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My dog had a swollen face – major allergic reaction not the usual hives!

My dog had a swollen face – major allergic reaction not the usual hives!

Last week was a bit of a shocking week for me. As many of you who read this blog regularly will know, Layla (my whippet) has multiple allergies (see this post for an explanation). Usually her allergies are displayed as itchy ears, an upset stomach or at times, hives on her head (and rarely her body). This time she had a major allergic reaction causing a swollen face!

Whippet with hives
dog with hives on muzzle

Last Sunday was another hot and humid day and I left it until 6:30 pm to take her for her walk.  As it was so humid I didn’t take her too far but I let her off on the lane down to the church. The lane has fields either side, which this year contains barley.  Layla just happened to meet up with a doggy neighbour, Maddie, whose mum had the same idea as me (short walk to the church as it was too hot for more).  Maddie and Layla went off for a bounce in the field.  Yes, I know, some of you have issues with dogs bouncing in fields, but dogs will be dogs and if that’s the worst of my crimes then I don’t think I’m doing too badly! Anyway, they were only on there about 30-40 second in total before we carried on down the lane and then returned back home 20 minutes later.

Lane leading to church during the Bluebell ride

When I got home, I left Layla lounging on the sofa, whilst I went out to water the plants in the greenhouse. No more than 10 minutes after returning home Layla came running out of the house and into the garden looking a little agitated. Even from 10 meters away I could see her face didn’t look right and I knew she was having a reaction to something.

Our usual routine is for me to give her homeopathic Apis (as prescribed by her homeopathic vet) and then if the reaction is uncontrolled, give her an antihistamine. I could see this reaction was more severe than usual so I gave her an antihistamine straight away and supplemented with Apis to help control the reaction. It took 2 doses of Apis (at 15 minute intervals) for the symptoms to subside. Her face was hot to the touch, red and she was incredibly itchy (a typical Apis reaction).

Whippet with swollen face - allergic reaction
Dog wityh swollen face - allergic reaction

Once I knew I had the reaction under control I put her in the shower to wash off whatever she was reacting too. She had an all over shampoo and I made sure her face was thoroughly rinsed with cool water. I’ve never seen her tolerate water on her face like she did while she was having the reaction; it must have been so cooling. I also rinsed her eyes with an eye wash that’s usually reserved after trips to the beach when her eyes have sand in them.

CleanOcular eye wash for dogs

Usually when she has a reaction it makes her cold and her gums go pale.  She is often improved my rest and being tucked up under a blanket on the sofa to warm her.  This time, after her bath, she chose to go in her cosy cave and sleep off the worst of it.  It is obviously exhausting when this happens to her. I know when the reaction has reached its peak, and the Apis is working, when the swelling starts to flatten and spread – as you can see from the photos below.

Layla in her Cosy Cave
Layla sleeping off her allergic reaction

That night I went to bed with a whippet that looked like a Shar-Pei….and woke up with an English Bull Terrier!

Whippet looking like an English Bull Terrier the morning after an allergic reaction
Dog with a swollen face the morning after an allergic reaction

I took 4 days for the swelling to subside. I noticed that as the days went on the swelling reduced from the top of her head first, then her muzzle, and then her jaw. All the time it seemed to be draining down her neck giving her what I can only describe as a ‘waddle’ (anyone remember Ally McBeal?)

Finally, by Thursday my gorgeous girl has her beautiful whippet face back and her normal exuberant personality.

dog with 'waddle' after facial swelling starts to subside
Day 1 post allergic reaction,
Day 1 Post allergic reaction - generally puffy face
Day 1 afternoon post allergic reaction - face swelling starting to subside
Day 2 post allergic reaction - most of the facial swelling has gone - just a bit left around the lower jaw and neck

I’ve stopped and thought about what it was that she reacted to, my initial conclusion being the barley pollen. But after further thought I wonder whether the long spell of dry weather has somehow concentrated the chemicals, sprayed on to the fields, into the leaves of the barley. As she ran through the fields it was this chemical she reacted to. My only consideration for this comes as I remember when I kissed her muzzle it made my lips tingle. I also remember that while on that fateful walk, I picked some pollen from the corner of her eye, then rubbed my cheek and my cheek also tingled. I thought nothing of it at the time due to my own odd chemical sensitivities. Though I do find the chemical hypothesis to be a valid one, truth is I’ll never know.

Having spoken to our vet, I’m keeping her on antibiotics for a few weeks just to help calm her immune system and get over the worst of the pollen season. It seems there is the option to give her some steroid should the reaction be worse (hopefully there’s not a next time!) and it may be I could keep that at home. I try to avoid steroids if at all possible, and although it wasn’t used on this occasion I would use it if I could not get the reaction under control.

It seems with such a late spring everything is producing pollen at the same time. I really feel for hay fever sufferers at this time of year. Summer is wonderful …..I just wish I didn’t have Layla reacting to things at the back of my mind.

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Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised
Things to do with your dog in Hertfordshire and Essex | June 2018

Things to do with your dog in Hertfordshire and Essex | June 2018

Even though it’s June, we can’t bank on the weather being good.  So here’s 7 things to do with your dog in Hertfordshire and Essex if you wake up in the morning and decide you fancy a day out.

June marks the start of the Pick your Own (P-Y-O) season. Is there anything better than freshly picked strawberries or raspberries, warmed in the sunshine, straight from the field?

Dogs are allowed at Cammas Hall, but “should be tied at the side of the fruit fields, in full view of owners” as you pick.  There are plenty of poo bins around, so please make sure you pick up after your 4-legged friend. Also if you wish to eat at their barn café you’ll need to sit outside, but I think we’re all pretty used to that by now.

They also have a fantastic Farm Shop with a wealth of wonderful produce on offer.  One of my favourite things to take home are their gorgeous chewy meringues and pots of thick cream to make the most of the freshly picked strawberries!!

Opening times 9am – 5:30pm Tuesday to Sunday (and Bank Holiday Mondays!)       Sat Nav: CM22 7JT (Hatfield Broad Oak)


30th May – 1st June

Paws in the Park Summer Show is a dog lover’s delight, a fun filled day out for you and your furry kid. I’m sure you and your dog will love to try out a few of the brilliant activities including:

    * Search and Rescue    * Dash N Splash    * Flyball

Maybe you want to see if you can win a prize a fun competition: 

    * Agility    * Cani-cross    or * Dash and Splash?

There’s also the opportunity to try your hand in the Kennel Club approved Companion Dog Show.  Will your dog strut their stuff?  There are special cross breed classes and novelty classes so all of the furry family can take part.

Don’t feel like competing? You can enjoy a whole host of events and displays to keep you amused for hours!

By booking a ticket online you can save 15% off the gate price.      Sat Nav: CM11 2UD (Barleylands, Billericay)


16th June

Essex Pride Dog Show

Held in Central Park, Chelmsford, the dog show coincides with the Essex Pride event celebrating diversity and community.  To enter the show you need to visit the website (link below) and take a completed form with you (that should sure help speed up booking in on the day!)

There are the usual classes, along with classes for cleverest trick and a sit and stay sausage challenge!  That should be good for a giggle!

Along with the dog show, the main day has a lot to keep you entertained:

  • Daytime live entertainment in the Big top marquee with Headline acts & local performers.
  • ​Evening dance tent with DJ’s.
  • Funfair.
  • Market stalls.
  • Showcase Community Area.
  • Great Food and Licensed Bars.

Opening times: Main Event 12 noon – late  |  Dog show: Registration from 12:00 until 2:30pm judging will start from 2:40 up to 4:30.

Parking: High Chelmer Multi story: CM1 1 LU

For dog show forms Click Here


17th June

Heli Hounds Dog walk

Heli Hounds Dog walk is a charity event run by the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.  Join over 200 hounds as they walk around The Discovery Centre, Black Notley to raise funds for this vital service!

If you wish to help raise extra funds you can download a sponsor form from the website and get sponsored to do the walk.  Their site says “If 300 dog walkers all raised £30-£50 in sponsorship money this could raise over £10,000 for EHAAT, enough to fund 4 life-saving missions.” Could you help them raise a few extra pounds?

“Be one of the first 250 dogs to pre-register and receive your FREE Doggy Bandana. Pre-register before 14th June and get your ticket for just £5 (on the day ticket price £7.50).”

Registration starts: 9:30  |  Walk starts: 10:30    Sat Nav:CM77 7FS

For tickets and a sponsor form:



Blackwater Country Show

“Celebrating countryside and countryside pursuits” this country show has something for everyone.  From Heavy Horses and kayaking, to Essex Police Dog Display and Have a Go Clay Shoot, there is truly something to entertain even the most stubborn family members. They even have a Newfoundland Dog Rescue Demonstration on the lake at 11:30 and 15:00!

For the dogs there is a Novelty Dog Show, Have a Go Agility Couse and Flyball! Sounds like fun!

If you fancy a fun filled day out and would like to buy a ticket you can do so here:

Although I can’t find opening times on the main website, events start in the main ring at 10 am.  So I would imaging that the show starts at 9 am (but that’s just an educated guess!)

Sat Nav: CM9 4RB



Classic cars at Audley End      

What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday, let alone Father’s Day! Set in the grounds of a decadent Jacobean Mansion House, this classic car show is sure to please any petrol head.  The website is pretty sparse on details, but where can you go wrong with classic cars set in stunning grounds?

Entry for English Heritage members is free, but £18.10 per adult ticket.
Website: Audley End Classic Cars

Opening times: 11am – 5pm     Sat Nav: CB11 4JF



28/29th June

Hatfield Food Festival

Another website that’s scant on general information, but they do have a list as long as your arm of Chefs, Demonstrators, Hands on Master Classes and Training Sessions, along with Foraging Walks, Street food and OOh!….did I just read Chocolate Tasting?…… I did!!!!

The website is certainly worth a look as some sections are clickable and provide further information, but needless to say this is a foodie’s dream!!!  Did I mention they have chocolate tasting? 😉

Definitely worth a look at the website:

Opening Times: 10am – 5pm     Sat Nav: AL9 5HX (Hatfield House)



If you know of any other great events you can take your furry family to, then please send me a message by either filling out the form below or sending me a message on Facebook, and I can update the post.



Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised
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