Is your dog scratching or biting his stomach? Is it red and bumpy? Here’s what could be causing that uncomfortable stomach rash!
You are on the couch gently scratching your dog’s stomach when suddenly you realize your pooch has a rash. It looks like red bumps or acne-like lesions. Oh oh ! What caused it and how can you treat it?
Most abdominal rashes in dogs are caused by:
- Allergic or contact dermatitis
- Bacterial or fungal infection
- Parasites like fleas, mites or ticks
- Heat buttons
Any of these can cause scratching, licking, excessive biting, or other symptoms such as pain, tenderness, sneezing, tearing, hair loss, diarrhea, or vomiting. Let’s break down the possibilities to help you figure out exactly what’s going on.
Allergic or contact dermatitis
Your dog may have eaten or inhaled something like mold or pollen, or come in contact with poison ivy, fertilizer, road salt, hay, or other irritants. If allergies are the cause, the easiest solution is to avoid the allergen. Stay away from these irritants when walking your dog in your neighborhood or playing with him in your backyard. You can also take regular preventative measures such as vacuuming frequently, changing their diet, or giving them a regular bath with a hypoallergenic medicated shampoo.
Bacterial or fungal infections
Sometimes the cause of a dog’s rash is a bacterial, fungal, or yeast infection. These start as a result of a cut or scrape or excess moisture or other trauma to the skin. Ringworm is a fungal infection that manifests as crusty, red circular lesions. Be extremely careful with ringworm – it is very contagious and can be passed to you and your other pets!
Impetigo is a bacterial infection that can look like small pus-filled bumps on your dog’s stomach and typically affects puppies rather than older dogs. If your puppy has a rash on his stomach, it could be a staph bacteria that is causing patches of infection to appear in the hairless parts of the stomach. It can be extremely painful and contagious. To reduce it, apply chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, benzoyl peroxide twice a day or an antiseptic and antifungal product such as Banixx Pet Care.
Fleas, mites and ticks
Flea, mite, or tick bites can be another cause of your puppy’s tummy rash. Flea saliva is a particularly potent cause of allergic reactions in dogs – resulting in everything from itchy red bumps to hot spots and hair loss. Controlling those pesky fleas is your number one priority if you want to avoid discomfort. If your dog is not treated for fleas, he will settle in your home and end up biting you too! A wide variety of anti-flea shampoos and topical or systemic treatments are available from your veterinarian. If the bites are caused by mites, you might be dealing with a case of mange, which can cause a rash on your dog’s skin, including the stomach and groin. Your vet will need to prescribe an antiparasitic medication to kill the mites. Mites can be contagious, so act quickly to determine what type of mites are involved. Either way, don’t forget to wash your dog’s litter box with a mild bleach solution and rinse with clean water.
As with impetigo, heat rash is caused by the staph bacteria and breaks out in hot, humid weather. It looks like red spots on your dog’s belly. It can appear on the back, skin folds, under the tail, neck, and near its ears. The rash begins as a skin irritation that causes your dog to scratch a lot and can progress to boils, pimples, scabs, and an unpleasant odor. Cool down your dog by applying cold compresses or ice packs to the area for about 10 minutes several times a day until the condition improves.
Whatever the cause of your dog’s red, itchy rash, take immediate steps to treat it by consulting your veterinarian and using safe and effective products which help relieve and resolve the rash quickly and help your dog (and you) feel better.