Most Common Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs (Treatment Tips)

Just like humans, dogs are also prone to different types of allergies. Perhaps as dog owners, you may encounter other pet owners tell you that their dogs have an allergy or have experienced allergic reactions to a specific thing. Have you ever asked your veterinarian about allergies your dog may have? Have you ever noticed if your dogs may have had suffered from allergies? Allergies in dogs should not be taken lightly. It is not as simple as it looks. It left unaided; it can be fatal.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is a state of hypersensitivity of the immune to a particular substance. These particular substances are called allergens, which can be insects, animals, food, or proteins form plants.

Types of allergies in Dogs

Allergies are a misguided reaction of the body towards a particular substance we call allergens. Dogs, like humans, react to different kinds of allergens. There are different types of allergies in dogs.

Skin Allergies

This type of allergy is also called dermatitis, which is very common for dogs which are caused by:

Flea allergy dermatitis – is an allergic reaction to flea bites. There are dogs that are allergic to flea saliva or dirt.

Food allergies – allergy to certain food products.

Environmental allergens – dust, pollens, and molds are the best examples of environmental allergens which can cause allergic reactions or atopic dermatitis. In most cases, this type of allergy is seasonal and can be observed depending on weather conditions.

Skin allergies can lead to secondary infections. As your dog gets irritated and continuously scratches, bites, and licks his skin, it may lead to bacterial or yeast infection, which can affect that may require further treatment. On the other hand, food allergies should be

Right away as it may post a risk on your dog’s digestive and gastrointestinal function.

Food Allergies

This type of allergy is not as common as the other form of allergies. According to doctors, food allergies are often caused by immune responses, which can range in symptoms of skin conditions or gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. In most cases, dogs who are said to be allergic to a food may just be suffering from food sensitivity or food tolerance. Food sensitivity is not al all food allergy, which affects the immune system. The dog just simply does not like the food, which may contain offending ingredients like eggs, corn, wheat, or for example.

Acute Allergic Reactions

The most alarming type of allergy. Dogs also experience anaphylactic shock due to a severe reaction to an allergen. This can be fatal if left untreated. Among the things that can cause acute allergic reactions are bee stings and vaccine reactions. That is why it is very important to observe your dog’s reaction after vaccine administration, drug, or food intake. 

Symptoms of Allergic Reactions

In dogs, the symptoms may vary depending on the type of allergy. In most cases, the most common symptoms associated with allergies are itching and in a specific area or all over the body. The worst symptom is when the dog goes into anaphylactic shock. However, in general, here are the most common symptoms of allergies in a dog:

  1. Itching – perhaps the most common reaction to allergy, your dog may scratch one part of his or her body where they feel itchy. In most cases, the allergy causes discomfort because the itch can be felt all over the body. It may result in red patches or wounds.
  2. Hives – are red, itchy, and raised skin rash that is triggered by an allergen. This allergic reaction is common to both dogs and humans. These hives are very itchy, and it usually is the first sign of an allergy.
  3. Swelling of the lips, ears, eyelids, and earflaps – this is the first that we usually notice physically when dogs are having allergic reactions. Not just for dogs but for humans as well. When this happens, try to check if your dogs also have patches all over the body. If the redness continues, its time to take your dog to the vet.
  4. Red skin, inflamed skin – physically, we know our dogs too well. In an instant that we notice their skin is getting red, and they are scratching it intensely; perhaps your dog may be suffering from an intense allergic reaction.
  5. Diarrhea – this not very common to dogs. Food allergy can happen, especially if your dog may have eaten something that may have affected its immune response and may have infected his/her gastrointestinal functions. This type of allergic reaction should be treated as soon as possible, as it can be fatal.
  6. Vomiting – may be caused by a food allergy, as it may have affected the digestive system of our pet. If this happens, it is best to bring your dog to the local vet for a checkup so that they’d be able to know if this is caused by allergy or something else.
  7. Sneezing – this happens when your dog’s body comes in contact with a particular allergen and releases histamine that is a natural chemical which depends on the body from the allergen. Histamine can cause sneezing, which is a symptom of allergy.
  8. Itchy Eyes – Itchy eyes are symptoms of allergies for dogs. Most of the time, they would try to scratch their eyes because the itchiness brings about discomfort. This poses a little threat to the eyesight, so it is best to find a quick remedy on this.
  9. Swollen Red Eyes – like itchy eyes, this symptom poses a treat to the eyesight and may cause temporary blurriness, so it is best to see your doctor as early as possible for treatment.
  10. Itchy Ears – the ears may appear red, and you may notice your pet scratching their ears intensely that it may cause some wound. Their ears may turn red and itchy, that is why they keep on scratching.
  11. Chronic Ear Infections – the ear infection may have been caused by their constant scratching. This might lead to having wounds around the ear area that needs to be treated.
  12. Constant licking – when dogs feel discomfort on a certain area of their body, they tend to lick it to get rid of the itch. If you see that your dog is constantly licking their legs or paws or other parts of their body, check if they have red patches that cause the itchiness.
  13. Swelling of the face – the swelling of the face is easy to check. When your dog is suffering from a particular allergy, a swollen face is one of the identified symptoms. They may a hard time seeing you because of swollen eyes as well.
  14. Runny Nose – your dog will keep on sneezing and experience runny nose. They will have to tendency to scratch their nose, indicating that they may be experiencing discomfort because of itchiness.
  15. Difficulty breathing – this symptom indicates that your dog may actually be suffering from acute allergic reactions. They may experience physical symptoms of the allergy and may have a hard time breathing because the air passages may be blocked. The reaction is called anaphylactic reactions. Fortunately, this reaction is not common to dogs.

The symptoms above are very common for dogs who are suffering from allergies. These symptoms can also be associated with a specific illness, so it is best to consult your veterinarian, have your dogs checked so that they can have the proper medication.

Common Allergens in Dogs

Dogs are like humans. There are so many substances that act as allergens and cause allergies.

  • Pollens – these pollens are from trees, flowers, or weeds. If your dog is allergic to them, they may affect the ears, paws, and skin. Avoid exposing your dog to areas with flowers or trees or grass.
  • Mold Pores – if your dog is allergic to molds, make sure to keep them away from it. Make sure that your house is mold-free by adding conditioning filters and dehumidifiers.
  • Human and animal dander – well, this may be a surprise as your dog may actually be allergic to you or your scent. Dander allergy can be treated with allergy shots or drops.
  • Feathers – dogs may have this sensitive sense of smell or touch that they have allergic reactions to feathers. This may include allergic reactions if you have a pet bird or feathers found in pillows or comforters.
  • Cigarette Smoke – if some humans are allergic to cigarettes, well, so are dogs. It is not only the smoke that creates the discomfort but also the residual toxins that are left on unwashed hands. This can cause inflamed skin, sneezing, and itchiness.
  • Food Ingredients – This can affect dogs of any age and may result in vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Dust and dust mites – dogs, hate mites. They can be very itchy when they get in contact with your pet. It can cause atopic dermatitis, which is a type of skin allergy.
  • Prescription Drugs or medication – dogs can be very sensitive to some prescribed medications or vaccines. It is very important to observe your dog’s reaction or behavior after a particular medication or even vaccination. If your dog is allergic to their medication, they may have swollen face, hives, and itchiness, so it is best to see your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Fleas – most dogs are allergic to flea’s saliva and may suffer from an allergic reaction. The most common reaction is developing atopic dermatitis.
  • Perfume – dogs can be very sensitive when it comes to smell. When you notice that your pet constantly sneeze when you are near, well, this may be an indication that they et itchy noise caused by your perfume. A change of scent may not be a bad idea.
  • Fabrics – one reason that your dog may be suffering from skin irritation is they may be allergic to the fabric detergent and conditioner that you use.
  • Shampoo – some dogs are allergic to shampoos with strong chemicals. Of you notice that you may need to switch to milder shampoos.

Diagnosing Allergies in Dogs

Perhaps dogs have been the best company for humans because we have so many similarities. As humans, it is not easy to identify or diagnosing allergies. Diagnosing allergies of dogs can also be complicated for dogs. You need to see your veterinarian so that they can rule out any other condition that may be similar to this condition. Allergy testing may be needed for diagnosis and to determine the allergen that caused the reaction. Food allergy is often diagnosed after the elimination of the food, which is suspected as the allergen. If the allergen is eliminated in the diet and the allergy does not persist, then that is the time that you can say that the allergen is that specific food.

Flea or skin allergies are the easiest to diagnose. It can be diagnosed by identifying the flea that caused the allergy. Your doctor may prescribe products that will get rid of the flea.

Treating Allergies in Dogs

The best to treat allergies in dogs is to avoid exposing them to their allergens. Prevention is better than cure. That is why, as a responsible pet owner, it is important to know what causes the allergy if there is any. Depends on the kind of allergy, your doctor is the best person to prescribe the medication needed for the allergy. It ranges from the products that you use like shampoo, soap, or the doctor may prescribe ointments or medications. Again, dog infection can be fatal if left untreated. In very rare cases, some dogs may need to stay to an animal facility for medication if the allergy has been left untreated for days or weeks.

The health of our best fur buddy is our concern. As they have shown us, humans, unconditional love, and companionship, they also deserve to live comfortably and healthy. Taking care of them dos not end in feeding them and providing them with shelter. Keeping them healthy should also be on top of our priority.

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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