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Dog Skin Allergies - Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Itchiness, obsessive scratching, irritability, and overall discomfort can all be signs that your dog is suffering from a skin allergy. Our veterinarians in Lincoln explain how allergic reactions can lead to these symptoms and more, and what to do if you notice that your dog has red, itchy skin.

Causes of Skin Allergies in Dogs

Skin allergies, also known as allergic dermatitis, are the most common type of allergies in dogs. A wide range of irritants can affect your dog, causing itching. The resulting discomfort and scratching can leave your pup miserable and constantly scratching. Repeated scratching can cause the skin to become irritated, inflamed, and vulnerable to other infections. The good news is that if your dog is experiencing skin allergies, your vet can help.

Types of Allergies a Dog Can Have

Unfortunately, allergies in dogs are a common occurrence seen by our Critter Creek Veterinary Hospital team. While there are a wide variety of allergens that a dog can be allergic to, there are some common ones that frequently occur, regardless of your dog's age or breed.

Some common allergies we see include allergies to:

Common Food Allergies

Like people, there are a variety of food allergies or sensitivities that can afflict dogs. Food allergies in dogs can lead to scratching at their ears or paws., or your pet may display gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or a combination of both.

Food sensitivities, also known as intolerances, refer to a gradual reaction to specific ingredients like milk, beef, wheat, or chicken. Symptoms may include chronic foot or ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness, and more. On the other hand, true food allergies trigger an immune response that can lead to skin conditions such as hives and facial swelling.

Environmental Allergens That Can Affect Your Dog

Dust, mold, and pollen can cause atopic allergic reactions, such as 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, underarms, wrists, ankles, and between toes.

Dog Flea Allergy Dermatitis

The saliva from fleas can bring about an allergic reaction in many dogs. These allergic reactions can lead to flea allergy dermatitis. This condition can result in incredibly itchy skin - especially at the base of the tail. You may find their skin becomes red, scabbed and inflamed. 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.

Signs & Symptoms of Skin Allergies in Dogs

Dog skin allergies can result in a variety of symptoms including:

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

Severe skin allergies in dogs not only cause discomfort and itching, but dogs with severe skin allergies also face the risk of a secondary infection developing. As your dog bites, scratches, or licks at his skin in response to the itching, yeast and bacterial infections can invade through sores, causing infections to develop.

Dog Skin Allergies Treatment

In dogs, both mild and severe skin allergies can be treated using a variety of approaches. Schedule an appointment with your vet dermatologist for diagnosis and to identify the problematic allergen causing your dog’s symptoms and reactions. Following diagnosis, your vet will provide a custom treatment plan to help soothe your dog's skin condition and begin the healing process.

The cause and nature of your dog’s allergy, its location on the body, and other factors will all determine the best treatment for your pet. Treatment for skin allergies in dogs can include injectable, non-steroidal medications, medicated baths, laser treatments, and other options.

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.

If your dog is itching and scratching or showing other signs of a skin allergy, contact our Lincoln Vets right away to book an examination.

New Patients Welcome

Critter Creek Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of pets in Lincoln and the Greater Sacramento Area. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (916) 408-0201