A Staphylococcal bacterial infection (or staph infection) is a skin affliction that causes discomfort in dogs. Staphylococcal bacteria are a natural part of a dog's life, but certain triggers--allergies, poor health, stress or a weak immune system--can lead to infection. The symptoms of a staph infection can be similar to other skin diseases, and it is crucial that owners bring an animal to a trained veterinarian if these symptoms persist.
Scratching one particular area is a sign of a possible staph infection. This also includes biting or rubbing with the nose. The area of the infection is inflamed, and as it continues, the scratching will intensify. The dog may scratch the area so frequently the skin breaks, which could lead to a secondary infection.
Red, irritated skin will be noticeable especially along the dog's stomach, face and feet. The skin also may appear crusty, dry and flaky and may appear unusually white. Hard lesions may appear along the underbelly. These areas will spread due to scratching, and a severe rash may develop. As the infection progresses, rapid hair loss will occur due to stress, along with repeated scratching and rubbing of the infected area.
In very advanced stages of a staph infection, the dog may have fluid-filled blisters along its body. These blisters are called pustules or abscesses. The blisters could be filled with a clear fluid or blood. To prevent further infections to open pustules, the animal should be checked by a veterinarian.