Skin Allergies in Dogs
Allergic dermatitis - or skin allergies - are the most common types of allergies seen in dogs. Dogs suffering from this uncomfortable condition are tormented by skin that feels inflamed, itchy and generally uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available, but first it's a matter of pinpointing the cause of your pup's skin allergy.
Dog Skin Allergies Causes
These are the three main causes of skin allergies in dogs, fleas, individual ingredients found in their food and environmental allergens.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
A flea’s saliva will trigger an allergic reaction in some dogs. This can result in flea allergy dermatitis, which can make your pooch’s skin extremely itchy - especially at the base of the tail. You may find their skin becomes red, inflamed, and scabbed. Other signs of fleas include flea dirt (feces), and you may occasionally see the fleas themselves.
Your pet’s itchy skin may be a symptom of food allergies or sensitivities. Keep an eye out 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 itchiness and chronic infections in the ear or foot to vomiting and diarrhea. True food allergies trigger an immune response, which can cause skin conditions, such as facial swelling and hives.
Atopic dermatitis or atopic allergic reactions can stem from environmental allergens, including mold, pollen and dust. Seasonal allergies can also be a frustrating issue, as they may only affect your dog during certain seasons or 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.
Signs & 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
With severe skin allergies in dogs, you’re not only dealing with the discomfort and itching of the allergic reaction, but the risk of secondary infection. As your dog scratches, licks and bites at his skin in reaction to the itching, there’s a possibility that yeast and bacterial infection can enter through sores. These may require treatment.
Dog Skin Allergies Treatment
The best way to find out what’s irritating your dog’s system and causing their symptoms is to book an appointment with your Huntsville vet. Your vet can help you to pinpoint the precise cause of your pet's skin allergies and offer effective treatments. In some cases, if your vet is unable to determine the cause of your pup's skin allergy, your dog may be referred to a veterinary specialist for advanced allergy testing.
Following diagnosis, your vet 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.
Your dog's treatment may include an elimination diet or modified diet, laser treatments, non-steroidal allergy medications, medicated baths and other options.
Whether your dog’s skin condition is a result of an allergy, disease or something else, your vet can find the cause and provide effective treatment options to help your pet feel more comfortable again - 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.