What to do if Your Dog Has Hives

Posted on
November 4, 2020
Dog with bumps on his head
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Nobody wants their dog to have to suffer in any way really. I mean isn’t that why we give them treats and toys and comfy dog beds? We want to make their lives enjoyable and happy the best we can. Unfortunately though we can’t control everything that happens to our pets. This is especially true in dogs who are so innocent and curious that they’ll oftentimes gleefully engage with something that will be bad for them. Sometimes this means getting sprayed by the local skunk, but other times it can have more drastic consequences like illnesses and allergic reactions. If you notice your dog having some sort of allergic reaction or breakout, don’t worry, there’s a few steps you can take to identify what is happening, and determine which steps you should take next.

happy dog smiling like a goober
Keeping your dog happy and healthy is an essential part of being a pet owner.

What Causes Hives?

And How You Can Identify Them

There are a few key characteristics that can help you identify when your pet has hives. One of the biggest indications is the emergence of circular bumps on your dog. These bumps can appear on a variety of places on your pet. This can include on their face and muzzle, their abdomen, their legs, and even arounds their eyes.

These bumps will often be red and painful for the dog. They can be quite sensitive. This is rather unfortunate because they can also be incredibly itchy for your dog. This means your dog is going to want to scratch, but every scratch is going to cause them some pain. Which is not what you want.

Outside of the red bumps and the sensitive skin, hives are also accompanied by swelling. This will usually appear around where the red bumps have formed. The skin around the bumps will also be irritated and swollen up. This can be particularly noticeable if the hive forms around the dog’s eyes or face. Because then their muzzle will swell up and they will look cartoonish and goofy. And while their swollen up muzzle might look adorable (my shepherd would look just like Scooby Do when she would try to eat bumble bees). It can really be quite painful for the dog.

You will want to treat this right away because if left untreated the irritated skin can become quite bothersome and painful for the dog and lead to serious tissue damage over a long period of time.

dog with hives along its shoulder and back
Hives can be identified by the presence of large circular welts on your dog's body, head, or face. Photo Courtesy of Dog Health Guide

Hives Are An Indication of An Allergic Reaction

Allergies Need to be Monitored Carefully When Caring for A Canine

Hives and symptoms associated with hives like swelling of the face and muzzle can be caused by a whole host of different things. They can be caused by anything from insect bites (or stings, I had a dog that loved to eat bumblebees as a child) to food allergies. Additionally if your dog loves to go outdoors and explore they can be caused by the introduction of pesticides to your dog when they run through a field. Or poisonous plants when they run down by the river to chase a squirrel. Any way you slice it, there are a myriad of things your dog might encounter that will give them hives. But why should you be worried about your dog having hives?

The major issue with your dog having hives is that they are a common allergic reaction in dogs. This should come as no surprise because humans also tend to get hives when they are having an allergic reaction.When the dog is introduced to a particular allergen it causes the body to react by creating the hives. This is done for the same reason that hives are caused in humans as well. When a body, human or canine, is allergic to something it is caused by the immune system misidentifying something that has been introduced to the body.

 The body believes the allergen to be a dangerous bacteria or pathogen even though it is not. This causes the body to react in a variety of different ways. This can include things like water eyes and a runny nose. It can also include things like itchy skin and hives. 

However, the appearance of some allergic symptoms should be a cause for alarm. Plenty of allergens that cause hives can also do things like cause the throat to close up if they are left untreated. Which can have serious or even fatal health effects for your pet. Because of this whenever you see your dog having an allergic reaction like hives you should take action immediately to prevent any worse symptoms from developing and endangering your dogs wellbeing. 

dog at vet hooked up to wires
It's important to identify an allergic reaction and make sure it is not going to progress to something more serious. 

What to Do After You’ve Identified Your Dog Has Hives

Make Sure The Allergic Reaction Won’t Turn From Irritating to Tragic

Once you’ve figured out that your dog has hives there are a few things that can be done. Just like in humans the applications of antihistamines and lotions can help alleviate the allergic symptoms associated with hives. The swelling, itchiness, and redness can all be reduced. You can get a variety of different ointments and care products for your dogs skin. This can be particularly helpful after you have discovered that your pet has an allergy, but doesn’t have any more serious allergic symptoms.

However, for pet owners who are seeing symptoms for the first time, the lotions and antihistamines are all well and good, but they’re no substitute for a medical opinion. As was mentioned earlier, hives are just one potential symptom of an allergic reaction. And can be an indication that more serious symptoms will be on the way. If you are noticing hives or any other allergic reaction in your dog for the first time get them to a vet as soon as you can. Once you’ve identified that the allergy won’t ever be any more serious than hives and itchy skin, the lotions and ointments will be all you need. But until you are sure the allergic reaction won’t get any more serious don’t tame the chance with your canine confidants health and wellbeing.

cool dog in goggles getting scanned
No matter how cool your dog thinks it is, it’s never a bad idea to get a medical opinion. 

When all is said and done you puppy pal should be back to normal., The swelling and redness should reduce pretty quickly and they should be feeling better pretty quickly. However, it is important to remember to always listen to the healthcare advice of your veterinarian. Especially when it comes to something like an allergic reaction. Although hives are troublesome, it's important to keep an eye out for more serious allergic reactions that may occur in order to keep your dog happy and healthy.

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Posted on
November 4, 2020

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