While your pooch might seem tough as nails to you, always keeping you protected, he can have sensitive skin. That creased area between his legs and body, similar to armpits in humans, sometimes gets chafed and irritated. Many things can cause chafing, but rather than getting to the root of the problem on your own, take your fur pal in to see the vet before the irritation gets worse.
Problems with the Harness
Slipping a harness onto your four-legged pal can surely make it easier to control him while you’re out for a walk. If that harness is too tight or rubbing him wrong, though, it could lead to raw skin in his pits. Until the wound completely heals, you’ll need to keep that harness off him. Switch to a collar or head-gear type of harness -- devices that don’t need to go under his arms. Once the area clears up, add some padding to the harness. Your local pet store should offer cushy pads made out of fleece and other soft materials. That should help prevent chafing from occurring again.
If your pooch is one of those shorthair breeds that doesn’t have a lot of fur, his skin could be rubbing together in his armpits. By the end of a long walk or extensive play session, his underarm areas can be completely raw. Your veterinarian may suggest putting a dog-friendly moisturizer under his arms everyday to soften the skin and to help prevent chafing. Keeping the area dry and wiping away any debris after his time outdoors can also be helpful.
Sometimes dry irritated skin can stem from allergies. Problems with his food, environmental allergens, like pollen or ragweed, or even bug bites can cause an allergic reaction. In addition to chafing under his limbs, watch for red runny eyes, constant licking of the area or chewing at his legs. He could also sneeze nonstop, have diarrhea or snore while sleeping. These signals let your know that his inflamed underarms could be caused by allergies.
When to See the Vet
A little chafing probably isn’t anything major to worry about -- it should heal on its own. But if your fuzzy chum is oozing, bleeding or draining pus from his pits, it’s a sign of a possible infection. The irritation could even be so irritating for him, walking becomes painful and difficult. Before the problem gets out of control, requiring antibiotics or costly treatments, it’s best to have it checked out.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.