Sporadically, your dog may allow things to get under or on her skin, resulting in a nasty dermatological eruption -- or rash. Some rashes respond to home remedies, while others require veterinary care. Knowing one rash from another can help you avoid a rash move and properly treat the problem.
Allergy and Irritant Rashes
Redness and swelling and bumps -- oh my! This is what you might expect to see if your baby girl is allergic to something she inhaled or ate like mold, dust or that generic kibble your cheap husband picked up from the mini-mart. The rash may also be due to an irritant she came into contact with like poison ivy or road salt. These allergy and irritant rashes look alike and tend to erupt in the same awkward regions like the scrotum, abdomen, toes and anus. Common treatment for allergy and irritant rashes would include the elimination of the offending substance, a warm bath with her favorite hypoallergenic shampoo and making environment adjustments to avoid allergens and irritants (perhaps a brief respite in Hot Springs).
Yeast and Fungal Rashes
Infectious rashes resulting from canine fungal yeast infections and ringworm are rashes of a different color. They are unpleasant and they will require a visit to your veterinarian. Yeast infections will cause your Muffin's tender skin to break out in irritable shades of red, accented by swaths of unattractive scales. She will scratch incessantly and she will stink. If your girl has contracted ringworm, you may expect to see a nasty flare-up of bright, round red patches with pale centers on the surface of her skin, causing her to bite and scratch the afflicted areas in a most unladylike fashion. These infectious rashes can be overcome with prescribed medicated shampoos, oral anti-fungal drugs and positive changes in her social relationships.
Infestations of mites, fleas and ticks are the cause of parasitic skin rashes that often affect dogs -- especially if they run around without practicing responsible flea control. Common signs include small red raised bumps on the base of the tail and along the outside of the back legs, and self-induced hair loss. If your Muffy falls victim to a parasitic infestation, a veterinarian-prescribed flea shampoo, topical spray and new prescription dose should put her back on track.
In rare cases, dogs dealing with boredom, separation anxiety or confinement may lick, scratch or chew themselves to find relief, creating what is referred to as neurogenic rashes. The afflicted dog persists in chewing and scratching the rash area and never allows the skin to heal, often leading to infection or permanent skin damage. Spending consistent quality play time with your pet, while offering her stimulating chew toys and access to safe, unconfined space should prevent this type of harmful behavior from ever happening. However, if you even suspect your dog is suffering in this manner, a dermatologist and a behaviorist should be called in immediately.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.