Heat rash, also known as "prickly heat" or "summer sores," is a skin condition that can affect dogs when they become overheated or exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time. It normally occurs in summers when the weather is hot and humid. Dogs that have skin folds, like pugs and shar peis, are at a higher risk for heat rashes, as these skin folds trap heat and moisture.
Heat rash in dogs is characterized by small red bumps or blisters that may appear on the dog's skin, particularly in areas where there is friction or moisture buildup. Common areas affected include the following:
Under the skin fold
Common Symptoms of heat rash are:
Itchy and irritated skin
Tender and red skin in a concentrated area
Boils, small pimples
Scabs and sores
Continuous scratching and licking
Hot Dogs, Cool Tips: Preventing Heat Rashes in your Furry Friends
1. Free access to shady and cool spots
Ensure your dog has access to cool spots to sleep and rest, especially during the hotter parts of the day.
2. Adequate ventilation
Ensure good air circulation in your dog's living space to help prevent excessive heat buildup.
3. Sunbathing tips without the burn
Avoid exposing your dog to excessive heat or hot surfaces, such as asphalt, during peak temperatures. Also, avoid walking and prolonged exercise during peak heat hours. Adjust the walk time during summers according to the temperature.
4. Keep the water flowing
Hydration is the key to a happy and healthy dog during all seasons especialy summer. Provide plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink. You can also consider using a pet-friendly cooling mat or providing a shallow pool of water for them to lie in.
5. Ditch the fur coat
Keep your dog's coat clean and well-groomed, especially during warm weather, to prevent matting and promote better airflow to the skin. Regular grooming can keep them away from all sorts of skin infections.
6. Dry your dog thoroughly
After bathing or swimming, make sure to dry your dog thoroughly, paying particular attention to areas prone to moisture retention, such as armpits, groin, and between skin folds. Moisture trapped against the skin can contribute to heat rashes.
7. Regular exercise and weight management
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight reduces the likelihood of skin folds and friction, which can contribute to heat rashes. Engage your dog in regular exercise to help maintain a healthy body condition.
Sweaty Paws SOS: How to manage a heat rash
1. Provide a cool area
Remove your dog from the hot environment and place them in a cool, well-ventilated area.
2. Keep the affected area clean and dry
Gently clean the affected areas with a mild, pet-friendly cleanser or diluted betadine solution to prevent infection. Also, ensure that the area remains dry.
3. Avoid further irritation
Try to prevent your dog from scratching or licking the affected areas, as this can worsen the rash. An Elizabethan collar can be used if necessary.
4. Provide relief
Applying a cool compress or using a pet-specific soothing spray like comfoderm or aloevera gel can help alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation.
If the heat rash persists, worsens, or if your dog shows signs of discomfort, it's advisable to seek veterinary care. They can provide your pet with appropriate treatment, such as medicated creams or ointments, and address any underlying issues.
Remember, prevention is key when it comes to heat rash in dogs. By taking proactive measures to keep your dog cool and comfortable during hot weather, you can help minimize the risk of heat-related skin issues.
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