Last summer my dog had an allergic reaction and it was the scariest week of my life. Lola is my 8 pound Yorkie and she is now six years old. At the time of her allergic reaction she was five and had never, ever had this issue to the severity she had during this episode. I wasn’t sure what was happening to my little baby, and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to share her experience with anyone who has ever had their dog react this way to anything so that you can learn what I went through and how we handled it. If your dog is bright red, breaking out in hives, has red bumps or boils and it is getting worse within the hour go to the vet right away! Below is the way Lola’s allergic reaction unfolded and how we treated it.
The evening before my dog’s allergic reaction everything seemed normal. She had an appetite, she was playing, had her normal personality and nothing seemed wrong. The next morning we woke up, went outside like usual but when we returned to our apartment she just seemed a little off and slightly itchy. I didn’t think anything of it, but when I turned her over on her belly I gasped in horror. She had all these sores forming on her body that looked like boils or even like large burns! I had never seen anything like this on her skin before and all I could think was something poisonous had come in contact with her skin. It looked like something was seriously burning her delicate belly in her hind leg area all the way up into her neck! I could see in the way she was looking at me she was in pain. She started to dive into the rug and rub herself all over and it was like her skin was on fire. She was running around the dining room table and looking for any way to soother herself. I put her on the couch and she was diving into the pillows and it looked like something was burning her skin and she just didn’t know what was going on. I started to freak out and called the vet right away and explained her symptoms. They told me to bring her in right away.
Below is the image of what my dog looked like when I first noticed her skin was reacting to something. You can see the welts forming, almost looking like liquid filled boils. She also has them all the way up into her armpits and neck if you look closely
I rushed Lola to the vet and they said it was some type of topical reaction. They said it didn’t look like it was a food allergy. We discussed anything new or different in her environment or diet and there was nothing new. We didn’t give her new food, all the laundry detergent we use on our bedding and in her puppy bed is all natural and free of dyes and perfumes. I was at a complete loss. They said they would give her fluids, some steroids to bring down the inflammation and hold her in the vet facility for a few hours to see if it would come down. I went home and washed everything again and tried to think what could have caused this! I called the building manager in my complex to see if they had sprayed the grass, but they hadn’t. Finally the vet called and I picked her up and the boils and welts had gone down and she seemed better.
My heart was breaking, my dog felt so terrible and as soon as we got home they said to give her a benodryl tablet. They said for her size to give her 1/4 of a pill every few hours and let her sleep it off. She slept and I could tell she felt terrible. A few hours later thought when I rolled her over to check it was all starting to come back! I was confused why this was coming back right away. Back to the vet we went and they gave her a little more medicine to bring down the bumps and we went home. I watched her non stop and kept giving her benodryl. She felt so warm to the touch and I was nervous she was running a fever. We got through the night and her skin remained the same.
The next day she was still red and blotchy but I gave more and more medicine and called the vet to ask if this was going to go away. They said it could take a few more days but to keep an eye on her. Maybe I was being a bit paranoid but I didn’t understand why she was not getting better. Her poor skin was so red and blotchy and she had these welts. Why weren’t they going away?
I found out that while visiting a local park while she was being watched she could have gotten something on her skin from pesticides on the grass. That was the only time she wasn’t home and was around anything that could have reacted with her skin. The next day though, it got worse! By day 3 this is what she looked like:
Her entire body was red like a lobster. Her skin was raw and she just was so uncomfortable. I was in tears and out of options of what to do. I took her back to the vet and said things were not getting better and she was still warm and hot and I couldn’t think of what else to do to help her. I gave her a bath with oatmeal shampoo that was cooling and probably felt good. I would rub her with a cool bath towel to bring down the heat. The poor thing was just miserable.
I gave her plain brown rice and chicken to eat and lots of water. She just slept a lot and I took off from work to stay with her. I couldn’t imagine leaving her side. I kept up with the benodryl and we rode it out. It didn’t calm down for a week, and then it just went away. Every morning I would wake up to flip her and check and then one day her skin color went back to normal. It turns out we never knew what caused it, but by the looks of it it was surely something that came in contact with her skin, and since she is small and low to the ground it had to be something on the grass. While I can’t tell you what to avoid, I will say keep your pets on grass that you know when they are spraying it. If your dog reacts like these photos it is likely a topical reaction to some type of product, cleaner or pesticide. Call your vet immediately and do what you can to make them as comfortable as possible.