What Does Ringworm on Dogs Look Like? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Image of a dog with ringworm

Ringworm Is A Common Fungal Infection That Can Affect Dogs, And It Is Important To Identify It Early For The Well-being Of Our Furry Friends And To Prevent Its Transmission To Other Animals And Humans.


1.    How to Treat Ringworm in Dogs

What Is Ringworm?

Ringworm, Despite Its Name, Is Not Caused By Worms. It Is Actually A Fungal Infection Caused By Dermatophytes, Which Are Microscopic Fungi That Feed On Dead Skin Cells And Thrive In Warm, Humid Environments.

Ringworm is a common fungal infection that can affect both dogs and humans. It is characterized by a circular or ring-shaped rash that may be red, scaly, or hairless. Ringworm is highly contagious and can spread through contact with an infected animal or person, or through contact with contaminated surfaces.

Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs

The most common symptom of ringworm in dogs is a circular or ring-shaped rash. The rash may be red, scaly, or hairless. Other symptoms of ringworm in dogs may include:

  • Itching
  • Hair loss
  • Bumps or scabs on the skin
  • Redness or inflammation of the skin

2.    How to Treat Ringworm in Dogs

Ringworm in dogs is usually treated with a combination of topical and oral medications. Topical medications, such as antifungal creams or shampoos, are used to kill the fungus on the surface of the skin. Oral medications, such as griseofulvin or terbinafine, are used to kill the fungus inside the body.

Preventing Ringworm in Dogs

There are a few things you can do to help prevent ringworm in your dog:

  • Keep your dog’s environment clean and free of moisture.
  • Avoid contact with other dogs or people who are infected with ringworm.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your dog.
  • Use an antifungal shampoo on your dog regularly.

3.    How to Prevent Ringworm from Spreading

If your dog is diagnosed with ringworm, it is important to take steps to prevent the infection from spreading to other animals or people. These steps include:

  • Isolating your dog from other animals and people.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces that your dog has come into contact with.
  • Using an antifungal shampoo on your dog.
  • Giving your dog oral medication as directed by your veterinarian.

4.    How Does Ringworm Affect Dogs?

When Dogs Are Infected With Ringworm, The Fungi Invade The Skin, Hair, And Sometimes Nails, Leading To A Variety Of Symptoms And Visual Changes In Affected Areas.

Common Causes Of Ringworm In Dogs

Ringworm Is Highly Contagious And Can Be Transmitted From Infected Animals Or Contaminated Objects And Environments. Dogs Can Contract Ringworm Through Direct Contact With An Infected Animal, Sharing Grooming Tools Or Bedding, Or Exposure To Spores In The Environment.

Contagious Nature Of Ringworm

Ringworm Is Contagious To Both Animals And Humans. It Can Be Transmitted Through Direct Contact With Infected Individuals Or By Touching Objects Or Surfaces That Have Been Contaminated With Fungal Spores.

5.    Signs And Symptoms Of Ringworm On Dogs

Early Signs To Look Out For

In The Early Stages, Ringworm May Appear As Small, Circular Areas Of Hair Loss On The Dog’s Body. These Areas Are Often Accompanied By Redness And Mild Itching. It Is Important To Pay Attention To Any Changes In Your Dog’s Skin And Coat To Catch Ringworm Early.

Visual Indicators Of Ringworm

As The Infection Progresses, The Visual Signs Of Ringworm Become More Apparent. Affected Areas May Show Patches Of Hair Loss With Raised Edges And A Central Clearing, Giving Them A Ring-like Appearance. The Skin In These Areas Can Be Red, Inflamed, Scaly, Or Crusty.

Behavioral Changes In Infected Dogs

Infected Dogs May Exhibit Behavioral Changes Due To The Discomfort Caused By Ringworm. They May Scratch, Lick, Or Bite At The Affected Areas, Leading To Further Irritation And Potential Secondary Infections. It Is Important To Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior And Look For Any Signs Of Discomfort Or Excessive Grooming.

Identifying Ringworm In Different Dog Breeds

The Appearance Of Ringworm Can Vary Depending On The Dog Breed. Some Breeds May Develop More Noticeable Lesions Or Have A Higher Predisposition To Certain Forms Of Ringworm. Familiarize Yourself With The Specific Signs Of Ringworm In Your Dog’s Breed To Aid In Early Identification.

6.    Visual Identification Of Ringworm On Dogs

Circular Patches Of Hair Loss

One Of The Primary Visual Indications Of Ringworm Is The Presence Of Circular Patches Of Hair Loss. These Patches Can Range In Size And May Be Surrounded By Broken Or Stubbly Hair. The Affected Areas May Initially Be Small But Can Enlarge Over Time If Left Untreated.

Red, Scaly, Or Crusty Skin

Ringworm Can Cause The Skin In Affected Areas To Become Red, Inflamed, And Irritated. It May Appear Scaly Or Crusty, Resembling A Rash. These Visual Changes Are Important Clues In Identifying Ringworm On Dogs.

Raised, Circular Lesions

In Some Cases, Ringworm Can Form Raised, Circular Lesions Known As “Ring” Lesions. These Lesions Often Have Well-defined Edges And A Clearer Center. They May Be Itchy Or Tender To The Touch And Can Occur On Various Parts Of The Dog’s Body.

Hair Breakage And Stubble

Hair Breakage And Stubble Often Occur Around The Affected Areas Of Ringworm. This Can Make The Coat Appear Uneven Or Patchy. When Examining Your Dog, Pay Attention To Any Signs Of Hair Breakage Or Stubble, As They Can Indicate The Presence Of Ringworm.

Itchy And Irritated Skin

Ringworm Can Cause Itching And Irritation In The Affected Areas, Leading The Dog To Scratch Or Bite At The Skin. This Can Further Damage The Skin And Potentially Introduce Secondary Infections. If You Notice Your Dog Excessively Scratching Or Showing Signs Of Discomfort, It May Be A Symptom Of Ringworm.

7.    Variations In Appearance

Mild Versus Severe Cases

Ringworm Can Range From Mild To Severe Cases. In Mild Cases, There May Be Only A Few Small Patches Of Hair Loss, While Severe Cases Can Involve Widespread Areas Of Affected Skin. The Severity Of Ringworm Can Impact The Treatment Approach And Duration.

Differences Based On Dog Breed

The Appearance Of Ringworm Can Vary Among Different Dog Breeds. Some Breeds May Develop More Noticeable Lesions Or Have Specific Patterns Of Hair Loss. It Is Important To Be Aware Of These Breed-specific Differences To Accurately Identify Ringworm.

Differences Based On Age And Immune System

The Appearance And Progression Of Ringworm Can Also Be Influenced By The Dog’s Age And Immune System Health. Puppies And Dogs With Weakened Immune Systems May Be More Susceptible To Severe Cases Of Ringworm. Understanding These Variations Can Aid In Diagnosing And Treating The Infection Effectively.

8.    Common Mistakes In Identifying Ringworm On Dogs

Confusing Ringworm With Other Skin Conditions

Ringworm Can Be Mistaken For Other Skin Conditions That Have Similar Symptoms, Such As Allergies Or Bacterial Infections. Misdiagnosis Can Lead To Delayed Treatment And The Potential Spread Of The Infection. Consulting A Veterinarian For An Accurate Diagnosis Is Crucial.

The Danger Of Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosing Ringworm Can Be Dangerous, As It Is Contagious To Other Animals And Humans. Failure To Identify And Treat Ringworm Promptly Can Result In The Infection Spreading Within Your Household Or Community. Proper Diagnosis By A Veterinarian Is Essential To Protect The Well-being Of All Individuals Involved.

Seeking Professional Help For Accurate Diagnosis

If You Suspect Your Dog Has Ringworm, It Is Essential To Seek Professional Help From A Veterinarian. Veterinarians Have The Expertise And Diagnostic Tools To Accurately Identify Ringworm And Rule Out Other Skin Conditions. Their Guidance Ensures Appropriate Treatment And Prevents The Spread Of The Infection.

9.    Diagnostic Methods For Ringworm On Dogs

Physical Examination By A Veterinarian

A Thorough Physical Examination By A Veterinarian Is The First Step In Diagnosing Ringworm. They Will Examine The Affected Areas, Looking For Characteristic Signs Such As Circular Patches Of Hair Loss, Redness, Or Skin Changes. The Veterinarian May Also Assess The Overall Health Of Your Dog To Identify Any Underlying Conditions That Could Contribute To The Infection.

Wood’s Lamp Examination

A Wood’s Lamp Examination Is A Diagnostic Tool Commonly Used By Veterinarians To Aid In The Diagnosis Of Ringworm. The Lamp Emits Ultraviolet Light, Which Causes Some Species Of Ringworm Fungi To Fluoresce, Making Them More Visible. However, Not All Species Of Ringworm Fungi Fluoresce Under The Wood’s Lamp, So Additional Diagnostic Methods Are Necessary For A Definitive Diagnosis.

Microscopic Evaluation Of Hair And Skin Samples

To Confirm The Presence Of Ringworm, The Veterinarian May Collect Hair And Skin Samples From The Affected Areas. These Samples Are Then Examined Under A Microscope To Detect The Presence Of Fungal Elements Such As Spores Or Hyphae. Microscopic Evaluation Provides Valuable Information For Accurate Diagnosis.

Fungal Culture Tests

Fungal Culture Tests Involve Collecting Samples From The Affected Areas And Cultivating Them In A Laboratory Setting. This Allows The Identification Of The Specific Type Of Fungus Causing The Infection And Helps Determine The Most Appropriate Treatment. Fungal Cultures Are Particularly Useful When Wood’s Lamp Examination Or Microscopic Evaluation Yields Inconclusive Results.

10. Treatment Options For Ringworm On Dogs

Topical Antifungal Medications

Topical Antifungal Medications, Such As Creams Or Ointments, Are Commonly Used To Treat Ringworm In Dogs. These Medications Are Applied Directly To The Affected Areas And Work By Killing The Fungus Or Inhibiting Its Growth. It Is Important To Follow The Veterinarian’s Instructions Regarding The Frequency And Duration Of Application.

Oral Antifungal Medications

In More Severe Or Widespread Cases Of Ringworm, Oral Antifungal Medications May Be Prescribed. These Medications Are Taken By Mouth And Work Systemically To Eliminate The Fungal Infection From Within The Body. Oral Antifungals Are Typically Administered For A Specific Duration And Require Regular Monitoring By A Veterinarian.

Medicated Shampoos And Dips

Medicated Shampoos And Dips Containing Antifungal Agents Can Help Eliminate Fungal Spores From The Skin And Haircoat. These Products Are Usually Used In Combination With Other Treatments And Are Effective In Reducing The Risk Of Reinfection And Controlling The Spread Of Ringworm.

Environmental Decontamination

To Prevent Reinfection Or Transmission To Other Animals And Humans, It Is Crucial To Decontaminate The Living Environment. This Includes Thorough Cleaning Of Bedding, Grooming Tools, And Any Surfaces Or Objects That May Have Come Into Contact With The Infected Dog. Vacuuming, Washing With Appropriate Disinfectants, And Ensuring Proper Ventilation Can Help Eliminate Fungal Spores.

11. Preventing The Spread Of Ringworm

Isolating Infected Dogs

To Prevent The Transmission Of Ringworm, It Is Important To Isolate Infected Dogs From Other Animals. This Helps Minimize The Risk Of Spreading The Infection Within A Household Or To Other Pets. Ensure That Infected Dogs Have Their Own Bedding, Grooming Tools, And Living Space Until They Are Clear Of The Infection.

Proper Hygiene And Sanitation Practices

Practicing Good Hygiene And Sanitation Is Crucial In Preventing The Spread Of Ringworm. Regularly Washing Hands With Soap And Water After Handling The Infected Dog Or Any Materials In Contact With Them Helps Reduce The Risk Of Transmission. Cleaning And Disinfecting The Living Areas, Including Floors, Furniture, And Other Surfaces, Can Further Minimize The Spread Of Fungal Spores.

Treating All Affected Animals

If Multiple Pets In A Household Are Affected By Ringworm, It Is Important To Treat All Of Them Simultaneously. Even If Some Pets Are Not Showing Symptoms, They May Still Carry And Spread The Infection. Treating All Affected Animals Helps Prevent Reinfection And Stops The Transmission Cycle.

Disinfecting The Living Environment

In Addition To Personal Hygiene, Thorough Disinfection Of The Living Environment Is Essential. Fungal Spores Can Survive In The Environment, Making Recontamination A Risk. Regularly Cleaning And Disinfecting The Areas Where The Infected Dog Spends Time, Including Floors, Furniture, And Other Surfaces, Helps Reduce The Environmental Burden Of The Fungus.

12. Living With A Dog With Ringworm

Managing The Emotional Impact

Living With A Dog With Ringworm Can Be Emotionally Challenging For Both The Pet Owner And The Dog. It Is Important To Remain Calm And Patient During The Treatment Process. Providing Reassurance And Comfort To Your Dog Can Help Alleviate Their Stress And Anxiety.

Tips For Minimizing The Risk Of Transmission

To Minimize The Risk Of Transmitting Ringworm To Other Pets Or Family Members, Follow Proper Hygiene Practices. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly After Handling The Infected Dog, And Avoid Sharing Bedding Or Grooming Tools Between Pets. Keep The Infected Dog’s Living Area Clean And Separate From Other Pets Until They Have Recovered.

Supporting The Healing Process

Supporting The Healing Process Involves Following The Prescribed Treatment Regimen And Ensuring That The Infected Dog Receives A Balanced And Nutritious Diet. Proper Nutrition Helps Support The Dog’s Immune System, Aiding In The Recovery From Ringworm. Additionally, Providing A Comfortable And Stress-free Environment Can Promote Faster Healing.

Regular Follow-up With A Veterinarian

Regular Follow-up Appointments With A Veterinarian Are Crucial When Living With A Dog With Ringworm. These Visits Allow The Vet To Monitor The Dog’s Progress, Adjust The Treatment If Necessary, And Address Any Concerns Or Questions. Following The Veterinarian’s Guidance Ensures The Best Possible Outcome For The Infected Dog.


Recognizing The Visual Signs And Symptoms Of Ringworm On Dogs Is Crucial For Early Detection And Treatment. Identifying Circular Patches Of Hair Loss, Red Or Scaly Skin, Raised Lesions, And Other Visual Indicators Helps Pet Owners Seek Timely Veterinary Assistance. Understanding The Variations In Appearance, Common Mistakes In Identification, And Diagnostic Methods Allows For Accurate Diagnosis And Appropriate Treatment. By Implementing Preventive Measures, Such As Proper Hygiene, Environmental Decontamination, And Isolating Infected Dogs, We Can Minimize The Spread Of Ringworm. Remember To Support Your Dog’s Healing Process And Maintain Regular Follow-up With A Veterinarian For The Best Outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ringworm On Dogs(FAQ)

Can Humans Get Ringworm From Dogs?

Yes, Humans Can Contract Ringworm From Infected Dogs. Direct Contact With An Infected Dog’s Skin Or Hair, Or Contact With Contaminated Objects Or Surfaces, Can Lead To Human Infection. It Is Important To Practice Good Hygiene And Seek Medical Attention If You Suspect You Have Been Exposed To Ringworm.

How Long Does It Take For Ringworm To Clear Up?

The Duration Of Ringworm Treatment Varies Depending On The Severity Of The Infection And The Chosen Treatment Approach. Mild Cases Of Ringworm Can Clear Up Within A Few Weeks, While More Severe Cases May Require Several Months Of Treatment. Regular Veterinary Follow-up Is Essential To Monitor The Progress And Adjust The Treatment Duration If Needed.

Can Dogs With Ringworm Go Outside?

During The Treatment Period, It Is Generally Recommended To Restrict The Outdoor Activities Of Dogs With Ringworm. This Helps Minimize The Risk Of Spreading The Infection To Other Animals Or Environmental Surfaces. Consult With Your Veterinarian For Specific Guidance Regarding Outdoor Access For Your Infected Dog.

Is Ringworm Preventable?

While It Is Not Always Possible To Prevent Ringworm Entirely, Certain Measures Can Reduce The Risk Of Infection. These Include Maintaining Good Hygiene And Sanitation Practices, Avoiding Contact With Infected Animals Or Contaminated Objects, And Regularly Monitoring Your Dog’s Skin And Coat For Any Signs Of Infection. Prompt Diagnosis And Treatment Are Key To Preventing The Spread Of Ringworm.

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