Health & Wellness
Dog allergies: symptoms and treatments
Help your pup feel better
There are several different types of allergies that impact dogs, from skin to respiratory to stomach allergies. Unfortunately, each type brings its own batch of uncomfortable side effects. The good news is that dog allergies are usually manageable. Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian Dr. Aliya McCullough has the scoop on each and how to get your pup some relief.
What is the most common type of allergies in dogs?
The most common reason that pet parents bring their dogs to the vet is dog skin allergies, or canine atopy, which is the burning, red itchy reaction that comes with pollen, mold, dust mites or other environmental reasons.
However, allergies aren’t limited to just skin, they also can affect dogs’ respiratory systems and stomachs.
Dogs can suffer from respiratory allergies, too — symptoms include sneezing, coughing, nose or eye discharge and wheezing.
If your pup has allergies to something they ate, they can show signs of vomiting, diarrhea or gassiness.
What causes allergies in dogs?
Dog allergies can be caused by fleas, food, environmental reasons, interacting with different substances like chemicals or irritants and even genetics.
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How can you tell if a dog has allergies?
Allergies, regardless of what type, can be irritating for dogs. But the good news is that they’re manageable. Talk to your veterinarian if your dog is showing any of the following signs:
- Chronic itching, scratching, licking, chewing or biting
- Skin lesions
- Inflammation of the skin
- Gastrointestinal signs like gassiness, diarrhea or vomiting
- Recurrent ear and skin infections
- Hot spots
- Darkening of the skin
- Thick and leathery skin from constant rubbing or scratching
- Skin crusts and scabs
Dog allergy symptoms can worsen over time, leading to pain and discomfort, skin infections and uneasiness. Itchy dogs, in particular, often don’t sleep well, constantly lick and chew and lose interest in play and interaction.
Puppies and young adult dogs are more commonly affected by allergies. Certain breeds, like boxers, French Bulldogs, Great Danes, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers — among several others — are more susceptible to allergies, too.
Dog allergy treatment
Vets commonly recommend trying to reduce your dog’s exposure to allergens. But, they also may suggest using a variety of anti-inflammatory medications, nutritional supplements (like omega fatty acids), bathing techniques, immunotherapy (allergy shots like Cytopoint), foods and allergy medicine for dogs.
Talk to your vet about the best treatment options for your dog — it may be a combination of the above solutions. For serious cases, some vets often turn to corticosteroids, potent drugs that carry side effects and risks that you likely want to reserve for severe symptoms.
We hope your dog never experiences allergies, but if they do, you’ll know how to get them the much needed relief.
The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.
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