Your Dog Has Allergies?: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options - Your Dog Has Allergies?: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Dogs, like humans, can suffer from allergies. Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to a foreign substance, such as pollen, dust, mold, food, or flea saliva. When a dog is exposed to an allergen, it triggers a series of reactions that can cause inflammation, itching, sneezing, coughing, and other symptoms. Allergies can affect any part of the dog’s body, but they are most common on the skin, ears, eyes, and respiratory system. Does your dog has Allergies?

Allergies can be very uncomfortable and frustrating for both the dog and the owner. They can also lead to secondary infections, such as bacterial or fungal infections, if left untreated. Therefore, it is important to identify the cause of the allergy, manage the symptoms, and prevent future exposure to the allergen.

Causes of Allergies in Dogs

There are many possible causes of allergies in dogs, but they can be broadly classified into four categories: environmental, food, flea, and contact. - Causes Dog Allergy
  • Environmental allergies are caused by airborne substances, such as pollen, dust, mold, grass, or weeds. These are also known as atopic dermatitis or atopy. Environmental allergies are more common in certain breeds, such as terriers, retrievers, and bulldogs, and they tend to occur seasonally or year-round, depending on the allergen. Environmental allergies can affect any part of the dog’s body, but they often cause itching and inflammation on the face, feet, belly, and ears.
  • Food allergies are caused by an adverse reaction to a specific ingredient in the dog’s diet, such as chicken, beef, dairy, wheat, or soy. Food allergies are less common than environmental allergies, but they can be more difficult to diagnose and treat. Food allergies can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or gas, as well as skin symptoms, such as itching, hives, or rashes. Food allergies can develop at any age and can affect any breed of dog.
  • Flea allergies are caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva of fleas, which are tiny parasites that feed on the blood of animals. Flea allergies are the most common type of allergies in dogs, and they can affect any breed, age, or gender of dog. Flea allergies can cause severe itching, especially on the tail, back, and hind legs, as well as hair loss, scabs, and hot spots. Flea allergies can also trigger other types of allergies, such as environmental or food allergies, by weakening the dog’s immune system and skin barrier.
  • Contact allergies are caused by direct contact with a substance that irritates the dog’s skin, such as shampoo, detergent, carpet, or plastic. Contact allergies are rare in dogs, but they can occur in sensitive or allergic dogs. Contact allergies can cause redness, swelling, itching, or blisters on the area of contact, such as the paws, belly, or muzzle.

Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs

The symptoms of allergies in dogs can vary depending on the type, severity, and duration of the allergy. However, some of the most common signs of allergies in dogs are:

  • Itching, scratching, licking, or biting the skin
  • Redness, inflammation, or rash on the skin
  • Hair loss, bald patches, or thinning of the coat
  • Ear infections, ear discharge, or ear odor
  • Eye discharge, redness, or swelling
  • Sneezing, coughing, wheezing, or nasal discharge
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite - Dog Symptoms

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can perform a physical examination, take a medical history, and run some tests to determine the cause and type of the allergy. Some of the tests that your veterinarian may use are:

  • Skin tests: These are also known as intradermal tests or allergy tests. They involve injecting small amounts of different allergens under the skin and observing the reaction. Skin tests are the most accurate and reliable way to diagnose environmental allergies, but they are also expensive, time-consuming, and require sedation.
  • Blood tests: These are also known as serum tests or ELISA tests. They involve taking a blood sample and measuring the level of antibodies against different allergens. Blood tests are less accurate and reliable than skin tests, but they are also cheaper, faster, and less invasive.
  • Elimination diet: This is the best way to diagnose food allergies. It involves feeding the dog a novel or hydrolyzed protein diet for several weeks and then reintroducing the suspected ingredients one by one and observing the reaction. Elimination diet requires strict adherence and patience, but it can help identify the specific food that causes the allergy.
  • Flea comb: This is a simple and effective way to diagnose flea allergies. It involves using a fine-toothed comb to check the dog’s fur and skin for fleas and flea dirt. Flea comb can also help remove some of the fleas and reduce the itching.

Treatment Options for Allergies in Dogs

The treatment of allergies in dogs depends on the cause and type of the allergy, as well as the severity and frequency of the symptoms. The main goals of treatment are to relieve the symptoms, prevent secondary infections, and avoid or minimize exposure to the allergen. Some of the treatment options for allergies in dogs are: - Dog Treatment
  • Antihistamines: These are medications that block the effects of histamine, which is a chemical that causes inflammation and itching in allergic reactions. Antihistamines can help reduce the symptoms of environmental and food allergies, but they are not very effective for flea allergies. Antihistamines are generally safe and have few side effects, but they may cause drowsiness, dry mouth, or loss of appetite in some dogs. Some of the common antihistamines used for dogs are diphenhydramine, cetirizine, chlorpheniramine, and hydroxyzine.
  • Corticosteroids: These are medications that suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation and itching in allergic reactions. Corticosteroids can help treat severe or chronic cases of environmental, food, and flea allergies, but they also have many side effects, such as increased thirst, hunger, urination, weight gain, infections, diabetes, and Cushing’s disease. Corticosteroids should be used with caution and under the supervision of a veterinarian. Some of the common corticosteroids used for dogs are prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone, and triamcinolone.
  • Immunotherapy: This is also known as allergy shots or desensitization. It involves injecting small and increasing doses of the allergen under the skin over a period of time, to gradually build up the dog’s tolerance and reduce the allergic response. Immunotherapy can help treat environmental allergies, but it is not effective for food or flea allergies. Immunotherapy is a long-term and expensive treatment, but it can provide lasting relief and reduce the need for other medications. Immunotherapy requires regular visits to the veterinarian and careful monitoring of the dog’s reaction.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These are natural supplements that can help improve the health and condition of the dog’s skin and coat. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and itching in allergic reactions, as well as prevent dryness, flakiness, and infections. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, or specially formulated dog foods. Omega-3 fatty acids are generally safe and have few side effects, but they may cause diarrhea, vomiting, or fishy breath in some dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids should be given in the right dosage and in conjunction with other treatments.
  • Hypoallergenic diet: This is a special diet that contains either a novel or a hydrolyzed protein source, to avoid triggering a food allergy. A novel protein is a protein that the dog has never eaten before, such as venison, rabbit, or kangaroo. A hydrolyzed protein is a protein that has been broken down into smaller molecules, to make it less likely to cause an allergic reaction. A hypoallergenic diet can help treat food allergies, but it can also help prevent or reduce environmental or flea allergies, by improving the dog’s overall health and immune system. A hypoallergenic diet should be prescribed by a veterinarian and followed strictly, without any treats or table scraps.
  • Flea control: This is the most important and effective way to prevent and treat flea allergies. Flea control involves using a combination of products and methods to kill and repel fleas from the dog and the environment. Flea control products include topical spot-on treatments, oral tablets, collars, sprays, shampoos, and powders. Flea control methods include vacuuming, washing, and treating the bedding, furniture, carpets, and yard. Flea control should be done regularly and year-round, to prevent reinfestation and recurrence of the allergy.


Allergies are a common and frustrating problem for many dogs and their owners. They can cause a variety of symptoms, such as itching, redness, hair loss, ear infections, and gastrointestinal issues. The most common causes of allergies in dogs are fleas, environmental allergens, and food ingredients. To diagnose and treat your dog’s allergies, you should consult your veterinarian, who can perform tests, prescribe medications, and recommend dietary changes. You can also help your dog by avoiding or minimizing exposure to allergens, using natural remedies, and providing regular grooming and care. By following these tips, you can help your dog live a happier and healthier life. 🐶


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *