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What to Do if Your Dog's Face is Swollen

What to Do if Your Dog's Face is Swollen

If you notice your dog's face is swollen, there is likely an underlying health complication causing the swelling. Today, our veterinarians at Douglasville explain what serious conditions facial swelling can be a sign of in dogs.

Causes of Facial Swelling in Dogs

There are many potential causes of facial swelling in dogs, ranging from minor and likely treatable with a visit to the vet to larger health concerns such as tumors. The loss of appetite and lethargy are common symptoms of a dog with a swollen face, which can be accompanied by other health problems.   

Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions are the leading cause of facial swelling in dogs. Bee stings, medications, certain foods, vaccinations, exposure to toxins, pollen, and bug bites are just some of the many potential allergens that may affect a dog if they present with a swollen ear or nose. Severe reactions are a veterinary emergency and require immediate attention, while mild reactions tend to clear up with minimal intervention 

Allergic reactions trigger an inflammatory response that may cause hives and swelling on a dog's face. The swelling may be especially evident on the eyelids and muzzle. You may also notice reddened skin or behavior that indicates your canine companion is itchy and uncomfortable, if they are suffering from an allergic reaction. 

Dental Problems & Facial Swelling in Dogs

Dental problems can cause swelling in the face of dogs. Like a dental infection, such as tooth abscesses, can occur deep beneath the gums, causing a pus-filled pocket to develop and lead to facial swelling and discomfort. Besides oral injuries, fractured teeth, and periodontal disease, facial swelling in dogs is also possible.   

Traumatic Injury

Trauma can cause swelling in dogs just as much as it can in people. Whether it is from a fall or the bite of another animal, a facial injury is the most likely explanation for a swollen face in your pet.


Tumors can grow on a dog's face or head and cause facial swelling. Tumors can cause pressure and pain, and furthermore may be a sign of cancer - if you suspect your dog may have a tumor on their face, we strongly suggest contacting your vet as soon as possible. Your pet can grow large on their face and be confused for swelling if they have cysts.  Cysts are fluid-filled growths that are usually benign and only require attention if they grow to an unignorable size.

How to Prevent Your Dog's Face from Swelling 

Do you have any known allergies to your dog? If this is the case, try to minimize his exposure to allergens that may trigger a reaction. In addition, your vet may recommend antihistamines to prevent swelling. 

Your vet should also know if your dog has had any previous reactions to vaccines, such as facial swelling, so they can treat your dog before the reaction happens. You should immediately treat the reaction if you notice that your dog has been exposed to an environmental allergen, such as a bee, a bug, or other insect. Ask your vet for instructions. 

Most dental issues can be prevented by maintaining your dog's teeth with regular dental checkups and at-home care. Start a routine at home to prevent your dog from getting a dental problem. This way, you'll be more likely to catch problems early on.

While trauma cannot always be prevented, it is always important to keep safety tips in mind. It is important not to let your dog play off-leash or roam freely in non-fenced areas. You should closely monitor interactions with other animals, so you can prevent fights. If any kind of trauma occurs, get your dog to the vet right away. 

A sad reality is that cancer and tumors cannot be prevented. Nevertheless, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment may minimize damage to long-term health. If you notice your dog has a swollen face, it's important to act swiftly.

Are you concerned about swelling in your dog's face? Contact us to book an exam for your canine friend.

New Patients Welcome

Douglasville Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Douglasville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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