Causes for Extreme Case of Dog Hives

by Ellouise Brossett
(Pineville, Louisiana)

My dog, "Bell" one morning developed an extreme case of dog hives. (Holiday no veterinarians available.)

The next morning she was mostly well; however, within three hours they came back and one of her eyes shut. I had to hold her to keep her from scratching. I got up the next morning to take to vet, but again her large whelps/bumps were gone. Then again, after we sat awhile you could see the hives returning and her other eye shut.

I took her to doctor and she was given medication and is okay now. My question what could have caused this? She had the same food, same bed, same bathroom area.

Vet Suggests Possible Causes for Dog Hives

Hi Ellouise,

Dog Hives can be a frustrating problem because almost anything can set them off – allergies (pollen, mold, dust mites, food, and insect bites could all be to blame), heat, cold, touching the skin, even stress. I suspect that some combination of these (e.g., allergies and stress) are playing a role in your dog’s case. You have been treating her appropriately up to now, but I think she needs something stronger than the baths, Benadryl, and cream that you have been using.

In cases like these, I will often treat dogs with prednisone. I try to find the lowest dose that will keep the hives away and keep them on this dose for a couple of months, and then gradually wean them off of the prednisone. You could also consider putting your dog on a low-allergen diet. Foods that contain protein and carbohydrate sources that she has never been exposed to (e.g., duck and potato) are good options, but a change in diet will only work if a food allergy is to blame.

Stress relief might also help. If you know of anything that seems to make your dog anxious or upset, do your best to relieve it. Rescue Remedy, homeopathic supplements to relieve stress such as Pet Calm, or collars, diffusers, or sprays that contain dog appeasing hormone might also be worth a try.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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