Dog Skin Allergies: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Skin allergies in dogs can make for itchy, uncomfortable and irritable pups. Our Clemmons vets provide insight into how allergic reactions can manifest - and what to do if you notice itching, redness or other symptoms. 


Skin Allergies in Dogs

Skin allergies are also referred to as allergic dermatitis, and they are the most common types of allergies in dogs. Your pup may be allergic to any number of irritants that are causing him or her to itch, scratch, and become generally uncomfortable. Fortunately, our Clemmons vets have some insight and advice on what to do.

What causes skin allergies in dogs?

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

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.

Food Allergies

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 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.

Environmental Allergens

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.

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
  • Sores
  • 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.

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 Clemmons 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 may include laser treatments, injectable, 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, we can find the cause and an effective treatment 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. 

Do you suspect your dog has a skin allergy? Contact your vet today. At Animal Hospital of Clemmons, we provide dermatological treatment to address conditions of the skin, coat, ears and nails in cats and dogs in Clemmons and greater Winston-Salem.

Skin Allergies in Dogs | Clemmons Vet

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