What Is Dog Collar Rash & How To Treat It

a puppy licking his face

Part of being a responsible dog owner is ensuring your pet always has her collar on. A collar not only allows you to control your dog easier, but it is also where your pet’s ID and rabies tags can be found should your pet ever become separated from you.

But what happens when your dog’s skin becomes irritated by her collar? Dog collar rash is a real problem for some dogs, and it can be tempting for their owners to remove their pets’ collars altogether. Of course, this isn’t recommended. Instead, if your dog is suffering from collar chafing, your best move is to find out what’s really causing the rash, because a fix may be easier than you think.

What Does Dog Collar Rash Look Like?

When a dog develops collar chafing, it is usually characterized by red, inflamed skin around where the collar touches the neck. The rash can sometimes be accompanied by itchiness, flaking, and hair loss. Dogs with this condition may rub against the floor, furniture, or people, or they might chew or scratch at their skin or ears.

Common Causes of Dog Collar Chafing

Dog collar rash can be caused by a wide range of issues, ranging from simple to serious. The most common non-serious cause tends to be either:

  • The collar is too tight, or
  • The dog is sensitive to the collar’s material

In these cases, simply loosening the collar (you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck) or replacing the collar with one made from a different material will usually solve the problem.

However, in some cases, the collar isn’t the culprit. What might look like collar chafing might actually be a sign of another type of problem, such as:

  • Flea allergy dermatitis
  • Seasonal or environmental allergies
  • Skin parasites (ticks, lice, mites, etc.)
  • Bacterial or fungal infection
  • Allergic reaction to soap, shampoo, or conditioner
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Autoimmune disease

How to Treat Dog Collar Rash

Any time your dog develops a rash, the first step is to determine what is causing the rash as this will direct the adequate course of treatment. Attempting to treat the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause will only result in the rash potentially worsening. So, you should take your dog to her veterinarian for an examination to rule out any underlying instigators.

If there are no underlying health issues causing the rash, then you can remove the collar or anything around the area that could potentially be chafing your dog’s skin. Then clean the affected area using a warm, moist, flat-textured cloth and dry the area completely. You can apply some pet-friendly natural ointments, like those made from witch hazel, aloe vera, or coconut oil, to your dog’s skin to help reduce the inflammation and add moisture back into the skin.

Healing times may vary, but if you notice no improvement in your dog’s skin after about a week, then you should plan a return trip to her veterinarian for further testing.

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