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What You Should Do If Your Dog Has an Allergic Reaction

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Allergic reactions are a very common reason dogs end up in animal emergency rooms. Dogs can have allergic reactions to bug bites such as bee or wasp stings or even an allergic reaction to vaccines. Most often, dogs have allergic reactions and we never actually determine what the underlying cause is.

Most allergic reactions are relatively mild. However some reactions can be severe causing life-threatening anaphylaxis. Mild reactions generally appear as hives or swelling. The most common area for swelling is the face – especially around the eyes and muzzle. Sometimes they are "itchy" and begin scratching.

What should you do if your dog is having an allergic reaction?

If you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction – call your veterinarian or local emergency clinic. You may want to keep some Benadryl® - or the generic formulation – which is Diphenhydramine on hand just in case. He may advice you to give a dose at home and head in to the clinic for further care and possible injectable mediation to combat the reaction.

The dose most veterinarians use of Benadryl is 1 mg per pound. Some benadryl comes as 25 or 50 mg pills or as a 12.5 mg/ml liquid. So a 25-pound dog would get 25 mg. For more information about dealing with allergic reactions – go to Allergic Reaction from an Unknown Cause in Dogs.

This is a common emergency. Most reactions are very mild. The photo in the slide viewer is the belly of a dog with an allergic reaction to an antibiotic – this type of reaction is quite uncommon and this one was quite serve. With treatment the dog did fine.

Keep the number to your veterinarian or local emergency clinic handy. If you see signs of a reaction – call your vet immediately. Keep benadryl in your dogs "Medicine cabinet".

For more suggestions on what should be in your dog's medicine cabinet –read Your Dog's Medicine Cabinet.

Also – we have a good article on how to make a First Aid kit for your dog – Go to: Create a First Aid Kit that Could Save Your Dogs Life.

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