Hives in Dogs
Can be very challenging as it can be very difficult to identify the actual cause

Hives in Dogs, can your canine friend actually get them?

Although it is not as common as other types of skin conditions your dog may face, it can certainly be a problem and something all owners should be aware of.


There are two different forms of hives.

The first is Urticaria, which is an outbreak on their body of swollen bumps, patches, or welts that will appear very suddenly,.

The second is Angioedema, which is similar except the swelling happens beneath the skin, not on the skin.

Angioedema is often referred to as swollen face instead of hives, but it is basically the same thing.

Both kinds of hives in dogs will be the result, just like in humans, of an allergic reaction to something such as certain allergens.

However, it could be any number of things that can be very difficult to actually pinpoint.

Chemicals that you might use in or around your yard could be causing these conditions as well as rubbing against grass, weeds, or other types of pollen carriers.


Dogs mysterious eyesHives in dogs is not serious unless the head and face are affected

Food allergies can also be a major cause of hives.

Hives in dogs can affect any breed, although there are some breeds, simply because of their skin sensitivities.

This includes Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Dalmatians, and Lhasa Apsos.

From first hand experience, I have had 3 Dalmatians now, all three had this condition, and my current one is 15 years old, and still occasionally gets hives and we still do not know what actually cause it.

Hives in dogs will normally cause a severe itching in your pet, but they can also sting or actually burn your dog.

They will vary in size from ranging from about the size of a penny, to severe cases where they can be as large as a small salad bowel. If they join together, they are than referred to as plaques.

The severity of hives will depend on where they are located. Normally they will appear on your dog’s body mass such as their back or bellies, but can also develop on their face and or lips.

In the more severe forms of hives in dogs, they will appear on their tongues, throat, or ears. Hives on their throat or tongue may pose more of a threat to your dog.

Most cases of hives in dogs are not severe, and will generally dissipate within a day or two. However, there are some exceptions.


Angioedema, or swollen face, could be a much more serious threat to your canine friend. With this condition, your pets face will swell, especially around the muzzle and the eyes.

If the swelling is severe enough, your dog will not be able to see as they cannot open their eyes.

In most cases of Angioedema, the swelling will develop very quickly, which is good news and bad news.

They good news is that it will give you some reference of time frame of where your pet was and what possibly could have set off this allergic reaction.

The bad news is that it is most definitely a more serious situation. If it does develop in your pets tongue and throat, it may make it very difficult for them to breath.

Very severe cases of this condition are referred to as anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is a condition that develops very rapidly and is a much more serious set of reactions in that it affects several different parts of the body at the same time, which is now life threatening.

This condition can and has been fatal for dogs, and if you suspect this condition has affected your pet, you need to seek immediate medical attention from your veterinarian.

Both of these conditions are the result of reactions in your pet’s bodies that are triggered by antibodies that their immune system has produced.

This then causes inflammatory cells to release substances that cause the allergic reaction.

These reactions could also be the result of a recent vaccination your dog has received. Many types of vaccinations will contain antibiotics as preservatives, which triggers the reaction.

Both forms of hives are treated generally by antihistamines quite successfully, but in severe cases they will be treated with steroids.

Some cases of hives can be very easy for owners to miss, or may remain hidden under their coats, and can also be mistaken as flea bites.

Symptoms to watch for will be a sudden and excessive scratching or patches of fur that seem to be raised.

You should also watch for  sudden bald patches that are scaling or look like a rash.

In some cases, your pet may actually develop what looks like dandruff, but it is actually very dry skin.

If your pet develops yellow coloring on their lips, abdomen, or rectal areas, it may be the more severe form developing.


There have been several reported cases in chronic or severe hives, where Vitamin B12 supplements and or injections has reduced both the severity and the frequency of these attacks.

Hives, either the Urticaria form or the Angioedema form, is something that all dog owners should be very aware of and watch for at all times.

The reason is simple; no one actually knows for sure what can set them off in your canine friend.

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