His gums are very red and inflamed, especially in front.. The pic doesn't do it justice. He hasn't had any diet changes lately (we changed his food about 2 weeks ago) and TO MY KNOWLEDGE he didn't get into anything. 11 month male.

He does lick the grass where other dogs pee and being that it is summer, I'm worried he may have lapped up some fertilizer or pesticide. He has rubbed his face with his front paw a few times in the last hour or so like his mouth itches and tried to scratch with his back but his back legs he can't get to his mouth becaue of his hip dysplasia.

Can I, or should I treat the inflammation with Benadryl or Atarax?

  • So this has been happening since before the food changed?
    – Spidercat
    May 26, 2014 at 1:14
  • 1
    Are there any other concerning signs (lethargy, vomiting, etc) you can see? What is the temperature in your area like? Red gums can be a sign of overheating.
    – Joanne C
    May 26, 2014 at 1:16
  • @MattS. This just happened today. Around noon I noticed he was acting like his mouth itched and a little more drooly.
    – Kathleen
    May 26, 2014 at 1:29
  • @JohnCavan No alarming symptoms, just seemingly itchy mouth, drooly (only slightly more than normal) and licking (like if he had peanut butter in his mouth)
    – Kathleen
    May 26, 2014 at 1:31
  • Could be sore, could be itch. I'd probably stick with my solarcaine suggestion, then. Just keep it light (make ice available as well, it can help) and take him to a vet for a look as soon as you can.
    – Joanne C
    May 26, 2014 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


Either of those can be used to treat dogs and they're often for issues that are symptomatic of allergies, such as itching and I sense this is why you're considering them as a treatment. However, it's not established that the gums are itchy, they could be sore and your dogs is trying to rub them for relief rather than scratch.

Do you have Solarcaine on hand? Putting some on a cotton/gauze pad and applying that to the gums (just dab on) may help deaden feeling. Solarcaine contains lidocaine and the can provide some temporary relief for both itching and pain for your dog. Don't use a lot, just apply to a couple of sores.

In any event, you need to contact your vet as soon as you can as there are a fair amount of oral illnesses that are initially signalled by mouth sores like reddened gums. Never hurts to be careful there and any home solution you have to his gum problem is likely to be temporary at best.

  • Follow-up (FYSA): Benadryl was used, Solarcaine was unavailable. Ice was applied. Two days later, his gum symptoms disappeared.
    – Kathleen
    Jun 6, 2014 at 12:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.