Your dog is constantly scratching and chewing herself 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 a manifestation of allergic reactions such as hives. The vet may 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 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!)
What Causes Dog 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 Does it Take for Dog Hives to Go Away?
With proper treatment, dog hives usually clear up within three days. In some cases, hives can disappear in a matter of minutes, without any treatment.
Common Treatment Options for Hives Include:
- Epinephrine (in severe cases)
Antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl, Claritin)
Antihistamines 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. By blocking these histamines from binding to their respective receptors, symptoms of hives are temporarily relieved. However, there are some side effects that can come with the use of these antihistamines.
Possible Antihistamine Side Effects in Dogs:
- Anxious or Nervous
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 reducing swelling.
Possible Short Term Side Effects of Corticosteroids Use in Dogs:
- more frequent urination
- Increase in thirst/dehydration
- Higher risk of infection getting worse
Long Term Side Effects of Corticosteroids Use 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.
Possible Side Effects of Epinephrine in Dogs:
- Can raise blood pressure
- May cause anxiety
- Possibly cause tremors
- Can cause Excitability
- Abnormal rhythms of the heart
As you can see with these medications, although they can be useful, they come with a list of ranging potential side effects. This is one of the reasons many dog owners are looking for and using alternative natural remedies for treating dog hives.
Best Natural Home Remedies for Dog Hives
If you do not like to use conventional medicine for your dog, there are always natural approaches to treating dog hives. You can try one of the following remedies for 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. 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 spots on your dog.
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
In most cases, natural remedies like the ones described above may be good enough for treating typical symptoms of dog hives. You may have also considered CBD as a remedy. 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.
The recommended dosage for pets is 0.25 milligrams of CBD oil per 1 pound of body weight for a regular dose.
For a strong dose, the dosage is 0.50 milligrams of CBD oil per 1 pound of body weight.
Let’s say there are approximately 0.50 milligrams of CBD in 1 drop of CBD oil. For a 20 pound dog, the regular strength dosage would be (20 x 0.25 = 5 milligrams = 10 drops).
CBD can be used with little to no risks of side effects. If symptoms are extreme you may give even a larger dose and it should not affect your dog negatively. Check out our easy-to-use CBD dosing chart for more information regarding specific dosing portions.
CBD May Be Helpful For:
- Soothing the skin
- Promoting a calm state
- Promoting a healthy coat
These are just some of the things that CBD may do for dogs.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
CBD is generally safe for your dog. It is non-toxic and non-psychoactive, 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. Most 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.
That being said, the adverse effects that may occur are a result of drug-drug interactions. Therefore, it is always best to consult your vet before using CBD for your dog.
Possible Side Effects of CBD 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.
In conclusion, if your dog has hives, there are several home remedies you can try. Although CBD is not an approved or regulated drug, it may help promote a soothing and calming effect for your dog.