It may come as a surprise to you that dogs and humans share many of the same ailments and diseases. Dermatitis is an irritating skin disease which can affect pets and owners alike. The bright side is it’s possible to treat dog dermatitis at home. Various methods have proven useful for treatment with different levels of results.
Dog Dermatitis: Symptoms & Causes
Dermatitis can be incredibly uncomfortable for your dog. The condition may range from mild to severe and if left untreated can eventually become debilitating. It affects any breed of dog, though the most common are Boxers, Beagles, Bulldogs, Shar-Peis, Retrievers, Dalmatians, and Irish Setters.
Usual Dog Dermatitis Symptoms
- Excessive scratching
- Excessive rubbing on the carpet
- Hair loss
- Flaky and/or greasy skin with a foul odor
- Excessive chewing on the paws, groin, and/or armpits
- Raw and inflamed areas of the skin known as hot spots
- Secondary infections of the hot spots
- Infections of the ear
- Runny nose and/or eyes (less common)
Common Areas Affected By Dog Dermatitis
- Paws and in between toes
- On the face and around the eyes
- Around the Anus
*Dog Dermatitis can flare up on any area of the body but most commonly affects the above list of areas.
Most Common Allergens That Cause Dermatitis In Dogs
As mentioned above, this condition is an allergic reaction. This reaction is most frequently caused by airborne allergens. This means that the substances causing the allergic reaction float around on the air. The three most common airborne allergens that cause dermatitis in dogs are:
These are microscopic insects that are most often found in house dust. They subsist on flakes of dead skin (also known as dandruff) that people and their pets shed every day.
This is a powder-like substance that is made up of microscopic grains that come from flowers or plants.
This is a type of fungus that is frequently found in dark and damp areas. The spores that it releases into the air act as allergens. These are similar to pollen.
All of these allergens also cause very similar allergic reactions in humans. In this sense, we share a good deal of our medical problems with our beloved pets.
Dermatitis is a form of inflammation in the mammalian body. Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response to anything it perceives to be a threat. Signs of inflammation include heat, redness, pain, swelling, and a loss of function. Dog dermatitis is a reaction to the environment and the allergens found within it. However, various genetic factors may make your dog’s immune system predisposed to overreacting to these allergens. This overreaction is what causes dermatitis.
Treatment Steps: Clean, Heal & Prevent
Unfortunately, dog dermatitis can get progressively worse if left untreated. Because of the extreme itchiness of the condition, your dog will likely scratch and chew their skin until it becomes raw and infected. These raw and infected areas (hot spots) then trigger even more itchiness and discomfort. Your dog may even irritate these hot spots until they get extremely painful and become prone to infection.
Common Ways Of treating dog Dermatitis
- Steroids. These treat the inflammation.
- Anti-itch shampoos. These can relieve the itchiness in the short term.
- Antihistamines. These treat the allergies.
- Fatty acid therapy. These also treat allergies.
- Antibiotics. These are prescribed to fight off the secondary infections that may develop.
It is also essential that you keep your dog’s skin clean and dry. This is particularly true if any open wounds or sores develop at the hot spots. Using an antibiotic ointment that can be applied directly to the exposed skin may be necessary. These ointments also have numbing agents that can help treat the immediate pain. If your dog can not stop scratching or biting themselves, then a cone may have to be placed on their neck for their own protection.
Because dermatitis is a reaction to allergens in the environment, keeping a clean house is also essential. Do not allow excessive dust buildup. This will help control the number of dust mites in the air. Having an air purifier can also help filter out these airborne allergens. If you also suffer from allergies, then these steps can help treat your condition as well.
It is also necessary to make sure that there is no mold buildup in your house. Have it checked for mold in dark and damp areas. If mold is discovered, you will have to either cut it out yourself or call a removal service. If pollen is the primary irritant for your dog’s dermatitis, you may have to keep them from rolling around in the grass or jumping into bushes. This will limit the amount of pollen that touches their skin.
Useful Home Remedies
There are various home remedies that will help your dog’s dermatitis. Most of these remedies are various plant oils. They include:
- Hemp Seed Oil: This has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and promotes hormone-like compounds known as prostaglandins.
- Shea Nut Butter: This is an anti-inflammatory and a natural sunscreen.
- Coconut Oil: This is a heavy duty moisturizer that fights pain and has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.
- Avocado Oil: This encourages skin fiber (known as collagen) production and contains natural, plant-based steroids known as sterolins.
- Jojoba Oil: This is an anti-fungal moisturizer that is rich in various minerals.
- Olive Leaf Extract: This is effective in fighting bacterial and fungal infections.
- Tea Tree Oil: This is a natural disinfectant with anti-fungal properties.
- Rosemary Extract: This has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamin E: This boosts collagen production and promotes skin cell regeneration.
Each of these is a humectant (which helps retain moisture in the skin) and an emollient (which helps soften and soothe the skin). Almost all of them have anti-inflammatory properties and help keep the affected areas of the skin free from infection. They are also mostly antioxidants, which are substances that protect cells from deterioration.
Can You Use CBD Oil for Dog Dermatitis?
As you can see in the section above, one of the powerful home remedies is hempseed oil. This oil is derived from the cannabis plant that may have several benefits. CBD comes from the hemp plant as well and it may also be beneficial with calming certain skin irritations.
What Is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
Another cannabis extract is cannabidiol (CBD). Unlike hempseed oil, however, CBD oil is made from the stems, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. It belongs to the group of compounds known as cannabinoids. These compounds interact with receptors in the dog’s body that make up the regulatory system known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
CBD & The ECS (Endocannabinoid System)
This ECS controls all kinds of important functions in your dog’s body. These include sleep cycles, pain responses, the nervous system, inflammation all over the body, skin immunity, healthy blood sugar levels, stable appetite, and the immune system.
The ECS & The Immune System
Furthermore, remember that dermatitis is an overreaction of your dog’s immune system. Essentially your dog’s body gets exposed to an airborne allergen (dust mites, pollen, or mold) and then declares that this allergen is a foreign invader that must be destroyed. This triggers a massive inflammatory response and dermatitis forms on your dog’s skin. Your dog then obsessively scratches and bites at this patch of dermatitis. This then creates a hot spot and may even cause an open wound that may become infected.
The ECS, however, may help regulate your dog’s immune response. Some research suggests that the skin’s ECS inhibits the activation of the immune system when it is not necessary. By regulating these responses, it may help your dog’s body remain in a state of homeostasis. This homeostasis may help your dog have a more measured response to any kind of allergen exposure. This, in turn, may help soothe the extreme discomfort that comes from dermatitis.
Related article: Dog Immune System Booster [Natural Remedies]
How to Use CBD Oil
Before we get into this section, it is important to remember that CBD has not yet been approved by the FDA. This means that it is not meant or intended to prevent, treat, or cure any ailments or diseases.
If you decide to give your dog CBD oil, there are various companies that sell these products. It is best, however, to go with a respected and highly-rated company that can provide you with the highest quality products.
Common CBD Dog Products
- Capsules: The capsules can be given to your dog if they are stuffed into some piece of food that they like. You can wrap them in a cold cut or slather peanut butter on them. They also contain hempseed powder which may help boost their immune system even more.
- Tinctures: Tinctures, on the other hand, are CBD extracts infused with hemp seed oil. You just take the dropper and administer it directly into your dog’s mouth. This is best done under their tongue (sublingually) so that the CBD absorbs quickly into their mucous membranes. The hemp seed oil in these tinctures may promote a healthy immune system and a healthy coat.
- Treats. HolistaPet also sells CBD treats. These can be used to train your dog or reward good behavior. These treats also have other powerful supplements that are great for controlling various conditions. For example, there are treats that contain turmeric and Boswellia, which may be helpful for decreasing inflammation.
CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs
Because you love your dog and you want what’s best for them, you’ve decided to go with a reputable company that provides the highest quality products. Now you have to determine the correct dosage. This is quite simple and will depend on whether you give them a regular dose (used for mild to moderate symptoms) or a strong dose (used for moderate to severe symptoms). You simply apply either formula:
Recommended Dosage Amounts
When calculating the correct milligram dosage of CBD oil you will need to know your dog’s weight in pounds (lbs).
- Regular dose: A quarter (0.25) milligram for every 1 pound of body weight. Use a regular dose for mild to moderate effects. Example: Your dog weighs 20 pounds and you want to portion out a regular dose of CBD. This is how you calculate this dosage amount: 20 x 0.25 = 5 milligrams. In this case, you would give your 20-pound dog a regular dose measuring 5 milligrams of CBD.
- Strong dose: A half (0.5) milligram for every 1 pound of body weight. Use a strong dose for moderate to severe effects. Example: Your dog weighs 30 pounds and you wish to administer a strong dose of CBD. This is how you calculate this dosage amount: 30 x 0.5 = 15 milligrams. In this case, you would give your 30-pound dog a strong dose measuring 15 milligrams of CBD.
When using CBD oil, we recommend you give it at least a few weeks to see an overall impact.
You can always adjust this amount because CBD is usually well tolerated by pets and it is easy to metabolize. It is very difficult for your dog to overdose on CBD. If you give them a high enough dose, they may just sleep it off for a little while.
It is best to inform your veterinarian that you will be using CBD. This will ensure that it does not have any negative interactions with other medications. Using CBD oil twice daily along with other home remedies may have a better effect on your dog. Remember to keep your house dust-free and your dog clean. This should help your dog’s dermatitis in no time!