Skin allergies in dogs can make for itchy, uncomfortable, and irritable pups. Here are a few insights into how allergic reactions can manifest - and what to do if you notice itching, redness, or other symptoms.
Skin Allergies in Dogs
Skin allergies, also known as allergic dermatitis, are the most common type of allergy in dogs. Your dog could be allergic to a variety of irritants, causing him or her to itch, scratch, and be generally uncomfortable.
What causes skin allergies in dogs?
These are the three most common causes of skin allergies in dogs:
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Some dogs will develop an allergic reaction to flea saliva. This can cause flea allergy dermatitis, which causes your dog's skin to become extremely itchy, particularly at the base of the tail. Their skin may become red, inflamed, and scabbed. Flea dirt (feces) is another sign of fleas, and you may occasionally see the fleas themselves.
Your pet’s itchy skin may be a symptom of food allergies or sensitivities. Watch for scratching at their paws or ears, along with potential gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or a combination of both.
It’s important to distinguish between food allergies and food sensitivities (intolerances). Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities are a gradual reaction to a specific ingredient such as chicken, milk, beef, or wheat.
Symptoms can range from itching to chronic ear or foot infections to vomiting and diarrhea. True food allergies cause an immune response that can result in skin conditions like facial swelling and hives.
Environmental allergens, such as mold, pollen, and dust, can cause atopic dermatitis or allergic reactions. Seasonal allergies can also be a source of frustration because they may only affect your dog at certain times of the year.
Similar to food allergies, look to your dog’s paws and ears for clues that they may be suffering from environmental allergies. Also do a quick check of the muzzle, around the eyes, wrists, underarms, ankles, and between toes.
Symptoms of Skin Allergies in Dogs
As mentioned above, skin allergies can cause a range of symptoms. These can include:
- Excessive scratching
- Excessive licking
- Rubbing of ears or face
- Biting or chewing the skin
- Rubbing or scooting on surfaces
- Red, irritated or flakey skin
- Hair loss
When it comes to severe skin allergies in dogs, you're dealing with not only the discomfort and itching of the allergic reaction but also the risk of secondary infection. Because your dog scratches, licks, and bites at his skin in response to itching, yeast, and bacterial infection may enter through sores. These may necessitate medical attention.
How to Treat Skin Allergies in Dogs
The best way to find out what’s irritating your dog’s system and causing her symptoms is to book an appointment with your Corpus Christi vet. We provide comprehensive dermatological treatment for cats and dogs, including performing a range of allergy tests to determine the root cause of your pet’s skin disorder.
Following diagnosis, we can provide a custom treatment plan to help your dog heal. Treatment will depend on the cause and nature of your dog’s allergy, its location on the body, and other factors.
Treatment for skin allergies in dogs may include laser treatments, injectables, non-steroidal allergy medications, medicated baths, and other options.
Whether your dog's skin condition is caused by an allergy, disease, or something else, we can identify the source and provide effective treatment to help your pet feel more at ease - and get you back to cuddling.
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.