None of us want to see our pets suffering from discomfort, especially if that pet is a beloved pooch. Often, when it comes to our dogs, we don’t notice minor skin irritations straight off the bat. Instead, we usually come across them by accident, like during a rub or brushing session or because we see our dogs suddenly itching and scratching.
Skin and gland infections usually go one of two ways. They clear up by themselves in a few days or get progressively worse to the point that medical intervention is required. The latter option is not ideal, as, by this stage, your dog is probably already quite uncomfortable. Any form of a skin lesion, inflammation, or scabbing should be attended to as soon as it’s noticed.
This post will look specifically at what it might mean when a dog has scabs on its nipples. This can occur in both female and male dogs and is usually caused by an infection, allergy, or excessive friction. Furthermore, I’ll also take you through what you can do to treat your dog’s nipples if the scabbing is minor, as well as when it becomes enough of an issue to warrant a trip to the vet.
What Causes Scabs On A Dog’s Nipples?
Scabs on a dog’s nipples are usually caused by infections, allergies, or friction wounds. In the case of nursing females, scabs might indicate mastitis, which is a bacterial or fungal infection of a dog’s teats. Other conditions that present similarly include yeast infections and inverted nipple infections. In some cases, scabbing may be caused by repetitive scratching due to allergies or by friction from a harness or similar.
Mastitis, one of the most common causes of scabbed nipples, is surprisingly common among postpartum dogs. It results from infections that arise when there is too much milk in the glands or from biting and chewing by puppies, leading to an infection. A foul-smelling discharge, discomfort, and swelling generally occur alongside scabbing. Yeast infections or skin infections, which can afflict both male and female dogs, might also appear in the nipple area and are caused by fungi or bacteria which breed in moist, hot conditions.
Another reason for excessive scratching that leads to scabbing is allergies. Dogs can be allergic to any number of things, from grain to pollen to insect bites. A reaction can cause their skin to turn red and itchy, and consequent scratching can wound their sensitive nipples. Similarly, too much friction in one spot can also cause skin lesions. When it comes to dogs’ nipples, the chief culprits in this regard are walking harnesses.
How To Treat Scabs On Your Dog’s Nipples!
Treatment of dog nipple scabs depends greatly on what caused them in the first place. If your dog is suffering from mastitis or a similar infection, they should be taken to the vet for antibiotic treatment. If the issue is a minor skin allergy, you can try over-the-counter topical medicines. If friction is wounding your dog, you may need to invest in a different harness. In all cases, if the infection is severe and accompanied by other symptoms, get your pup to the vet.
Treatment of infected nipples in nursing dogs should be a priority, and your puppies should not be allowed to drink from them. If your dog is postpartum and has inflamed nipples, the chances are high that mastitis is the cause. This cannot be treated without medical intervention from a vet. Other bacterial infections, even minor ones, can also become exceedingly problematic if not treated properly.
Skin allergies are easier to address at home. Consult your vet about a prescription-free topical treatment and consider changing your dog’s food to a formula for sensitive skin. Anti-flea treatments and regular baths are also advisable. Flesh wounds caused by friction should be prevented by using appropriate walking gear that poses no harm to your pet.
Should I Be Worried About Scabs On A Dogs’ Nipple?
Scabs on a dog’s nipple are mostly easy to diagnose and treat, but if the infection remains persistent even after treatment, you may have cause for concern. In rare cases, dogs can suffer from cancer of the mammary glands, which may require surgery. Lesions and infections that won’t heal can also become necrotic over time, and infected skin will need to be removed.
While that all sounds quite terrifying, the good news is that ongoing or potentially fatal medical issues are the worst-case scenario. Usually, a course of antibiotics or a topical skin cream is enough to do the trick. Together with this, putting preventative measures in place is the best course of action moving forward. Like with humans, skin health is important for keeping dogs happy and well.
Indeed, a lot of what keeps our dogs’ skin healthy is lifestyle. If your pup is prone to skin problems, alleviate them with oatmeal baths and vet-approved hypoallergenic food. Regularly inspect your dog, too, for any signs of scabbing or discomfort. Most of all, do not leave scabbing unattended too, as it is likely to become worse without intervention.
Fortunately for us humans, dogs are pretty good at communicating. If something is causing them intense distress, they will let us know by displaying accompanying symptoms. That being said, this is not always the case with skin or gland infections. Minor scabbing can go unnoticed for ages, which is why it’s best to give your dog a good once-over every few days, particularly during grooming or petting sessions. In the case of postpartum dogs, be especially vigilant to scabbing on the nipples. Bacterial and fungal infections can pose a risk to newborn puppies and should be attended to as soon as possible.