Every dog owner wants to see her pooch having a shiny, healthy-looking skin and coat but a rash can steal from that desired look. If you are worried, “my dog has a rash on her belly”, then you have come to the right place. Here we explore the various causes of red rash on dog’s belly along and highlight their common treatment options as well as home remedies. It is time you banished that dog rash on the belly.
Dog Rash on Belly Causes and Treatments
1. Allergic or Contact Dermatitis
Dog rash on belly is often an indication of allergic response to something your dog has eaten or inhaled e.g. mold, pollen. It can also be a manifestation of an irritation of the skin caused by an irritant such as poison ivy, certain detergents, a carpet, road salt, hay, etc.
A rash on dog’s belly due to allergic reactions begin when the dog’s immune system start perceiving an otherwise harmless substance in the environment as dangerous. The body then reacts adversely to such allergens when ingested, inhaled, or come into contact with the skin. This is manifested in various symptoms including:
- Constant scratching and biting; an indication of itchy skin
- Pink or red rash on dog’s belly, paws, chin, and other areas.
- Watery eyes
- Itchy Ears
- Snoring: as a result of throat inflammation
- Paw licking and chewing
- Hair loss: You may also see an allergic dog losing hair in patches after ingesting, inhaling, or coming into contact with an allergen. This is often the result of secondary bacterial or yeast infection.
- Scabs and crusts: Hair loss may be accompanied by scabs or crusts.
Some breeds of dog seem to be at a heightened risk of allergies than others, including Terriers, Retrievers, and Brachycephalic breeds (with characteristic flat-face) such as the pug, bulldog, and Boston terrier. [The anatomy of brachycephalic breeds also makes them prone to overheating].
Treatment of Dog Rash on Belly Due to Contact and Allergic Dermatitis
As is the case with us humans, allergies in dogs cannot be completely cured, but they can be effectively managed. A holistic treatment, with the elimination of the offending allergens and irritants constituting part of the plan, is generally advised as follows:
Start by removing potential allergens and irritants from your dog’s environment if not eliminate the environment itself (say by using physical barrier e.g. a fence). Wash your dog’s beddings once a week. Vacuum the carpet, rugs, and curtains frequently. Bathe your canine friend at least once a week with hypoallergenic shampoo. Your vet may also prescribe a change of diet.
Some allergens and irritants such as pollen cannot be eliminated from the environment completely. Here is where the use of allergy medications suffice. As the most commonly adopted treatment approach, symptomatic therapy encompasses the following:
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines such as Benadryl, Diphenhydramine etc. can be used for relief of itching and thus healing of dog rash on belly due to allergies and contact dermatitis. Antihistamines may however not be beneficial to all pets, especially when used alone. Also, don’t give antihistamine to your dog without consulting with your vet.
- Fatty acid supplements: Some special fatty acids are also often used to relieve itching and inflammation in the skin due to dog allergies. These are typically administered alongside other medications. That is another good reason to use salmon oil for dogs.
- Medicated shampoos: There are as well shampoos formulated to relieve itching and rash on dog’s skin due to allergies and other problems. These can also help to treat secondary bacterial and fungal infections.
- Oatmeal and aloe vera sprays: Dog rash on belly caused by allergies and the related itching and secondary infections can also respond well to treatment with aloe vera and oatmeal sprays.
For a red rash on dog’s belly caused by severe cases of allergic reaction, your veterinarian may recommend injection with small controlled doses of the identified allergen. This is especially true for allergies involving airborne allergens. The “serum” injected into the dog’s skin not only helps to control itching and reduce the appearance of the rash but also build up your dog’s resistance to the offending allergens.
This treatment option takes anywhere between months and years to achieve the desired results.
Lastly, your veterinarian may prescribe the use of immune suppressing corticosteroids (prednisone, dexamethasone, and others), cyclosporine etc. to control the rash and other symptoms of allergic reaction. This treatment option is generally used when other treatment approaches fail to yield results.
2. Flea Bites
Bites from fleas, mites, ticks, chiggers, and other bugs may also be the reason why your puppy or dog keeps getting a red rash on the stomach or any other part of the skin. The saliva of fleas, in particular, tends to cause allergic reactions in dogs leading to the formation of areas of red, raw skin called “hotspots. They may appear scabby or scaly and are often accompanied by hair loss. The area may also develop red bumps.
Flea allergy dermatitis tends to show more commonly in the lower back and tail areas and on the outside of the hind legs, but the stomach can as well be affected.
Treating Dog Rash on Belly from Flea Bites
Preventing flea bites by controlling flea infestations is the key to successful treatment of flea allergy dermatitis. This encompasses using flea shampoos and topical sprays. All other pets in the house should also be treated.
In addition, you will want to wash your dog’s bedding frequently. Washing your dog at least once a week is also helpful.
Your veterinarian may also prescribe some medications e.g. hydrocortisone cream to alleviate the symptoms associated with the allergic reaction to flea bites.
Please keep in mind: Flea control should be an all-year-round endeavor.
3. Heat rash
A red rash on dog’s belly may also be a symptom of dog heat rash. Other trouble spots include the back; the folds of the skin; and the areas under the neck and tail, and near the ears. Dog heat rash involves the staphylococcus bacteria and is aggravated by hot, humid weather conditions.
At the onset, heat rash is just a minor skin irritation that causes the dog to scratch the affected area frequently but with time it turns into a fluid-discharging red rash that may be accompanied with boils, pimples, and scabs with an offensive smell.
With frequent scratching and chewing by the dog, the affected area can start bleeding or even lose hair. Dogs with dense hair are more susceptible to heat rash, especially in warm summer months.
Related Article: Dog overheating.
Heat Rash Treatment in Dogs
Heat rash on dog’s belly or any other part of the skin is treated with a combination of the following measures:
- Cool the dog: Heat is one of the major triggers for heat rash, along with humidity. Your first step should be to cool down your pooch. Place a cool towel on his back.
- Apply calamine lotion: With a long time use as an-itch cream, calamine lotion is one of the best home remedies for heat rash in dogs. It relieves the itching and thus reduces the appearance of the red rash.
- Apply 1% hydrocortisone: Hydrocortisone cream helps to reduce the itching and inflammation caused by heat rash while reducing the associated redness. Do not use the cream for longer than 3 days.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera also ranks high among the natural home remedies for heat rash on dogs’ skin. You can use a freshly squeezed gel from an aloe vera plant.
Impetigo may as well be the underlying cause of a perceived red rash on dog’s belly and groin or chin. Commonly occurring in puppies aged below 1 year, impetigo is an infection involving the staphylococcus bacteria. It causes small patches of infection in hairless sections of the abdomen and sometimes the chin and groin area. This often becomes filled with pus before crusting over or becoming scaly.
Treating impetigo involves the application chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, or benzoyl peroxide two times per day. For benzoyl peroxide, specially formulated shampoos are available. If necessary, your veterinarian will prescribe oral or topical antibiotics.
Dog Rash on Belly Pictures
Here are some photos of dogs with a red rash on their belly (stomach):
- Heat Rash org: Heat Rash on Dogs and Cats
- PetEducation: Puppy Impetigo (Puppy Pyoderma, Juvenile Pustular Dermatitis)
- PetMD: Skin Rash Due to Contact with Irritants in Dogs
- Vet Street: Atopy – An Allergic Skin Reaction
- WebMD: Allergies in Dogs