Red sores on the belly of a dog

Written by colleen o'brien
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Red sores on the belly of a dog
Keep your dog happy and healthy. (dog photo image by sonya etchison from Fotolia.com)

Red sores on a dog's belly can be caused by a number of factors. It's important to take a close look at them and determine whether or not there are other symptoms present to help identify a course of action. Most spots of this nature are not serious, but treating them immediately can help prevent infection or complications later.

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Appearance

Sores can be flat and pink, or they can be bright red and raised. They can look like pus-filled pimples or they can appear crusty and ooze yellow fluid. They may appear in small patches or they may be scattered all over the belly. If the dog has a long coat, the fur around the affected area may be matted from discharge coming from the sores. Sometimes the fur around the area has been rubbed off.

Symptoms

A dog may scratch his belly with his paws or he may scoot across the floor or the grass in an attempt to scratch. He may lick the area profusely, which can cause further inflammation, swelling or oozing. In extreme cases, he may lick or rub the skin until it's raw and bleeding. It may feel hot to the touch. The dog may be less active than usual. In some cases, these sores will be accompanied by vomiting and diarrhoea.

Causes

These sores may be caused by allergies to food, environmental elements, pesticides or chemicals. They can also be caused by fleas, mites or bug bites. Fungus and bacteria also causes red spots. Fungus causes ringworm, which is so named because of its circular appearance. Bacteria on the skin can cause hot spots, or areas of inflammation that emit an odour, ooze pus and grow quickly if not treated. If a dog experiences stress, usually from being placed in a new environment or a stressful situation like losing a family member, he may develop skin issues.

Prevention

If your dog spends a lot of time lying on the grass, try to limit this activity. If you use powdered carpet cleaner, stop using it and steam clean the carpets to eliminate this potential irritant. Wash his beds and blankets with chemical-free detergent. Regularly treat your dog with a flea and tick preventive. Give your dog regular baths with high-quality dog shampoo. See your vet to learn about the best products for your pet.

Treatment

Sores can be treated with antihistamine tablets, sprays or shampoos, which can help reduce inflammation and itching. Behaviour modification can help, by training your dog not to scratch or lick the affected area. In some cases, it may be necessary to have him fitted with an Elizabethan collar to keep him from reaching his belly. If the sores have become infected, antibiotics may be necessary. Your vet should be able to prescribe the most appropriate treatments.

Warnings

Don't apply anything to broken skin unless your vet recommends it. This could cause further damage and discomfort for your pet. If the spots spread very quickly, become infected or otherwise worsen, this could be a sign of something more serious than a simple skin infection. If your dog appears listless, is vomiting or has diarrhoea, see your vet immediately.

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