Dog Skin Allergies Symptoms & Treatments

Key takeaway

Did you know your furry friend can experience allergies just like you? Dog skin allergies can occur due to fleas, environmental allergens, and the protein source of their diet. Symptoms of dog skin allergies may be treated with antihistamines, antibiotics, and immunotherapy. However, avoidance of the allergy is the only surefire way to prevent allergic reactions.

Just like us, dogs can experience allergies. Dog skin allergies can leave your pet feeling uncomfortable and itchy. These allergies can also result in skin irritation, redness, sores, and hair loss. This is in part due to the allergies themselves, and also a result of your dog biting, chewing, and scratching at the irritated skin. 

Luckily, dog skin allergies can be treated using a range of accessible methods. The main issue is to identify the root cause of the allergy and address this issue, whether it’s a dietary problem, fleas, or something in their surrounding environment. 

In this article, we discuss the different types of dog skin allergies, explain what causes them, and tell you how to identify and treat them. Read from start to finish to learn more about the various skin allergies that can affect your dog or use the links below to navigate to any section of the article. 

Types of Dog Skin Allergies

There are a variety of dog skin allergies that can affect your pet. Each dog’s skin allergy stems from a different cause and may affect your dog in a different way. Below, we’ve listed out some of the most common dog skin allergies1

  • Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD): Some dogs have an adverse reaction to flea bites due to a hypersensitivity to flea saliva. 
  • Atopic dermatitis: Atopic dermatitis, or atopy, occurs when dogs experience an allergic reaction to environmental allergens. These allergens may include things like mold, dust spores, pollen, or other irritants. 
  • Food allergy dermatitis: Some dogs have a sensitivity to particular proteins that may result in skin allergies. In this case, identifying and removing the problematic protein from their diet can resolve their skin allergies. To identify your dog’s food allergy, consider performing a trial diet to see if they have a poor reaction to any particular item. This trial entails an eight to twelve week elimination diet trial using a prescription allergy diet or a different diet with a different, new protein source.

Graphic listing three types of common dog skin allergies

Sometimes, it may be clear what’s causing your dog’s skin allergies. Perhaps you can see the fleas in their fur or they always display symptoms after eating a particular food. But more often, the cause of your dog’s skin allergies may not be so clear, requiring you to seek out treatment from a trained veterinary professional.  

What is the most common skin allergy in dogs?

Fleas and other insects such as mosquitoes and cockroaches are responsible for the majority of dog skin allergies. Some dogs have a sensitivity to flea bites that cause their skin to get itchy or inflamed. If a dog has a hypersensitivity to flea bites, just a few fleas can cause their skin to experience an adverse reaction.2

What Causes Skin Allergies in Dogs?

Different types of dog skin allergies can appear for different reasons. Anything from flea bites to environmental factors can produce an allergic reaction in your dog. With that being said, here are the most common causes of skin allergies in dogs:  

  • Fleas: Some dogs have hypersensitivity to flea saliva. Thus, when a flea bites them, their skin can flare up and become irritated. This is known as flea dermatitis and it can cause your dog’s skin to become abnormally itchy, flaky, and inflamed. 
  • Food allergies: If your dog’s skin has suddenly become irritated, a food allergy may be the culprit. Just like some of us don’t react well to lactose or gluten, certain dogs have sensitivities when it comes to the protein in their diet. Particular diets may cause dog skin allergies, gastrointestinal distress, and other health problems. 
  • Environmental allergens: Environmental factors can play a role in the development of dog skin allergies. Dust, pollen, mold, and other airborne allergens can potentially result in your dog experiencing an allergic reaction. 
Graphic listing symptoms of dog skin allergies

What Are the Symptoms of Dog Skin Allergies?

As mentioned above, skin allergies can cause a range of symptoms. These symptoms can include:

  • Unusually frequent scratching or itching 
  • Excessive licking 
  • Biting or chewing at fur or skin
  • Constant rubbing of ears or face 
  • Swelling of the face, lips, ears, or eyelids
  • Red, irritated, inflamed, or flaky skin 
  • Rubbing or scooting over surfaces 
  • Hair loss 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Excessive sneezing 
  • Itchy or runny eyes
  • Chronic ear infection 

Any of these symptoms could point to a dog skin allergy that’s causing issues for your pet. However, it’s important to keep in mind that even if your dog has one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have dog skin allergies. Rather, they could be symptoms of another illness or health problem. 

This is why it’s so crucial to consult with a veterinarian when you recognize the above symptoms in your pet. A qualified veterinarian can diagnose the issue in your pet and tell you how to treat dog skin allergies or recommend another course of treatment if necessary. 

How to Treat Dog Skin Allergies

When it comes to treatment for dog skin allergies, you have a number of options. The most effective treatment method is going to depend on what’s causing your dog’s skin allergies and your pet’s unique sensitivities.

Graphic listing treatment options used to treat dog skin allergies

Professional Treatments for Dog Skin Allergies

If you’re not sure what’s causing your dog’s skin allergies or home remedies for dog skin allergies and itching don’t prove effective, then it may be time to seek professional help. Professional treatments for dog skin allergies may include: 

  • Antihistamines 
  • Antibiotics 
  • Corticosteroids 
  • Fatty acid supplements 
  • Immunotherapy
  • Specialized diet plans 

A veterinarian can review your dog’s medical history, evaluate their symptoms, make a diagnosis, and recommend a course of treatment. The exact course of treatment will vary depending on your dog and the symptoms they’re displaying. 

Using Dutch.com, you can schedule an online visit with a qualified veterinarian and receive a customized treatment plan for your dog’s skin allergies. You won’t have to wait weeks for an appointment—instead, you can receive treatment on your terms and get prescription pet medications delivered straight to your door.  

Frequently Asked Questions: Dog Skin Allergies

How can I treat my dog’s skin allergies? 

How you treat your dog’s skin allergies depends on what’s causing the allergies in the first place. In general, the most effective way to treat a dog’s skin allergies is to remove the agent causing the irritation, whether it’s a type of diet or fleas. A veterinarian will be able to recommend the best course of treatment for your dog’s skin allergies. 

What is the most common skin allergy in dogs? 

Skin allergies in dogs are most commonly caused by fleas. Some dogs have hypersensitivity to flea saliva, thus flea bites can cause redness, itchiness, and other skin problems. In this case, removing the fleas will typically be the most effective treatment for your dog’s skin allergies. 

What do vets give dogs for skin allergies? 

In some cases, veterinarians may prescribe medications to a dog with skin allergies. The type of medication they prescribe will depend on the source of the dog’s skin allergies and the symptoms they’re displaying. Common medications for dog skin allergies include antihistamines, antibiotics, corticosteroids, anti-inflammatories, and fatty acid supplements.

Happy dog at park with family

Final Notes

As a pet owner, you always want the best for your dog. Unfortunately, dog skin allergies can cause itchiness and discomfort and, in severe cases, can even lead to skin infection. The good news is that dog skin allergies are very treatable conditions that can typically be solved with medication, dietary changes, environmental adjustments, or some combination of these treatments. 

Dutch.com empowers dog owners to get quick and effective treatment for their pets without having to leave their homes. All you have to do is schedule an online consultation and you’ll be able to meet with a highly-trained Dutch-affiliated vet. 

Our vets can help diagnose your dog’s skin allergies, identify the allergen in question, design a customized treatment plan, and provide ongoing care. We’re also the only pet telehealth company that will deliver medication right to your doorstep, making treatment easier on both you and your dog. Contact us today to set up a consultation and better understand how to treat your dog’s skin allergies.

 

 

References

  1. Burke, Anna. “Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 21 Sept. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-allergies-symptoms-treatment/.
  2. Kim, Ha-Jung, et al. “Common Allergens of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs: Comparative Findings Based on Intradermal Tests.” Journal of Veterinary Science, The Korean Society of Veterinary Science, Sept. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165159/.