Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

What are dog allergy tests and are they helpful?

Dogs, like humans, can suffer from allergies that cause discomfort and health issues. Identifying the source of these allergies is crucial for providing the right treatment and improving your pet’s quality of life. One method that has gained popularity is the at-home allergy test for dogs. But how effective are these tests, and what should you know before trying one?

Which allergies are home tests useful for detecting?

Please remember the following information. Instead of IgE (Immunoglobulin E) allergies caused by the body's immune system, at-home allergy test kits are designed to test for sensitivity or intolerance to food and environmental factors that develop over time. IgE allergic reactions occur within minutes of ingestion or exposure and are diagnosed by veterinarians using a blood or skin prick test.

If you suspect your dog has allergies, it's important to remember that these kits are not intended to replace a consultation with your veterinarian. Instead, you should discuss the results of these kits with your vet. These tests can also supplement your veterinarian's blood or skin allergy testing.

How do at-home dog allergy tests work?

How can you conduct a dog allergy test at home? Collect a saliva or hair sample (depending on the company's requirements) and send it to the company's lab. The results will be emailed to you within a few weeks. Discussing the findings with your veterinarian is important to decide the best course of action for your dog.

Pros and Cons of Home Allergy Tests for Dogs


  • Convenience: You can collect the sample at home without a vet visit.
  • Cost-effective: Generally, home tests are less expensive than comprehensive vet allergy tests.
  • Non-invasive: Collecting saliva or hair is painless and stress-free for your dog.


  • Accuracy: Home tests might not be as accurate as a veterinarian's, and false positives and negatives can occur.
  • Limited scope: These tests might not cover all potential allergens and usually do not test for flea allergies.
  • No professional guidance: Interpreting the results can be challenging without veterinary expertise.

How can I tell if my dog has allergies?

Allergy symptoms in dogs can vary depending on the cause. For example, a dog in anaphylactic shock will have a drop in blood pressure followed by shock, which is not the same for a dog with a skin condition.

But In general, some of the most common signs that your dog may have allergies include:

  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy ears
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Constant licking

Note that some of these symptoms are also symptoms of many other conditions. Make an appointment with your vet for a more accurate diagnosis.

What could my dog be allergic to?

Dogs, like humans, can develop allergies to a wide range of substances, including food, medications, and environmental pathogens. The most common food allergens are dairy products, beef, eggs, chicken, lamb, wheat, and soy. Fleas, dust mites, molds, and pollens from trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers are common environmental triggers.

When to Go to the Vet for More Allergy Tests

If your dog shows severe or persistent signs of allergies, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian. This is especially true when at-home treatments and over-the-counter remedies don’t improve the condition.

Symptoms such as swelling, difficulty breathing, extreme discomfort, scratching, or licking can lead to skin infections that require medical treatment. A veterinarian can perform comprehensive testing, such as blood or intradermal skin tests, to accurately diagnose your dog’s allergies and recommend a tailored treatment plan.

At Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital, our vets have extensive experience diagnosing, treating, and managing pet skin conditions. Our team can help your pet with any skin, coat, ear, or nail diseases it may be suffering from, and we work closely with you and your primary care vet for the best results.

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 you think your dog has allergies, our Ypsilanti vets are here to help. Contact Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital today to book an examination.

Caring for Pets in Ypsilanti

Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (734) 482-8171