What Are Dog Hives?

What Are Dog Hives?

Our dogs are members of our families, so when your pet has dog hives you want to help alleviate the symptoms as quickly as you can. While you may not have heard of dog hives before, it is fairly common and there are several different reasons why your pet might break out in dog hives. But regardless of the reason, you want to make sure that you can help your pet with the swelling and itchiness that they have. Here we break down what dog hives are, how your pet might have gotten dog hives, and several different options for treatment, including CBD oil and balm that help to reduce swelling and redness while relieving the itch as well.

What Are Dog Hives?

When someone says their pet has dog hives, you might be unsure of what they mean. This isn’t surprising since dog hives, or urticaria as it’s also called, isn’t a common occurrence in dogs. Dog hives is a skin condition that is characterized by raised welts on the skin, and they are red in color. These welts can appear almost anywhere on a dog, including the lips, face, ears, or tongue. These welts are also usually very itchy for the dog. Often people notice the welts when they realize their dog is itching a lot more than normal, or they might notice it when looking closely at their pet. Normally dog hives are not very dangerous, but if the welts are in the throat it could lead to compromised breathing.

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What Causes Dog Hives?

Unfortunately, there is not just a single thing that you can point to as the cause of dog hives. While insect bites or bee stings could be a possible cause, they aren’t the only possibilities. Sometimes vaccines could cause dog hives in your pet, or it could be a food allergy.  It could also be a chemical reaction your pet is having that is causing dog hives, such as from fertilizer that is applied to your yard. Finally, some plants such as poison ivy could also cause dog hives for your pet. It is important to try to narrow down the cause of the hives on dogs as best you can so you can help alleviate and prevent it in the future.

What Are The Symptoms of Dog Hives?

There are several symptoms that you should watch for that indicate that your pet has dog hives. Your dog might have a medium to a large area of redness and swelling on the face, the legs, or the abdomen. You might find that there is also swelling around the muzzle, and you could also see swelling around the eyes where the dog’s eyes are not as open as they usually are. With dog hives, you will also see your pet scratching excessively to try to alleviate the itchy sensation. If the muzzle starts to swell, your pet may start to drool from this swelling. You will see these areas have large raised red bumps, similar to what you would see on a human with hives.

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How to Get Rid of Dog Hives?

When you are looking for how to get rid of dog hives for your pet, you are fortunate to have several different options available. CBD is a very popular option that is natural and offers very little in the way of side effects while reducing the inflammation common with dog hives. There are a couple of medications that you could use with your pet, either antihistamines or corticosteroids, but as you might expect there are some side effects to be aware of with your pets just like there are with people. And there are several other more natural options that you can try with your pet, including oats and oatmeal, coconut oil, green or chamomile tea, and apple cider vinegar. They all offer varying degrees of positive effects and you will need to see which works best for your pet.


While CBD is all the rage recently, you need to remember that CBD is not yet approved or meant to prevent, treat, or cure any ailments. Because dogs, like humans, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that interacts with endocannabinoids. One of the benefits of the ECS is that it may help reduce the effects of inflammation by suppressing the inflammation response in the body. CBD is non-intoxicating, so your dog won’t be high when taking CBD. The CBD products that Penelope’s Bloom offers have gone through third-party lab tests for safety, potency, and effectiveness. There is full-spectrum CBD oil in all of their products so you know you are getting top quality for your pets.


You might be looking at an antihistamine to help alleviate the symptoms of dog hives in your pet. Antihistamines work in dogs the same way that they work in people: they inhibit any further histamine activity in the body’s immune response. By blocking the histamines that your body produces helps to reduce the symptoms of hives, but only temporarily. And while antihistamines might work for your pet, there are still possible side effects that you should be aware of and be looking for if you give your dog antihistamines. Drowsiness where your pet is sleeping more than normal, general lethargy where your pet doesn’t have the same level of energy as they usually do. Your pet could also experience nausea, or possibly diarrhea, both of which can be hard on the pet’s body. Or you might notice that your pet is more anxious or nervous than they normally are.

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Another medication that your veterinarian might suggest is corticosteroids for your pet. Corticosteroids include products such as prednisone and dexamethasone, and they suppress the inflammatory response that the body produces. As you see when you look at pets with dog hives, inflammation is a common immune response from the body, and being able to tamp down on the inflammation in the body is helpful for your pet. But like antihistamines, corticosteroids also have side effects that you should watch for in your pet. You might notice that your pet drinks more, or they may have to pee more, or often both. Your pet might lack energy when they are awake, and like antihistamines, your pet might experience nausea and vomiting.


Rather than using medication to help your pet deal with dog hives, you may be looking for a more natural alternative to use with them. Taking a page from hives in humans, you can try using oats on your pet to help with the redness and inflammation. The best option for using oats with your pets is to make a paste by cooking the oatmeal and then letting it cool. Once cooled, the oatmeal paste can be applied to the different affected areas. If your pet has hives all over their body, you might consider making an oat bath for them to relax in. The goal with the oats is to help reduce the inflammation and the itching as well so they have some relief.

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Another holistic option you could try with your pet is tea, either green tea or chamomile tea. You would brew the tea as normal, allow it to cool some, and then you could drop the tea over the irritated spots on your pet. You might try a cloth soaked with the tea as well, as this might help the tea to absorb more and allow for better relief from the itching and swelling. Also, like the oats, you could make a bath from the tea for your pet to relax in for relief from the itching and swelling.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Help with irritation and itching, especially when from poison ivy or poison oak, apple cider vinegar is another holistic treatment option that you can consider for your pets with dog hives. Apple cider vinegar has both antifungal as well as antiseptic properties, and this makes it helpful with poison oak and poison ivy. You will want to water down the apple cider vinegar in a 50/50 mix with water. This mixture can be applied using a spray bottle to help target the placement of the mix, or you could soak a cloth in the mixture and apply this directly to the affected area. A word of caution: don’t use this mixture on open sores or cuts, as it will sting your pet from the vinegar.

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Coconut oil

A final holistic option for your pet that has dig hives is to use coconut oil. Like apple cider vinegar, coconut oil has antifungal and antiseptic properties, making it useful for poison oak and poison ivy. Additionally, coconut oil has the added benefit of being beneficial for the skin as well, so you can feel good about that when using coconut oil on your pet. Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature, you can apply coconut oil directly to the skin on your pet, and this should reduce the swelling, redness, and irritation from the hives.

Bottom Line

No matter the source of the dog hives, you will want to help your furry family member. As we discussed, there are several options that you can try with your pet to help reduce the swelling and itchiness. A couple of options are medicines that are commonly used for humans, and work well for most pets. If however, you would like to try something more natural, there are several options that you can look at that will fit the bill. A couple of them might be great options if you know the hives came from an encounter with poison ivy or poison oak. But no matter what, you can provide some relief to your pet until the hives go away

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