First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What is Skin Rash?

A skin rash can be painful, itchy and very uncomfortable.  Many skin conditions can quickly progress. The most common reason for skin rashes in dogs is allergies. Allergies may be caused by your dog’s diet, by the environment (air-borne) and by parasites. A few flea bites on a dog that is allergic to flea saliva can trigger itching and scratching for weeks.  A flea bite allergy is also known as flea allergy dermatitis.

The most common food allergies in dogs are beef, dairy, chicken, corn, wheat, soy and yeast. A dog with a skin rash may also be reacting due to an allergy to the preservatives, dyes and fillers in his diet. Any dog can develop allergies. There are some breeds that are more prone to develop food and airborne allergies such as the Maltese, German Shepherd, Bull Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, American Hairless Terrier, Lhasa Apso, American Pit Bull Terrier, Golden Retriever and the English Bulldog.

Parasites not only cause skin rashes, they can rob your dog of nutrients. A heavy infestation of fleas, mites and ticks can also cause your dog to become anemic.

Dogs that have a skin rash should be seen by a veterinarian.  The veterinarian will be able to diagnose and treat the underlying reason for the skin rash.

Skin conditions are a very common health problem in dogs.   A skin rash in dogs can be caused by an underlying condition such as allergies, heat, bacterial infections and parasites.

Book First Walk Free!

Symptoms of Skin Rash in Dogs

Symptoms may include:

  • Pimple-like pustules on the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Ulcerated skin
  • Bleeding
  • Red and inflamed skin
  • Swelling
  • Sneezing
  • Itchiness
  • Skin flaking
  • Weeping skin
  • Constant licking, biting and chewing
  • Scabs and crusty skin
  • Strong bad odor
  • Depression
  • Secondary skin infection

Causes of Skin Rash in Dogs

Skin rashes in dogs may be caused by:

  • Parasites such as fleas, ticks and mites can cause skin rashes in dogs; many dogs are allergic to the saliva of fleas 
  • Ticks not only irritate the dog’s skin, they can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever; ticks can also transmit these diseases to humans
  • The mite Demodex canis is the cause of demodex mange; demodex canis lives on the dog’s hair follicles
  • Sarcoptic canine mange is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite burrowing into the dog’s skin. 
  • Food allergies are responsible for 20% of itching in dogs
  • Environmental allergies such as grass, dust, mold, second hand smoke, insecticides and cleaning chemicals can cause your pet to itch and develop a rash
  • Heat rash is caused by the combination of the staphylococcus bacteria and hot, humid weather; dogs with a thick coat are more susceptible to heat rashes
  • Hot spots are also referred to as acute moist dermatitis. Hot spots can spread rapidly and a secondary staph infection can cause the skin to have open sores with pus

Diagnosis of Skin Rash in Dogs

The veterinarian will want to go over your companion’s medical history.  He will want to know when the skin rash started and if you have noticed any other symptoms. The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and may recommend a complete blood count (CBC).  A complete blood count can help determine if the dog has a bacterial infection or if he is anemic. A skin scrape or biopsy may be taken to be analyzed under a microscope. This can indicate the presence of parasites or secondary infections to the rash, like fungal yeast.

Treatment of Skin Rash in Dogs

Mange is usually treated with dips and medicated shampoo.  Fleas and ticks are treated with a topical product and followed by regular application moving forward, of a parasite preventative medication. If your dog was diagnosed with parasites, the home and yard may need to be professionally fumigated.  Your dog’s bedding and toys should be washed in hot water.  

Dogs diagnosed with food allergies may need to have a dietary elimination trial.  An elimination diet, under the guidance of your veterinarian, can help determine what foods your dog is allergic to. Once a food sensitivity is identified, the rash caused by the reaction should begin to clear. Ointments to soothe the skin can be prescribed.

The veterinarian may recommend you take your dog to a veterinary allergy specialist.  The allergist may recommend blood allergy testing and intradermal allergy testing to narrow down the environmental allergens.  In some cases, daily allergy shots can eliminate the reaction.

Heat rashes may be treated with calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Dogs with hot spots may be prescribed antibiotics and a short course of corticosteroids. The hair around hot spots must be clipped away and topical medications will be prescribed.

Dogs with skin rashes may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications. If the dog has a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. The veterinarian could suggest Benadryl to help stop the itching.

Recovery of Skin Rash in Dogs

Your dog will need follow up visits to help monitor his progress. Most dogs recover from skin rashes once the underlying condition is diagnosed and treated. However, even though a rash appears to be healed, the medication prescribed must be completed in full. The rash and itching may return otherwise.

Skin Rash Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Rondo
Golden Labrador
6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Licking

My dog has a very red rash on his upper arm. He’s been liking it non stop for weeks now but I never saw anything. Today he came in limping and crying and his rash looks really red and swollen. I’m taking him to the vet tomorrow, but what do you think it might be ? He’s also barely eating and seems down.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1406 Recommendations
There are many causes for what might be happening with Rondo, including infection, a fungus, a parasite, or cancer of some type. Unfortunately, I can't tell without seeing him, but when you see a veterinarian, they'll be able to look at his skin and determine more what might be going on with him. I hope that everything goes well.

Add a comment to Rondo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Espresso
Mix
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Licking at the area, Bright Red
Licking at the area
Bright red
Licking

My dog seems to have a rash that is on both of his inner thighs and on his stomach the only thing I am very worried about is his health but I don't know how much it will cost if it will be hundreds. His rash has seemed to grow and is now a bright red. His rash does not have any "blisters" or "pimples" the rash is smooth but red.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
The rash may be caused by allergies, chemical irritation, parasites, infections among other causes; the specific cause would determine the treatment and the total cost, generally an initial consultation with a Veterinarian is $50 to $90 depending on your location and practice with any treatment being extra. You should place a cone on Espresso to stop him licking since more licking causes more irritation which leads to more licking, after you should bathe the affected area with a dilute antiseptic twice daily; once you have visited a Veterinarian, any medications prescribed may be given. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Espresso's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Athena
Pitbull/Yellow Lab mix
a year and 9 months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Itching

My puppy has a rash under both her armpits, I'm not sure if it's because of her harness or something else. I know that she has sensitive skin and a sensitive stomach. The skin is red and irritated. She's been itching a bit more than usual and has even scratched some areas raw.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
If the rash under the armpit is where the harness sits (I generally dislike harnesses especially in large breed dogs), you should change to a regular collar and bathe the affected areas with a dilute antiseptic and look for any improvement as a topical ointment may be required. Other causes may be due to allergies, fungal infections, self trauma among other causes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Athena's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Bronx
Bulldog
8 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Fatigue
Rash and hair loss

Medication Used

No medications were prescribed

Circular, with multiple bite sites

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations

Your question is vague; are the bite sites from the dog or from fleas etc...? A rash may be caused by an allergy (the dog will bite the affected area and pull out the hair) which may also cause diarrhoea; have you given any new food, treats or anything else to Bronx? Also using new detergents may cause a skin reaction in a dog. If the hair loss is significant and Bronx is biting at himself, it would be best to visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Bronx's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Pixel
Blue Heeler Border Collie
5 Months
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Rash
scratching
Biting

My puppy Pixel is now about 5 months old and around 35 pounds. For the past few weeks hes been dealing with severe biting and scratching with noticeable hair loss and multiple spots where hes bit or scratched too hard. The cause could be to do with fleas, which I'm aware he has and have tried multiple things to get rid of them aka flea baths, oatmeal baths, fleas collar, etc. I'm finally bombing my house to get ride of them all and need to find the best method of removing them from him in the mean time, as well as something to prevent or soothe the itching and treat the rash. Any tips or things I should try? I'm on a very low budget I'm only 21 and in school.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
There are plenty of effective flea control products, try to stay away from flea collars and some generic flea control products as they may not be effective or in the case of flea collars there may be other complications. Products like Frontline or K9 Advantix would be suitable for use; call into your Veterinarian’s office to pick some up. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Pixel's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Buddy
Shih Tzu
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

SORENESS
Rash
Itching.

My 7 year old Shih Tzu male has a large red rash under his neck. I first noticed a hard scab a couple of days ago and noticed him itching it a lot. Then the day after it was a weeping bright red sore about the size of a small plum. I’m not sure if he itched the scab off but it looks very sore and weeping a little. I’ve put anticeptic on it but he won’t really let you go anywhere near it as it must be painful. I use a vet prescribed flea treatment (I also have a female Shih Tzu) and can’t see any fleas. He is eating and playing normally. Please help.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
Without examining Buddy I cannot determine the severity of the sore, but you should keep it clean (with a dilute antiseptic) and apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to the area to help prevent secondary infection. But, with a sore this size and the location you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination since systemic antibiotics may be required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Buddy's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Luna
Chihuahua
3 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Yellow Skin
Rash

Hi! My 3-year-old chi weenie developed a red rash under her neck two days ago. I made plans to take her to the vet the next morning, but when I woke up her rash looked like it was completely gone. upon further inspection, it looks like there are still some bumps there, but they are now yellowish in color. We live in a suburban area and she only really comes in contact with my parents dog, which they got a few months back. It seems like she doesn’t even notice the rash and isn’t in pain or itching it.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1406 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If Luna's rash has resolved and continues to improve, you should be fine monitoring for a recurrence. If she is scratching, develops pustules, or the rash continues, you should have her examined by her veterinarian - they will be able to look at the area, see if there is an infection or other condition that requires treatment, and recommend appropriate medications. I hope that everything goes well for Luna.

Add a comment to Luna's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Samantha
Mix
15 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

seepy, crusty, itchy, strong odor,

My boyfriends dog has a horrible rash all over it and pussy, thickened and raised skin, ver flakey and smells like and old dirty sock. He recently gave her a bath and is now covered in a rash that is bright red and blotchy and is itchy and burning. Could this have been contracted from the dog?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
It is difficult to say without examining Samantha whether the rash is caused by a contagious condition or if the rash your if your boyfriend is having an allergy to the shampoo used to bathe her. Since this is a severe rash and it is possible that it may affect people, you should should call your Veterinarian to make an appointment and inform them so that they can take precautions during your visit. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Samantha's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Koda
Labany
1 year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Our Lab has been stumbling recently and he has a strange rash on his neck. They did blood work but nothing showed up. I know humans need a special test for Lyme disease, do dogs.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
Typically dogs will have a characteristic rash (see link below) which will allow a presumptive diagnosis of Lyme Disease to be made; there is no perfect one test to test for Lyme Disease in dogs, but PCR of a sample from an affected joint is your best best. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://i.pinimg.com/736x/dd/b4/fc/ddb4fc35dd33ab9a3086cba051ac6305.jpg

Add a comment to Koda's experience

Was this experience helpful?

bairav
Labrador Retriever
6 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

scraching of skin
Itching and Licking

my pup is suffered by rashes how to solve thatand what to do now..............................................................................................................

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations

There are various causes for skin rashes including environmental allergies, chemical irritation, food allergies, infections, parasites, juvenile cellulitis among others; you could try bathing Bairav with a sensitive shampoo and giving Benadryl at a dose of 1mg/lb two to three times per day to see if there is any improvement. Some causes like infections, parasites and juvenile cellulitis would need to be seen by your Veterinarian and prescribed medication. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to bairav's experience

Was this experience helpful?

clover
Pit Bullmastiff
1
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

My puo seems to react to the new easy walk leash.the part that wraps around her ribcage has caused rashes on her skin under the armpit. She does not feel itchy though. The rashes look red and the skin uneven.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
Personally I am not a fan of these types of harnesses and prefer collars as you are able to get more control (especially in Pit breeds and other larger dogs), except for when there is a medical reason (tracheal disorders for example). It may be just fitted poorly and is rubbing the skin during the walk, but if there is some skin reaction I would suggest using a different type of harness/collar to see if there is any issue with that one. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to clover's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Badger
Boxer
3 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Rash

my boxer has a rash under neck where his collar is. We took off collar and there is some blood and very dry rough rash skin. Is there a topical over the counter I can put on it? He gets into everything and we are having work done on our home so who knows what he came in contact with.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
At this point, just keep the collar off him and bathe the area twice per day with a dilute antiseptic; you could apply some Neosporin to the area but may have negligible benefit. Also, try to keep Badger from roaming which I know can be difficult; also check the collar for any signs of wear which could have irritated the skin. If you don’t see any improvement over the next few days you should have your Veterinarian take a look. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Badger's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Teddy
Pomeranian
10 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Skin rashes and wounds

My dog is around 10 years of old , from the last 4 days it's skin has rashes on its body , when it locks on the rashes getting smell , dog became some lazy , the rashes become wounds in some areas .

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1406 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Teddy should be seen by your veterinarian to determine what is causing the rash. They will be able to diagnose the problem and get him appropriate treatment.

Add a comment to Teddy's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Luna
Chihuahua
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Rash, chewing, biting, and scratchi
Rash, chewing, biting, ascratching

My 2 year old chihuahua Luna has a rash all over her body. It is really bad on her stomach and butt. She is constantly scratching, biting, and chewing on herself.some of her skin is real rough and she has sores behind her ears that are really rough when looking at it.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1406 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. There are many reasons that Luna may be having this problem, including bacterial or fungal infection, parasites, allergies, or a combination of those. It would be best to have her examined by a veterinarian, as they will be able to look at her, determine what might be going on, and recommend any testing or treatments that might be needed.

Dr M. King s a knowledgeable doctor but she never suggests the correct treatment. All her replies suggest to go for 2nd opinion. Writing to her solves any purpose?

Add a comment to Luna's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Yui
Goldador
3 Months
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Severe itching
scratching
Sneezing
Rash
Flakes
Baldness

My dog has rashes on her belly and there are also skin patches on her joints, she’s been scratching like crazy. The vet recommended using hydrogen peroxide on her rashes but it doesn’t seem to work. We have also seen ticks on her, what should I do to treat both conditions?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1406 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. You should make sure that Yui is on good flea control, and there are medications that your vet can prescribe to prevent ticks. If she is reacting to parasites, that may help her - if not, your veterinarian can examine her, decide what is causing the rash, and treat her appropriately. If your veterinarian does not have any suggestions to treat the rash, you may want to consider a second opinion. Puppies can get superficial pyodermas that need to be treated; if you let your vet know that the peroxide did not work, they may be able to suggest something stronger.

Add a comment to Yui's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Site
Shih-Tzu
2 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Continuous fur loss
Hot body temperature
Red patches on skin
Depression

My puppy just ended his Antibacterial medicine and still suffering from itchiness. Is it okay to bathe him with Madre de Cacao soap every day? He will turn two months this January 20, 2018. I was really worried about his condition.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1406 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining Site, I can't recommend any shampoo therapy, but from your description of his condition, he should have a follow up with your veterinarian to rule out parasites such as Demodex or systemic disease. He may need further or different treatment depending on what your veterinarian finds on exam. I hope that he does well!

Add a comment to Site's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Gigi
Pharaoh Hound
6 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Red patches
Itchy

My pup has been itching like crazy. I bathed Her in oatmeal soap tonight because she was spayed 2 weeks ago. I notices A few red patches on her skin the past week, but she wasn’t itching those areas. Tonight after the bath she was laying down and i saw MORE patches. She doesn’t seem to act like they are bothering her, but she tends to scratch other places. It’s making me a bit nervous because i dont Want my baby to be uncomfortable.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
There are various causes of red patches on the skin which may include infections, parasites, hormonal conditions, autoimmune conditions among other causes; if you haven’t applied a flea and tick product to her recently I would recommend that you do so. Bathe Gigi with a medicated shampoo in case of fungal infection and see how she goes; if you don’t see any improvement you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Gigi's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Yui
Goldador
3 Months
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

scratching
Red Bumps
Sneezing
Rash
Flakes
Baldness
Redness
Fleas

My dog has skin rashes on her belly and we have also seen fleas. She has been scratching too much and is already losing hair on her joint areas. My vet recommended using hydrogen peroxide on the belly but it doesn’t seem to work, what shoul I do to treat both conditions? I’ve been using anti flea shanpoo and powder for the past two days. We only got her 3 days ago.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1406 Recommendations
Thank you for your question. Getting rid of the fleas may clear up the rash - your veterinarian can prescribe a good flea control product that also prevents ticks, and if the rash does not improve, they can examine her, and recommend something stronger the peroxide for the rash. I hope that she does well!

Add a comment to Yui's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Curry
Shih Tzu
2 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Itching

My shi tzu is scratching under is neck, and now the skin looks irritated and either a dark drown or red hard to tell because of the color of his fur. He just got a grooming but this never hapoened before.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
It is possible that Curry has got some skin irritation from grooming either from a small cut, irritation from products or picked up a skin infection; you should bathe the area with a dilute antiseptic and visit your Veterinarian for an examination before it gets any worse. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Curry's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Dillion
Vizsla
3 years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

none

My dog has a rash looks kind of like a rug burn maybe, it’s under one of his hind legs in the pit area. I noticed it about two weeks ago and thought I would just keep an eye on before making an appointment with our vet. Anything I could do at home for it?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
You should bathe the area twice daily with dilute chlorhexidine and then apply Neosporin to the area; this should hopefully help; you should also make sure that Dillion doesn’t lick the area so a cone or other way to prevent licking would be good. If you see no improvement over the weekend, you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Dillion's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Bo
Labrador Retriever
7 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Rash
Bald spots

Took my dog in to vet for rash that bled and has red bumps and hair loss where bumps are. Scraped areas and did not find mange on slides. He is 7 months old and this developed after going to dog park. Roundish bumps and bald areas on top of head and right side of muzzle that seem to be spreading slowly...some scratching, but not a lot. What could it be?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1406 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Common causes for skin lesions include bacterial or fungal infections, Demodex, or allergies. Your veterinarian can examine Bo, determine the best medication fo help his skin condition, and help you resolve it for him. I hope that everything goes well for Bo.

Add a comment to Bo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Pearl
black mouth cur
8 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Redness
thick skin

Medication Used

Mycophenolate
Prednisolone

My dog's skin is thickening in certain places. It started around her hips and now is up one side of her back. It's like small patches of thick skin. She's not itchy or is presenting any other symptoms besides thickened skin. It seems to be slightly red in the area where the skin is thick. It almost feels like running your hand over a bunch of soft scabs, or zits, with fur over it.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1406 Recommendations
Thank you for your question. Some possible causes for the changes in Pearls skin are chronic irritation, bacterial or fungal infection, parasites, dietary deficiencies, or a metabolic disease. Since I can't examine her or diagnose anything, it would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian - they'll be able to look at her skin and determine what cause is more likely, and start her on treatment if possible. I hope everything goes well for her!

Add a comment to Pearl's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Cola
Yorkie
5 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Itching

Hi my dog went to the vet on Wednesday and had diarrhea and they gave him an anti-diarrhea medicine and a probiotic, well today i noticed he had a dark red rash under his neck and I’m wondering if he had a reaction to the medicine or what? I called his vet and they weren’t very helpful. Please help!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2992 Recommendations
It is possible that the rash to due to an adverse reaction to the medication prescribed by your Veterinarian or it may be due to another cause like Cola scratching his neck due to another cause (allergies, parasites etc…). Without examining Cola I cannot say what the cause is, you should monitor the rash and if it gets worse you should visit your Veterinarian; also check the product insert of the medication to look for side effects and adverse reactions to see if rash is listed on either product. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Cola's experience

Was this experience helpful?