DogsCatsFish & AquariumsReptiles & AmphibiansRodentsRabbitsExotic PetsBirdsFarm Animals as Pets

Dog Skin Rashes: Causes and Cures

Updated on May 4, 2014
Dogs may lick and bite at itchy skin.
Dogs may lick and bite at itchy skin. | Source

Just like people, dogs need good skin care too. Some dogs never have many skin problems and some deal with issues all their lives. If your dog is biting and scratching his skin, here are some common reasons for rash-like bumps on the skin and ways to treat them.

Dogs are most likely to have a skin rash from:

  • Fleas or other bug bites

  • Food Allergies/Sensitivities

  • Allergies (like hayfever)

  • Contact Allergies

Fleas

Even with regular baths and treatments, some dogs may still get fleas. They can be especially pesky in warmer areas of the country or in places where the winter was especially mild.

The best flea products are available at your vet’s office or at better pet supply stores. Products such as Advantage and Revolution are more likely to work and keep working.

Some products even allow you to re-treat more often than once a month if there is an infestation.

Before you look for other causes, rule out fleas. You can bathe your pet and look for fleas in the bathwater or use a flea comb to search for the bugs and eggs.

Sometimes dogs can develop food allergies
Sometimes dogs can develop food allergies | Source

Food Allergies

Food allergies can also cause itchiness and rashes that are generalized and irritating. You may also notice other symptoms such as loose bowel movements or stomach distress. If you suspect food allergies a consultation with your vet may be the best route to take.

It doesn’t hurt to try, in the meantime, adjusting your pet’s food. Look for foods that are premium and high quality or ones that specifically say for sensitive stomachs. Foods that say “limited ingredients” are the best to start with.

A common culprit of food allergies in pets is corn which is often used as a filler in dry dog food. You can also try making your own food for your dog. There are many homemade dog food recipes on the web but the practice is controversial among some vets. If you do decide to do this, make sure you research your dog’s nutritional needs carefully.

Dog With Food Allergy and Itchy Skin

Allergies (Hayfever)

Pets can have allergies too. If your pet has inhaled allergies you may notice other signs along with the itching and rash such as sneezing and watery eyes.

If you suspect that your pet may be allergic to irritants in the air you can check the pollen index through a website like weather.com. If pollen is high and your pet is exhibiting these symptoms and is itchy, he may have hay fever.

Your vet can prescribe antihistamines for your pet. Most dogs can tolerate over the counter medicines that have the active ingredient of Benadryl. According to 1800Petmeds.com, dogs can take .5 to 2 mg of Diphenhydramine for every pound they weigh. Doses should be given every eight hours.

You can always run your dog by the vet’s office for a quick weigh-in (something most vets will do for free).

Contact Allergies

Your dog’s rash could also be caused by something he’s come in contact with. Dogs can and do get poison ivy and poison oak. So if your dog has been outside or in the woods, the rash may be from a plant irritant.

But if that is not the culprit, check your own laundry room and cleaning supplies. Did you switch to a new carpet cleanser? Is the laundry detergent that you use full of perfumes?

Washing a dog with medicated shampoo may give him some relief
Washing a dog with medicated shampoo may give him some relief | Source

Sometimes dogs, just like people, can’t handle dyes and perfumes. If your dog has a contact allergy caused by detergent, for example, his rash may be more on his belly where his blanket or bedding has been touching or where he has been laying on a rug or carpet.

Switching to non-perfumed, sensitive skin detergents and cleansers may give your dog relief.

Shampoo Allergies

Shampoos can also cause contact allergies. If you suspect that your dog's shampoo or grooming rituals are causing the issues, you’ll need to switch products. Ask your groomer to use a sensitive skin shampoo and to hold off on the perfumed powder and products.

If you groom your dog at home, try an unscented pet shampoo or one that is medicated. Medicated shampoos often provide itch relief right away for your pet as you work to get the other factors under control.

Hot Spots

Hot spots is simply a broad term for any red, irritated spot on your dog’s skin. It can be caused by any of the above conditions. Hot spots can also lead to infection. So if your dog's rash becomes inflamed, red, oozing, or is an open sore, you will want to seek vet attention. The site could be infected.

If the Bump is Under the Skin

If the bump is under the skin it could be a growth or lesion that needs to be biopsied. Sometimes even fatty tumors that are benign can irritate the dog and cause him to pick and scratch at it. But since there is a risk of cancer, your vet can check the bumps and tell you what the issue really is.

Pets with itchy skin can feel irritated and restless. It can be frustrating for both owner and dog. If the rash does not show signs of infection, you can try treating it at home. If the rash continues though, seeking veterinary advice and guidance will make your dog happier and healthier.

Do you know why your dog is itching?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 3 weeks ago from Florida

      Have you tried adding an over the counter skin vitamin as well?

    • profile image

      d.spivey 3 weeks ago

      He goes to the vet for a bath every 2 weeks Vet put him on science dry skin food. Still losing hair under carrage.Skin is dry.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 4 weeks ago from Florida

      Keep an eye on it. Could be an allergy. Try a soothing shampoo from a pet store. If it doesn't get better, see a vet.

    • profile image

      Mikayla 4 weeks ago

      My pit bull has a growing red rash near his pelvis but he doesn't seem to notice it. HALP

    • profile image

      Jeanie 8 weeks ago

      My red nose pit has red bumps on her and even the vet cant figure it out.

    • profile image

      Deborah 8 weeks ago

      My dog`s tummy is red with little black bumps I know he is allergy to fleas but I ave used something and no longer has them ,but still has this break out.Please help

    • profile image

      Debbie 2 months ago

      Hi my puppy got these red bumps on his tummy just a few hours ago

    • profile image

      Brooke 3 months ago

      Dogs can not get poison ivy unless they are bald! My vet just told me that! because there hair prevents the oils from getting to the skin therefore your dog can give u poison ivy.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 3 months ago from Florida

      Have you tried a dog skin and coat vitamin. My current dog has that issue and the skin and coat vitamins have made the difference. Also make sure you are using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

    • profile image

      rita leake 3 months ago

      she scratches most of the time and she sweets really bad and smells I bath her and the vet gave me some liquid to put in to water to dapp on her but nothing seems to work its not her food

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 4 months ago from Florida

      Sounds like your dog has allergies. It's best to be seen by a vet to get the exact cause so you'll know how to treat it.

    • profile image

      Liz Swisher 4 months ago

      My doctor just has red spots in between her and her thighs and it seems that she keeps on losing hair everywhere what should I do

    • profile image

      Georgie 5 months ago

      My dog has red skin with red spots and scaly skin. We had her on steroids and that worked but now she is of them and it has come back. It's not heat rash or hot spots it may be a contact allergy but we don't know what from. We spray her with apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. That seems to sooth her but doesn't help the rash. We have a medicated shampoo but that isn't do anything ether.

    • profile image

      isabella bai 5 months ago

      my dog is always going under beds and today i found out that her tummy all the way to her chest was covered in red and there are some red dots. how do we fix this help me i do not understand i think she had it longer but i just found out.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 6 months ago from Florida

      Sounds like an allergy. You could ask your vet about giving her Benadryl before you cut the grass to prevent the rash.

    • profile image

      Teresa 6 months ago

      Every time I cut my grass my dog comes out in a rash on her chest

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 8 months ago from Florida

      My own dog has been battling dry skin and hair loss this winter? Could it be drying, winter conditions? I bought conditioning shampoo and conditioner at the pet supply store. I also bought some chewable tablets with Omega-3 and Fatty acids (pet skin and coat vitamins) at the pet supply store. It has been a week and the flaking has stopped and the hair is growing back in. Try that.

    • profile image

      Abimael 8 months ago

      My Pitt has dry skin with a few scabs. Two spots where he lost a little bit of hair. What do i do? I can't afford a vet right now but I'm willing to try anything.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 9 months ago from Florida

      Sounds like an allergy. She may need to be seen by your vet.

    • profile image

      maria 9 months ago

      my puppy wont eat her food (taste of wild) and now has a rash on her chest and is super sleepy and wants to be held, but she drinks her water alot and has been itching her ears

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 10 months ago from Florida

      Sounds like an allergy. Did he lay in some grass or did he lay on something with a new kind of cleaner on it?

    • profile image

      Rebecca 10 months ago

      My dog has got a terrible rash all over his under carriage it just poppped up

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 10 months ago from Florida

      It sounds like an allergy or even possibly some type of mange. Best to seek a vet's help and some medication as soon as possible.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 10 months ago from Florida

      Hopefully you can get someone to help you carry her to the car and then into the vet's office.

    • profile image

      blas 11 months ago

      My dog has rash all over her body what can I do.

    • profile image

      Sara 11 months ago

      I want my dog to go to the vet but she won't move

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 11 months ago from Florida

      Make sure that they are rinsed well. You might try a skin soothing shampoo or medicated shampoo if it continues. Watch for infection and take to the vet for antibiotics or treatment if they start looking worse.

    • profile image

      rainrutt 11 months ago

      shampoo made my pugs back break out in some bumps not itchy or red. i wont use this shampoo again but what to do to help with the bumps?

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 11 months ago from Florida

      Sounds like it could be allergies. I have a poodle mix that gets this issue. You can ask your vet about Benedryl for a few days. I also wash my dog in a mild baby shampoo when her skin is acting up and this type of shampoo is safe around the eyes. If it keeps up he/she might have an infection and need some antibiotic eye drops from the vets.

    • profile image

      Jessica 12 months ago

      my dog has dry skin around its eyes what do I do

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 13 months ago from Florida

      Benadryl is usually safe for dogs. The dosages are easily found using a search engine. I would recommend having her checked out by a vet as soon as possible.

    • profile image

      Tammy 13 months ago

      My red nose pit is covered in what appears to be hives. The bumps are now covering her back. Can I give her Benadry?

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 14 months ago from Florida

      I would take her to the vet. Could also be worms or a blocked anal sack.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 14 months ago from Florida

      I would definitely recommend going to a vet to have him checked out and treated properly.

    • profile image

      Jazzmine 14 months ago

      My dog has a rash on his right hind leg, where the tarsus bone is. He keeps scratching it with his teeth. It's been there for a while, do i find lotion for him or just take him to the vet?

    • profile image

      Anna 14 months ago

      My dog lola is a pug she had a tick 2 days ago and now has red splotches on her butt tail and all over her belly and wont stop scooting what could be the issue

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 18 months ago from Florida

      It sounds like he needs to go to the vet. He may need antibiotics.

    • profile image

      james 18 months ago

      can some one help my pitbull axle has red spots around his iner legs and he gets mad when you try to touch it what do i do ?

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 2 years ago from Florida

      You definitely should get her looked at by a vet. Sounds like it might be a heat rash of some type. Check your pet store for type of soothing shampoos or creams that are safe for dogs.

    • profile image

      Stacy 2 years ago

      My dog gets a really bad rash on her upper hind legs right where they meet her belly, she only gets it when she runs or does any physical activity , what can i do for her? It is very painful for her and looks really bad.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 3 years ago from Florida

      Sounds like she might have gotten into fleas, mosquitoes or even some kind of irritant like poison ivy. You may want to have your vet look at it.

    • profile image

      sheena koon 3 years ago

      My dog went into the woods and came out with bumps all over her body