• Rash icon insinuating that Lavengel treats, soothes, and heals rashes and dermatitis

Canine Rashes + Dermatitis

Remember, we always recommend consulting with your vet for any of your dog's health concerns.

Drawing of a rash in the profile shape of a dog

What is a Rash? And Dermatitis?

A rash is a temporary lesion of patchy, scaly skin that is often swollen, bumpy, red, and itchy. Rashes can arise on any part of a dog's body, and they are commonly found on the belly, underarms, neck, and base of the tail.

Dermatitis generally refers to inflammation of the skin. It may also be referred to as 'eczema' or 'atopy'. A rash is technically a result of dermatitis, though the terms are often used interchangeably. There are many different types of dermatitis, several of which we will explain after the next section.

What Causes Rashes in Dogs?

Rashes have many different causes. They tend to develop and spread as your dog scratches at an initial itch or outbreak. They can form either as a direct reaction to, or by disrupting skin affected by:

  • Allergen icon indicating that Lavengel helps relieve and heal skin affected by allergies


  • Tick icon indicating that Lavengel helps heal flea, tick, and insect bites

    Flea, Tick + Insect Bites

  • Skin infection icon reflecting that Lavengel is effecting in treating and curing dog skin infections

    Bacterial Infection

  • Icon depicting demodectic and sarcoptic mites that cause mange in dogs


  • Icon of erlenmeyer flask containing lavender liquid

    Chemical Substances

  • Icon of wasp, indicating that Lavengel helps relieve irritation from bee and wasp stings

    Bee + Wasp Stings

  • Spider icon depicting that Lavengel helps relieve and heal spider bites

    Spider Bites

  • Three-mark scratch icon insinuating that Lavengel is effective for treating and healing cuts, wounds, scratches, abrasions and more

    Wounds + Injury

  • Drawing of cluster of cancer cells arranged to form the letter C


Hotspot rash with thinning fur on back of brindle-coated dog

10 Types of Canine Dermatitis with Photos

Identifying a skin problem can be tricky, and it helps to have examples. These are here to give you an idea of what could be wrong, but they are by no means a "guarantee."

As with any disease, early detection and treatment are the way to go. The sooner that you seek a veterinary diagnosis and begin the proper prescribed treatment, the sooner you can get your fuzzy bark machine back to normal.

Lick granuloma (acral lick dermatitis) on lower leg of blonde-colored dog above paw

Acral Lick Dermatitis (Lick Granuloma)

Acral lick dermatitis, more commonly known as a lick granuloma, develops from constant licking and chewing at the same area. They are especially common on paws, legs, and tails.

The licking and chewing start due to an itch or discomfort, and the constant attention causes damage that can lead to infection or scarring. Sometimes, the licking is less about a physical itch and more of a compulsive habit.

Either way, for lick granulomas to go away, the licking must stop. A cone and/or bandage wrap with a soothing topical applied (i.e., Lavengel®) along with anti-pruritic (itching) medications may be necessary to prevent further damage, provide comfort, and allow for the skin to heal.

Red hotspot on groin of Siberian Husky

Acute Moist Dermatitis (Hotspot)

Acute moist dermatitis, also called pyotraumatic dermatitis or, more commonly, "hotspot," is similar to acral lick dermatitis in that it appears and worsens after a dog licks, scratches, and chews at an itchy area. The area appears red, raw, and often shiny.

Hot spots can appear suddenly and generally arise due to allergies, cuts, bee stings, parasites, and other irritations. If left untreated, the broken skin and moist environment form a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.

Treating hotspots typically requires trimming the surrounding hair, cleaning the area, and applying a topical product that can relieve the itch, reduce inflammation, and counter bacteria.

FYI, Lavengel® has an excellent track record against hotspots, and was critical to the healing of the hotspot in this section's photo. You can take a deeper educational dive into acute moist dermatitis on our Hotspot First Aid page and our Ultimate Hotspot Guide.

Canine atopic dermatitis with fur loss on belly of Yorkshire Terrier

Allergy + Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

As you might guess, allergy dermatitis stems from a specific allergen that your dog is sensitive to. It could be due to seasonal factors (pollen, dust, dry air), environmental factors (grass, hay, chemicals, fleas, parasites, etc.), or food-related sensitivities (beef, dairy, chicken, soy, wheat, etc).

More often than not, identifying a specific allergen can involve skin allergy tests, a blood test, and (especially with food allergies) a "trial and error" process of elimination.

Atopic dermatitis (atopy, or atopic eczema) is the most common form of canine dermatitis and itching. It may come about due to an allergen, but in some cases, a genetically-predisposed immune system reaction may be the cause with no identifiable allergen.

Persistent pruritus (itching) is a key sign of atopy and allergic dermatitis, and you may notice pink or red lesions (rash), flaky skin, and hair loss where the the itching is most severe.

Photo via University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Red dermatitis rash on belly of pitbull dog caused by grass allergies

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is very similar to allergic dermatitis. It comes about when the skin comes into contact with a specific irritant, such as an allergen or a chemical substance like floor cleaners or pesticides.

This form of dermatitis may also arise from friction. Collars and harnesses that are too tight or do not allow proper air flow can irritate the skin and generate a contact rash. However, these lesions tend to be short-lived if the area is treated topically and left alone.

Note: The pictured allergy rash on this dog's belly was caused by contact with grass.

Superficial folliculitis on inner hind hip of dog


Folliculitis refers to inflammation of a hair follicle due to an irritation. This may appear as pimples, red bumps, small sores, or scabs on the dog's skin.

Bacteria is the most common cause of folliculitis - especially Staphylococcus bacteria; this can also be referred to as superficial pyoderma. Other causes can be excess rubbing or scratching, fungi, or parasites.

Based on our microbiology and anecdotal data, Lavengel® would be an effective option against both folliculitis and superficial pyoderma.

Photo by Dr. Marie-Christine Cadiergues, via Douxo UK

Malassezia fungal infection on neck and chest of dog, with fur loss

Malassezia Dermatitis (Yeast)

Canine yeast infections of the skin are also called Malassezia dermatitis - after the Malassezia pachydermatis yeast that causes them. This yeast generally resides on dogs' skin and is harmless until an overgrowth occurs.

Yeast dermatitis is quite common in dogs, and is not contagious. It can happen as a secondary condition to an underlying allergy disease, a compromised immune system, or due to increased humidity or oils produced by the skin.

Typical signs of yeast dermatitis are severe itching, redness, thickened, crusty skin with darkened pigmentation, and an unpleasant musty odor. Treatment of Malassezia dermatitis typically includes medicated shampoos and topical ointments (like ours), with oral meds given for severe or persistent cases. For more info, check out our Malassezia section.

Malassezia (yeast) Dermatitis; photo via the Canadian Veterinary Journal.

Labrador paw affected by sarcoptic mange mite infestation


Mange refers to a skin disease caused by two different species of microscopic mites: demodectic (demodex) and sarcoptic (scabies). We go into greater detail on this issue in our Mange section.

Demodectic mange is the most common type seen, typically affecting puppies and older dogs with a compromised immune system. Demodex mites live in and attack the hair follicles, leading to hair loss. This form of mange is noncontagious, but it can be genetically transmitted.

Sarcoptic mange, also called scabies, is both extremely contagious and horribly itchy. These mites burrow into the skin and bring about redness, hair loss, dark spots on the skin, and scabs. They are typically picked up from foxes or other animals already carrying them.

A combination of topicals, medicated baths and oral drugs are often employed to get rid of mange. We currently do not know if Lavengel® is helpful against the mites themselves. However, we have one testimony that it was a massive help to relieve the itching of a labrador whose legs had been infested with scabies.

Photo of sarcoptic mange (scabies) on labrador paw.

Pyoderma infection in burn wound of dog with black fur


Pyoderma is another name for a bacterial skin infection. In young puppies, it can be referred to as impetigo. Pyoderma tends to manifest as pustules or pimples with a white center that is filled with pus.

When the skin is damaged or broken, bacteria - most commonly Staphylococcus - settle into the area and form an infection. Prime locations for pyoderma are under collars, under the tail and hips, and between skin folds, where there is constant contact and a warm, dark, moist environment.

As with any infection, earlier treatment yields faster results. The longer an infection is established, the harder it can be to eliminate due to the formation of bacterial biofilms.

Lavengel® can be an immense help against pyoderma, as it was for the dog pictured in this section. This infection occurred within a burn wound from a heating pad; its 'after' photo is further down.

Ringworm on back of blonde dog with medium-short fur


In spite of its name, ringworm is not a worm or parasite, but a fungal infection. Its formal name is dermatophytosis, after the dermatophyte fungi that causes it. Certain species of these fungi can even be spread to humans. We cover ringworm more in-depth in another section.

With humans, ringworm appears on the skin as circular or ovular red lesions that are surrounded by scaly skin. In dogs, these lesions do not always show up, nor is itching a guarantee. Instead, they may have circular patches of hair loss, with redness and scaly skin. Ringworm can also develop in dogs' toenails as well.

Topicals and oral anti-fungals are typically used to treat ringworm, and any contaminated areas or articles (where the fungal spores may reside) should be cleaned or discarded.

Seborrhea sicca patch on throat of small dog with curly fur


Seborrhea is a skin condition causing scaly, flaky, red, and itchy skin. It occurs due to an abnormal level of keratin production - a protein that forms skin, nails, and hair.

Seborrhea comes in two forms: seborrhea sicca (dry) and seborrhea oleosa (oily), though many dogs with this kind of dermatitis have both forms. Possible symptoms can include a dry, lackluster coat, dandruff, odorous, greasy skin, rough and scaly skin lesions, and large amounts of earwax and ear debris.

Seborrhea is also a primary or secondary disease. The primary form is inherited genetically; the secondary, which is more common, arises in relation to an underlying issue, such as a hormonal imbalance, allergies, parasites, infections, malnutrition, or environmental factors.

There is no specific treatment for primary seborrhea, but there are ways to help mange it. Treating secondary seborrhea technically involves finding and treating its underlying cause. Some general forms of managing seborrhea include Omega-3 supplements, shampoos, sprays, corticosteroids, and antibiotics/anti-fungals to counter secondary infections.

Scaly Seborrhea sicca on throat of small dog; photo via Getty Images

Rash + Dermatitis Healing Stories

You can see the full write-up of these and other testimonials on our Stories page.

You can read more about many of these issues in other section of our First Aid Facility and in our Canine Care blog.

  • Before and after images of allergy rash on belly of Pitbull mix clearing after treatment with Lavengel
  • Before and after images of Lavengel healing heat rash on back and tail of rescue mutt
  • Before and after images of infection in burn wound of black dog clearing after Lavengel treatment