How to Tell The Difference Between Allergy Symptoms in Dogs and Mange


Many dog owners wonder: “Is it Mange or Hot Spots from Allergy Symptoms in Dogs?”

Here’s a Sure-Fire Way to Tell the Difference Between These 2 Conditions: One is Common and the Other is Serious

It’s always a proud dog-owner moment when people notice how beautiful and shiny your dog’s coat is.  Indeed, a thick, healthy coat of fur is one way to know  dog is at least in general good health.

So imagine the sorrow dog owners feel when they notice bald, patchy spots appearing on their Best Friend’s once-gleaming coat.  And it’s not just embarrassing for dog owners;  it’s also a cause of great concern.  That’s because your dog’s health can be summed up simply by looking at his skin and coat.

Skin issues can be the signs of any number of things, including allergy symptoms in dogs.  Sometimes they develop what’s called hot spots, as a result of scratching too much when they’re allergic to something.

Typically the number one question, however, is:

What if it’s MANGE?

Allergies in dogs is one thing, but the dreaded mange is something on a whole other level.  That’s because mange is contagious…or so people think  We’ll cover that topic in a bit.  But for now, it’s important to note that mange can look like allergy symptoms in dogs  (hot spots), and vice versa.

What are Hot Spots?

Allergy symptoms in dogs sometimes show up as hot spots.  Vets and scholarly types like to call them by their medical term, acute moist dermatitis.  The rest of us find it much easier to say “hot spots” because they are spots on your dog’s skin which actually do become hotter.

It’s easy to tell these spots are hot because your dog will have lost his fur on the hot spot.  The spot is a nasty, uncomfortable little concentrated area of irritation caused by overly exuberant scratching.  Scratching is one of the most common allergy symptoms in dogs, so by curing the allergy the scratching will stop and the hot spots will eventually heal and disappear.

They are mini infections, nevertheless, and should be treated as soon as you notice them on your dog.

Hot spots usually occur on the following parts of a dog’s body:

  • his hips, where it’s very convenient to chew on the skin while lounging around
  • his head, which is easily scratched by the hind legs while sitting, standing, or lying down
  • his chest area, also easily reachable for convenient scratching and chewing

What is Mange?

Mange is not an infection.  It’s not one of the allergy symptoms in dogs.  Rather, it’s a skin condition caused by microscopic mites which cause incredibly intense itching for any dog unlucky to play host to these terrible little pests, the mites.

Dogs are prone to two different types of mange:

  1. Sarcoptic Mange (sometimes called “canine scabies”) is contagious between dogs and can also be transferred to humans.
  2. Demodectic Mange is rarely transferred to humans.  This is the type more often confused with allergy symptoms in dogs.

Either way, if you suspect mange then get your dog to the vet, where a skin sample can be taken to determine the problem.

According to the ASPCA,  Demodectic mange can show up in one of three different variations  These three types are characterized by where and how they affect your dog’s skin:

  1. Localized mange is the type which can be confused with allergy symptoms in dogs: mites congregate in spots, which become scaly and bald.  You’ll notice bald spots near your dog’s face, most commonly.
  2. Generalized mange is of course when the mites are just everywhere on your dog’s body.  On top of having mange, your dog may also develop secondary skin infections which smell terrible.  Not generally confused with hot spots (allergy symptoms in dogs) because it’s everywhere on the body.
  3. Foot mange which comes with bacterial infections.  Although one of the symptoms of allergies in dogs is chewing on the feet, this isn’t going to cause hot spots.  Foot mange, on the other hand, causes the dog’s feet to develop bacterial infections and become a stinky, uncomfortable mess.

One Last Difference Between Mange & Hot Spots

Hot spots don’t always show themselves as a result of allergy symptoms in dogs.  Sometimes they’re a result of poor grooming…matted coats where moisture is trapped can also lead to hot spots.  If your dog goes swimming a lot, he can get hot spots too.  Licking due to other health problems can also lead to hot spots.  So, if you think it’s mange and either of these conditions are present, then it may just be hot spots.

Hope this helps!


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