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Your dog may itch for all kinds of reasons, including rash, allergies, inflamed skin (also called dermatitis), or parasitic infection. We’ll look at those reasons below, but first, know that if your dog is suffering from itching, it’s always right to check with your vet and make sure they don’t need an appointment. Some causes of rash or itching can be serious and need professional attention.
Rashes are red, itchy, irritated patches of irritated skin. You may notice that your dog loses hair in the area of the rash and has excessive dander or flakes in the area. Rashes can also have bumps or scabs and ooze if the dog is scratching them enough.
Rashes can be very irritating and itchy. To determine the cause of a rash, your vet may test the skin area, take bloodwork, or work with you to look at environment irritants that could be causing the irritation. Any recent changes in your dog’s food, shampoo, or your laundry detergent (if you launder your dog’s bedding or they wear clothes) could provide a clue to the trigger.
Treating rashes involves isolating the cause and removing it or treating it. To relieve a rash, different medications can be used:
- Antihistamines like Benadryl or Zyrtec block allergic reactions
- Steroids like prednisone or cortisone block inflammation
- Antibiotics and antifungals treat skin infections that can lead to rashes
- Topical medications like medicated shampoos, creams, ointments, gels, and sprays can help treat rashes directly
- Elizabethan collars help block your dog from chewing or licking the rash and making it worse
Home remedies for itchy dog rashes
Rashes can range from self-resolving (go away on their own quickly) to nasty wounds that are a sign of serious disease. If you choose to try and treat your dog’s rash on your own, it’s a good idea to call your vet and check with them to make sure you’re taking the right approach.
Let your vet know if the rash doesn’t get better, if it gets worse, or if it comes back after you treat it.
Here are some things you can try:
- Benadryl or Zyrtec to block allergies. Double check dosing with your veterinarian or pharmacist.
- Shampoo designed to help with itchy skin. Colloidal oatmeal baths can also help.
- Use a humidifier during seasons when the air is very dry, like in wintertime.
- Moisturizing cream like bag balm works well for dry skin on dogs.
- Hydrocortisone cream is usually okay to use on dogs for a few days. Talk to your vet if the rash doesn’t improve or if you have to use cream for more than a week.
- Flea and tick products are a must, especially if you have an outside dog or your dog interacts with other dogs. Fleas can cause rashes!
- CBD products can help reduce itching and help your dog feel more comfortable while the rash heals.
When Should I See a Vet?
Here’s how to tell if your dog’s rash is bad enough you need to call a vet:
- The rash is a serious wound with bleeding, pus (thick gunk), or a bad smell.
- The rash lasts for more than a week.
- The rash starts small but gets bigger.
- The rash spreads over time.
- You try to treat the rash and it doesn’t get better, or gets better but then comes back.
- You have to use cortisone cream for more than a few days to treat the rash.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a phytochemical (plant-made molecule) from hemp. It works in many parts of the body using the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is part of your body, and your dog’s body, that is responsible for many different functions.
CBD has been studied in humans, dogs, rats, cats, horses, and other animals and shown to help with many ailments, including anxiety, pain, seizures, and itching.
It does this by supporting the nervous system and directly relieving inflammation.
CBD: Critical Points
- CBD cannot get your dog high. The high associated with hemp or marijuana is from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Relievet’s CBD products for dogs do not contain THC.
- CBD has been studied in dogs for safety. There are no known serious side effects.
- The best dose for CBD in dogs is 1-2mg/kg.
- The best way to give a dog CBD is in oil form under the tongue as it’s absorbed better. If this doesn’t work, put it in their food or use treats.
How Does CBD Relieve Dog Itching?
While CBD has been studied off and on for years, scientists are still working out precisely how it works. We can take a pretty good guess as to why CBD stops dogs with rashes from scratching as much:
CBD is an anti-inflammatory. Itchy rashes are caused by inflammation of the skin. CBD directly blocks the inflammation pathway. While CBD doesn’t appear to make rashes get smaller or go away faster, it may decrease the inflammation around the nerve endings that make your dog feel itchy.
CBD is an anxiolytic, or anti-anxiety chemical. CBD works with the brain to help calm and stabilize nerve conduction. This gives it its anti-seizure effects and is likely why it works to help calm anxiety as well. Instead of getting excited and scratching up a frenzy, your dog is more likely to stay calm and avoid a scratching episode.
CBD relieves pain. CBD works in dogs and humans to relieve pain. Rashes can hurt, and that pain can cause anxiety and concentration on the rash. As all humans know, thinking about an itch makes it worse. If the rash or wound hurts less, your dog notices it less and scratches it less.
What Are the Best CBD Products for Itchy Dogs?
Oils given under the tongue work best. While it can be challenging to give some dogs oil under their tongues, research shows this really does let the CBD oil get absorbed into the bloodstream faster and better. If this isn’t an option, use the oil in your dog’s food or get them some of our treats. You may need a higher dose as some of the CBD will get lost in the gut or chewed up by the liver in a process called first-pass metabolism.
Quick Facts About Buying CBD Products
- A quality CBD manufacturer should always offer a Certificate of Analysis from a third party lab.
- The dosing should be straightforward and based on your dog’s weight.
- The product should contain little or no THC to protect your dog from getting a high. Dogs are more sensitive to THC than humans and get high at lower doses.
Are There Any Side Effects To Consider When Using CBD For Dogs?
CBD can cause diarrhea when you first start giving your dog the oil. This is because their body is getting used to the oil. It’s very unlikely with Relievet oils because we use weight based dosing in our products. Using our quiz ensures you won’t have to give your dog very many drops!
Your dog may be a little more relaxed or tired on CBD. This is normal. It’s always a good idea to start low and go slow on CBD dosing, starting closer to 1mg/kg and working up to 2mg/kg until you find the optimal dose.
CBD has been studied many times in dogs for safety and used by veterinarians, pharmacists, and dog owners worldwide without serious side effects as long as the product was well-formulated specifically for dogs.