Ringworm is a fungus that can affect both humans and dogs. Symptoms of ringworm in dogs include a patch of fur loss, with red, crusty, dry, itchy skin that may have some degree of inflammation. Ringworm can start out as a small lesion and spread to the surrounding skin or other parts of the dog's body or to other pets or human family members. Ringworm is very contagious, and it requires prompt treatment to prevent it from spreading.
Get a diagnosis of ringworm from your veterinarian. Similar skin problems in dogs, such as skin parasites, skin allergies or yeast infections, can take on a similar appearance with similar symptoms. A veterinarian must diagnose ringworm before treatment can begin.
Give the dog the prescribed medications for ringworm. Depending on the severity of the dog's ringworm, the veterinarian will prescribe either oral medication and/or medicated ointment/cream. Give the proper dosage at the proper intervals.
Give the dog a bath using medicated shampoo. The veterinarian's office can supply you with an antifungal medicated shampoo. The fungus spores can live in the dog's fur, making it difficult to eradicate ringworm, particularly in more serious cases. So a medicated shampoo is recommended twice a week for 2 consecutive weeks. The first shampoo should be performed when the dog is started on prescription medication. Most medicated shampoos will need to be left on the dog's skin for about 10 minutes to be effective.
Launder all bedding, dog toys, blankets, dog clothes, collars and other items that the dog has contacted directly. Use a color-safe bleach and detergent to remove fungus spores from the dog's environment. This should be done on the same day that treatment is started and again as the treatment ends, usually 7 to 10 days later.
For severe cases of ringworm, vacuum all carpets in the home on the same day that treatment begins, to remove fungus spores from the environment. If using a vacuum with bags, dispose of the bag at the end of the cleaning. If using a vacuum with a collection bin, empty the contents of the bin in an outdoor trash can and use bleach to disinfect the collection bin.
For severe cases of ringworm, steam clean any furniture items or areas of carpet where the dog sits on a frequent basis. Steam clean the furniture items and carpet on the day that treatment begins and then again at the end of the treatment period (when the round of prescription medication is complete).