Your dog is constantly scratching and chewing itself and doesn’t stop. Something is not right. If your dog is displaying these behaviors, take a closer look. You may see redness and irritation of the skin. The first step is to take your dog to a vet to find out what is causing this discomfort. Your dog may be experiencing hives, a manifestation of allergic reactions. The vet might prescribe medication to address the issue, but what’s available if you are looking for a natural dog hives remedy?
What are Dog Hives?
Urticaria, or hives, is a skin condition that is generally characterized by red welts on dogs (sometimes called “welps” on dogs) anywhere on the body, including the face, mouth, eyes, legs, throat, and ears.
Symptoms of dog hives may include:
- Redness and swelling on face and/or other parts of the body
- Itchiness/excessive scratching
- Drooling due to swollen lips
- Closed eyes due to swollen, itchy eyes
- Swelling in the throat (can result in anaphylaxis, an emergency situation!)
Why Do Dogs Break Out In Hives?
Dog hives are most commonly caused by an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions are an immune response to specific allergens. An immune response involves the production of antibodies, which release chemicals that cause inflammation. The swollen red spots that you see are a direct result of this inflammation. Hives can be triggered by several allergens, which means that there is not just one cause of hives.
Common causes of hives:
- Insect bites or stings
- Plants, such as poison ivy or oak
If you have a dog who gets hives, it’s good to know what exactly triggers the reaction. Once the culprit is identified you can stop your dog from getting hives, if you keep it away from what it’s allergic to. No trigger equals no reaction.
How Long Do Dog Hives Last?
Dog hives typically last from 1-3 days. Since an allergic reaction causes hives, the welts should disappear once the allergen has moved through your dog’s body. It’s even possible for hives to disappear without treatment in a matter of minutes. If your furry friend experiences a particularly strong allergic reaction, various medications can help the dog recover.
While allergies can differ for each dog, some canines’ reactions may get worse over time. In these scenarios, it’s important to remember that a medication like an EpiPen does not always cure the allergic reaction. It may ease your pet’s symptoms for a few hours before the hives return.
Severe cases of hives need professional medical attention, so think of the EpiPen as pressing pause on the dog’s allergic reaction. This will give you time to take your pet to the emergency room.
If your dog breaks out in hives, pay attention to the symptoms more than how long they last. A mild case of hives lasting more than three days is cause for concern, but severe reactions should immediately receive veterinary attention. How do you know if a reaction is severe? If your dog’s face swells or they experience breathing difficulties, it’s time to see the vet.
Common Treatment Options for Hives
Fortunately, there are several treatment options for canine hives. We hope that a case of hives resolves itself within just a few minutes, but these medications can help your dog recover if the problem persists:
- Epinephrine (EpiPen)
Antihistamines like Benadryl or Claritin work by inhibiting the further activity of histamines in the immune response. Histamines cause all the general symptoms of allergies that you are familiar with (red eyes, itchy skin, wheezing). By blocking these histamines from binding to their respective receptors, hive symptoms are temporarily relieved. However, there are some side effects that can come with antihistamines.
Possible antihistamine side effects in dogs:
- Anxiety or nervousness
Corticosteroids (e.g. prednisone, dexamethasone) suppress the inflammatory response. This is important, because inflammation is a key part of the immune response. It is responsible for causing the redness and swelling of hives. Corticosteroids work by reducing inflammation and swelling.
Possible short-term side effects of corticosteroids in dogs may include:
- Frequent urination
- Increase in thirst/dehydration
- Higher risk of infection getting worse
Potential long-term side effects of corticosteroids in dogs:
- Urinary tract infection
- Thin skin, blackheads, poor coat
- Decreases wound healing
- Obesity from increasing hunger
- Muscle weakness
- Calcinosis Cutis (hard areas of the skin)
- Increases risk of bacterial infections/fungal infections
- Development of mange (skin mites)
- Predisposition for diabetes
In rare cases, the throat can become so inflamed and swollen that it actually closes. This is called anaphylaxis, and it is a life-threatening situation that only a burst of epinephrine can resolve. Epinephrine stimulates dilation of the airways, allowing air to pass through. This is usually provided in the form of an EpiPen, which contains epinephrine that has been pre-dosed for your dog.
While epinephrine can be a life-saving drug, there are possible side effects:
- Raised blood pressure
- May cause anxiety
- Abnormal heart rhythms
Best Natural Home Remedies for Dog Hives
If your dog can’t seem to stop scratching, there’s plenty you can do at home. Mother Nature gives us plenty of natural remeies that can help our pets cope with hives. Try some of our following tips if your dog has mild symptoms of hives:
Oats have soothing properties and can alleviate itching when applied to the skin. The best way to use oats is to make oat paste by cooking the oatmeal and letting it cool. Once cooled, apply the paste to your dog’s skin. You can also make an oat bath for your dog if there is a lot of itching.
Chamomile and Green Tea
These herbal teas have skin-soothing and cooling properties. They are best for itchy, irritated skin. You can either make a chamomile or green tea bath for your dog or drip the tea over the irritated areas.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Water Spray
An equal mixture of apple cider vinegar and water can do the trick. Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, making it effective for irritation from poison oak. Be sure not to use this on any broken skin, as the vinegar will cause great irritation and possibly worsen the situation.
Coconut oil contains anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that help treat irritated skin, while keeping the skin nourished. Apply solid coconut oil directly onto your dog’s skin to reduce irritation and dryness.
Using CBD Oil to Treat Dog Hives
If the remedies mentioned above aren’t doing the trick, CBD oil may be able to offer your dog some releif. Let’s take a look at what CBD actually is, and what it may do.
To begin with, we must know that CBD is not yet approved or meant to prevent, treat, or cure any ailments or diseases.
We do know, however, that it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Dogs, like humans, have an ECS that interacts with cannabinoids. You can use CBD dog treats, CBD capsules, CBD topicals, or a CBD oil to administer CBD to your dog.
The ECS is responsible for regulating several key functions of the body. One of the most notable functions is the regulation of the immune system. Dogs with hives usually show symptoms of irritation, swelling, and inflammation. Fortunately, the ECS may help to reduce this inflammation by suppressing the inflammatory response. CBD may be helpful for:
- Soothing the skin
- Promoting a calm state
- Promoting a healthy coat
CBD dosing depends on your dog’s weight and whether you’re aiming for a starting, regular, or strong dose. We’ll go over each of our CBD oil sizes’ dosing suggestions, but keep in mind that these dosages are only meant for HolistaPet products. Other brands may have different dosing suggestions based on their CBD formulas.
For dogs that weigh up to 20 lbs, we recommend our 150 mg bottle of CBD oil:
- Starting dose: 0.25 ml (2.5 mg CBD)
- Regular dose: 0.5 ml (5 mg)
- Strong dose: 1 ml (10 mg)
For dogs that weigh between 20-60 lbs, we recommend our 300 mg bottle of CBD oil:
- Starting: 0.25 ml (5 mg)
- Regular: 0.5 ml (10 mg)
- Strong: 1 ml (20 mg)
Larger dogs that weigh 60-100 lbs would benefit most from our 600 mg CBD oil:
- Starting: 0.5 ml (10 mg)
- Regular: 1 ml (20 mg)
- Strong: 2 ml (40 mg)
If you’ve got a pooch that weighs between 100-160 lbs, you’ve got two excellent CBD oil size options. Our 1200 mg bottle is perfect for daily wellness benefit:
- Starting: 0.5 ml (20 mg)
- Regular: 1 ml (40 mg)
- Strong: 2 ml (80 mg)
If your dog is on the heavier side or experiencing skin irritation, you may want something a bit stronger. In that case, consider our 3000 mg bottle:
- Regular: 1.5 ml (100 mg)
- Strong: 2 ml (200 mg)
If you’re wondering what the heck a milliliter looks like, there’s no need to bust out your lab equipment. We have clearly labeled milliliter markers on our CBD oil dropper so that you never have to guess. This helps you give the right dosage to your furry friend every time!
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
CBD is generally safe for your dog. It is non-intoxicating, so it most certainly will not get your dog high. CBD comes from the hemp plant, which naturally contains a high CBD to THC ratio. Many CBD products contain zero THC, which can be ideal for your dog.
In addition, CBD has minimal side effects that will most likely not be problematic for your dog. These side effects may include:
- Dry mouth: CBD may affect saliva production, resulting in a dry mouth and a sensation of thirst.
- Lowered blood pressure: CBD in high doses may cause a small drop in blood pressure, along with slight light-headedness.
- Drowsiness: CBD promotes relaxation, in high doses, it may cause drowsiness.
That being said, the adverse effects that may occur are a result of drug interactions. Therefore, it is always best to consult your vet before using CBD for your dog.
Final Thoughts – The Best Natural Dog Hives Remedies
If your dog has allergies, be sure to consult a vet about hive prevention. If you’re unsure whether your dog has allergies, there are several at-home test kits available. When your pooch can’t seem to stop scratching themselves, there are several home remedies you can try that may soothe their skin.
If the scratching turns out to be hives, monitor your pet carefully. Hopefully, the swelling does not reach their face or airways, and the hives go away within three days. If so, help your dog cope with the symptoms using some of our tips. Although CBD is not an approved or regulated drug, it may help promote a soothing and calming effect for your dog. Should the hives become severe, take your pet to the hospital. More information