Canine skin allergies are fairly common, and can cause your poor pup to feel itchy and miserable! Find out what causes them, and how to help your pet feel better, here.
Dogs can be allergic to all sorts of things - from pollen/dust in the air, to dog food ingredients, parasites, chemicals in cleaning or yardwork products... even the grass under their feet!
Although some allergies might cause your pup to sneeze or cough, by far the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction is skin irritation and inflammation.
This sore, red, itchy skin occurs because your pet's immune system has an exaggerated hyper-sensitive 'over-reaction' to the allergy trigger, producing a flood of chemicals that are meant to neutralize the allergen (the 'trigger' compound).
Removing the allergen is the only way to 'cure' canine skin allergies, so it's really important to take the time to figure out what's causing your dog's allergies.
But, this can take some time (and a fair amount of 'detective work') meanwhile your poor pup is still itchy and uncomfortable - so finding ways to reduce his body's over-reaction and soothe his skin is also a priority.
This page will help you do both!
These are the most common signs that suggest your puppy or dog is suffering from an allergic reaction to something:
Depending on exactly what it is that your pup is allergic to, he may have one, several or all of the allergy signs listed. But, usually the type of symptoms will vary a little depending on what's triggering them - this can be your first clue as to what is causing the problem....
Dog Inhalant Allergy Symptoms:
If your pup is allergic to dust, pollen, mold etc. then he's most likely to have generalized itchy skin.
He'll probably scratch himself a lot, and even bite at (or lick) his belly and paws.
Symptoms are often seasonal, but they can become more constant over time. Usually appear in dogs over 2 years old.
Dog Flea Allergy Symptoms:
Many dogs are allergic to flea saliva, and react by developing Dermatitis. This usually produces 'Hot Spots' which are areas of inflamed, raw, red skin which might be scabby or scaly.
Patchy hair loss around these areas is common too. Because there is very intense itching with hot spots, sometimes secondary infections can start up because your pup scratches/bites at himself so intensely.
Symptoms of an infection that's related to canine skin allergies often include swelling of the area, sometimes it might feel hot to the touch, there can even be pus or clear/yellow fluid leaking from the sore areas.
The most common places for flea allergy dermatitis to show up is on your puppy or dog's back, especially around the lower back and tail area.
Dog Food Allergy Symptoms:
Ingredients in dog food or treats can cause canine skin allergies, resulting in generalized itchy skin. This won't be a seasonal problem, but will be present all the time (unless of course it's related to a treat or food that your pup isn't eating regularly).
Although skin problems are the main symptom of dog food allergies, ear inflammation and recurring ear infections are also pretty common.
Dog food allergies can appear very suddenly, at any age, and are usually a reaction to a food that the pup/dog has been eating for some time.
Contact Allergy Symptoms In Dogs:
This type of canine skin allergy is the least common, but it can happen.
In a dog who is having an allergic reaction to something that has come in contact with his body, there's often swelling, redness, a rash or skin irritation at the site of the contact.
For example, if your puppy is allergic to the laundry detergent you used to wash his new sweater, then you will probably find that the skin on his upper body seems irritated. If it's a reaction to his new collar, then the irritation will be around his neck.
Sometimes dogs can be allergic to fertilizers, or other chemicals used on the grass outdoors, or to carpet shampoos used indoors. The most likely reaction to these is that your pet will have red, itchy feet that may even be swollen.
These symptoms of skin allergies in dogs can come on very suddenly, and occur at any age.
There is no medicine that will CURE canine skin allergies, and if you want to get rid of your pup's allergies completely then you need to find out what's causing the problem and eliminate it.
If you suspect a dog food allergy, change to a food that is specifically designed for dogs with sensitive tummies such as a hypoallergenic food. Make sure it has totally different ingredients to the food that has triggered the allergy.
With a contact allergy it's often quite simple to find out what's causing your pup's reaction because symptoms usually appear soon after the contact and are localized.
Inhalant allergies in dogs can be more difficult as you can't exactly take all the pollen or dust out of the air for example! So reducing his exposure to the trigger/s allergen is the best you can hope for.
The good news is that there are lots of ways to treat canine skin allergies, and to reduce the itching, inflammation and general discomfort that your puppy or dog is feeling.
For severe cases your veterinarian can prescribe antihistamines - either a shot or medicine to be given orally, or sometimes both.
If there's a lot of swelling or inflammation, he might also prescribe a course of corticosteroids, and if there are signs of infection then an antibiotic as well.
For mild to moderate symptoms, there are many over-the-counter products and natural treatments that can help make your pet feel a whole lot more comfortable.
Here are just a few of the best, there's bound to be at least one that will give your itchy pup some relief, click on the image or text links to learn more....
Doc Ackerman's Instant Hot Spot Relief Spray
Only Natural Pet Deluxe Itchy Skin & Allergy Kits
Ultra Oil for
Skin & Coat
Canine Earth Skin and Coat Cleanser
Random House The Allergy Solution for Dogs
Although skin problems in dogs are often the result of allergies, there are other conditions that can make your pup itchy and sore and/or cause patchy hair loss.
One of these is Mange, which is a skin condition caused by tiny skin mites. You need your vet to diagnose this problem and the treatment is usually straightforward with shampoos, dips or medications... but it's not the same as the treatment for dog allergies.
To find out whether this could be at the root of your pup's skin problems, check out this page... Mange In Dogs - that way you can be sure he'll soon be feeling a lot better.