Dog Skin Allergies: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Skin allergies in dogs can make your pup uncomfortably itchy and irritable. Our Wake Forest vets offer some insight into allergies, the symptoms they induce, and what to do it you notice redness, itching, or other symptoms.

Skin Allergies in Dogs

Also known as allergic dermatitis, skin allergies are the most common allergies seen in Wake Forest dogs. There are a large variety of irritants that can cause your dog to be itchy and uncomfortable.

This discomfort and constant itching can cause your dog to be in a bad mood, and cause your dog's skin to become inflamed, irritated, and susceptible to skin infections.

Fortunately, our Wake Forest vets can offer some insight and advice on what concerned pup parents should do about dogs with allergies.

What causes skin allergies in dogs?

These are the three most common causes of skin allergies in dogs:

Food Allergies

Food allergies or sensitivities can afflict dogs, causing them to scratch at their ears or paws. He or she may also display gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or a combination of both.

There’s an important distinction to be made between food sensitivities and food allergies.

Food sensitivities (intolerances) are a gradual reaction to a specific ingredient such as milk, beef, wheat, or chicken. Symptoms can include chronic foot or ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness, and more.

True food allergies trigger an immune response that can cause skin conditions such as hives and facial swelling.

Environmental Allergens

Allergens found in your dog's environment such as mold, pollen, and, dust can cause atopic allergic reactions (atopic dermatitis). Seasonal allergies also fall under this category and can be frustrating to diagnose and pinpoint, as your dog may only display symptoms during specific seasons or times of the year.

Similar to food allergies, examine your dog’s ears and paws for indications of environmental allergies. Clues may also appear around the eyes, muzzle, wrists, underarms, ankles, and between toes.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Some dogs can be allergic to fleas saliva causing uncomfortable reactions leading to flea allergy dermatitis. This condition causes highly itchy skin - especially at the base of the tail. You might even notice your dog's skin becoming red, inflamed, and scabbed.

If your dog has fleas, this is a problem that can be taken care of with a number of treatments. Regularly inspect your dog for flea dirt (feces). Look closely enough and you may even notice these small, flightless external parasites.

Symptoms of Skin Allergies in Dogs

As mentioned above, skin allergies may cause a range of symptoms that can potentially include:

  • Sores
  • Hair loss
  • Red, irritated or flakey skin 
  • Scooting or rubbing on surfaces
  • Excessive licking
  • Excessive scratching
  • Rubbing of face or ears
  • Chewing or biting the skin

When it comes to severe skin allergies in dogs, the issue is not only the discomfort and itching caused by the allergic reaction - there’s also the risk of secondary infection. As your dog bites, scratches, or licks at his skin in response to the itching, yeast and bacterial infections can invade through sores. These may also require treatment.

Treatment For Skin Allergies in Dogs

It’s best to book an appointment with your Waxhaw vet to identify the culprit causing your dog’s symptoms and reactions. With our in-house lab and diagnostic services, we can offer an accurate and effective diagnosis of your pet’s condition.

Our in-house pharmacy is stocked with a range of medications and prescription diets, so we’ll have easy access to any medications your pet may need while in our care. We’re also able to fill and refill your pet’s prescriptions during your visit.

Following diagnosis, we can provide a custom treatment plan to help your dog heal. The cause and nature of your dog’s allergy, its location on the body, and other factors will determine treatment.

This treatment may include injectable, non-steroidal medications, medicated baths, laser treatments, and other options.

Whether an allergy, disease, or something else has caused your dog’s skin allergy, we can identify the cause and effective treatment, and help your pet feel more comfortable - and get you back to snuggling.

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.

Is your dog's itching getting out of control? Contact our Wake Forest vets today to check to see if they have a skin allergy and what to do to help ease their discomfort.