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How to handle hives
You may not think your pooch would be affected by a bee or another insect sting other than the initial pain, but dogs too can develop rashes like hives. Welts and hives, known as urticarial eruptions in the medical field, can occur for a number of different reasons.
Causes of hives
Hives and welts can show up on your dog for a variety of reasons including an allergic reaction to environmental changes like pollen or dust. The red spots may also show up due to the dog ingesting something its body rejects, such as chocolate or a poisonous flower. In the spring and summer, bug bites are also common factors in hive development. Spiders, bees and other insects can sting animals the same as they do people and if your pooch is allergic to the bug's stinger, it may start to swell up.
What to do
If you notice any of these bumps or a rash on your pooch, you should try to assess the situation and then give the vet a call. The vet may ask you what the symptoms are, when they started and how the dog is acting to gauge whether or not you need to bring it in for an evaluation. The vet may suggest giving the dog pet drugs like Diphenhydramine (generic Benadryl) to help reduce the swelling and discomfort. Stick the capsules in Greenies Pill Pockets to disguise the medication as a snack. The medicine should be administered every 6 to 8 hours during an acute reaction.
It may also be helpful to pick up pet products like Excel Hydrocortisone Spray to apply on your dog's itchy skin. This product is made with aloe vera and provides temporary itch relief while soothing and moisturizing its coat. Giving it a bath with oatmeal-based pet shampoo may also curb the discomfort. However, if the swelling persists or gets worse, you should bring the dog in to the vet's office.
Evaluating the issue
The vet will look over the welts to make sure a more serious medical condition isn't occurring on the dog's skin. The vet may then give the dog a cortisone shot or start the dog on a prescription antihistamine such as Prednisone to try and stop the allergic reaction.
Certain breeds, particularly short-haired dogs like boxers, and Rottweilers, are prone to developing chronic hives. However, these hives don't require treatment in most cases, as the skin irritation typically does not itch or bother the dogs at all. You should still bring your short-haired breed in for an evaluation if you notice hives for the first time.