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Dog Hives

Dog hives are an allergic reaction to allergens such as foods, insect bites and stings, medicines, and other chemicals. This page looks at the symptoms, causes, and treatment of canine hives.

Dog
Hives, medically known as urticaria, are an allergic reaction to certain allergens which can be foods, medicines, insect bites, chemicals, etc.

Hives usually appear suddenly and are small, round, raised bumps on the skin. The hair sticks out in little patches and sometimes the whole face (especially the eyelids and muzzle) will swell as well. Facial swelling can cause itching.

Canine hives usually appear within 20 to 30 minutes after exposure to a certain allergen and disappear within 24 hours.

Symptoms of Dog Hives

As described above, hives appear as small, round, raised bumps on the skin of the face and other parts of a dog's body. The hair over the bumps stands up and sticks out in small patches.

There may be swelling and itching, so your dog may scratch and lick the affected area.

In severe cases, hives may cause swelling in the throat, making it difficult for the dog to breathe and swallow.

Important!

If your dog has a swollen face and has difficulty breathing, take him to the vet immediately! It's an emergency! You should also take your doggie to the vet if the hives do not disappear in 24 hours.

Causes of Dog Hives

One of the most common causes of hives in dogs is insect bites and stings. Other possible causes include:
  • Certain medications (such as penicillin, tetracycline, and other antibiotics)
  • Vaccines
  • Topical insecticides
  • Medicated soaps
  • Poisonous plants

Conventional Treatment of Canine Hives

Conventional treatment usually involves the use of an antihistamine such as Benadryl. In severe cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed.

If an acute case of canine hives is caused by ingestion of certain food, a dose of Milk of Magnesia can be used to remove the food quickly from the digestive system.

If an acute case of hives is caused by certain topical insecticide or medicated shampoo, bathe the dog and rinse thoroughly to remove the chemical from the dog's skin and hair.

Home Remedies for Dog Hives

Minor outbreaks of canine hives without any swelling can be treated using home remedies. The purpose is to relieve the itchiness and make the dog feel more comfortable.

Oat is soothing and can be used as a topical treatment for hives. If you have oatmeal at home, just boil some in water until it forms a wet paste. Let it cool and apply it directly onto the hives.

Alternatively, if you have green tea bags, steep a couple in 2 cups of hot water. Discard the teabags and let the tea cool down. Pour the cooled tea on affected areas.

Prevention of Hives in Dogs

Avoidance is the best way to prevent hives in dogs. If you know that your dog is allergic to certain substances, such as certain food items, medicines, or vaccines, such items should be avoided at all costs. Your vet should also be notified especially if your dog is allergic to some drugs or vaccines.

Dogs who develop hives easily usually are hypersensitive to allergens, due among other things to a compromised immune system. Supplements such as fish oil, vitamins C and E can be beneficial for your dog's skin and allergies. Ask your vet for recommendations.

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