There are a variety of factors that may contribute to swollen faces in dogs. One of the most common being allergies. Today, our Orange veterinary allergists talk about facial swelling in dogs, the common causes including allergies, and how this symptom can be treated and prevented.
What happens when your dog's face suddenly swells up?
Facial swelling in dogs can happen for a number of reasons. Commonly it is an allergic reaction. This reaction is the body defending itself against intruder cells. While this reaction would normally keep your dog safe and healthy, in the case of allergies it can cause harm to your pup. It's important to watch for the signs and determine the underlying cause.
There are a number of potential causes, from allergic reactions to trauma and tumors. Most underlying causes will cause a number of symptoms along with the facial swelling, so be on the lookout for any abnormal.
What are the common causes of facial swelling in dogs?
Here are some of the commonly seen causes of swelling in dog's faces:
Allergies & Allergic Reactions
Allergic reactions are the most common cause of facial swelling in dogs. Bee stings, medications, certain foods, vaccinations, exposure to toxins, pollen, and bug bites are just some of the many potential allergens that may affect a dog if they present with a swollen face. While mild reactions tend to clear up with minimal intervention, severe reactions are a veterinary emergency and demand immediate attention.
Allergies trigger an inflammatory response that may cause hives and swelling on a dog's face. The swelling might be especially obvious on the eyelids and muzzle. You may also notice reddened skin or behavior that points to your canine companion being itchy and uncomfortable if they are suffering from an allergic reaction.
Severe allergic reactions in dogs can cause common symptoms like swelling, along with more severe symptoms like seizures and breathing difficulties. These are life-threatening reactions and require emergency medical attention.
Dental Conditions & Infections
Tooth decay and dental concerns are other common causes of swelling in dog's faces. Dental infections such as tooth abscesses can occur deep underneath the gums, causing a pus-filled pocket to develop and lead to facial swelling. Oral injuries, fractured teeth, and periodontal disease are other potential causes of facial swelling in dogs.
Trauma & Injuries to the Face
Trauma is capable of causing swelling in dogs just as much as it is in people. Whether from a fall or the bite of another animal, a facial injury is as likely an explanation as any for a swollen face in your dog.
Cysts & Tumors
Tumors both benign and malignant cause facial swelling whilst growing on a dog's face or head. Tumors can cause pressure and pain, and furthermore are possibly a sign of cancer - if you suspect your dog may have a tumor on their face we strongly suggest contacting your vet as soon as possible. As well as tumors, cysts can grow large on your pet's face and be confused for swelling. Cysts are fluid-filled growths that are most often benign and only require attention if they grow to an unignorable size.
Treatment For Facial Swelling in Dogs
Treatment for facial swelling in dogs will vary depending on the correct diagnosis of the cause and the severity of the symptoms. The most common treatment might be lifestyle or dietary changes to remove the allergen or your veterinarian might prescribe an allergy medication to help relieve the symptoms. Always speak with your veterinarian before administering any medications or providing any treatment.
Preventing Swelling & Allergic Reactions
If you know of any allergies that your dog has then you should do your part to ensure that they have minimal contact with the trigger. Your vet may also recommend antihistamines to prevent swelling.
Your vet should also know about any previous reactions to vaccines your dog has had (including facial swelling) so your pooch can be treated in advance to minimize the reaction. If you notice that your dog has been stung by a bee, bitten by a bug, or otherwise exposed to an environmental allergen, treat the reaction right away with an antihistamine. Ask your vet for instructions.
When it comes to protecting your dog's dental health you should ensure ongoing routine dental checkups and cleanings. Start an at-home oral care routine and stick with it to reduce your dog's risk of developing a dental problem. This way, you'll be more likely to catch problems early on.
While trauma cannot always be prevented, it's always good to keep safety tips in mind. Do not let your dog play off-leash or roam free in non-fenced areas. Closely monitor interactions with other animals so you can prevent fights. If any kind of trauma occurs, get your dog to the vet right away.
A sad fact is that cancer and tumors cannot really be prevented. That said, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment may minimize damage to long-term health. If you notice your dog has a swollen face, it's important to act swiftly.
Dog Allergists in Orange
Many cases of ear, skin, coat, and nail conditions seen in dogs and cats can be attributed to allergies - food and environmental factors are the most common causes.
Allergies can cause irritation to your pet's gastrointestinal system or inflammation of the skin, ears, or other areas of their body. Uncomfortable or even painful symptoms are common.
Our dog allergy specialists in Orange can pinpoint the cause of allergies through diagnostic testing to develop an effective, customized plan that is right for each patient's needs.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.