Why Does My French Bulldog Have Hives? 12 Causes and Remedies

No words can describe the feeling of finding out something strange or worrying about your dog’s body other than “heart-dropping”. This feeling you get when you notice these red spots on their skin that comes with all kinds of questions flying through your brain.

If this is you, don’t panic just yet, we’ll have time for that later on. For now, let’s start by asking the important question and getting to the solutions as quickly as possible.

So, why does my french bulldog have hives? Your French Bulldog can have hives because of an allergic reaction to ingredients in their food, environmental allergens (such as cigarette smoke, mold, or pollen), insect bites or stings, chemicals in plants such as poison ivy, or in cosmetic products such as shampoos.

Other less common causes for Rash or Hives in Frenchies include things like allergic reactions to vaccines and medications.

Since this is a complicated topic, I went on the phone with my vet to discuss it a bit more, and In this article, I’m going to explain everything I learned from him and from my research, so keep reading to find out the causes and the solutions for your Frenchie’s rash or hives.

Are Rash and Hives the Same?

French bulldog rash vs hives to show why does my french bulldog have hives

A common misconception is that rash and hives are the same. They are not, in fact. Hives is a particular type of rash that is actually not as common in dogs as you may think. You already know what a rash is, but you may not know what hives are.

So, what are hives? Hives are localized patches of skin rashes that are red, swollen, and usually very itchy. Hives are characterized by raised skin welts. They can appear anywhere in the dog’s body including their face, lips, throat, ears, or tongue.

The individual welts can be anywhere from 1/4 inches (5mm) in diameter to several times this size, and if the number of hives is large, they can actually blend together. Hives can start developing just minutes after our Frenchie touches the causative agent that triggers them.

Hives usually develop and disappear suddenly and on their own, but it’s still very important that you report this to your vet. Even though Hives appear and disappear quickly and on their own in the vast majority of cases, they can still be very dangerous in extreme cases that are very rare.

In such extreme cases, the wheals may develop fin minutes followed by loss of appetite, dullness, fever, and eventually the eruptions of those wheals. This last part is why such extreme cases can be very dangerous as they can develop on any part of the dog’s body.

The scientific name for Hives is (Urticaria), and you can learn more about it in the sources section at the end of the article.

What Causes Hives in French Bulldogs?

As discussed in the introduction, Hives, and rashes can be triggered by many things, some of them are quite common such as poison ivy, but others are also less common such as reactions to vaccines.

The most frequent causes are insect bites or stings, shampoos, and medications. Other causes include contact with toxic plants or chemicals. Friction, sunlight, heat, exercise, stress, and genetic abnormalities may cause or intensify the rash. Hives may develop after inhaling or consuming allergens. Hives can be seen while a dog is in estrus (“in heat”) or seen in puppies with intestinal parasites (“worms”).

Stephen D. White, DVM, DACVD, University of California, Davis

So, yes, basically very many things can trigger hives in your Frenchies. But we can’t talk only about Hives, we have to also talk about rashes.

Credit: Life Learn – Source: VCA Hospitals

Here are some of the things that may trigger hives in your dog:

  • Friction
  • Sunlight
  • Heat
  • Stress
  • Intense exercise
  • Insect bites or stings
  • Medications
  • Shampoos and other comsemtic products
  • Contact with toxic chemicals such as those in cleaning products or products you use in your garden or yard
  • Contact with toxic plants such as Poison Ivy
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Vaccines (very rare)

Regarding the reactions to vaccination, you should not worry about it too much, first off, it’s very rare and will probably never happen to your franchise, and according to VCA Hospitals:

If the episode was related to a vaccination, your veterinarian will modify future vaccination protocols or may pre-treat your dog with antihistamines to minimize this reaction.

And since we’ve mentioned that Hives and rashes can simply be triggered because of genetic abnormalities, you should know that genetic abnormalities in Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs, in particular, are not as uncommon as they are in other breeds where less human intervention happened in the last couple of centuries.

I’ve discussed this further in my post on why some French Bulldogs are taller here, so make sure to check this one out as well.

How do Hives look on French Bulldogs? (Compared to Hives)

Here is a photo illustrating how hives and rashes look side-by-side:

The symptoms for rashes include:

  • Tender and red skin
  • Scabs
  • Sores
  • Licking and scratching
  • Irritated and itchy skin
  • Small pimples

The symptoms of Hives include:

  • Raised wheals
  • Itchiness
  • A patchy or bumpy skin
  • Swelling
  • Redness

Hives can be appear spread out over the body or clustered in one location which will make it look like a single large swelling.

Common Spots for Hives in Dogs

As stated earlier in the article, your dog can develop hives anywhere in its body.

Here are some of the common spots for hives and rashes in dogs:

  • Bellies
  • Necks
  • Throats
  • Legs
  • Eyelids
  • Throats

In some rare and advanced cases, they can also be found in:

  • Eye linings
  • Mucous membranes of the mouth
  • Rectum
  • Vagina

How are Hives diagnosed in Dogs?

Diagnosing hives in dogs is a straightforward process, but diagnosing the underlying cause is definitely not. Your Veterinarian will be able to quickly identify hives on your dog, then they will check for other physical symptoms.

They will also ask you for a history of your dog’s diet and for any changes in their diet, medications, or any recent changes that may be related to triggering the hives in your dog.

In some cases, your vet may ask for allergy testing if they suspect the dog may have a food allergy, and they may also suggest an elimination diet.

Since Hives can be triggered by so many things, it’s really difficult to pinpoint the underlying cause, and it can take some time and effort to find out. In many cases, it’s simply not possible to identify the underlying cause and the hives will go away quickly.

How do you treat Hives in French Bulldogs?

In most cases, hives in dogs are resolved on their own without the need for treatment quite quickly, with a few hours being normal for them to go away. In more severe or chronic cases where the swelling is irritating the dog, your vet may prescribe a corticosteroid or antihistamine to help control the hives.

Can Hives be cured?

Hives can indeed be cured with some medications including antihistamines and corticosteroids, but your dog will rarely need them as most cases of hives will go away on their own.

How much does it cost to treat hives in French Bulldogs?

In most cases, the cost to treat rashes or hives in your dog will be the normal cost for an office visit plus any costs for tests and medications recommended by the vet. However, this cost can increase depending on the underlying cause, the severity of your dog’s case, and if they need hospitalization.

Can you get Hives from your French Bulldog?

No, you can not get hives from your dog. Hives are not contagious, and neither humans nor pets can get them from a dog that has them. However, you may want to stay away from the area where your dog’s hives were triggered in case it still contains the harmful chemicals or toxic plants that triggered the Hives in your dog.

How to prevent hives in French Bulldogs?

While you can not completely prevent hives in your dog, you can take precautions that minimize the risk of your dog getting exposed to the agents that may cause it.

Simple good advice like talk to your vet and make sure they are supervised most of the time is the best advice you can get to prevent hives in your Frenchie.

Other good things you can do to minimize the risks is to stop them from rolling outside in the mud or grass, stop them from biting or licking plants you are not sure of while outside, and definitely minimize their exposure to chemicals like those used to clean your house or your yard.

Is there a vaccine for dogs for hives?

No, there is no known vaccine for hives in dogs, and there is no way to completely ensure that your dog never gets hives.

Related Questions

How do you treat hives on a French Bulldog?

Hives normally go away on their own without treatment in a few hours and are often so mild that owners may miss them completely. In more severe cases, your vet may prescribe corticosteroid or antihistamine to your dog.

What can I give my dog for hives?

You should not give your dog anything for hives without consulting your vet first. Your vet may prescribe corticosteroid or antihistamine to your dog as a treatment for hives, although most of the time the hives will simply go away on their own as quickly as they appeared.

Why are my dog’s hives not going away?

Your dog’s hives may not be going away because the causative agent that is triggering them is still in contact with your dog. Get your dog to the vet and have them check out the dog and they may require them to be hospitalized and run some tests to find out what is causing it so they can eliminate the cause.

Helpful Resources

Hives VS Rash – What is the difference?

Hives and Rashes in Dogs

Hives (Urticaria) in Dogs

Hives in Dogs

Dog Rashes

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