Whippet Skin Problems: What To Do

Whippets, like most dogs in the sighthound family, have thin and delicate skin. Whippets in particular seem to be more prone than other breeds to developing skin problems such as allergies and infections.

Whippet skin problems can come from a variety of sources including parasites, viruses, bacteria, and fungal infections.

Whippet skin allergies often result from environmental allergens such as pollen or grasses or food ingredients such as beef or pork.

Here is what you need to know about dealing with whippet skin problems:

What Type Of Skin Problems Are Whippets Prone To?

There are lots of different skin problems your whippet may suffer from throughout its lifetime, but I’ve listed the most common below:

Nicks And Tears

As our beloved whippets are sighthounds, this means they hunt by speed and agility. Once they catch the scent of a rabbit, they’ll be off in a flash in hot pursuit with little us owners can do about it.

Sadly, sometimes our whippets may run into fences, poles, trees, and other objects which could leave them with a skin tear or hole.

Whippets are prone to nicks and tears as they may sometimes cut themselves on barbed wire, sharp objects, or glass when playing or out on walks.

Whippets that suffer from nicks and tears typically have dry flaky skin as a result of constant licking and chewing on the wound site.


Whippets are prone to allergies that can affect the skin. Whippets may be allergic to certain foods, pollen, or grasses that can cause rashes or other skin irritations.

If your whippet has an allergy, it will show itself through itching and scratching. There are many different types of skin issues that can affect a Whippet.

Whippets may be affected by allergies which cause them to itch and scratch resulting in hair loss.

Skin Infections

Whippets are particularly prone to two types of skin infections: yeast and bacterial.

Yeast problems typically arise from a diet that is too rich in sugars, which creates a favourable environment for yeasts to grow.

Whippet skin bacteria problems often appear as a rash or cysts that resemble acne. Whippets can be found to be allergic to the same things that bother other dogs, such as fleas, grasses, or pollen.

Whippet skin problems caused by viruses include canine herpesvirus (CHV) and papillomavirus (PV). Symptoms include sneezing, runny eyes, and fever.


Whippet dandruff is usually the result of a diet that is too rich in fatty acids.

Whippet dandruff is generally a dry, flaky skin condition that tends to collect on the shoulders and around the tail base.

Whippets with dandruff tend not to be itchy or uncomfortable.


Whippets are susceptible to an array of different parasites that could potentially cause whippet skin problems. Heartworms are a serious concern for your dog’s health and well-being.

Whippets are at a higher risk of heartworm infestation because they often do not show any obvious signs until the worms start damaging the lining of the heart and nearby vessels.

Heartworms can be prevented by monthly treatments with a medication such as Interceptor or Sentinel which also protects against intestinal parasites.

Fleas And Ticks

Fleas and ticks and be a real annoyance for your whippet, but luckily they are preventable.

There are topical treatments that you can purchase at your local pet store for this purpose.

Whippets with fleas or ticks should be treated with shampoo, as their skin tends to be sensitive to many of the chemicals used in flea collars and dips.

Signs Of Whippet Skin Problems

If you suspect your whippet has any of the above or another skin problem, do not delay in taking him to the vet for treatment.

Whippets are prone to skin conditions, and you must take care of them as soon as possible to avoid worsening or prolonging their severity of symptoms.

Whippet skin problems can be debilitating if they are allowed to progress over a long period of time.

Here are some common signs of a skin problem:

Scratching And Licking Their Fur

Sometimes it is hard to notice as they tend to enjoy licking and scratching at things. If you notice your whippet chewing or scratching more than usual, that is a telltale sign of itching caused by a skin problem.

Flaky Skin

Whippets with skin problems typically have dry, flaky skin that is patchy in areas.

Losing Hair

Whippets can generate an incredible amount of saliva when they start chewing at their fur, so you need to be careful they don’t end up licking and chewing at their skin until it bleeds.

Whippets with skin problems have oily sebum that is secreted by the sebaceous glands which can lead to scaly, smelly coats.

Whippets with skin problems sometimes get secondary infections that can be very hard to clear up. Whippets that are frequently sick or ill may have a compromised immune system.

Chewing At Feet

Whippets will often chew their feet if they’ve got a skin problem.

Whippets with itchy skin often rub their face against the carpet, stick their nose in corners, or scratch behind their ears until they bleed.

You might notice black spots on the Whippet’s fur when this happens.

How To Treat Whippet Skin Problems

When it comes to treating skin problems, thankfully there is a lot your vet can do.

Whippets are typically an easy-going and tolerant breed which makes it easier to treat problems when they do arise.

Some Whippet skin problems will require skin treatment at home but others will require treatment at the vet’s office.

This is largely going to depend on the type of problem your pet has, but typically treatments include corticosteroids, antibiotics, Revolution for pets, medicated shampoos, and anti-fungal medications.

Whippets with skin problems should eat a high-quality diet of real food to promote healthy skin and coat production.

There are several Whippet skin problems that can be prevented by feeding your Whippet a raw diet.

Some skin allergies are caused by the food that your pet eats, and Whippets with skin allergies commonly experience a buildup of yeast in their skin folds.

This means by simply switching your pet’s diet you can avoid some skin problems your pooch is experiencing.

Preventing Whippet Skin Problems

The best cure for most problems is prevention. To prevent skin problems in your whippet it’s important to feed your dog a diet that is high in quality proteins, fat, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Whippets are fast metabolisers of protein, which means that they need to eat more than many other breeds of dogs.

If they’re eating a lot of dog food that they have an allergy to, this is going to cause a lot of complications down the line and you may find yourself at the vets regularly trying to work out what is wrong.

The most common cause for whippet skin allergies is their diet, so you need to make sure that your Whippet is eating food that is right for them.

Whippets with sensitive stomachs also benefit from food containing easily digestible ingredients and minimal fillers, as this will keep their belly happy and healthy.

Sadly, preventing some skin problems such as nicks or tears is largely unpreventable.

However, keeping a close eye on your dog when you’re out on walks and ensuring they don’t run off after animals is important if you don’t want them to become injured.

If you find your pet is constantly returning with skin injured due to running into fences, poles, or barbed wire, then it’s a good idea to keep them on a leash whilst on walks for the foreseeable until you’re confident that they will return to you on command.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, whippet skin problems can be treated in a number of ways.

Whippets are typically healthy dogs, and will only develop minor health issues such as the ones mentioned in this article that can easily be remedied with medication or other treatments.

Whippets do not require much grooming and typically have low exercise needs, but it is important to make sure you know all about your dog’s breed before buying one.

This article has focused on the most common whippet skin problems: hot spots and hair loss.

Other types of skin problems exist for whippets (including ringworm, mange, Demodex, allergies, and yeast infections) but hot spots and hair loss are the most frequent.

Whippet skin problems can be treated in a few different ways: you can clean your dog regularly with medicated shampoo, apply ointments, give him supplements, or give him medication.

Whichever treatment plan you choose will depend on what type of whippet skin problem your dog has developed- no two cases are exactly alike.

Whippets that suffer from hot spots may require more attention than those with other types of skin issues because the affected area is larger than it is for other breeds.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope you’ve learned more about whippet skin problems and how to treat them.

If you’re concerned about a problem you’ve noticed then visiting your vet’s office is the best course of action. They are professionals and will advise and prescribe you and your pet the best.

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