Dog Hives Causes

Dog hives causes include allergies due to inhaled substances, food ingredients, chemicals that contact the dog's skin or medication. Hives, also known as urticaria, are an immediate allergic reaction to substances the dog has come in contact with and can appear within 20 minutes. Generally the hives disappear, but there are several treatment methods to relieve itching that may occur with hives. Swelling of the face may also develop in dogs if they have recently been exposed to a substance causing hives.

Dog Hives Causes

Hives are small red bumps that appear on a dog's skin. They may cause the hair over the bump to stand up and they can emerge on dogs quickly once they have been exposed to an allergen. Allergens that can cause hives include insect bites, chemicals like carpet cleaner or insecticides, food, vaccinations, soaps and medications.  

Treatment for Dog Hives

Contact your veterinarian's office to discuss possible treatments for hives and to relieve itching and scratching. Treatment will often depend on what is causing the hives, but generally antihistamines are prescribed. Benadryl can be used as an antihistamine for dogs, but owners should always follow the veterinarian's instructions before giving their pets over-the-counter medications. In severe cases, a treatment with steroids may be needed. Vets may also prescribe antibiotics if secondary infections develop from intense scratching and damage to the skin.

Bathing your dog in cool water can help with itching, especially if the hives are caused by a new soap recently used or from contact with a substance causing an allergic reaction. If a food allergy is causing hives, veterinarians may recommend using Milk of Magnesia, but again, this should only be given if you talk to your vet and find out the correct dosage to give your dog. Stop giving your dog any new food that you may have introduced to his diet within the last few hours.  

If hives are consistently a problem for your dog over several months, talk to your vet about allergen tests to determine specific hives causes.

Preventing Dog Hives

Preventing dog hives is an easy task if you know the cause of the hives, and simply avoiding the substance causing the allergic reaction is all that is needed. If a vaccination or medication is the cause, tell your veterinarian about any incidents like this in the past so a note can be made for future vaccinations. Dogs with severe reactions to vaccinations will be treated with extra care if vaccines need to be administered again in the future.

Some veterinarians may recommend owners keep an epi-pen, a syringe containing one dose of the hormone epinephrine, with their dogs while on hikes or trips if insect bites have caused hives in the past. These epi-pens should only be used if they have been prescribed by a veterinarian and only according to the vet's instructions.