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My Boston Terrier Just Broke Out In Hives. Is It An Emergency? What can I do at Home?

  • October 26, 2019
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My Boston Terrier Just Broke Out In Hives.  Is It An Emergency?  What can I do at Home?

Maggie’s had a history of allergies. Last year when she was three years old she broke out in hives three times.  In all occurrences I rushed her to the vet but I wanted to be better prepared in the event it happens again so I thought I would do some research and share what I found out below.

If your Boston Terrier breaks out in hives and you want to know if its an emergency, it depends on the severity of the hives. If your dog is experiencing dramatic swelling around the throat go see the vet right away. Otherwise you safely treat your dog at home with Benadryl or Zyrtec. If the swelling goes down within 24 hours then there is no need to see your vet but if it doesn’t improve then go see your vet immediately.

My Boston Terrier Broke Out In Hives

Why is my Boston Terrier getting bumps all over their body?

Without a test done by a dermatologist there is no real way to tell. That said the most common reasons are that your dog became allergic to something they came into contact with in the environment, got bit by an insect, or ate something that they reacted to.

When their body doesn’t agree with what it is that triggered the hives, their body pumps out antihistamines and it manifests in what looks like raised bumps or welts around your dog’s face and body.

My Experience With My Own Boston Terrier Breaking Out into Hives

Maggie has broken out into hives three times. The first time was June of 2018. The symptoms appeared at home. I called my vet on a Wednesday and their first appointment was on a Friday.

Maggie didn’t look like they bothered her. She wasn’t scratching and the hives were not growing at an alarming rate.

When I went to see the vet they gave her a Cytopoint shot and the welts went away.

The second time she broke out a few months later we were staying at a hotel downtown. We had just returned from our morning walk. Shortly after I saw her welts start to appear and they were growing at an alarming rate. I called our vet and got an appointment within the hour. They gave Benadryl and the swelling went down within three hours.

The third time it occurred, in October of 2018 the welts were not as bad and the vet advised me again to give Benadryl.

My Boston Terrier Broke Out In Hives

What home remedy can I give my dog for hives?

Now that I have seen my own dog Maggie break out in hives there are a few things I have learned for the future.

1. Inspect for possible insect bites: Do a thorough inspection to eliminate the chance that your dog was bit by a spider or bee or some other insect.
2. Clean Your Dog With a Water Bath: A simple water bath will rinse of any allergens that she or he may have come in contact with. You can use an oatmeal shampoo if you have it on hand. It’s not critical you do. The main thing is to rinse them in cool water.
3. Administer Benedryl or Zyrtec. Make sure you don’t use the “extended release” versions which normally have a D on it and consult with your vet on the appropriate dosage for your own dog. Most vets will give this information over the phone and if they are closed it’s readily available on most veterinarian websites.
4. Clean Your Dog’s Paws and Nails: Often overlooked are your dog’s paws and nails. Sometimes they walked over something (maybe someone sprayed their lawn with pesticides) and it’s on your dogs paws and nails. A thorough cleaning will eliminate any possible allergens. I really like these veterinary sanitary wipes I get from Amazon. I now have them on hand and I always wipe my dog’s paws down whenever we walk somewhere busy like downtown.

When is it an emergency?

Some dogs have severe reactions that affect their throat or some dogs go into anaphylactic shock (in the case of a bee sting).  If your dog’s gums are pale within 5 – 10 minutes, or your dog is vomiting or they are swelling at a rate that look alarming to you then you need to find an emergency vet and get your dog seen immediately.

When Maggie broke out in hives the second time her bumps were growing right before my eyes at a rate that made me extremely worried. She wasn’t scratching at them. And she didn’t have any of the other symptoms. Still I didn’t want to risk it which is why I saw the vet right away.

Consult with your vet

Even if your Boston Terrier or dog didn’t need emergency attention, and the welts went away on their own, you should still bring this up to your vet the next time you have an appointment so that your vet has a clear medical history of your dog.

If you don’t have one already you should start a dog health diary to document all the times your dog has experienced health issues at home so that you can have this handy for your vet visit.

My Boston Terrier Broke Out In Hives


DISCLOSURE:  Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation.  This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I have tried and trust.

Maggielovesorbit, Ilovebostons  is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


Are their sprays or ointments I can apply to my dog’s hives?

In the case of hives, if your dog isn’t scratching then I would not apply anything to their bumps.

You could try a cool facecloth compress to see if the swelling will go down.

Is there anything I can do to prevent hives appearing again?

If you know the trigger, then simply avoiding it will ensure your Boston terrier never breaks out in hives again.

In most cases, you won’t know.

Some things I do know to decrease the odds in Maggie breaking out in hives are:
1. We avoid the city park when its during the time that they spray and fertilize the grass.
2. I give my dogs a simple water rinse after long hikes during the spring and summer months. If they got dirty then I give them a full bath.
3. Shampoo wise I use Duoxo during the times my dog appears more rashy. It has ingredients that help strengthen the outer layer of her skin. During the months where her skin looks great then I use Unite Doggy Poo. I wrote an article about the difference between dog and human skin HERE.
4. I feed a fresh food diet. I home cook for my two dogs. Feeding them fresh and less processed food (aka kibble) has really improved the condition of their skin and coat. I share my recipe HERE.
5. I feed more fish (salmon, sardines, smelt and mackerel) during spring and fall when their allergies tend to flare up. This year in 2019 Maggie had less allergy break outs and she didn’t break out in hives once.
6. I also add a collagen supplement which I buy on Amazon as well as a mushroom supplement to their food which strengthen not only their immune system it also improves the condition of their skin and coat.
7.  If we walk the city parks or downtown or even in the woods, I wipe their paws and get into making sure I wipe their nails down too.  These veterinarian approved wipes are what I use when I want to get their paws extra clean.  You can get them on Amazon.
8.  In between baths, I wipe them down with Earth Bath All Natural Grooming wipes.  There was a time I used regular baby wipes, it wasn’t the same.  These wipes clean and condition their coat and you can get them on Amazon as well.

My Boston Terrier Just Broke Out In Hives.  Is It An Emergency?  What can I do at Home?


If your Boston Terrier breaks out in hives the plan of approach at home is to:

1. Assess how severe the hives are. If swelling is not severe and you don’t need to go see the emergency vet, proceed with home treatment.
2. Inspect your dog for insect bites.
3. Wash your dog. A simple cool water rinse will work. Oatmeal shampoo can help if you have it.
4. Clean your dog’s nails and paws.
5. Administer Benadryl or Zyrtec. Call your vet to make sure you have the correct dosage for your dog.
6. Document your dog’s recovery in their health journal.

Hives are not a typical occurrence and if they are not severe can be safely treated by you at home.

home remedy when your dog breaks out in hives


Hannah Zulueta and her two dogs Maggie and Orbit

Hello my name is Hannah and I dance with my dogs.  A self proclaimed Boston Terrier addict, (aka breed advocate) I started this blog because there isn’t enough space to write on our Instagram.  Maggie is my socially awkward one; which I find highly relatable because I am completely out of place in large groups myself.  And Orbit is my sensitive flower.  Blow on her skin wrong (ok I might be exaggerating) and she breaks out in a rash.

You won’t read about cats here… but you will get a fairly large dosage of articles dedicated to the Boston Terrier.    Read more about us. 

By, October 26, 2019
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