Hives in French Bulldogs: Symptoms and Treatment

If you are parenting a French Bulldog that loves the outdoors, you might have seen them getting tons of allergic reactions to various elements. One such common allergic reaction is Hives or Urticaria.

Hives are characterized by small red bumps on the skin that are very itchy. It may be caused by something your dog ate, a bee sting, contact with a poison ivy bush, or sometimes it is a result of certain vaccinations.

Hives (Urticaria) on French bulldog

Typically, hives go away if left alone. However, dogs will tend to scratch and bite the affected area, making it worse, which is often the case.

Although this may not cause any severe harm to your dog, if the case gets worse, you should take them to your vet.

How Do I Identify Hives on French Bulldog?

Dogs, like humans, are prone to several allergies that may look similar. Every case needs different treatment and attention, which makes it essential to know the basics of identifying, which is what.

Hives are red bumps measuring about 5 mm (1/4 inch), which may blend to form dime-sized lumps. They can appear in any part of the body. Hives occurring around the eyes will cause swelling around the eyes, forcing them to shut.

Swelling around French bulldog eyes

A common confusion is mostly between hives and rashes. While hives are itchy, rashes may or may not be itchy.

Symptoms of French Bulldog Hives

Common symptoms of French Bulldog hives vary from very mild red bumps to severe swelling and redness followed by breathing difficulty. In some serious cases, the eyes and muzzle swell and close shut.

Hives are itchy, ranging from mild to intense, which may stay for a short period or last for a long time. Hives commonly occur in clusters that can appear anywhere in the body. Their sizes and shape can change from the size of a pin to a dime. Sometimes the small bumps merge to cause a large area of itchy skin, leaving the surrounding skin red and irritable.

Some other general symptoms of French Bulldog hives are drooling, lethargy, heavy breaths, and lack of coordination.

Unless you give adequate attention to the subtle symptoms, your dog won’t be able to tell you about their discomfort level. If you have taken your Frenchie outdoors and noticed the obvious signs, it will be wise to take them to the vet.

Causes of Hives on French Bulldogs

Hives are a type of reaction to an allergy that can be caused by various allergens.

Some common causes of hives in French Bulldogs are:


A single ingredient in your dog’s food may be the cause of hives. For this reason, many vets recommend home-cooked food or grain-free diets that can remove specific food allergens. Check out our raw food recipes that can be made home here.

To find out whether your dog has a food allergy, try switching from the current dog food brand or try to concoct a meal from home.

Insect Bites or Stings

Taking your dog outdoors means bringing them in contact with nature and its elements. With various insects flying in the atmosphere, there is a chance or two that your dog gets bitten or stung. Most of the time, this cause goes undetected.

Environmental Allergens

Like humans, your Frenchie can have an allergy to dust and pollen. Sometimes they can also get a reaction from poison ivy or even oaks.


The quickest reaction to allergy your French bulldog can get is through vaccination shots. Since this is easier to detect, you can talk to your vet to get antihistamines shot before the vaccination next time.


Your Frenchie may also be allergic to certain chemicals present in dog-grooming products or even household cleaning agents. In this case, it is better to consult the vet to get to choose the right products.

Ear Infections

There are cases where a severe ear infection may cause hives to appear around your dog’s ears or the head.

How to Treat Hives in French Bulldogs

1. Give Cold Compress

The quickest and most straightforward way to treat Frenchie hives is to apply a cold compress to the affected area to soothe the irritation. You can use ice or a cold towel to ease the discomfort and discourage scratching.

Giving your dog a soothing (cool) bath using oatmeal shampoo can reduce the uneasiness to some extent. Anti-itch lotions and topical creams are a great option to make the itch go away.

2. Don’t Give Sweats

The sweats will make hives worse. Allergic reactions to food can be gone once your dog passes out its contents. But with allergens from the environment, hives will be recurrent.

3. Stay Away from Hot Weather

Avoid hot and humid weather. Take your dog to a place with air conditioning. This will prevent overheating and will discourage extreme itching.

4. Medications

Hives are not just upsetting to look at, but it creates significant discomfort to your dog as well. Before taking your Frenchie to the vet, there are a few things you can take care of.

You might have seen your vet giving a dose of antihistamines like Benadryl or asteroid for the hives. However, it is better to leave the part of the medication to the vet.

Seeing your dog in discomfort may be incredibly painful for you, but you must stay calm. The good news is, sometimes the hives go away on their own. According to Yvonne Szacki (DVM of Park Slope Veterinary Center in Brooklyn, New York), hives can take between 24 and 72 hours to clear.

However, if the bumps around the mouth and nose are aggravated by scratching or delaying treatment, there is a high chance of extreme swelling in the throat. In these cases, inhaling will be challenging for your dog.

Firstly, get to know the cause of hives before you take any steps. If it is due to environmental allergens, take your dog indoors before it gets worse and rinse their coat with lukewarm water.

5. Benadryl

Most parents give Benadryl to their dogs because they take effect in less than 30 minutes. However, it will be better to consult your vet before giving the Benadryl dosage if it is a first-timer for you.

Hives drive your Frenchie to scratch immensely, which will lead to cuts and cruises. For this reason, most vets give antibiotics orally to prevent infections.

Conclusion of Hives in French Bulldogs

Allergens that pass through the body typically take between 24 and 72 hours to go away. Depending on the severity of the hives, you can either treat them at home or visit the vet immediately.

Once you know what is causing hives in your French Bulldog, avoid exposing them to those allergens.

Hives, as you have seen, are just allergy reactions. This is why you need not panic about the breakouts that appear. Be sure to contact the vet without delay and follow necessary instructions.

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