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Lynnwood, WA 98037

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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Pet Skin Rashes You Might See This Summer

Dog scratching itself.

You know your pet better than anyone, and when something changes, you are likely the first to notice. Changes are particularly obvious when they involve things that you can see in your pet’s external appearance. Issues like skin problems can happen anytime, but the summer months may bring an increase in skin allergies or infections. 

Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic knows how worrisome pet skin rashes can be this time of year, so we thought we would share some common causes of these lesions and what pet owners like you need to know about them.

Causes of Pet Skin Rashes

Animals can suffer from skin rashes any time of year, but we often see them during the summer months. Increased allergen load, more outdoor time, and higher parasite activity all play a role in this uptick during the warmer times of year.

Some of the more common pet skin rashes we see include:

  • Atopic dermatitis—Sensitivities to pollens, grasses, weeds, dust, and other allergens can lead to red, itchy, irritated skin. These rashes can occur anywhere but are often seen on the underbelly, armpits, and feet. Contact dermatitis can also occur in areas in direct contact with an irritant, for example between the shoulder blades due to a topical flea and tick preventative. 
  • Pyoderma—Infections of the skin can happen and are often secondary to atopic dermatitis. 
  • Parasitic dermatitis—Skin mites, like those that cause mange, as well as ectoparasites, such as fleas and ticks, can lead to pet skin rashes.
  • Ringworm—Despite its name, ringworm is actually caused by a fungus. Infection often leads to dry, scaly spots on the skin with possible hair loss and may be itchy.
  • Bug bites—Fly, mosquito, and other bites may lead to skin changes that can be rash-like.  
  • Autoimmune disease—Some types of autoimmune disorders in pets can result in skin changes that could present as similar issues. Some of these conditions are exacerbated by sun exposure.

What Pet Owners Should Know

If you notice a change on your pet’s skin, it is important to stop and consider what might be going on. While many pet skin rashes do require veterinary intervention you can help by:

  • Thinking about any changes in your pet’s environment that might be contributing
  • Bathing with a gentle hypo-allergenic shampoo for pets, or a medicated shampoo prescribed by your veterinarian
  • Using cool compresses to soothe itchy skin or cool water baths/rinses
  • Keeping your pet on high quality parasite preventives to ward off unwelcome guests

Generally, though, if your pet is having skin changes, it is best to make an appointment to come have them examined. Many rashes and other lesions can appear similarly on the surface but have very different treatments. We may turn to diagnostics such as skin scraping, cytology, cultures, biopsies and blood work to learn more about what is happening. 

Getting on top of pet skin rashes sooner than later is important to help your pet feel their best. We are happy to help just as soon as you notice something is wrong. Pet skin care is what we do best. Please call (425) 742-0342.

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