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Red Spots On My Puppy’s Belly: What Does It Mean?

Written by Ella White

Updated

tiny puppy lying on side with cute tummy

If you’ve recently noticed red spots on your puppy’s belly, it’s no surprise you’ll feel concerned. Skin issues are one of the most common reasons for dogs visiting the vets. And while many causes for red marks on a dog’s belly are easily treated, there’s a chance it could be a symptom of something more serious.

In this article we’ll explore some of the most common causes of red spots on puppy bellies, how to identify them, and how they’re treated.

Causes Of Red Spots On Dog’s Belly

If your dog or puppy has red spots or marks on their skin, it could be due to one of these conditions.

Rashes

Rashes can appear on any part of a dog’s skin, but they are most commonly found on their belly. Because the skin protects your dog’s internal organs from outside irritants, and the skin on their belly is less likely to be covered by their coat, the area is more susceptible to rashes than other parts of the body.

Common causes for rashes include:

  • Allergies caused by contact with irritants like foods
  • Contact dermatitis caused by contact with chemicals, fertilizers
  • Environmental irritants like poison ivy
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Infections
  • Parasites like ticks and fleas
  • Inflammation

If the rash doesn’t seem to be bothering your dog or causing them any irritation then your vet might advise that no medical treatment is needed. However, if they are itching or licking the rash, or otherwise showing signs of distress, your vet may prescribe medication. An oatmeal bath or shampoo made with colloidal oatmeal can also help soothe irritated skin.

Red Spots

If you notice flat red spots on your puppy’s belly in spring or summer, it could be caused by an insect bite. Commonly mistaken for ringworm, flat red spots could be a black fly bite. 

Black fly bites tend to appear suddenly on the belly and other bites will usually be present. It looks painful but actually doesn’t bother dogs and doesn’t need medical treatment.

However, if the red spots caused on your dog’s belly are diagnosed as ringworm then this will need to be treated with antifungal medication, which can be applied topically or orally. 

Ringworm spots aren’t limited to the belly, but they tend to appear in one area and then spread. They may or may not cause irritation to your dog.

Red Bumps

If the red marks you notice on your dog’s skin are bumps rather than flat spots, it could be caused by a skin infection.

Small red bumps with some crusting could be a bacterial or fungal infection which can be treated with antibiotics and soothed with medical dog shampoos.

If the bumps are larger and don’t have crusting, it could be an indicator of an allergic reaction. Hives like this tend to be treated by antihistamines or steroids, similar to allergies in humans. Be aware that some swelling caused by hives can block your dog’s airway. So even if they seem mild they should still be inspected by a vet.

Pyoderma 

Pyoderma is a skin infection that causes bacteria to grow in the follicles and, in wrinkly dog breeds, in the folds of their skin. As well as redness, you might also notice pus in your dog’s skin folds or follicles.

Some common causes of pyoderma include:

  • A wound from bites or other trauma to the skin
  • Allergies
  • Mites and fleas
  • A foreign body trapped in the skin
  • Poor diet
  • Hormonal conditions like hypothyroidism
  • Immune suppressing drugs

Pyoderma is usually treated with medical shampoo or topical ointment. However, depending on the cause your dog might be prescribed antibiotics, or medication to kill parasites.

Irritation

If you notice redness on your dog’s skin which they are excessively scratching or itching then it’s probably caused by fleas, allergies, or another environmental irritant. Oatmeal shampoos and other soothing medications can relieve your dog’s irritation, but it’s recommended that you take them to the vet for an official diagnosis and any necessary prescriptions.

If the irritation on your dog’s skin turns into scab as a result of itching or licking, they may need further medical intervention. Scabs could be the result of a healing wound, or they could also indicate impetigo, fleas, mites, or a pimple or pustule that has popped.

If you think your puppy has impetigo, they will likely be prescribed a topical medication or medicated shampoo to heal the irritation and pustules.