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Very Red & Slightly Raised Dog Skin Rash in Armpit with Hot Spots

by Tonka

My Boston Terrier has a very red and slightly raised rash in his arm pit. He has been getting "hot spots" the last couple of weeks. They get red and a small bald spot and then heal up.

He is 2 years old. He is fed Natural Balance, limited ingredient venison and sweet potatoe food which is grain free.

He has recently been having stomach problems, and the vet is now treating him for stomach ulcers. He took Sucralfate and pepcid for 2 weeks and has been off of both for about 2 weeks. He started the itching before he went on the medicine. He has been itchy all over.

Comments for Very Red & Slightly Raised Dog Skin Rash in Armpit with Hot Spots

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Jul 13, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Very Red & Slightly Raised Dog Skin Rash in Armpit with Hot Spots
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Tonka,
Thank you for the photos you submitted of your 2 year old Male Boston Terrier. The red inflamed skin of his armpit area is caused from 'self-trauma', from him scratching the same area non-stop.

You mentioned that the itching is actually ALL over his body, and this is typical of a dog with food allergy. Although, if it is worse in the armpit area, I would suggest having a skin scraping done to rule out mites.

You said that he is being fed Natural Balance dog food, with limited ingredients of venison and is grain free. Did he start this diet when he started the itching, or did he start on this diet due to the stomach problems? If he has only been eating this for 2 weeks, it has not been a long enough time to 'take effect', if the itching is due to a food allergy. He must be off of the 'offending' food for at least 3-6 weeks, sometimes up to 2 months.

Also, if the Natural Balance is a DRY FOOD, it will be harder for him to digest, especially if he has a stomach problem. He should be on the canned form. The canned form, having more moisture, will be easier on his stomach, and will provide more moisture for his skin (if you can't find it in a canned form, click here for some of the healthiest canned dog food options).

At this time since it is not clear if the itching is due to food allergy, inhaled allergies or some other problem (such as mites). I would follow some of the suggestions in Dr Richard Pitcairn's book, Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Supplement his diet with 1/4 tsp of and Vitamin C (the buffered form in OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder - add about 1/8 tsp to his food two times daily.

It is helpful to clip away the hair on severely inflamed areas, massage in coconut oil, and let it soak in for several hours or over night.

Then shampoo with an oatmeal shampoo. This oil/shampoo treatment can be done two times per week for the next 3-6 weeks. Two to three times per day, or as needed, you can apply aloe vera juice to the areas to help decrease the itching.


Jul 13, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Very Red & Slightly Raised Dog Skin Rash in Armpit with Hot Spots (PART TWO)
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Tonka,
Here is the rest of my response:

You might try the homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron 6c or 12c potency, giving one pellet by mouth three times daily for one week to see if he has any relief. Thuya occidentalis is a good remedy to use if this started after he received a vaccination. Using the same potency as above, 6c or 12c three times daily for one week.

For more in depth treatment of chronic disease, you should seek the help of a holistic veterinarian. To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click here:
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Dog Itchy Skin,
- Dog Skin Rash,
- Dog Skin Allergies,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Skin Rashes, Marks, Spots, Lesions & Patches (including itchy skin and mange) Section,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Hair Loss Section

Aug 21, 2013
Under arm rash on my Boxer
by: Layla's mom

I also have a dog on this same natural dog food, she is also having the armpit issue. I have thought the same of a food allergy.Layla (4 yr old Boxer) has been on this food for 2 years, until now we have had no trouble. I suspect she may also be allergic to grass.My research has led me to believe that sweet potato may be culprit.It is reported to be very starchy,possibly causing too much yeast,in her system.I'm fearful of switching food only because she has had reactions to All other food we have tried.I'm not a fan of steroids and do not want to take her to the vet only to have them tell me she needs them :( looking for natural remedies .

Aug 21, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Very Red & Slightly Raised Dog Skin Rash in Armpit with Hot Spots
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

August 21, 2013

Dear Layla's Mom,

Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).
Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Sep 03, 2015
Suggestion NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi, I am not a vet and won't attempt to diagnose your dog. That said, I am sympathetic to what you describe as the symptoms sound very similar to what I experienced with my dog. I feed him Natural Balance but what has really made a difference is Resicort. I use this leave in conditioner on him and shampoo him in Resicort (usually once every few weeks then 2-3 times a week during flare ups). It has worked wonders for us and helped me avoid putting him on steroids.

This is from the manufacturers website but other websites sell it for less.

Best of luck to you.

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