My Dog Has Red, Itchy Skin & Bumps -- What is the problem?

Rocky Kanaka 5 comments

by Cate Burnette, RVT

There are numerous reasons why your pooch has red, itchy skin. Allergies, parasites, and various microbes can be the source of the discomfort resulting in inflammation and hair loss. We've given you a very general overview of some of the causes of your dog's itching and provided you with some possible solutions in the paragraphs below.

Allergies

Veterinarians report that skin allergies are the Number One reason they see their doggy patients. The itching and the scratching associated with allergies often leads to hair loss and red, inflamed skin. Some dogs scratch and bite at themselves so much they cause sores or open wounds on their bodies that can become infected. Your sensitive dog can be allergic to just about anything -- grass and tree pollens, dust in your home, even her own food. Consulting with your veterinarian can help you determine the cause for your dog's allergies, but it is up to you to help her overcome her symptoms and ease the discomfort she feels daily. If you suspect your dog may have allergies, click here to download our FREE 23 page guide that will tell you everything you need to know to stop your dog's constant scratching for good!

Regardless of what is causing her reactions, putting your dog on an all-natural, grain-free diet made with unusual proteins, fruits and veggies has been known to alleviate the itchiness of some dogs. (I've had my own itchy pup on a grain-free diet for several months now and the scratching has definitely lessened.)

You may also want to try bathing your pooch in an all natural oatmeal-based shampoo specifically formulated for dogs with allergies. The colloidal oatmeal in the shampoo contains natural moisturizers and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve the itching associated with allergies and bug bites. If your pup is focused on just one area of her body, using a targeted anti-itch spray can instantly stop the redness and discomfort she’s feeling on her itchy spots.

Mange

If you're the new pet parent of a rescue dog -- either puppy or fully mature -- your new pet may come home with you carrying a case of mange. There are normally 2 types of mange mites that infect the neglected, malnourished pups often sitting in your local shelter.

  • Demodex mites are the non-contagious kind. These microscopic bugs live on the bodies of all healthy dogs, getting their nourishment from dead skin and hair cells. It's only when the animal becomes immune-compromised through illness or malnourishment and the body isn't able to fend off these little buggers, that they over-multiply and become intolerable. You'll see dogs with hair loss and red, inflamed, often infected, skin and its because the demodex has gotten out of control.
  • Sarcoptes mites are a much more serious infestation than demodex because these mites are contagious to humans. Dogs with sarcoptes show the same hair loss, and inflamed skin you see in demodex. However, sarcoptes is much more malicious and uncomfortable for the dog and infected dogs often have running, open sores and infected, cracked skin from the severe itching that occurs with this disease.

Only your veterinarian, examining a skin scraping under a microscope, can help you determine which type of mite is infecting your dog. Medicated baths and dips given over a period of several weeks are typically prescribed by vets, and your pup may need antibiotics if any skin infection is noted.

Once you get your pup past all the mange nastiness, using the oatmeal-based shampoo and anti-itch spray can keep her from re-injuring her skin.

Fleas

I hate fleas!…and I know I'm not the only pet parent out there with those same feelings. Those pesky little parasites live on your dog's skin, dine on her blood, and will, if you're not proactive, move into your home and feast on every living creature there -- including you.

You can usually spot fleas on your dog if she's constantly scratching or biting at her skin and you can see tiny, black moving specks under her hair coat. Some dogs are so allergic to the saliva in the flea bites that their skin becomes red and inflamed and they begin to lose their hair. This condition is called flea allergy dermatitis.

Killing the fleas with an insect-repellent shampoo and then using monthly topical flea preventive is really the only way to guarantee that the fleas -- and the eggs -- are dead.

Applying an all-natural flea protection spray, like Flea the Scene or Dirty & Hairy's OUTDOOR spray, in between baths and monthly medications helps to ensure that those itchy little jumpers are gone for good. You’ll want to look for a product that contains no pesticides or poisons so that if your pet licks it off, she is perfectly safe.

Skin infections

Skin infections, also called skin dermatitis, are usually the result of a dog's licking and scratching from one or more of the reasons we've already discussed. Caused by bacteria, yeast, or fungus, an untreated skin infection can gradually become so serious that your dog's health can be dangerously compromised. That's why we always tell you that if you notice any open sores, scaly patches, or bloody areas on your dog's skin, you need to see your veterinarian.

Your vet can run blood tests, skin scrapings, and fungal cultures to determine the cause of the infection and recommend medications to cure it. Don't take a chance on your pup's health by attempting to self-diagnose whenever there is a chance of disease.

After all, a healthy and itch-free dog is a happy dog…and what more could any pet parent want?

Do you have more dogs?

  • Ethel. Storey says...

    I need help with my dog she has some kind of bumps on her I think it’s red I don’t know but I need help I need help I don’t have a job I’m trying to get my Social Security you please help me

    On January 14, 2018

  • Gena Fortune says...

    My Dog Chewy is part Chihuahua and part Shih Tzu (ShiChi) turned 2 Oct 18th and he is experiencing the symptoms as Tom’s Husky Misty. I have tried every possible remedy. I have switched his food to an all protein food, I add coconut oil to his food. I give him baths with Oatmeal shampoo as well as a yeast fungal shampoo as I have read he could have to much yeast. I also have him on a dog probiotic as well as benadryl. I have bombed for fleas because when I got him at 6 wks he was flea INFESTED; however even with all the fleas he didn’t itch. When I bathe him I do see a few fleas nothing like an infestation. I have him on Bravecto. I have tried Apoquel as well. I have ordered just about every product on Amazon. When he is asleep he sleeps sound so sound he snores, but the min he wakes up he is itching and biting around his growing area, his back as well as his feet and paws. He will get under the bed where half of his body is under the bed and the other is out and rub back and forth to itch his back. I feel like the worst parent, because I just don’t know how to help my Baby and that’s what he is . I love him like he is my child (I love him more than most humans LOL) The vet gave him a cortisone injection and it did help somewhat with the itching for a couple of weeks; however I am scared of the side effects associated with prolonged steroid use. The itchy spots are pinkish/light red and on his rear top there are a few bumps that feel like a pimple or mosquito bite feels. I have even tried Diflucan (yeast infection medication humans use) as another pet parents dog was having the same problems and the vet prescribed him human yeast infection medication and it helped. As I am typing this my Chew Chew Boy is making little whimpering sounds. I don’t know if even though there are only a few fleas that I have seen and he gets flea baths, Advantage etc.. just the few that I see are biting him and he is allergic to the saliva?? I am praying someone out there comments and can lend some help. Thank you

    On January 09, 2018

  • Denorah says...

    My dog has itch spots as well. I spray the areas down with betadine that has been cut with water until it looks like weak tea and is very mild and then I apply a triple antibiotic ointment “for pain” and the itching stops completely. Antibiotic ointment for pain is more expensive but it sure does the trick. I put an over size muzzle on him during this procedure until the itching stops and then take it off. He never bothers it because he can not feel it. It has been wonderful I find that the oversized muzzle works better than a cone because he can lay down and even eat and drink but when he turns his head, his head turns inside the muzzle blocking him from being able to lick. . Works like a charm.

    On January 08, 2018

  • Denorah says...

    My dog has itch spots as well. I spray the areas down with betadine that has been cut with water until it looks like weak tea and is very mild and then I apply a triple antibiotic ointment “for pain” and the itching stops completely. Antibiotic ointment for pain is more expensive but it sure does the trick. I put an over size muzzle on him during this procedure until the itching stops and then take it off. He never bothers it because he can not feel it. It has been wonderful I find that the oversized muzzle works better than a cone because he can lay down and even eat and drink but when he turns his head, his head turns inside the muzzle blocking him from being able to lick. . Works like a charm.

    On January 08, 2018

  • tom seale says...

    My dog, Misty, is a husky-Shepard mix. She started to scratch around 1 year old, then progressively got worse. She’ll be two in Jan 2018, and the vet gave her a steroid shot. It helped for a while, even lessened some of the hot spots she has. The vet did a skin scrapping and found no mites. Yet the itching continues, and I’m at my wits end trying to help her. She has to bald spots on her rear top and a couple of bumps with them. I put antibiotic cream on it, and it does help, however she continues to scratch everywhere.

    On December 17, 2017

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