned areas are also common for scabs on dogs. A crusty dry dog nose or snout accompanied by nasal flaking and slight scabbing may be indicative of severe sunburns. This should be addressed immediately to avoid worsening of the condition.

Scabs forming on the back and on the tail could be as a result of bacterial infections. Folliculitis is known to cause sores and welts. Your dog may also have fluid-filled blisters on the elbows, tail, back and even the belly. These are more often found in puppies and would be as a result of impetigo.

Scabs on Dogs Treatment

When your dog develops scabs on the skin, biting on them could result in their enlarging. This needs to be stopped before it becomes severe. Scabs on dogs treatment start with recognizing what is causing them and working to alleviate any associated symptoms. Here are things you can do to treat scabs all over the dog’s skin.

  1. Identify which of the above conditions could be causing the scabs. Examine their characteristics such as whether they are white or black, if they are crusty and dry, etc. to help match them with their cause.
  2. If the scabs on the dog are caused by something you can deal with at home, trim the hair around the scabs. This will help keep watch on the area and allow for effective treatment. This will also encourage aeration in the area which will dry it out and discourage the proliferation of bacteria.
  3. To eliminate dirt you can wash the dog or decide to clean up around the scabs. This will help relieve itch temporary and prevent further scabbing. Use a mild and hypoallergenic shampoo for the same to avoid irritation.
  4. Use cold compresses to cool the area and get rid of any swelling around the scabs. In case the dog keeps licking and biting the scabs. Use an E collar on him.
  5. In case you have any medication for the dog, apply it on the skin. Follow the instructions given.

The skin around scabs on dogs can be extremely sensitive. This could see your dog become protective when you are handling him. Be careful not to be bitten. Where necessary ask for help in restraining the dog. Whenever you can deal with the scabs on dogs at home, always consult your veterinarian.

Sources and References

Dr. Winnie
About Dr. Winnie 1229 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone


  1. Question what to do once the itchy is not as much. I want to know what to do for the scabs their isn’t any swelling or fluid. My dog will be groom in a couple days will tell his groomer about the scabs. Please help will be very grateful. I dearly love my purebred Shih Tzu Messiah. Dixie

    • Hi Kathy antibacterial cream and medicated shampoo is good I have a German Shepherd and I used both on him and it worked well also don’t over groom your dog they should be only bathed once a is very common to happen to long haired dogs!! All the best..Paula

  2. My dogs scabs turn a brownish scabby color butwhen i.put athletes food cream plus cortaid they clear up and start omewhete else. He licks and wakes me up in the night by shaking and licking

  3. So my lab every spring season gets lumps bumps and crusty scans around top of head and onnouyside of ears side of face. Is this from some weed or plant. What can I do for him?

    • I dont know but my lab gets the same symptoms but alwasin late summer to early fall. It last for at leastmaking a month and gets to the point of making him look really bad.

  4. My Yellow Lab has black color skin around her vulva lower stomach area that looks like dirt but does not come off with washing. Sometimes I can scrape it off with my nails but sometimes not.
    My vet says it scar skin from being in a shelter and not being treated for her skin allergies. I have her on Apaquel and Allergy shots.

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