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Q: My dog has a rash.

In this video we discuss rashes. The golden rule is that you can never be 100% sure what a rash is based on its appearance. There are many different causes of a rash (some are less serious, some are more serious), and so your veterinarian may need to run some diagnostic tests to get a better understanding of what is causing the rash. Hives are a common rash that result from an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can be mild or severe and life-threatening (anaphylactic shock), so it is best to see your vet right away. If you are in the woods or camping, the first line of treatment for an allergic reaction is to give regular Benadryl (Diphenhydramine HCl) at a dose of 1 mg per pound orally every 8 hours. Depression, vomiting, weakness, shaking, and laboured breathing are all signs of a more severe reaction (anaphylactic shock), which is an emergency. Another common rash is pyoderma (caused by bacterial infection of the skin). If you are far from a vet, you can gently cleanse the area 2-3 times per day using chlorhexidine gluconate (the 2% or 4% solution), which can be purchased at the pharmacy. If you have any concerns about your pet (vomiting, weakness, depression, poor appetite, discomfort, itchiness), it is best to see your veterinarian right away.