How To Treat Dog Dermatitis At Home [2022] (2023)

If you’re searching up remedies for dog dermatitis, you probably have one uncomfortable pup on your hands! Good thing you’re here, because we have some info that can help you and your pup. Luckily, there are many ways to treat dog dermatitis at home.

Dog dermatitis is a condition that refers to any unusual swelling of the skin. How does this happen? Well, it can be hard to say because dermatitis can be caused by several different conditions, like allergies or eczema.

It’s essential to bring your dog to a veterinarian for the most accurate diagnosis and treatment, but you can try some homemade treatments to soothe your furry friend’s symptoms in the meantime. Let’s explore what causes dermatitis and how you can fix it!

Table of Contents

Dog Dermatitis: Symptoms & Causes

Dermatitis, or skin swelling, is the body’s natural immune response to bacteria and viruses it perceives to be a threat. Signs of swelling include heat, redness, pain, and swelling. When the swelling is appropriate, it is a healthy defense mechanism that keeps the body safe.

However, when the swelling becomes exaggerated or inappropriate, it can spell trouble for your dog. Here’s a closer look at what causes excessive swelling responses.


Allergies are a type of overreaction by the immune system to substances called “allergens.” Various genetic factors may make your dog’s more sensitive to these allergens.

Allergies can show up in different places in a dog, including in the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and skin. In most cases, allergens from the outside environment find their way onto dog’s skin.

Once exposed, the body identifies the allergens as invaders that must be destroyed. This triggers a massive swelling response and dermatitis forms on your dog’s skin. Your dog then obsessively scratches and bites at the affected areas. This behavior then creates a hot spot and may even cause an open wound that may become infected.

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There are two types of eczema: dry and wet. Dry eczema looks like flaky, dry, irritated patches on your dog. Wet eczema (also called a “hot spot”) is a moist, oozing lesion that can give off a foul smell. Both types will annoy your dog more than a colony of fleas!

Eczema can develop for a number of reasons. Bacterial infections, parasites, and allergies can all lead to eczema. It’s essential to investigate your dog’s environment to see what might be causing their issue.

Most Common Allergens That Cause Allergic Dermatitis In Dogs

Allergic dermatitis in dogs is most frequently caused byairborne allergens.This means that the substances causing the reaction float around in the air. Interestingly, these allergens can also cause allergic reactions in humans. In this sense, we share some of our medical problems with our pets. However, in people, airborne allergens most often cause signs of hay fever (itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing), whereas they more often cause skin swelling (dermatitis) in the dog.

The three most common types of airborne allergens that cause dermatitis in dogs are:

Dust Mites:

These are microscopic insect-like pests that are most often found in house dust. They subsist on flakes of dead skin (also known asdandruff) that people and their pets shed every day. Dust mites are not parasites, and they don’t bite or sting people or dogs. However, they cause problems by triggering an allergic response.


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 microscopic spores that it releases into the air act as allergens. There are different types of molds that exist naturally in the environment.

Common Signs Of Dog Allergic Dermatitis

Allergic dermatitis can be incredibly uncomfortable for your dog. The condition may range from mild to severe and, if left untreated, can eventually become debilitating. Any dog can develop allergic dermatitis, but breeds that are most commonly affected are Boxers, Bulldogs, Retrievers, and German Shepherds, and Shih Tzus.

Common signs of allergic dermatitis in dogs are:

  • Excessive scratching, chewing, biting, or licking
  • Hair loss
  • Flaky and/or greasy skin with a foul odor
  • Excessive chewing on the paws, groin, and/or armpits
  • Raw and swollen areas of the skin known as hot spots
  • Secondary yeast or bacterial skin problems
  • Complications around the ear
  • Runny nose and/or eyes (less common)

Common Areas Affected By Dog DermatitisHow To Treat Dog Dermatitis At Home [2022] (1)

  1. Ears
  2. Muzzle
  3. Ankles
  4. Underarms
  5. Paws and in between toes
  6. Groin
  7. On the face and around the eyes
  8. Around the anus

*Dog allergic dermatitis can flare up on any area of the body but most commonly affects the above areas.

Treatment Steps: Clean, Heal, & Prevent

Unfortunately, allergic dermatitis can get progressively worse if left alone. Because of the extreme itchiness of the condition, your dog will likely scratch and chew its skin until it becomes raw and infected. These raw and swollen areas then trigger even more itchiness and discomfort, creating an ongoing cycle of itching and swelling.

Common Ways Of Treating Dog Allergic Dermatitis

  • Prescription medications can help treat the swelling. These are often necessary if the problem is moderate to severe.
  • Allergy shots or sublingual drops. Your veterinarian can perform tests to determine what environmental allergens are causing a problem. Providing sublingual (under the tongue) drops can specifically target those allergies and treat the itch and swelling in a safe and holistic way.
  • Anti-itch shampoos. These can relieve the itchiness in the short term.
  • Fatty acid therapy. Like anti-histamines, these can treat the swelling and itch and mainly help if the signs are mild.

Cleaning Regimen For Dermatitis

It is also essential that youkeep your dog’s skin clean and dry. Regular bathing (sometimes once weekly or more often!) helps to remove allergens.

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However, after bathing, it is important that the skin stays dry. This is particularly true if your dog has open wounds or sores. If your dog cannot stop scratching or biting itself, then you may want to place a cone on its neck for its own protection.

Because dermatitis can result from allergic reactions to the environment, keeping a clean house is also essential. Do not allow excessive dust buildup. This will help control the number of dust mites.

Having an air purifier can also help filter out airborne allergens. If you also suffer from allergies, then these steps can help treat your condition as well.

In addition, have your home checked for mold regularly. If you discover mold, 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.

Is Skin Atrophy In Dogs The Same As Dermatitis?

Skin atrophy occurs when dermal thickness reduces. In plain language, this means the skin begins to thin. While this is not exactly the same thing as dermatitis, skin atrophy can occur alongside dermatitis. Why?

Well, if your vet prescribed topical steroids to treat your furry friend’s condition, overusing the cream may cause the skin to thin. While steroids are an effective treatment for eczema and dermatitis, prolonged use can leave skin fragile and more prone to damage.

Delicate skin is certainly not ideal for any dog with skin woes. Dogs with eczema or other irritation conditions tend to gnaw and scratch often. If their skin is thin, the dog is more likely to injure themselves when they scratch! Steroid-induced skin atrophy is one reason why you may want to seek natural alternatives for your dog’s dermatitis.

Useful Home Remedies For Dogs With Eczema

There are various home remedies that may help with eczema and allergic dermatitis in people. Most of these are plant oils that are applied to the skin, and they work because they possess specific antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-swelling, and/or anti-itch properties. Some of these home remedies you can try include:

Hemp Seed Oil

In people, there is some evidence that dietary hempseed oil can help reduce clinical signs of allergic dermatitis.

Shea Nut Butter

When applied to the skin, this rich balm acts as an anti-swelling and antioxidant. The fats in shea butter can also help protect the skin from the elements and external irritants.

Grape Seed Oil

This hasn’t been thoroughly evaluated in people yet, but scientists have found that grape seed oil contains high contents of good fatty acids, vitamin E, and phenolic compounds, which may act as antioxidants when applied onto people’s skin.

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Coconut Oil

When coconut oil is applied onto the skin, it can act as a moisturizer, anti-swelling, mild sun protectant, and antiseptic. However, since coconut oil is high in fat and calories, you don’t want to feed it to your dog unless recommended by a vet. Even if you apply it onto the skin, dogs tend to lick their skin, so this may cause your dog to gain weight unintentionally!

Jojoba Oil

This is an anti-inflammatory oil that can help heal dermatitis. You can apply it to irritated skin to boost moisture and restore the natural barrier.

Colloidal Oat Extracts

This is a centuries-old natural treatment for a variety of skin conditions, including rashes, redness, burns, and itch. This is one of the few plant products that have been evaluated in dogs and can be helpful when applied to skin with mild allergic dermatitis.

Tea Tree Oil

This is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal treatment. Some early studies have also shown that a 10% tea tree oil cream applied to the skin may help with itching and allergic dermatitis in dogs. However, some dogs can develop toxicity from this, so it’s important to avoid highly concentrated products, apply only thin layers to small areas, and prevent your dog from licking it after application. Signs of toxicity include lethargy, tremors, drooling, or paralysis.

How To Treat Dog Dermatitis At Home [2022] (2)

Can You Use CBD Oil For Dog Dermatitis?

As you can see in the section above, one of the home remedies is hempseed oil. This oil derives from the cannabis plant that may have several benefits. CBD comes from the hemp plant as well.

What Is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an extract made from the stems, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant.As a natural cannabinoid, it interacts with receptors in the dog’s body that make up the regulatory system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

CBD & The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in all kinds of important functions in your dog’s body. These include sleep cycles, discomfort responses, the nervous system, healthy blood sugar levels, stable appetite, and the immune system.

How To Treat Dog Dermatitis At Home [2022] (3)

How Can The ECS Play ImportantRole In Dog Allergic Dermatitis?

Remember that allergic dermatitis is an overreaction of your dog’s immune system. The ECS may help regulate your dog’s immune response. By regulating the immune response, it can help to keep your dog’s body 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 to reduce the overreactive allergy response and soothe the discomfort that comes from dermatitis.

How To Use CBD Oil

Give your dog 1-2 servings of CBD oil per day (oral ingestion) for best results. Although you can also apply CBD oil topically, it may not be as effective as other CBD topical products. Remember CBD is not meant or intended to prevent, treat, or cure any conditions. It’s meant to be used as relief but we highly recommend consulting a vet for more detailed information regarding treatment.

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HolistaPet provides various natural and soothing CBD products for your pet. These various products are available online on our products page.

Common CBD Dog Products

  • Capsules: The capsules can be given to your dog if they are stuffed into some piece of food that it likes. You can wrap them in a cold cut or put a little bit of peanut butter on them
  • 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 the tongue (sublingually) so that the CBD absorbs quickly into its 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.

CBD Oil Dosage For Dogs

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).

How To Treat Dog Dermatitis At Home [2022] (5)

Next, you should decide whether you want a starting, regular, or strong dose. Each type of dose will vary depending on your dog’s weight. Don’t worry! It’s actually quite simple. Here’s how it goes.For dogs that are 20 lbs and under, 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)

Dogs that are 20-60 lbs, go with the 300 mg bottle of CBD oil:

  • Starting: 0.25 ml (5 mg)
  • Regular: 0.5 ml (10 mg)
  • Strong: 1 ml (20 mg)

For larger dogs that weigh 60-100 lbs, try the 600 mg CBD oil:

  • Starting: 0.5 ml (10 mg)
  • Regular: 1 ml (20 mg)
  • Strong: 2 ml (40 mg)

OR, you can try the 1200 mg bottle:

  • 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)

Final Thoughts

Even if your dog has got some issues with dermatitis, there are solutions out there! You just need to find the one that works best for your pup. Of course, you must first get to the root cause of your dog’s skin woes before attempting treatment. If you’re ever unsure of your dog’s condition, consult a vet for expert guidance.

CBD is a fantastic option for dogs suffering from minor skin irritations. It is well-tolerated by dogs. Plus, it’s non-intoxicating, so it most certainly will not get your dog high. Using CBD oil in combination with other home remedies may have a more significant effect on your dog. Remember to keep your house dust-free and your dog clean. This should help your dog to reduce its discomfort.


What can I give my dog for dermatitis at home? ›

Chamomile, calendula, and green tea have properties that soothe and cool irritated skin and reduce inflammation, making them great additions in a dog bath for itchy skin. These soaks are best for dogs who have hot, itchy patches of skin that are at risk of getting rubbed raw.

Can you treat dog dermatitis at home? ›

The bright side is you can treat dog dermatitis in the home. A variety of techniques have proven helpful for treatment with various levels of results. Utilizing the hemp extract CBD that helps provide an alternative aid to dog dermatitis is an effective, new way of treatment, providing owners excellent results.

How do you get rid of dermatitis on a dog? ›

Your veterinarian might recommend immunomodulatory medications. These are available either as a daily pill (Apoquel) or an injection given every 4-10 weeks (Cytopoint). Along with these, antibiotics or antifungal medicines are often required to treat the skin infections that result from allergies.

Does Benadryl help dogs with dermatitis? ›

Benadryl is commonly used to treat itchiness in dogs caused by skin allergies, and it also reduces many of the other symptoms of allergies, including: AKC is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

How do you soothe dermatitis naturally? ›

Home remedies and natural treatments can soothe the dry, itchy skin that accompanies eczema.
Topical remedies
  1. Aloe vera gel. ...
  2. Apple cider vinegar. ...
  3. Bleach in the bath. ...
  4. Colloidal oatmeal. ...
  5. Baths. ...
  6. Coconut oil. ...
  7. Honey. ...
  8. Tea tree oil.

What cream can I put on my dogs dermatitis? ›

Hydrocortisone cream for dogs is often used to treat the following problems: Calm irritations such as rashes and bug bites. Skin allergies.

Is apple cider vinegar good for dermatitis dogs? ›

Apple cider vinegar for dogs may help prevent itchy skin while soothing skin irritation and rashes. Since it's acidic, it may also prevent yeast infections on the skin and ears. In addition, the acidic compounds in apple cider vinegar can eliminate dandruff and treat some mild skin conditions like hot spots.

What over-the-counter medicine is good for dog dermatitis? ›

The most common antihistamine for dogs is diphenhydramine (brand name Benadryl). Also found in ProSense Dog Itch & Allergy Solutions Tablets, diphenhydramine is safe in most dogs if given in the recommended dosage of 1 mg of diphenhydramine per pound of body weight given by mouth.

What foods cause dermatitis in dogs? ›

The most common food allergens in dogs are proteins, especially those from dairy, beef, chicken, chicken eggs, soy, or wheat gluten. Each time a pet eats food containing these substances, the antibodies react with the antigens, and symptoms occur.

How often should I bathe my dog with dermatitis? ›

Bathing once a week will help relieve pain and itching, and increase healing and recovery from any infections. Once the infection has been treated, either with antibiotics or in many cases with a cream, you should be able to reduce bathing to every two weeks.

Is Vaseline good for dog dermatitis? ›

While vaseline might feel soothing, there is no scientific evidence that it works. Furthermore, if your pup has a rash or skin irritation, your best bet is to consult your vet and get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment for whatever is going on.

Is Zyrtec or Benadryl better for dogs? ›

Other safe antihistamines for dogs include Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine). They produce less sedation than Benadryl does but could still make your dog drowsy. Warning: Make sure your OTC allergy medicine only contains antihistamine.

Why isn't Benadryl working on my dog? ›

Allergies in dogs are different than allergies in people. Histamines cause upper respiratory allergies in people, whereas cytokines (not histamines) cause itchy skin in dogs. For dogs with underlying allergies, antihistamines don't control the cytokines (signaling proteins) that cause inflammation and itch.

What is the fastest way to cure dermatitis? ›

Lifestyle and home remedies
  1. Moisturize your skin. Routinely applying a moisturizer can help your skin.
  2. Use anti-inflammation and anti-itch products. ...
  3. Apply a cool wet cloth. ...
  4. Take a comfortably warm bath. ...
  5. Use medicated shampoos. ...
  6. Take a dilute bleach bath. ...
  7. Avoid rubbing and scratching. ...
  8. Choose mild laundry detergent.
Oct 28, 2022

How do I get rid of dermatitis ASAP? ›

To help reduce itching and soothe inflamed skin, try these self-care measures:
  1. Moisturize your skin at least twice a day. ...
  2. Apply an anti-itch cream to the affected area. ...
  3. Take an oral allergy or anti-itch medication. ...
  4. Don't scratch. ...
  5. Take a daily bath or shower.
Oct 28, 2022

Will dermatitis go away without treatment? ›

If you can successfully avoid the irritants or allergens that trigger your symptoms, your skin will eventually clear up. However, as this is not always possible, you may also be advised to use: emollients – moisturisers applied to the skin to stop it becoming dry.

Can I use human hydrocortisone cream on my dog? ›

You can use hydrocortisone cream on your dog in most cases. Like in people, it helps treat mild rashes, itchy skin, and bug bites in canines, too.

Why does my dog keep getting moist dermatitis? ›

Anything that causes skin injury or encourages the dog to scratch or chew its skin may start the disease process. Skin parasites such as fleas, ticks, or mange mites; allergies; hair mats; or foreign material caught in the coat are common inciting factors.

Can I spray apple cider vinegar on my dog for itching? ›

Apple Cider Vinegar For Dog Skin Allergies

ACV can help relieve itchy skin and rashes caused by yeast and poison ivy. The best way to apply it is by making a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Apply it directly onto itchy spots. Caution: Do NOT put it on open wounds.

Is Aloe Vera good for dogs dermatitis? ›

It is safe to use aloe for: Relieving an itchy or painful hot spot. Eczema, flaky skin, or moisturizing your dog's dry nose. Soothing heat rash, sunburn, or bug bites.

Can I spray vinegar on my dog for itching? ›

If your dog has hot spots or itchy skin, you can apply a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water to your dog. Put the solution in a spray bottle for easy use. This same spray will help repel fleas and ticks – a common allergen for many dogs. You can also use it to clean out your dog's ears.

Can you put Neosporin on dog dermatitis? ›

“This was primarily shown with intravenous use, but it is recommended that you do not administer neomycin topically to your dog without first consulting your vet.” Because Neosporin is topical and applied directly onto the skin, there's always a chance that your dog could have an allergic reaction.

What foods make dermatitis worse? ›

Only about 30% of people with atopic dermatitis likely have a food trigger for their skin flares.
Possible food triggers for skin flares are:
  • Milk and other dairy products, including baby formula.
  • Eggs.
  • Soy.
  • Wheat.
  • Peanuts or tree nuts.
  • Fish or shellfish.
  • Rice.
  • Sesame seeds or oil.

What foods get rid of dermatitis? ›

Vegetables and fruits that are high in inflammation-fighting flavonoids: Apples, broccoli, cherries, blueberries, spinach, and kale. Flavonoids have been found to help improve the overall health of a person's skin and fight problems such as inflammation (which is associated with eczema).

How can I prevent my dog from getting moist dermatitis? ›

Feed them a quality diet. Keep your pet on their prescribed flea and tick preventives. Avoid allergens, such as flea bites, mites, pollen from plants, etc. After swimming, be sure to dry your dog thoroughly.

Is dermatitis painful for dogs? ›

It's typically marked by intense itching, irritation, inflammation, redness, and hair loss, among other symptoms. Long-term dog dermatitis can potentially lead to infections and more serious skin conditions.

Should you keep dermatitis dry or moist? ›

Keeping your skin's moisture intact is one of the most important things you can do to help control your eczema or atopic dermatitis. Moisturizers and lotions help protect the outermost layer of skin known as the stratum corneum or skin barrier.

How long does contact dermatitis last in dogs? ›

If the dermatitis is the result of an allergy, it may have developed over months or years. If your pet is exposed again, symptoms will be apparent from three to five days following exposure. The symptoms may persist for weeks.

Can apple cider vinegar help with atopic dermatitis in dogs? ›

Apple Cider Vinegar Water Spray

Apple cider vinegar has a lot of uses for not only humans but also pets. If your pet has itchy skin, this concoction of 50/50 water and ACV spray can help relieve your pet's skin allergies or irritation. This home remedy can also be used in a bath format.

What triggers dermatitis in dogs? ›

The main causes of dermatitis in dogs are: Parasites: Fleas, mites, ticks. Infections: Bacterial or fungal. Allergies: Environmental (such as pollen, grass, dust mites) or food.

Is Benadryl or Zyrtec better for dogs? ›

Other safe antihistamines for dogs include Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine). They produce less sedation than Benadryl does but could still make your dog drowsy. Warning: Make sure your OTC allergy medicine only contains antihistamine.


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