Relief for a Dog Rash

By Christie Gross

A skin rash can be painful for a dog. Whether it's due to an allergic reaction or infection, the rash can cause localized itchiness that makes a dog scratch and lick constantly for relief. Unlike humans who have dozens of rash remedies to soothe the skin and reduce irritation quickly, dogs have fewer options available that can provide immediate help. This is because its thick coat of hair sometimes makes identification difficult, and treatment hard to apply so that it completely penetrates to the rash and effectively stops the itch.

About Rashes

A rash is a red, inflamed patch of skin. It's usually extremely itchy and may be warm to the touch. Rashes frequently appear on one area of the dog's body, such as his belly or leg. Seefido.com states that a rash can become the size of a plate within 12 to 24 hours after itching begins. When you notice your dog obsessively itching, licking and/or biting a localized area of his body, pull back the hairs of his coat to look for a rash.

Diagnosis

Once you pull back the hairs of the dog's coat and identify a rash, the next step is to diagnosis the cause of the rash. Since rashes can seemingly appear overnight, it can be challenging to identify a cause. Dogs with allergies can develop a rash when exposed to an allergen. When parasites, such as fleas and mites, infect a dog and burrow beneath the skin, they can irritate a dog's skin causing it to itch and a rash to form. A rash also may be a negative side effect of a medication, in which case the dog needs to stop taking it.

A thorough exam may need to be performed by a veterinarian to determine the cause of the rash, so a treatment plan can be developed to treat the rash and prevent it from reoccuring.

Types of Treatment

A rash can make a dog miserable. While a visit to the veterinarian is optimal to diagnosis the cause of the rash, a visit isn't always financially feasible or convenient for the dog owner for a minor skin irritation. Yet most dog owners want to ease their dog's discomfort. The good news is there are a number of over-the-counter and household remedies, in addition to prescription medications available to provide itch relief to your dog. Rash treatments consist of topical applications, shampoos and even oral medication.

Prescribed Treatment Options

A veterinarian may prescribe an oral or topical antihistamine and/or antibiotic to treat the rash and offer itch relief. Prescription Cortisone tablets also may be effective at quelling the itch. These treatments usually are prescribed for a dog with a rash caused by a parasitic or fungal infection or severe allergies.

Over-the-Counter Treatment Options

Aloe vera helps sooth and heals irritated skin when applied directly to the rash. Organic Pet Digest recommends applying milk of magnesia with a cotton ball to the rash to promote healing. Most pet stores offer shampoos specially formulated with cooling agents and moisturizers for dry, irritated skin. Canine hydrocortisone---a topical application---can also alleviate a rash.

Alternative Treatment Options

Organic Pet Digest also suggests baking soda mixed with water when applied to the skin may reduce the itch. In addition, bathing a dog with a bath containing Epsom salts can sooth irritated skin. Seefido.com recommends thoroughly cleaning the infected area with a mild soap and water to remove any bacteria that may have gotten into the rash from the dog's continuous scratching. It also may be necessary to shave part of the dog's fur around the infected area to expose the rash. Apply an antiseptic like hydrogen peroxide, not alcohol to keep the skin as clean as possible during the healing process. Vetinfo.com suggests diet supplements like fish oil, pumpkin seeds, Vitamin E and even a green tea rinse may reduce skin irritation and inflammation, especially when the dog is prone to dry itchy skin.