Dog Hives: 6 Things Pet Parents Should Know

Does your dog have hives? Would you know how to recognize them if they did have them? What do hives mean for dogs, and what can you do to help your pet recover from this symptom?

Dog hives

In the article below, we’ll answer all these questions and many more. You can use this information to try to narrow down the cause of your dog’s hives and figure out potential treatments. You can also use it to learn when you might want to take your pet to the veterinarian for their hives instead. Read on to find out more.

Important Facts to Know about Dog Hives

As a dog owner, it’s important to learn all you can about dog hives so that you can stay on top of your pet’s health and wellness. When in doubt, if you’re unsure if your pet is suffering from dog hives, you should take them to see a vet to be able to confirm this condition and find out what is causing it.

6 things every pet parent should know about dog hives include:

1. Dog Hives are Bumps on the Skin

Hives are also known as urticaria and can be found anywhere on the skin and mucous membranes of a dog’s body. If you’ve ever broken out in hives yourself, the experience is more or less the same for a dog. Hives can last for less than an hour or may linger for several days, depending on the severity of the allergy causing them.

Hives themselves are a symptom, not an illness or disease. They almost always indicate an allergic reaction, but they can sometimes be associated with anxiety in dogs who are extremely anxious already.

2. Dog Hives Have Several Symptoms

The most common symptoms of dog hives include raised, red bumps on the skin. These may or may not be filled with fluid, and they can occur inside the nose and mouth as well as on the skin itself. They are often itchy and may cause your dog to scratch uncontrollably, which in turn may lead to bleeding.

Swelling may happen along with hives, too. If your dog’s hives are on their face or neck and cause swelling, this problem can quickly become potentially fatal. Other areas that may swell from hives include the ears and inside of the mouth, both of which may become very painful.

3. Hives Can be Caused by Many Factors in Dogs

Dog hives are caused by an allergic reaction in the body. However, this type of allergic reaction may have many underlying causes. Some dogs may be severely allergic to specific kinds of plants or grasses in the backyard, for example; others may be allergic to food or medication that can cause hives, too.

Insect bites and stings often contribute to hives in dogs. If your dog breaks out in hives after being bitten or stung, and especially if the hives spread to the face or neck, this should be treated as an emergency as it could indicate anaphylaxis.

4. Hives in Dogs are Easy to Treat

Although the underlying cause of dog hives could be more difficult to tackle, the hives themselves can usually be treated easily with the help of a vet. Your vet may provide steroids or antihistamines and may also give your dog fluids in some instances. You may also be able to relieve hives at home by using a cold compress on your pet.

However, you should never give your dog antihistamines or other medication at home without the guidance of your vet. Do not give your dog human allergy medication (like Benadryl) unless your vet expressly tells you to do so.

5. Dog Hives Can be Managed in the Future

If you’ve seen your dog experience hives once, you’ll know they may be at risk of going through the same situation again in the future. Therefore, it’s important to work on managing your dog’s hives to prevent them from recurring.

Try to isolate the cause of the hives by retracing your dog’s steps throughout the day. Did they come into contact with a new plant, or did they eat something they’ve never tried before? Could they have been stung by a bee or other insect, or did they start a new medication or supplement?

6. Dog Hives Should Often be Treated as an Emergency

If your dog breaks out into hives that go away within an hour and do not include any other symptoms, you may not have to treat the issue as an emergency.

However, if your dog’s hives last several hours or more, this may mean their body is having trouble fighting off an allergic reaction to something. Take them to the emergency vet or regular vet for further treatment.

Bring Your Pet to Heart + Paw for Treatment for Dog Hives

Although hives may indicate a more serious underlying health problem, they are usually indicative of mild to moderate issues that can be easily treated. With the help of your trusted vet, you can get to the bottom of your dog’s hives and figure out the best way to help your pet recover, too.

Be sure to head to the vet if your dog’s hives last more than a day or if they come along with other symptoms, like shortness of breath or rapid heart rate. And if your dog seems to be in significant distress, don’t wait—go to the emergency vet instead.

For more information about dog hives, or if your pet needs to be seen by a veterinarian, book an appointment at any of our Heart + Paw locations. Our team will develop a treatment plan tailored to your pet’s condition to make sure they get back to their happy and healthy selves. 

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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