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Ringworm in Dogs – How to Spot, Diagnose and Prevent?

Dogs often develop troublesome ailments, and ringworm infection is one of them. Now you may have a question: what is a ringworm and what does ringworm look like on a dog ? Despite having the word ‘worm’ in its name, it is a fungal infection and does not relate to worms. Ringworm is common in all breeds of dogs all around the globe. Here we will help you with the causes, symptoms, and ways to deal with ringworm in your pet.

How Does a Dog Get Ringworm?

A fungus that is present in soil causes ringworm and is contagious. It can also be caused by coming in contact with an infected animal. The ringworm fungus grows on the skin and in the hair cavities of the host. Ringworm can have many appearances, such as circular patches of dead skin and red rashes. There are chances that how does a dog get ringworm but does not show any symptoms. Ringworm fungus typically affects puppies and elderly dogs more than healthy dogs and is more likely to affect them. Ringworm in puppies can cover their entire face and feet.

What Causes Ringworm in Dogs?

Outdoor lovers, dogs like to roam around freely and play in the dirt. Sometimes they come in contact with some infected sand and then develop ringworm infection in dogs. There are zillions of ringworm fungi in the open, and only one is required to infect your pet. Besides, the reason for the infection could be that your pet might have come in contact with unclean objects like a couch, toy, or bedding.

It can also transmit through another infected cat or dog. The spreading of the fungus ringworm from dog to human is also moderately possible. Hence, people who want to lower their chances of getting afffected with this infection can ensure the wellness of their pet in the outdoor dog houses. Besides, how long does ringworm last in a dog? The fungus can remain active for up to 18 months and usually spreads through the shedding of infected hairs.

What Does Ringworm Look Like On A Dog?

If you have a question what does ringworm look like on a dog? Here it is. Ring worm on dogs mostly appears as crusty covers and sheds hairs around infected areas. Gray and scaly circular patches are the most common type of ringworm that dogs suffer from. Red bruises are also one of the forms that ringworm takes. Ring worms in dogs mainly develops in circular shapes, but if it takes an odd shape, it means that various lesions have joined. 

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Hair loss or broken hair in the infected area is also caused by ringworm. Dogs with long hair are more likely to get infected by the ringworm fungus. The lesions usually appear on the face, chest, ear, and paws; however, they can develop on other sites too. Some dogs develop asymptomatic ringworm.

Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs

After knowing what causes ringworm in dogs it is time to know the signs and symptoms. Ringworm is not lethal but can be painful for your dog, physically and mentally. It is also highly contagious, which makes its treatment a priority. Ringworm can be healed at home by some home remedies but one may need the intervention of a veterinarian if the symptoms are harsh. Basically, it appears as circular patches and usually starts to heal from the center, creating a patchy appearance.

Hairs along the infected area become brittle and fall on immeasurably. Sometimes, the claws get infected, resulting in brittle and rough nails. Other symptoms can be scaling in the affected area, dandruff on the skin, crusting and thickening of the dog, darkening of the affected area, and some dogs also suffer from itchiness.

When to See a Vet?

Taking extra prevention does not harm anyone. So taking your dog immediately to the vet is a better option. The symptoms of ringworm in dogs can be hair loss in a circular area, brittle claws, inflamed skin, and rough patches on the skin. If the dog always seems irritated and you don’t see any symptoms, asymptomatic ringworm can be a cause.

Diagnosis of Ringworm in Dogs

The vet helps in confirming the presence of any infection over some examinations in diagnosis of ringworm in Dogs.

UV Test: It is one of the basic tests that a vet performs to look at your pet’s fur and determine the presence of lesions(if any) on your pet’s skin. Certain types of lesions are only visible under UV lights. 

Inspecting the dog’s fur through a microscope is another way. This is the most reliable test as it helps the doctor to spot the fungus and its spores. However, it takes about 10 days to receive the test results.

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Dog Ring Worm Treatment

How to treat ringworm in dogs? There are different ringworm medicine for dogs for different types. Some dogs will self-heal in the span of 2 to 3 months. If you don’t want to bother your dog by taking it to a vet, there are some ringworm in dogs treatment home remedies that you can try:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties that help cure ringworm. Spread it evenly on the affected area of the dog’s skin and let it dry. 


Turmeric is perfect for antifungal and antibacterial infections and thus becomes the best dog ring worm treatment. Also, it is organic, so there are no side effects. Not only for dogs, but it is helpful for humans too. A paste of turmeric and a small amount of water should be applied directly to the lesions. Let the paste dry and leave it on the skin. 

However, even after trying home remedies, if the infection does not improve, meet a veterinarian, and he will provide better medication.


Ringworm ointment for dogs are the most probable recommendation by a vet to prevent infection. The vet might also suggest trimming down the long hairs and shaving the infected areas to speed up the ring worm treatment for dogs. It can take several months for your dog to be fully cured.

Oral Medication

 It is mostly used in combination with ointments. Tablets with antifungal properties help fight the infection. Like ointments, oral medications can also take several days to show effect.

If your dog has allergies to certain ingredients, notify the vet beforehand.

How to Prevent Ringworm in Dogs?

Prevention of this infection is no big thing. Giving little attention to your pet’s cleanliness is enough.

Some preventions that you can take care are as below:

  • Frequently bathing your dog.
  • The dog’s hair should be trimmed and combed with the best dog grooming brush.
  • Clean all the toys of your dog.
  • Dog’s bedding should be clean.
  • Keeping the surroundings clean in which your dog resides.
  • Regular medical inspections.
  • Don’t allow your dog to come in contact with other infected animals.


Ringworm can be quite a confusing skin condition to deal with. The first time you encounter it, you most likely don’t realize what you’re seeing and might not bother to know what does ringworm look like in a dog. Thus, you may dismiss it as a rash, bug bite, or some other common skin problem. But if you put two and two together whenever your dog gets another ringworm treatment from the veterinarian, then the solution will become apparent those aren’t worms but rather a fungus! So, with this guide you apart from learning the symptoms and home rememdies you can also comprehend how to prevent ringworm in dogs.