Why Is My Dogs Face Swollen?

Last Updated on March 6, 2023 by Woody Pet

There are many reasons behind why a dog’s face might be swollen that range from allergic reactions to something as severe as cancer. 

Why Is My Dogs Face Swollen?

Swollen face in dogs is usually just a symptom of another complication. If you see that your dog looks like they’ve been stung by a bee (which is a less likely cause depending on your location), it might just be cause for concern. 

When you notice there’s anything out of the ordinary, especially with your dog, always be cautious and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. No matter how acute and benign the primary complication may be, don’t let it prolong into something more severe. 

What are the causes of a swollen face in dogs?

why is my dogs face swollen
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Determining the cause of swollen face in dogs can get tricky as it depends on many factors: your dog’s history with allergies, other accompanying symptoms, and environmental factors. What all these have in common is you, as the dog owner, and your responsibility in keeping an eye out for all of these factors. Check out the causes of swollen face in dogs and see why: 

Allergic reactions

Yes, dogs can have allergies just like us, humans. Allergies cause an abnormal reaction to particular harmless substances, called allergens, by your dog’s immune system. Some may just be mild, which can go away with little to no intervention. However, there are some allergic reactions that may progress into severe complications quickly. 

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

This is one of the most common skin diseases in dogs especially in the U.S. As common as fleas are, not all dogs react the same way to them. For the ones who do have flea allergy dermatitis, your dog’s skin can get very itchy enough that they can’t help but scratch it. Excessive scratching caused by this itchiness can lead to secondary infections whose symptoms also include a swollen face in dogs. 

Environmental Allergens

Such allergens include dust, pollen, and mold. Dogs can also be allergic to them and can have atopic allergic reactions that can mostly be seen on their paws and ears. Just like in flea allergy dermatitis, environmental allergens are itchy enough to make your dog scratch the affected skin uncontrollably. Aside from itchiness, another effect of these environmental allergens is swollen face in dogs. 

Food Allergies

True food allergies are not as common as you think. What people might mistake as true food allergies might just be a food intolerance. True food allergies will cause an immune response that takes in the form of skin allergies, such as facial swelling and itchiness, and gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhea.

Vaccinations and other medications

Believe it or not, vaccinations can actually cause allergic reactions as well – humans also have such allergens. Your dog’s immune system might have an over-reaction to the vaccine. The aftereffects include a swollen face in dogs, vomiting, and diarrhea within the first few hours after the administration of the vaccine. 


Abscesses in dogs can occur from minor trauma or a small tear in the skin. From there, bacteria can enter your dog’s body. An abscess is then formed as a defense mechanism to fight off the bacteria. It will look like a tender mass that is surrounded by pink to deep red-colored skin. Wounds on the neck and head can lead to an abscess that leads to a swollen face in dogs – it’s as painful as it looks and sounds. Your dog might also refuse to eat or drink as a result of this wound. 

Dental Problems

Abscesses in the mouth are also possible causes behind a swollen face in dogs. As mentioned in the previous section, abscesses are caused by a small tear or inflammation, and in this case, inside your dog’s mouth. Other dental infections also work the same way. Ultimately, these dental problems can cause abscesses and other infections to go deep into the gums and create masses filled with pus. Your dog’s face will then be swollen – it usually occurs beneath the eye so keep an eye out for that. 

Other dental problems that cause a swollen face in dogs include oral injuries, periodontal disease, and broken teeth. 


This refers to the trauma caused by external factors such as dog bites or attacks, being hit by a car, and other injuries to the face and head. These can lead to further infections that have symptoms that include a swollen face in dogs. In other less likely cases, snake bites, regardless of where the bite is located, can cause a swollen face in dogs. 


The most commonly seen tumors in dogs are usually the ones that affect the skin or the tissue under the skin. These are more commonly diagnosed as the skin is always exposed to many tumor-causing factors in the environment. The definition of a tumor refers to the abnormal growth of the cell. Other tumors might be benign while some may be severe enough to be life-threatening. Regardless, a warning sign of tumors includes a swollen face in dogs. Much like in our case, a dog’s symptoms also include a lump, enlarged lymph nodes, abnormal bleeding, and other common signs. 

How do I treat a swollen face in dogs?

why is my dogs face swollen
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Just as there are many causes behind a swollen face in dogs, there are also different treatments and solutions that cater to their corresponding cause. 

Extreme allergic reactions cause an obstruction in the airway making it a lot difficult for your dog to breathe. This kind of allergic reaction is considered to be an emergency situation. This calls for you to take action and bring your dog to the nearest pet clinic and veterinarian immediately. 

Mild to moderate allergic reactions are not as severe as the previous one stated. You can treat this at home using prescribed medications by your veterinarian. To know if your dog is just having mild to moderate allergic reactions, check if they’re still breathing and acting relatively normal. Beforehand, it’s always recommended to take note of your dog’s allergies and have them checked so that your veterinarian can prescribe the right medication for cases like this. 

Dental problems that cause a swollen face in dogs can be treated through professional dental work. Your dog will have to be administered with antibiotics before taking in anesthesia. From there, the veterinarian can proceed with the full dental examination and cleaning. The examination may include x-rays and other scaling tools. The dental work, depending on the cause, may involve extraction and other procedures. Afterward, your dog will most likely be prescribed with antibiotics. 

Traumas and their treatment depend on its severity. Take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible to get the full diagnosis and to proceed with the appropriate procedures. The treatment will most likely involve antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Other more serious injuries may need to be surgically treated.

Tumors are serious cases that need to be treated by a veterinarian immediately. Your dog will need to be further tested to determine the cause of the tumor and how to treat it. The veterinarian may do blood tests, x-rays, and other tests to determine the tumor itself. 

What can I do to prevent a swollen face in dogs?

why is my dogs face swollen
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To prevent allergic reactions from happening over and over again, make it your responsibility as a dog parent to keep particular allergens away from your dog as much as possible. If prescribed by your veterinarian, give your dog the appropriate medicine as preventative measures. 

It goes without saying that, to treat dental problems, you need to consistently take good care of their teeth. Start with a good dental care routine for your dog which includes brushing of their teeth as often as every day as much as possible. There are also other tools for you to use to ensure good dental hygiene such as dog treats, chews, and dog wipes. 

You cannot tell when trauma can occur. As preventative measures, always keep your dog safe around you. When you’re outside, keep them on a leash at all times and keep them away from other animals that may provoke them into a fight. 

Unfortunately, tumors cannot be prevented should it be possible to occur. You can take action as soon as you see the early signs to prevent it from getting worse by the day.

why is my dogs face swollen
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