bullseye rash on a dog

Bullseye rash on a dog: causes and solutions

A bullseye rash on a dog is a symptom of a disease or disorder, the causes of which can be very different. However, acne, scratching and especially sores with crusts will never go away on their own, but can cause serious complications.

Therefore, the dog needs professional treatment, which can only be prescribed by an experienced veterinarian. Contacting a specialist when a disease is detected at an early stage will relieve your canine friend from pain and discomfort.

Causes of a bullseye rash on a dog


Such signs are not always a symptom of a serious illness but may indicate the presence of disorders in the body. Most often, rashes and other skin disorders indicate some form of allergy.

dog suffering from itches

Rashes can be provoked by both external factors (aerosols, household chemicals, unsuitable means for washing a dog, etc.), and internal (food, medication, foreign substance accidentally swallowed or eaten). In the case of an allergic reaction, the dog suffers not only from rashes, but also from severe itching. Often times, the abdomen and groin areas are affected, especially in puppies, because the skin around that area is the thinnest, most delicate and sensitive.

Ectoparasites (fleas, lice, lice, simple and itch mites)

All these creatures settle on or under the skin, bite an animal or gnaw through painful passages. They provoke severe itching and pain. The dog is actively rubbing or scratching the skin, especially on the belly, where it is very delicate.

A dog suddenly sneezes repetively because he could suffer from these itchy mites.


As strange as it sounds, some dog breeds suffer from them in a way similar to small children. In dogs, this is caused by sweating or ingress of moisture, dirt into extensive skin folds, so the rash is more typical for breeds such as Pugs, Sharpei, Mastiffs and Bulldogs. Pimples can be located in any fold, but they are particularly observed on the abdomen, around the genital areas and the anus. The condition intensifies under warmer temperatures and when the animal is overweight.

rashes on dog's skin

Skin diseases – dermatitis, eczema and others

A bullseye rash on a dog can be caused by external stimuli or internal pathologies, including nervous shocks. Sometimes, sensitive dogs react with rashes to changes in diet, change in their environment, and even the arrival of a new family member, be it a child, cat, dog or other pet.

Bacterial infections

They are more often secondary, compounding an underlying disease. If the dog scratches himself too vigorously or otherwise injures the skin on the abdomen, infection can lead to suppuration, inflammation, and the formation of painful rough crusts. Increased itching and pain leads to further scratching, which even more actively spreads the infection and aggravates the disease.


Lichens and other types of fungal infections sometimes affect dogs. Young animals with fragile immunity, as well as old and chronically sick dogs, suffer more often. Fungi are dangerous to humans and spread easily, especially if the animal is actively in contact with fellows or other pets and family members. Lichens can “settle” on any part of the dog’s body, damaging not only the skin, but also causing focal or total baldness.

skin disease in dogs

This condition can leave rounded pinkish scaly patches on the body, visible on the belly, where the coat is light, short and sparse in most younger dogs. Poor hygiene, or on the contrary, a manic desire for cleanliness of a dog can lead to a deterioration in the condition of the coat, dry skin and the appearance of peeling and cracks.

If you do not take timely action the condition may worsen due to a secondary infection of a bacterial or fungal nature. You can not wash a dog with cleansers intended for humans, and even more so use household products such as “rough” alkaline soap. Letting the dog loose outside in the hope that he will cleanse himself is reckless, especially if the dog lives in the yard or in inappropriate conditions.

Washing or bathing more than once a month is not beneficial, as it removes the lipid layer, leaving the dog’s skin and coat defenseless against external influences.

Bullseye rash on a dog – Diagnostic of the underlying cause

It is impossible to determine the nature of the disease upon appearance of the rash. Therefore, in order to receive a complete and appropriate treatment, a diagnosis by a veterinarian is necessary. He will conduct an examination, take samples that will indicate the causative agent of the disease. The prescribed treatment will be targeted and complex but it will help you quickly cope with the problem and avoid the development of complications.

prevent dog from scratching

Treatment methods

First of all, it is necessary to eliminate the cause of the disease. If it is an allergy, then you need to eliminate the allergen, in other words the wrong food, medicine, chemical, or environment your dog is being exposed to. In the presence of parasites, you need to remove them, and then treat the rash, otherwise you will not get sustainable results.

If the rash results from a walk in dirty areas, your dog must be washed with a special medicated shampoo and the wounds, if any, should be treated with a disinfecting drying agent. With proper care, these symptoms will disappear quickly.

It is much more difficult to cope with skin diseases caused by internal problems of the body. Hormonal and endocrine pathologies, improper digestion, and disturbances in the functioning of the nervous system can provoke abdominal rashes. Accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment will be required, including getting rid of the underlying disease and the impact on damaged skin and hair.

cone to prevent dog from scratching

Bacterial Infection

In case of bacterial infection, antibiotic-based ointments are prescribed and in severe cases, medications will be administered orally. It is forbidden to use “human” medicines for dogs, as it is impossible to accurately calculate the safe dosage for a particular animal. Always, follow the advice of your veterinarian.

Fungal Infection

Treatment of a fungal infection consists in isolating the animal from other pets and children, prescribing special antifungal and disinfectant drugs. The dog is prescribed antihistamines to relieve itching, making sure that he does not scratch the affected area. Also, putting a cone around the neck of the dog is a good way to ensure, in the short term, your dog does not scratch himself and also to buy enough time to allow the affected area to heal.

The sooner a dedicated professional treatment is started, the lower the risk of further complications and the development of the condition into a chronic course which will weaken the dog and threaten his health.

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