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

red itchy bumpsby  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?


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25 Comments


  1. My poor dog won’t stop scratching I can’t find any fleas or ticks and it’s so bad where he is getting sores. What should I do?

    Reply

    1. Hello this beth
      i have a dog that scratches and dont have no fleas on him beth

      Reply

    2. My dog, is scratching, biting, licking, there’s bumps . Hes pulling his hair out.his coat is dull & it has an order. I think its allergies. I stopped giving him food with rice. What can I do?

      Reply

  2. I have a 10 week old English Bull Terrier that I let out of his kennel this moring and found his face really swolen almost like something bit him. Later in the afternoon he devoloped round spots that were not red but hot. Then shortly after that his face got hot and swolen like a copper head bit him.. The problem is we dont have them here in South Dakota. I am not sure what caused this. I called the vet and they said to give him allergy meds so I did. Then I also applyed A & D to his head. The swelling still has not died down as well as the heat. Any comments are welcome! Thank you all so much . I also wanted to add that about 2 weeks agaio he had a huge circle around his pepe… It is still their. He is a white dog not sure if that will make a difference.

    Reply

    1. Benadryl works for allergies reaction. Depending on weight of the dog you determine the dosage. 1mg per pound of dog

      Reply

    2. It’s possible that your dog has ring worm & what’s called “hot spots” the best thing to do of course it’s take to vet. Till then, use an “oatmeal moisturizing all natural dog shampoo & conditioner. When you do this, leave the shampoo on for at least 10 minutes. Make sure to rub into dogs skin really good. Rinse thoroughly. Leave conditioner on for same amount of time. I used a wash cloth to rub conditioner into my dogs skin. Oh, use wash cloth inside ears and on face. Not getting close to eyes! Dry thoroughly! Once dry, use a dog moisturizing spray for dry skin. I bought some that moisturizes, but also keeps fleas & mites of her. Going to have to vacuum alot also. Just in case of fleas, mites, bacteria, etc. Could be that dog has allergies, dry skin, better known as dermatitis. If that’s the case there’s a product called ” Mane & Tail” normally used on horses who have extremely dry skin and get fly bites constantly. With mane & tale, you can leave conditioner in if you buy the leave in kind. Hope this helps you. On my way now to get some myself! Great stuff!!!

      Reply

      1. Hi I got a 4 month old puppy. He keep scratching and lost some of his hair and got red dots on his legs.I want to know what to do for him? What to get over the counter for now? I don’t have the money to take him to the vet.

        Reply

  3. I have a 8 week old Yorkie. At the end of his tail it look crusty and scaly

    Reply

  4. My dog has bumps all over her legs and face. WHAT CAN I GIVE HER?

    Reply

    1. My dog had red whelps all over her and the reason was I was feeding her chicken! I tried everything and the Vet (which cost me a ton) said she had allergies from pollen, grass, etc.. She was wrong!!!! Chicken was the cause, I was boiling her chicken and stopped and now there is NO problem, she is fine!!!!

      Reply

  5. My dog has got small red solid lumps all over her skin and the skin is red everywhere. What can this be?

    Reply

    1. My dog has those red bumps and the vet gave me prednosone for it and it cleared up over nite now he has it again so I am giving it to him now so I do belief it is the allergies that they get an also he gave me some benadryl for the itching an he feel a lot better.

      Reply

    2. I am having the same problem with my 5 month old pitbull and not sure what it is have you got and answer

      Reply

  6. My dog has bumps all over her body. I don’t know what to do. I found fleas on her but got rid of them with shampoo and I put hot spot liquid on her. Do you think she is allergic to them. Her skin is very dry and is loosing hair. What should I do?

    Reply

    1. Hair loss (alopecia) is a common disorder in dogs which causes the animal to have partial or complete hair loss. It can affect a dog’s skin, its endocrine system, its lymphatic system, and its immune systems. Alopecia can affect dogs and cats of all ages, breed and gender, and is either gradual or acute.

      Reply

  7. I am I adopted a four-year-old fur baby.. His skin is red and he bites at his hind end all the time..scratching and crying I have changed his food only fed him chicken, I bought the Freedom dog food, and he still scratches all the time what can I do? I bathe him with oatmeal. I put cortisone on his belly, it helps a little. It’s a nightmare trying to give him meds. He fights like crazy to keep from taking any kind of oral medication… He keeps me awake all night.. 😞😞😢

    Reply

    1. Try just rinsing you dog with just water for a bath and then pour a gallon of water with 2 table spoons of baking soda mix in. You can also mix the water and baking soda and apply with a wash cloth on the spots that are severe. This helps my dog. You can also try NZYMES.COM. they have a natural medication therapy that really my dog.

      Reply

      1. My boyfriend dog as red bumps and her is losing his hair help what should I do??? The poor baby looks so sad!!!

        Reply

  8. my dog has small bumps on hind end and. Rerun wants that area scratched , he can’t reach it .
    also he is getting warts on him white and pink,
    what should I do about the warts ?

    Reply

  9. Hi everyone I’m in need of help with my 1 year corgi mix with pit bill. So the story is she has been itchy for months now and I can’t find out what it is.. I take her to band field hospital and they keep telling me to try this try that and nothing is working for my baby.. I can’t stand to see her in pain, she is
    seriously full of red marks and loosing a lot of hair all the time.. I just need help please! Tell me what place is good, I don’t care about the price I just need her itch free. Thank you

    Reply

  10. My puppy has a big elevated crusty bump on his head.. Like it has 4 different scabs, all open wounds and they are not pusing they have the clear liquid coming out.. Each day it gets bigger and I don’t know what to do

    Reply

  11. My poor dog had red bumps on his left side he liked and scratched it and the hair is gone then the same on his right side. Now his tail WHAT IS THAT ???

    Reply

  12. Hey i have a german shepherd and he’s getting these little reb bumbs at the crest of his back and tail. It has happened before and ive applied the oatmeal base shampoo treatment and it went away now its coming back .. Hes not loosing any hair but you can definetly tell how uncofortable my doggy is . can you please advise me on how to permently get rid of these red bumps

    Reply

  13. My 4 year old baby has bugs on her that look light brown and are really tiny. Her legs have dark rough spots and her bottom has red pumps all over her lower back she scratches bites and licks herself and is losing hair on her lower back. We tried dawn, her flea and tick shampoo doesn’t seem to work and we switched her food and nothing is helping

    Reply

  14. Hi.. We have a 10 week old pit and she has little red bumps all over her body and legs.. She is loosing her hair.. She itches, licks and bites all the time.. we have tried different shampoos and it doesn’t seem to help.. Also since we got her and she’s has this problem us humans has also got little red bumps and itching.. It just started affecting us today but has the dog 3 days.. Does anyone know what it could be and what we could try until we get to the vet??

    Reply

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