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Dog Itchy After Vaccines: 7 Vital Tips (Updated 2023)

Dog Itchy After Vaccines

Itching is an everyday sight for your furry friends. 

They’ll scratch themselves here and there. 



And they’re done!

Their scratching is typically quick and not too rough. 

But what does it mean if your dog is severely itchy after vaccines? 

Is this normal or something worth worrying about?

Find out as you read on:

  • 2 reasons why dogs start itching after shots.
  • 7 helpful tips if your dog is itchy after vaccines.
  • The difference between a normal itch and a severe one.
  • And many more…

Can vaccines make dogs itchy?

Vaccines can make dogs itchy due to an allergic reaction. In most cases, this mild reaction goes away on its own after a few hours. But if your dog’s itching is severe, this can be dangerous. When that happens, contact the vet immediately.

Dog itchy after vaccines: 7 tips

#1: Know the signs of hives 

Urticaria, a.k.a hives, are a common side effect in dogs after vaccines. 

This condition makes your dog itch more than usual. It happens when the vaccine causes an allergic reaction. 

And in most cases, it shows around the injected area first. 

Then it begins to spread throughout their body. 

But don’t panic just yet. Hives often go away on their own.

With proper rest, your pooch will be fine in a few days. In most cases, it’ll settle down in 24 to 48 hours. But in other dogs, this can last for a week.

So, how can you tell if your dog has this condition? 

Here are 5 symptoms of hives according to PetMD:

  • Severe itching.
  • Facial swelling.
  • Swollen muzzle.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Redness all over the skin.

Note: You might also notice raised skin around their body. That’s called wheals. And that occurs when there’s swelling under the dog’s skin.

“How can I tell if my dog’s itching is serious?” 

You can easily spot a severe case of hives. 

Just watch out for these 7 symptoms: 

If you notice one or more of these signs, go to the vet ASAP.

For more helpful tips on how to treat hives, you can watch this expert’s guide:

Reading tip: (7 Tips) Dog Having Trouble Walking After Shots

#2: Use antihistamines 

Antihistamines can help with hives.

These are medications used for treating allergies like itchiness.

But which ones are safe for dogs? 

There are only a few limited options. 

Plus, it’s best not to give your dog any medicine without a vet’s approval. 

But if you’d like to check which ones they use, here are some of them:

There are more antihistamines for dogs, but you can’t find them in general stores. 

Only animal clinics can provide them. And so, it’s best to visit the vet if your dog needs one. 

Most of the time, these medications are enough to treat mild cases of hives.

#3: Try an oatmeal-based shampoo 

Ideally, bathing your dog right after vaccines isn’t a good idea. 

But, some vets may suggest using oatmeal-based shampoo to help with itching. 

This can be a good alternative if your dog can’t use antihistamines. After all, vets can tell if your pooch will be fine even without medication.

“So when is it safe to bathe my dog?” 

As I mentioned earlier, itching can last for 1 to 2 days up to a week. 

So if more than 7 days have passed since the issue began…

Giving your dog a bath using the vet-recommended shampoo can be safe. 

“But why do I have to wait just to bathe my dog?” 

It’s because dogs are more sensitive after vaccination. 

So immediately giving them a bath will put them at risk of catching a cold or even a fever. 

Due to this, it’s encouraged to avoid baths for at least 1 week after vaccines.

With that, only do this tip if the vet permits. That’s even after passing the 1-week mark after the vaccine.

#4: Apply calamine lotion

Apply Calamine Lotion When Dog Is Itchy After Vaccines

Another option you can use to help your dog is using topical creams. 

But only some of them are safe for dogs. 

So, here’s a vet-recommended product: calamine lotion.

It contains ingredients that’ll help soothe skin problems such as itching. And applying it to your dog is the same as when you use it.

Paste a sufficient amount on your finger or palm. 

And then gently apply to your furry friend’s affected areas. 

You can also put small amounts around your furry pal’s face.

“Is it safe if my dog licks it?” 

Yes, a small amount is still safe for your pooch. 

But if they’re trying to eat all the lotion around their skin, this can be risky. So consider using a dog cone to stop them.

And now, let’s get back to the process.

Calamine lotion typically needs a few minutes before it takes effect. 

Tip: Make sure to apply it to your dog first thing in the morning. This will ensure that their day will be smoother with lesser itching. 

“How often should I use it on my dog?” 

Applying this lotion once a day is already good enough. 

But if your furry pal’s still itching too much, you can put more later in the evening. 

By doing this, you’ll also help your dog sleep much better.

#5: Beware of an anaphylactic shock 

Since we talked about urticaria in tip #1, here’s the more dangerous form of it. 

A study shows that dogs with hives are at risk of developing anaphylaxis.

It’s a combination of different skin problems and breathing issues in dogs. Though rare, it’s still important to know the signs of this threat.

So, according to VCA, there are 7 symptoms of anaphylaxis:

  • Severe itchiness.
  • Extreme swelling.
  • Uncontrolled drooling.
  • Persistent vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Intense redness of the swollen skin.
  • Abnormal breathing and weird noises.
  • Gum and tongue discoloration or cyanosis.

Warning: An anaphylactic shock can be fatal. So if you notice any of these signs, take your dog to the vet immediately.

Read also: 17 Alarming Side Effects Of Rabies Vaccine In Dogs

#6: Use anti-itch supplements 

Supplements are also a safer remedy for a dog’s itch. 

With this, you’ll have plenty of options to offer to your pooch. 

As stated by vets, here are some supplements you can give to your furry friend:

Note: To find out the right dosage for your dog, consider contacting the vet.

#7: Consider thuja 

Are you familiar with thuja

It’s a tree with leaves that contains medicinal properties. 

Moreover, it’s commonly used in homeopathy, which many vets believe in. 

“Wait, not all vets believe in it?” 

Yes, not everyone is a fan of this practice.

The reason is that homeopathy isn’t backed by science… yet

With that said, there’s still some lack of evidence or research on the topic. 

But despite that, many people still use some homeopathic methods.

Thuja, specifically, is often used as a remedy for skin allergies. 

One research supports the claim that thuja is a safe and effective medicine against itchiness. 

And other than pruritus, a.k.a itchy skin…

This medicine is also effective against dermatitis

And this condition is more intense than a regular itch. 

Dermatitis causes inflammation in dogs. And when that happens, they’ll feel a lot of pain. 

So with this level of efficiency…

You can consider thuja as a potential remedy for your pooch. 

Moreover, thuja is also believed to help with warts in dogs.

All in all, it’s helpful in small concentrations and dosages. And when you’re in doubt, contact your vet for their opinion.