Our 7 Remedies for Dog Hives!

Our 7 Remedies for Dog Hives!

Posted by Volhard Dog Nutrition on Aug 24th 2023

Seeing your dog suddenly covered in itchy red bumps is an all too common source of frustration for both the dog and the pet parent. The first questions that come to mind are:

  • How to relieve your dog’s discomfort and suffering,
  • Why it happened, and
  • How to prevent it from happening again.

In today's article, we'll be delving into the world of dog hives and sharing 7 remedies to help your pup get back to their playful selves!

What are Dog Hives?

The most common, but not the only, cause of dog hives is an allergic reaction.

This skin response occurs after there is a release of histamine in the skin. The release of histamine causes dilation of blood vessels and inflammation, resulting in welts or wheals.

The tell-tale sign of hives on a dog is the sudden appearance of small bumps on the skin. You will notice round, raised, red bumps on the hairless parts of the skin, such as the lower part of the abdomen or inner thighs. However, you may only see round, raised areas of hair over the bumps, or you may just feel them when petting your dog.

It is not uncommon to see larger swollen areas of the skin that are actually areas of edema, termed angioedema. In the case of angioedema, the swelling occurs at a deep layer of the affected skin and is often seen when the face or mouth is affected.

The bumps, or wheals, are often accompanied by itchiness, as seen by your dog scratching or biting the skin more often than usual. Depending on where the discomfort is felt on the dog’s body, your dog may scratch with their feet, rub the body against furniture or other objects, or even scoot. The scooting can be tricky and mistaken for full or irritated anal sacs.

While some dogs might lie down to rub their backs and heads on the ground attracted by a particular scent, others might do it to relieve an itch.

A dog with hives may also whine, pant, and shake their head. A dog with hives resulting from an allergic reaction may also have facial swelling, including around the dog’s eyes. Drooling can signal discomfort felt inside the mouth, as is often seen when a dog swallows a bee or is stung in the face by one.

It usually takes 15 to 20 minutes after the allergen exposure for dog hives to erupt. You will notice individual welts on your dog's body, varying in diameter (as small as 1/4 inch). The more hives erupt in close proximity, the higher the chance of them blending together. Regardless of how big they are, hives itch like crazy, affecting your dog's well-being (Source: VCA Animal Hospital).

"How do I know that it is not just a rash?" A close symptom inspection will reveal the differences between hives and skin rashes. For a start, skin rashes are the sign of irritation, not an allergic reaction. Second, rashes erupt as flush macules (that is, flat skin areas), whereas hives manifest themselves as raised welts. These tell-tale signs will help any pet parent tell the difference between these two skin conditions.

What Causes Dog Hives?

What causes dog hives?

The allergic reaction behind hives in dogs may stem from various common causes, such as:

  • Antibiotics (penicillin, tetracycline)
  • Brushing past toxic plants
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Heat
  • Household cleaning products (for example, a new fabric softener)
  • Insect bites (for example, bees, wasps, and ants)
  • Insecticides
  • Stress
  • Sunlight
  • Vaccines

Can Hives Break Out Anywhere on a Canine's Body?

Hives can break out anywhere on a dog's body, although they often show up on the belly, legs, ears, tongue, and sometimes the face, where there's less fur.

The Symptoms of Hives in Dogs

Red, raised welts are the most easily-recognizable symptom of hives in dogs. Other symptoms include:

  • Excessive scratching to relieve the discomfort
  • Intensive drooling caused by a swollen mouth
  • Face-localized swelling, which may become life-threatening if it reaches the respiratory system (Source: PetMD)

Are Hives Life-Threatening?

In most cases, hives are not a significant health threat, and the bumps go away on their own. The discomfort and stress experienced by your dog will vanish once the hives resolve — often after 24 hours.

When Do Hives Require Veterinary Attention?

When do hives require veterinary attention?

Three reasons make it absolutely necessary to take your dog to the vet in case of hives:

  1. Breathing difficulties
  2. Dramatic swelling of the face
  3. The hives do not go away in 24 hours

How Do You Treat Hives in Dogs?

The dog hives treatment avenues vary depending on the seriousness of the condition:

  1. Light cases of hives are easily solved through antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, which is found in Benadryl. Veterinarians recommend 0.9 – 1.8mg per pound of body weight as the standard diphenhydramine dosage. As a matter of caution, do not give Benadryl to your dog without your vet's guidance (Source: Merck Veterinary Manual).
  2. Serious cases of hives require the administration of corticosteroids.
  3. In case of acute allergic reactions caused by food or medication ingestion, your vet may use milk of magnesia to quickly remove the food from your dog's digestive system.
  4. For hives caused by contact allergens, bathing to remove the product from the skin will provide relief.

4 Natural Remedies for Hives in Dogs

4 natural remedies for hives in dogs

Our selection of natural remedies will help alleviate the discomfort in light cases of hives:


The soothing effect of oats will help heal the skin and minimize the discomfort.

You may use oats in various ways for dog hives.

First, you can create an oatmeal paste and apply it to the affected area. Cook the oatmeal in water until it becomes a wet paste. Let it cool, then apply to the affected skin area.

Second, check out this resource on how to draw an oatmeal bath for your dog.

Yellow Dock

The yellow dock extract will help soothe dog hives, as well as other skin conditions.

Mix 1 tablespoon of yellow dock powder or herbs in 2 cups of boiling water. Let the water cool down, strain the herbs out of the water, and use the liquid as a rinse.

Green Tea

Steep 2 bags of green tea in 2 cups of hot water. Discard the tea bags. Let the tea cool down, and pour it on your dog's skin. Let the infusion drip-dry — do not rinse.


Steep 2 bags of chamomile tea in 2 cups of hot water. Discard the tea bags. Let the tea cool down, and pour it on your dog's skin. Let the infusion drip-dry — do not rinse.

3 Homeopathic Remedies for Your Dog's Hives

3 homeopathic remedies for your dog's hives

Homeopathic remedies are effective at treating the sudden onset of hives caused by allergic reactions to chemical substances and bug bites:

Apis Mellifica

Apis Mellifica is an effective remedy for hives, swelling, and breathing difficulties. Immediately give this remedy to your dog if their face starts swelling up. It also works against bee stings, fluid retention, and inflamed eyelids (Volhard and Brown, 237).


Urtica is an effective remedy for hives that itch and sting intensely. Dogs who need this remedy will often develop red patches on their skin and tend to urinate more frequently (Volhard and Brown, 244).

Rhus Toxicodendron

Rhus toxicodendron relieves hives that cause intense itching. It's also helpful against poison ivy, flea bite dermatitis, and facial swelling (Volhard and Brown, 242-243).

How to Prevent Hives in Dogs

The easiest way to keep hives away from your furry friend is a mix of avoiding allergens and staying healthy:

  • Avoid any potential allergens: Think twice about what you're introducing into your dog's environment. For example, if you're washing the dog bed, don't use any intense chemicals.Unfortunately, dogs may experience allergic reactions to vaccines, with symptoms ranging from mild hives to an anaphylactic reaction. Research shows that 1 in 15,000 vaccinations lead to severe allergic reactions, although the actual numbers could be much higher (Volhard and Brown, 147).If your dog developed hives because of a certain vaccine, let your veterinarian know about it. They will modify future vaccination protocols or use a different type of vaccine altogether.
  • Supplement your dog's nutrient intake: Vitamin C (5 to 10mg per pound, 2-3 times daily), Vitamin E (5 to 10mg per pound, once a day), and Coenzyme Q10 (1 capsule daily per 10 lbs of body weight) will help prevent allergic reactions in dogs with a weakened immune system.

Worried About Your Dog's Hives? Not Anymore!

Hives do not commonly occur, but when they do, they itch like crazy! Thankfully, this skin condition usually resolves itself within 24 hours, and our home remedies will minimize the discomfort as much as possible. However, if symptoms persist or if your dog experiences facial swelling, you should seek immediate veterinary attention. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!

Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!

Related Products