Most facial swelling in dogs occurs typically as a secondary condition to another bigger problem, such as an allergic reaction, trauma, a growing tumor or even a dental issue. The most common facial acute swelling in dogs happens as a result of an allergic reaction. On the other hand, facial swelling that develops slowly may be a result of a tumor or facial growth.
However, even though some types of facial swelling may not be always serious, it generally requires a medical intervention to determine the cause and adequate treatment of it.
There could be many possible reasons for a dog’s swollen face, but because swelling is usually a sign of an underlying problem, the dog in pain will often show other signs of illness, like lethargy or a loss of appetite.
The most common reasons why your dog’s face is swollen
Allergic reaction in dogs
Although dogs don’t typically show the signs of allergies a human does, a dog’s swollen face is an indicator of a reaction taking place. An allergic reaction may be caused by bee stings, other bug bites, medications, vaccinations, exposure to toxins, pollen, certain foods and other allergens in the environment.
This causes an inflammatory response in the body, ultimately leading to hives and swelling, particularly around the facial area. Swelling of the muzzle and the eyelids is also something you may notice, as well as red skin and irritated behavior in the dog. Many allergic reactions can worsen quickly, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums and even a collapse. Milder reactions can be easily resolved with minimal intervention, severe ones however, must be considered as an emergency situation.
Issues with dental health
Sometimes the reason why your dog’s face is swollen stems from a problem with their teeth or mouth. A tooth abscess or other dental infection can easily penetrate beneath the gums and cause a pocket filled with puss. This ultimately leads to the poor dog’s face to swell, specially beneath the eyes. Other dental issues like broken teeth or oral injuries and periodontal disease may also case a swollen face.
Trauma or injury to the dog’s face
Lastly, we are tackling trauma. Any injury to the face, head or skin on the head can lead to facial swelling. For example, an animal bite may lead to an infection that can cause swelling, specifically snake bites that often cause swelling of the muzzle and face, two of the locations where canines are commonly bitten.
How can you prevent facial swelling in dogs?
First of all, if you are aware that your dog has allergies, you should try to minimize any contact that it has to their known allergens, and if it has been approved by your veterinarian, you can use antihistamines as a prevention medication.
If your dog is prone to a reaction after being vaccinated, make sure that your vet knows this so that your dog can be treated beforehand, to minimize the reaction. On the other hand, if you see that your dog has been bitten by a bug, stung by a bee, or been in contact with an allergen, you should treat it with antihistamines, with previous vet approval of course.
Most dental health issues are easily preventable by simply taking care of your dog’s teeth and oral hygiene. You can start by making a dental care routine for your dog and sticking to it, this way it will be less likely to develop into any serious dental issue and you will catch many of them early on.
When dealing with trauma, you can’t always prevent it, but you can take steps to keep your dog safe. Some ways to do that is by not letting your dog roam or play without a leash in open, non – fenced areas, supervising when interacting with other dogs, or animals to prevent any fighting. It is crucial that you bring your dog to the vet once any kind of trauma happens.