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Why is my dog's face swollen?: Causes & Treatment

Have you spotted swelling in your dog's face? An underlying health issue is likely to blame. In this article, our Fort Worth vets explain which conditions may cause a dog's facial area, including the snout and cheeks, to become swollen. 

Causes of Facial Swelling in Dogs

Facial swelling in dogs can occur for many reasons. Since a swollen face often points to underlying health issues, it's common for dogs with facial swelling to display other symptoms such as lethargy and loss of appetite. 

Allergic Reaction 

Allergic reactions are usually to blame for facial swelling in dogs. Bug bites, bee stings, vaccinations, medications, exposure to pollen, toxins, and certain foods may be affecting your dog's or puppy's face if it is swollen. While minimal intervention is typically required to remedy mild reactions, severe reactions will require urgent care

If you notice that swelling is a chronic concern, we may recommend and perform allergy testing to identify the underlying issue. 

Dental Issues 

Our vets sometimes get calls from concerned pet parents asking, "Why is my dog's face swollen on one side?"

A dog's face may become swollen (sometimes on one side under the eye), due to dental issues. Tooth abscesses and other dental infections can develop deep beneath the gums and cause pus-filled pockets, which in turn lead to facial swelling. 

Additionally, broken teeth, periodontal disease and oral injuries are all potential causes of facial swelling in dogs. 

Traumatic Injury 

Similar to people, trauma can also cause facial swelling in dogs. Whether from another animal's bite, a fall, or another circumstance, a facial injury is as likely an explanation as any for a dog's swollen face. 


If your dog's facial swelling has caused you to wonder, 'Why is my dog's face swollen on one side?', another potential answer may be that they have a mass or tumor.

Tumors, both benign and malignant, cause facial swelling while growing on a dog's face or head. They can cause pressure and pain and are potentially a sign of cancer. If you suspect your dog may have a tumor on its face, we strongly suggest contacting your primary vet as soon as possible.

In addition to tumors, cysts can grow large on your pet's face and be confused for swelling. Cysts are fluid-filled growths that are most often benign and only require attention if they grow to an unignorable size.

How to Prevent Your Dog's Face From Swelling 

If your dog has allergies you are aware of, try to minimize his exposure to allergens that are predicted to trigger a reaction. Your vet may also recommend using antihistamines to prevent swelling. 

Let your vet know about any previous reactions to vaccines your dog has experienced (including facial swelling) so your pup can be treated in advance to minimize the reaction. If you notice that your dog has been bitten by a bug or stung by a bee, or otherwise exposed to an environmental allergen, treat the reaction right away with an antihistamine. Ask your veterinarian for instructions. 

Most dental issues can be easily prevented by maintaining your dog's teeth with regular dental checkups and at-home care. Start an at-home oral care routine and stick with it to reduce your dog's risk of developing a dental problem. This way, you'll be more likely to catch problems early on.

While trauma cannot always be prevented, it's always good to remember safety tips. Do not let your dog play off-leash or roam free in non-fenced areas. Closely monitor interactions with other animals to prevent fights. If any kind of trauma occurs, get your dog to the vet right away.

A sad fact is that cancer and tumors cannot really be prevented. That said, 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.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you need to leave your dog overnight or for a weekend? Contact our Fort Worth vets today to book your dog's stay in our boarding facility. We look forward to meeting you and your pup!

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We're accepting new patients at A-Animal Clinic & Boarding Kennel! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals in Fort Worth. Get in touch today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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