23 answers

9-Month-old Breaking Out in Hives After Dog Licks Him

We have a super sweet boxer who loves our son and loves giving him kisses even though we try to keep her out of his face. Whenever she does sneak a kiss or even bumps up against his skin with her nose or mouth, our son breaks out in hives on that spot. I'm wondering if I should be concerned (i.e. is he allergic to our dog?!) Our son has had a somewhat constant runny nose for the past several months as well and I don't know if it's related or if it's due to teething, the common cold, etc. Anyone else experienced this or have any input or advice? Thanks in advance!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I posted this quite a while ago and my son is now approaching 3 (February). I am super happy to say that he no longer breaks out in hives when our dog licks him. If he was allergic (even just the saliva), he must have outgrown it. Actually, it hasn't happened in the last year or two even. I have a daughter now and she does not break out either; must not have the same sensitivity that he did. Thank you everyone for your input!

Featured Answers

My brother breaks out from dog saliva too...but it's just the saliva his body has a problem with. To this day, he has several dogs. I would just watch it and try to keep the dog from licking him as much as possible. Maybe he'll out grow it, maybe not, but if it doesn't get worse than the bumps/rash, I wouldn't worry too much.

Sounds like he's allergic to the dog saliva if not the dog itself. I'm allergic and this same thing happens to me and boy is it itchy and very uncomfortable! I don't think that he's old enough to take benedryl yet but you might want to look into it.
Good luck

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maybe a peanut allergy, depending what's in your dog food/treats (many dog treats contain peanut products). I knew a girl who fed a dog a treat, later ate pizza (mom forgot to have her wash her hands) and complained of not feeling well--whatever her symptoms were, mom recognized that as being part of her peanut allergy--they checked the dog treat box and sure enough they contained peanuts. It's a long shot, but you never know!

Hello, I wanted to know what happened with your child? I see this post is rather old, but I just experienced this same situation with my 6 month old baby. I have a boxer, and he also licked my babies face, and she broke out in a bad rash for a few hours. She now has bumps on face where the reaction occured. She doesn't have allergy to dander, or dogs skin, just the saliva. I am just curious if your child outgrew it, & if boxer is still around child, and if child kept experiencing this allergy to the saliva. Thank You!

Hey S.!

It sounds like an allergy to me ... my son, just like many other Moms', has allergies to various things. I would definitely get him in to an allergist to see what the severity is and what to do to make him more comfortable. Hives are rather unpleasant!

I say an allergist, because my son had problems, for a WHILE, that our pediatrician kept blowing off as other things (he didn't have allergies, my 6 month old still had newborn rash/acne ... it wasn't allergies it was colic ... and the list went on and on) It took having 2 instances of, my then 15 month olds, eyes swelling shut and an on-call Doc to finally get a referral to an allergist. We now have a great allergist, a multiple layer allergy defense system and a new pediatrician. All is right with the world.

So, S. follow your gut, you know your little guy better than anybody else.

All the best!

I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who has this reaction. I get this reaction from dogs as well. I had allergy testing done and I am allergic to dogs. Funny thing is that only certain breeds make me break out in hives after they lick me or have their nose touch me. I am a pet lover so I just deal with the hives if I get touched by a dog. I would say if at all possible keep the dog out of your sons room. Maybe you can teach your dog not to lick your son. If your son does not seem bothered by the hives then I would just keep an eye on him and the hives. I know they itch but if you can wash the area it does help a little and does not make them last as long. Good luck to you!!

Sorry, my guess would be allergies. He may develop a tolerance to the dog. When I didn't have cats for a while and went to the shelter and petted them I hived. We had cats before and I developed a tolerance. We have cats again, no problem. We had a pet rat that I handled a lot during the period we didn't have cats, no problem. When we got another rat during the time we did have cats and I didn't handle it much I would hive when I did. So that's what worked for me.
How long have you had the dog? I don't recall how long it took me to no longer be sensitive, but it wasn't real long.
good luck,
homeschool mom and homebusiness own of sensible reliable business

Sound like your son is allergic to your dog. If he gets hives/a rash I would see an allergist or just start with your pediatrician. The other thing you might want to try is to go out of your house for a while ie. a weekend, and see if his runny nose clears up. Of course you would have to leave the dog home and not go somewhere that there is another pet of any kind. The reason you would have to leave as opposed to the pet, is that there will still be the dander (the allergen) in the house, even if the dog is not present. Hope everything goes well.

In response to Cindy L's advice, Maltese are actually considered a hypo-allergenic dog. They do not shed and their hair is more like people hair. It comes out in strands only when combed and many people who are allergic to dogs are able to have Maltese.
While it doesn't sound like you need to think about trading in your dog for a different one, Maltese might be something to consider if you ever want to get another dog. :)

If it makes you feel better, I am allergic to cats but have had them all my life. I just can't groom them or have them sleep on my pillows and stuff like that.

It could be entirely possible that your son is allergic to your dog. My best advice would be to talk to your child's doctor and try to limit the contact your son has with the dog. If the hives or reaction decreases with the less time spent around the dog then it could be allergy.

Sounds like he's allergic to the dog saliva if not the dog itself. I'm allergic and this same thing happens to me and boy is it itchy and very uncomfortable! I don't think that he's old enough to take benedryl yet but you might want to look into it.
Good luck


Our son is four years old and has the same problem. We had him tested for allergies when he was about a year old. He has allergies to dogs, cats, fish, eggs, nuts and dust. When he gets near a dog or even in the house with a dog he will start a runny nose, then start to rub his eyes and then will have problems breathing (he has asthma). If he gets licked by a dog he will swell up severely, but it will start with hives. I wouldn't panic, I would take him to an allergist or to his pediatrician and have him tested. You may want to pick up some Benadryl just until you can get him into the doctor. Good Luck to you

One of my girlfriends has three kids, and two dogs. Last winter they all got Strep throat, and it kept being past around and around and around. HEr Dr finally asked if they had dogs and suggested calling her vet to get the dogs treated. After that they finally all got better:) Does not hurt to ask your dr and vet about, but most likely the wetness from the dogs lick is causeing a dry patch there on his skin kind of like diaper rash. My ten year old licks his lips and gets a red rash around his mouth every year.

My brother breaks out from dog saliva too...but it's just the saliva his body has a problem with. To this day, he has several dogs. I would just watch it and try to keep the dog from licking him as much as possible. Maybe he'll out grow it, maybe not, but if it doesn't get worse than the bumps/rash, I wouldn't worry too much.

Has he ever had nuts? He may be allergic to peanuts. They often use peanuts as filler in dog food. This happened to my daughter. We already knew she had the allergy. We looked on the dog food bag and it did not say peanuts, but they use other terms for peanuts. This may be something you want to look into. I am sure there is dog food out there without peanuts. Watch what he eats, it may have peanuts in them. Kids are really not to eat peanuts until 3years old. We found out when my daughter was 18 months old. Now everthing we eat is nut free.

Yes, your son is allergic to dogs. Same thing happens with my son, and he was tested for allergies last year (at 3-1/2) and came up with a 2 (on a scale of 6) allergy. We did not have a dog when he was little, so we were able to isolate him pretty well. And he is now old enough that he does a great job of protecting himself when he's around dogs. My son has also never had respiratory symptoms with dogs. The best advice is to try to keep the dog from licking him as much as possible, since allergies do escalate: the more exposures he has, the bigger the reactions will tend to get. Talk to your pediatrician about having some OTC meds on hand - I don't go anywhere without cortisone cream and benadryl, but your son might be a little young for those. My understanding is that while you can have babies allergy tested, the test tends to be much less reliable, and I was counseled to wait until my son was 4 (the test is much more accurate then.) You don't particularly ask this question, but I don't think you need to get rid of your dog, although you probably want to change the kind of access your son has to to the dog, at least for a few years.

Good luck!

A person (both children & adults) can be allergic it an animal's saliva. It sounds very much like your son is allergic to your dog's saliva... he might also be allergic to your dog's dander/hair.

I would talk to an allergiest to see about testing, not sure if your son is to young so in the mean time keep your son and dog apart. Talk to your ped and see if there is anything you can do for your son, short of finding a new home for your beloved puppy. Someone mentioned talking to the vet also, ask if there is something you can do to help reduce the allergy maybe through giving frequent baths to your puppy.

I baby sat for a family that had a pug and their son was also allergic, nose always running, eyes watering and so on. They did nothing to help relieve his symptons and it could be as something as simple as keeping them in seperate rooms (dog stay in kitchen while your son has the run of the rest of the house). That way your son is suffering less from his allergies.

I have a new puppy in the home and have noticed the same thing with my three year old son. Whenever he lets the dog lick him he gets blotches and bumps. Although it seems he has some allergic reaction I am not concerned at this point because I am not noticing any other reactions. So I am just reinforcing that he not let the dog lick him because of it. That seems to work well for now. Good luck to you!

Ask a veterinarian?? Hopefully he outgrows this skin sensitivity.

Hi S.. I don't know if this helps at all or not but I actually have the same reaction to our dog. If he licks my skin I get an itchy bumpy rash wherever his saliva came into contact with my skin. We've just done our best to convey to our dog that as much as we love him, "Mommy" does not want "kisses". :) He seems to get it, although he still gets me every once in a while when he's excited! :) But I don't think its too uncommon, or serious.

Hi S.

It sounds like a allergie to me .I have almost the same thing happen to me when I am around dogs if I touch them or they touch me .
I would talk to your doctor about it as soon as you can .

Yes, your son is allergic to your dog, and from the sounds of it, very much so, if all it takes is her mouth to touch his skin. Hives are an allergic reaction. Also, a runny nose for several months is not "normal", or a cold or teething.

I would contact an allergist for tips on how to deal with this. Perhaps you can "wait and see" if your son outgrows the allergy. I would also contact your vet for some advice.

Good luck to you,

Saliva is one of the triggers for allergic reactions to animals as well as gander. I would say you son is allergic to your dog.

Yes, this happened to my son when he was about 1 and yes, he was ultimately tested as allergic to dogs. However, we have two dogs and have been able to keep them. His reaction to dogs is not severe; he is much more allergic to cats. His allergist said we could keep the dogs as long as we kept them out of his bedroom, but he is not supposed to spend the night anywhere that has cats. We keep his door closed so the dogs can't go in to his room. He also has very annoying environmental allergies to a variety of things so he is on allergy medication year round. This has been working for us for a long time. My son is now 12 and the dogs are 15 and 13. I know there is no such thing as a hypo-allergenic dog, but our next pet will probably be a breed that doesn't shed, which I've heard helps. Good luck. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions. We've gone through both the blood allergy testing (RAST) and the skin testing.

I have a five month old son who was just allergy tested for dogs. All they do is take a little blood and test it. They don't have to inject your son with anything. Also, they told me that I can give him 1/2 tsp. Zyrtec for the runny nose. That is a 24 hour dose...the dose is based on weight and my son weighs 17 pounds. Hope this helps!!

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