5 Things To Do If Your Dog Has An Allergic Reaction

Saturday night something happened to Scooby Doo. We don't quite know what it was but we went out at 10 pm like we always do and after we were done with our business , we went to bed. Around 11 pm he woke ma up from her sleep kicking her. It was like he couldn't get comfortable. He jumped out of bed and the next thing we knew was dad was turning on our light and telling ma to get up. Something was wrong with Scooby Doo.

Once ma's eyes got adjusted to the light, I heard her say "Oh My Gosh, what is wrong Scooby?" I looked at him and thought dad had the wrong Scooby. 
chihuahua with swollen face
Scooby's entire face was beyond swollen. His eyes looked like they were about to pop out of his head and his muzzle was twice its size. He was so red. Ma told dad that he needed a Benedryl immediately. Dad brought ma the medicine and ma pilled Scooby. Ma held and rocked him while they waited for the pills to take effect. She had her phone in case she needed to call the vet. Dad and Ma examined him and couldn't find any signs of a bite or anything. Ma asked dad for a ice pack thinking it would help bring Scooby some relief. 

Scooby refused to lay on the ice pack but ma told him if he did she would rub his belly. She put his head on the ice pack and started rubbing his belly. When he picked his head up , she stopped rubbing. She positioned his head the ice pack and rubbed his belly. He quickly figured out what she would do for him if he would do something for her. He laid his head back on the ice pack and she rubbed his belly until he fell asleep. Ma kept checking him to make sure he was breathing okay. He wasn't having any problems breathing, he kept a steady inhale and exhale so she decided to wait to call the vet. 

Scooby had some problems with itching in the springtime. First the parents thought it was a flea allergy but none of us had fleas. Ma checked us regularly. When we had spoke to the vet about the itching in the spring , he told us it could be some type of pollen. They would have to do allergy testing to see what it was. Our diet was ruled out as the problem since over the early spring into summer ma has introduced one food at a time to him. Each meat was given over 3-4 weeks at a time. No reactions. Treats weren't the problem either. 

Its been very puzzling but ma is determined to get to the bottom of what is causing it. She has kept Scooby on Benedryl every 5-8 hours and continued monitoring him. He wouldn't eat or drink and ma didn't like that. She would take a 10 ml syringe and fill it with water. She would force him to drink. She also got some chicken broth and pureed pumpkin and put it in the syringe to force feed him too. He didn't like it but he didn't fight her when he seen her coming with it. He took it with no problems. Ma wanted to keep him hydrated and something on his stomach so the benedryl didn't make him sick to his stomach. 

Sunday evening Scooby ate his dinner and drank from the water bowl. He still had to have his doses of Benedryl but at least he was eating and drinking on his own. The swelling had disappeared. He laid around and cried when ma would leave the room. She had to take him to her room and lay down with him. It was the only way that he would stop crying. Guess its true that when the babies are sick they all want their mama's. Mama's make things better. 

chihuahua smiling
By Monday he was much much better. There was no swelling and he is on Benedryl 2 times a day. Hopefully by Tuesday he will be off of Benedryl. Ma will be calling the vet and speaking to him about what has happened. We need to get to the bottom of this because the next time it may be worse. 

Here are a few tips of what to do if your pet has an allergic reaction. 

1. Check breathing. If pet is having problems breathing call vet ASAP or go to emergency hospital. 
2. If breathing okay, give Benedryl. 1 mg per pound. Monitor your dog to make sure condition is not worsening. 
3. Check for bites or causes of reaction- Did you do get bit by an animal or a rodent? Call vet if find marks
4. Keep pet hydrated. Benedryl is a antihistamine. Pets can become dehydrated. Offer water. If dog does not drink put put a few drops of water on muzzle so dog licks it off or use a spoon or syringe to give small amounts. 
5. If condition doesn't improve within a hour, CALL your vet. 

Ma always keeps diphenhydramine in our house and we have it in our 1st aid kit that we travel with. Make sure that your Benedryl has only diphenhydramine in it. Some have artificial colors or other ingredients in it. 

Please note ma is not a vet. These are tips that she has learned over the years and she has taken first aid for pets courses in the past. If you have any questions or concerns, please discuss them with your vet. They know you pets health history. 

Has your pet ever had an allergic reaction?? What did you do??


  1. Wow. That was some night. I never knew that you can give dogs benedryl. And your idea with the ice pack was brilliant. It doesn't take a dog long to "get it". I'm glad he feeling better.

  2. Sadly, mom has had to give us the pill for one reason or another. It's not fun but we're glad he's feeling better!

  3. Yikes! Hope Scooby is fully recovered. Carma, your mom sure is smart, thanks for sharing her years of experience to the rest of us! :)

  4. First of all, we're so glad Scooby is OK! We hope you get some answers so you can avoid it happening again.
    This is great and helpful post. Our beagle Cricket had an allergic reaction to a vaccine, but luckily it never got beyond intense itching. After a few doses of Benadryl and a couple of days she was OK. We didn't get a lot of sleep that first night though, with watching and worrying about her!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  5. So glad that Scooby is okay. Allergies can be so frustrating and scary. I use Benedryl too. It gives the dogs some relief, reduces swelling and itching, and gives me some time to figure out what's going on. Thankfully, we rarely have to use it.

  6. That is so scary. I hope you find our what causes it.


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