Why are there black scabs on my dog?

While petting your dog, you come across a rough patch on their skin and upon closer inspection, you notice the presence of black scabs.

As a concerned pet owner, you may be anxious and uncertain about the appropriate course of action to take when you notice black scabs on your dog. It is natural to wonder if this is a cause for concern and whether your furry friend requires professional veterinary attention. Additionally, you may be curious about the underlying causes of these black scabs.

Why are there black scabs on my dog?

Black scabs on your dog can be caused by various factors. These scabs form as a result of scratches, lesions, or wounds on the skin of your furry friend. The purpose of scab formation is to safeguard the wound against dirt and bacteria.

Anything that results in damage to your dog’s skin can lead to the formation of black scabs. Nevertheless, some causes are more prevalent than others.

Why Black Scabs Occur

Initially, it is essential to understand the reason behind the formation of scabs. Whenever there is a cut or wound on the skin, platelets immediately move towards that area and form a clot to prevent further bleeding. Once these platelets dry out, they create a black scab.

If the scab appears black, it indicates that it has been present for a few days or more, as it initially appears reddish-brown and gradually darkens over time.

Scrapes or Cuts 

The most apparent cause of a scab on your dog is a cut or scrape, which can happen anywhere on their body, but are frequently found on the back. A scrape can be caused by various things such as a sharp object like a fence or branch, or even from fighting with another animal.


Parasites such as fleas can result in the formation of black scabs on your dog, which can be easily recognized by spotting tiny black fleas on your pet.

Another way to detect fleas on your dog is by checking for black scabs, which may be flea dirt. To do this, gather some of the black scabs onto a napkin and wet it slightly. If it turns red, then it’s likely that your dog has fleas.

Fleas can create small sores on your dog’s skin by biting them, which can lead to scabs if they scratch the affected area.

Black scabs on dogs can be caused by flea bites, which may result in a rash or broken skin with spots that lead to the formation of these scabs.

Why do dogs want to lick your cuts, scabs, or wounds?

Mites or Sarcoptic Mange

Mites can consume your dog’s skin and are scientifically called sarcoptes scabiei, but they are commonly known as a mite infestation or sarcoptic mange.

Black scabs can develop on the skin of various mammals, including humans, due to mites that burrow into the skin and cause inflammation and irritation leading to scab formation.

Mites tend to favor hairless areas, which is why the sores are frequently observed near the face, ears, and neck; nevertheless, they may also appear on the dog’s back.


Dogs, like humans, can develop black scabs due to allergies, which may be caused by food or environmental factors. Common food allergens for dogs include dairy, beef, chicken, and gluten, which are present in many dog foods.

Usually, gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea are caused by food allergies. Nevertheless, they can also result in a rash that causes scabs.

Environmental allergens such as dust, grass, and pollen can lead to the development of scabs and an allergic rash.

Skin Infections 

Skin infections can lead to the formation of black scabs on your dog’s skin, which may be caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection that can be either primary or secondary.

If the wound is caused by the infection, it is considered a primary infection, but more often than not, secondary infections occur when your dog experiences broken skin due to other reasons such as allergies or scratches.

When a dog’s skin is broken, it creates an opening for bacteria or viruses to enter, leading to a secondary infection since the sore was not caused by the infection itself.

Superficial bacterial folliculitis is a prevalent infection that can result in the formation of black scabs, and it affects the uppermost layer of the hair follicle.

Scabs, hyperpigmentation, and hair loss are among the symptoms of folliculitis, which is usually caused by an underlying condition that can affect the presentation of symptoms.


It is plausible that the black scabs on your dog may not be scabs at all, as hyperpigmentation can result in the darkening and thickening of the dog’s skin, which can cause hair loss and rough patches of thickened skin.

It may appear as scabs, but upon closer inspection, it is actually thickened skin caused by hyperpigmentation.

Is it normal for dogs to have black scabs?

No, it is abnormal for a dog to have black scabs. Fortunately, this usually does not indicate a fatal illness, but it does suggest that there is an issue with your furry friend.

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How do you treat black scabs on a dog?

The presence of black scabs on your dog can have various causes, and while some may be treated at home, others require veterinary attention.

Home Treatment for Scabs

If you are looking to provide treatment for your dog at home or seeking ways to comfort them until you can visit the veterinarian, there are some options available.

To address the black scabs on your dog, start by cleansing them with warm water. You may either pour warm water directly over the scab or use a warm compress to make it more pliable.

Using antibacterial soap or wound wash can be beneficial in getting rid of any dirt or debris from the affected area on your dog’s skin, which may have caused the black scabs.

Afterward, you have the option to administer ointment on the black scab. Vitamin E is a viable choice as it promotes skin recovery. Additionally, antibiotic cream can be utilized to manage or avoid infection.

Black scabs on dogs can be treated with Vaseline, as it helps to soothe itching and promote healing by providing moisture and creating a barrier that reduces the risk of infection, according to many dog owners.

Applying coconut oil to the black scab after cleaning it can aid in moisturizing and promoting healing.

Get a Checkup 

If your dog has black scabs, it is advisable to take them to the vet for evaluation. While some causes of scabs can be treated at home, such as flea infestations and minor scratches that are not infected, other causes require professional assessment.

Flea Treatment 

If your dog is infested with fleas, it is necessary to administer flea medication. A common method of treatment is the use of spot flea treatments, which are applied once a month on the shoulder area of your furry friend.

Black scabs on your dog can be treated with flea medications that start working in a few hours and can eliminate fleas. However, prescription from a veterinarian is necessary for oral flea medications to be effective.

Flea dips and shampoos may provide assistance, but they are not a permanent solution as they can only eliminate existing fleas on your dog without preventing their reappearance in the future.

As well as taking care of your dog, it is important to address the issue in your home by using flea sprays or powders on upholstery and carpet, and vacuuming regularly to eliminate fleas.

Bedding, whether it belongs to you or your dog, needs to be cleaned after flea treatment.

Why is my dog’s skin pink?

Scrapes and Scratches 

If your dog has a black scab caused by a wound, you can manage it at home by following the aforementioned instructions to alleviate any discomfort and maintain proper hygiene.

If you notice any indications of infection such as redness, swelling, pus, and heat, it is necessary to seek veterinary attention.


If you think that your dog’s black scabs are caused by allergies, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian as there are numerous possible allergens that could impact your furry friend.

If your dog has black scabs, the first step is to have allergy tests performed by a vet. An elimination diet may also be recommended, which involves removing common allergens from their diet. In case of food allergies, your furry friend may require hypoallergenic food.

If your dog has black scabs, your veterinarian may recommend an oral allergy medication or a topical cream to assist in controlling their allergies.


If your dog has black scabs on their skin, it is likely caused by mites or mange which typically necessitate veterinary treatment. A veterinarian can diagnose the presence of mites and prescribe a cream to eliminate them.

If there is a secondary skin infection, the veterinarian may recommend an antibiotic as part of the treatment.


If your dog has a skin infection, the veterinarian may prescribe a combination of oral antibiotics and topical cream. It is important to adhere to the instructions provided by the vet and continue treatment for the duration recommended.

Discontinuing treatment when your dog starts to recover can lead to the recurrence of the infection.

Should I take my dog to a vet if there are black scabs?

Generally, it is advisable to have your dog examined by a veterinarian for two reasons. Firstly, identifying the cause of the scabs can be challenging, and a vet will conduct a physical examination, inquire about your dog’s medical history, and perform skin tests to determine the root cause.

Visiting a vet is necessary for treating some causes of black scabs, even if you have identified the cause correctly.

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

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[Wikipedia] [Encyclopedia Britannica] [National Geographic] [cdc.gov] [Purina]

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