Skin allergies in dogs can cause your pooch to become itchy, grouchy and uncomfortable. Our Ypsilanti vet team tells you more about signs and possible causes of allergic reactions - and what to do if you notice redness, itching or other symptoms.
Skin Allergies in Dogs
Also known as allergic dermatitis, skin allergies are the most common types of allergies in dogs. A wide range of irritants can affect your pooch, causing him or her to itch.
The resulting discomfort and scratching can not only leave your pup in a poor mood, but the constant scratching can cause the skin to become irritated, inflamed and vulnerable to other infections.
Fortunately, our Ypsilanti 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 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 including dust, mold and pollen can cause atopic allergic reactions (atopic dermatitis). This category of allergies includes seasonal varieties, which can be frustrating to diagnose and pinpoint, as your dog may only display symptoms during specific seasons or times of the year.
As with food allergies, check 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.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Some dogs have an allergic reaction to the saliva from a fleabite, which can develop into flea allergy dermatitis. This condition can result in extremely itchy skin, especially at the base of the tail. Your dog's skin might become 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.
Symptoms of Skin Allergies in Dogs
As mentioned above, skin allergies may cause a range of symptoms that can potentially include:
- Red, irritated or flakey skin
- Scooting or rubbing on surfaces
- Hair loss
- Rubbing of face or ears
- Excessive scratching
- Excessive licking
- Chewing or biting the inflamed/irritated area(s)
Severe skin allergies in dogs cause more serious consequences than the discomfort and itchiness caused by the allergic reaction - there’s also a risk of secondary infection. As your dog bites, scratches or licks at their skin in response to the itching, yeast and bacterial infections can invade through the damaged skin barrier. These will also require treatment.
How Are Skin Allergies in Dogs Treated?
It’s best to book an appointment with your Ypsilanti vet to identify the reason behind your dog’s symptoms and reactions. Using our in-house lab and diagnostic services, we can offer an accurate and effective diagnosis of your pet’s condition.
Our veterinary staff can also access our in-house pharmacy for 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 skin issues, the location of the irritation or dermatitis, and other factors will determine the kind of treatment that your vet recommends.
Treatments could include injectable medications, 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 an the best treatment to help your pet feel better, faster.
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.