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Why Is My Dog's Face Swollen?: Causes & Treatment

Have you noticed swelling in your dog's face? It's likely triggered by an underlying health complication. In this post, our Orange Park veterinary dermatologist discusses which conditions may cause a dog's facial area, including the cheeks and snout, to become swollen.

Causes of Facial Swelling in Dogs

Many factors can contribute to facial swelling in dogs. Because a swollen face often indicates further underlying health issues, it's common for dogs with facial swelling to present other symptoms such as lethargy and loss of appetite. 

Allergic Reaction 

Facial swelling in dogs is typically triggered by an allergic reaction. Bee stings, bug bites, medications, vaccinations, exposure to toxins, pollen and certain foods may be affecting your dog's or puppy's face if it is swollen. While mild reactions tend to improve with minimal intervention, severe reactions are a veterinary emergency and will demand immediate attention from a vet. 

If you find that swelling is a chronic concern, we can perform veterinary allergy testing to pinpoint the underlying issue. 

Dental Issues 

Dental issues can cause a dog's face to become swollen, sometimes on one side under the eye. Tooth abscesses and other dental infections can develop deep beneath the gums and cause a pocket to fill with pus, which in turn causes facial swelling. 

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

Traumatic Injury

Trauma is capable of causing swelling in dogs just as much as it is in people. Whether from a fall or the bite of another animal, a facial injury is as likely an explanation as any for a swollen face in your dog.


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 whilst growing on a dog's face or head. Tumors can cause pressure and pain, and are potentially a sign of cancer - if you suspect your dog may have a tumor on their 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.

Is your dog experiencing ongoing facial swelling? Ask your vet about a referral. Our veterinary dermatologist will work with your primary care vet to ensure your pet receives the best possible care. 

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Animal Friends Dermatology is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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