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Detecting & Dealing with Dog Skin Allergies

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Dog skin allergies have been on the rise. Over the last ten years, the number of canines experiencing seasonal skin allergies increased by 30%. 

Skin allergies in dogs stem from a variety of causes. Support options vary, and some allergies are only managed through lifestyle changes. 

Do you know the signs of allergies in dogs? Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about how to manage dog allergies and signs of a skin allergy in your dog.

What Causes Dog Skin Allergies?

Three factors cause skin allergies in dogs:

  • Fleas
  • Food
  • Environmental allergens

Flea bites may trigger serious skin problems in canines. Saliva from the fleas creates skin rashes and itching. The skin may appear inflamed, scabbed, or red. Dogs will be uncomfortable and itchy, especially around the base of their tail. 

Similar to humans, dogs can develop food allergies at any point in their lives. Sensitivities to certain ingredients can cause itchy skin, especially around the ears and paws. Most food allergies stimulate other reactions, such as gastrointestinal issues.

Environmental triggers may cause skin problems in dogs. These allergens include:

  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Fabrics
  • Pollen

The allergies can lead to itching and redness around the ears, paws, underarms, ankles, wrists, eyes, and toes. Environmental allergens can be seasonal, so your pup may only react at certain times of the year.

Does My Dog Have Allergies?

Pet owners should pay close attention to their dog’s behavior to ensure they are not suffering from skin allergies. Be on the lookout for symptoms of common dog allergies, which include:

  • Sneezing
  • Scratching the same place excessively
  • Inflamed skin
  • Hives and skin irritations
  • Frequent ear problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, vomiting, constipation)
  • Licking the same area over-and-over 

While these can be signs of a skin allergy, they may also be symptoms of other serious problems. The best way to determine if your dog has a skin allergy and what is causing the reaction is to visit your veterinarian for a professional diagnosis.

Diagnosing Skin Allergies

First, veterinarians perform a physical. The vet will ask about Fido’s medical history to ensure an underlying condition is not causing the reaction. The vet may use a skin scrape to test for other skin conditions, like fungus. If all other tests are negative, your vet will confirm the itching and swelling is allergy-related.

Once the allergy is diagnosed, it’s time to determine what the allergy is.

Most veterinarians start by looking for signs of fleas on the dog. They evaluate the dog’s skin for flea bites and search for fleas in the dog’s fur.

If fleas are not triggering the allergy, a vet may perform a RAST (radioallergosorbent) test. This blood test determines if a dog is allergic to specific kinds of antigens. RAST tests are for dogs who may be suffering from environmental allergies.

Food trials determine if a dog has reactions to specific ingredients. The most common triggers of food allergies in dogs are:

  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Gluten or soy
  • Proteins (especially beef, lamb, and chicken)

When performing a food trial, owners must feed their dogs a diet that does not contain potential allergens for eight to twelve weeks.

Dog smelling his food bowl hesitantly

How Are Dog Skin Allergies Managed?

Skin allergies may require varying support options. Once you know what is causing the reactions, you and your veterinarian can create a plan that best fits your dog.

Flea Control

Managing fleas in dogs is simple. While other allergy support options require long-term lifestyle adjustments, flea allergy issues can be resolved within a matter of minutes. A veterinarian will apply a flea-killing product to your dog’s skin and coat. The product destroys fleas and immediately relieves itching.


To prevent food allergy reactions in your dog, avoidance is the only solution. Similar to how certain people follow gluten-free diets, dogs must stay away from ingredients that do not agree with their bodies. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternative food solutions and natural supplements to accommodate dogs with dietary restrictions.

Avoidance is key for preventing environmental triggers as well. If your dog is allergic to certain smells, chemicals, or substances, get rid of them. Airborne allergens, like pollen, are not easy to eliminate. Dogs suffering from these types of environmental skin allergies may need to rely on medication to soothe symptoms.

Allergy Medications and Supplements

Allergy medications for dogs help control symptoms of allergic reactions, like itching. Veterinarians prescribe medications when the allergen cannot be avoided.

Most allergy medications are antihistamines, like Benadryl, Atarax, Claritin, and Zyrtec. About one-third of pet owners find antihistamines are successful in helping with skin rashes and other allergic reactions.

Medicated Baths

Itch relief shampoo can soothe a skin rash in dogs and may reduce inflammation. The shampoo removes allergens from the dog’s fur to prevent future flare-ups. Most of the shampoos use antifungal and antimicrobial ingredients to lock in moisture and prevent a dry coat.

Home Remedies for Dog Allergies

Natural ingredients ease allergy irritations and itching. Many pet owners apply coconut oil, oatmeal, or apple cider vinegar-based solutions or pastes to their canines to manage allergic skin reactions.

Adding natural supplements to your dog’s meals can also help manage itchy and flaky skin. Salmon oil supports heart-health, strengthens the immune system, promotes a silky coat, and promotes normal inflammatory response of the skin. 

Plain, sugar-free yogurt may help ease digestive symptoms from food allergies. The yogurt may also help with rashes and hives on the dog’s skin.

Making Your Dog Healthier, One Bite at a Time

Dog skin allergies are uncomfortable and frustrating for both dogs and their owners. Pay attention to your dog’s behaviors, and see a professional if you suspect Fido is suffering from an allergic reaction. 

If your dog suffers from seasonal allergies, Pet Honesty’s Allergy SkinHealth Food Topper can help your pup’s skin stronger and healthier. This beef-flavored meal topper is jam-packed with natural nutrients like antioxidants, omegas, and organic mushrooms to keep your dog healthy and happy. 

Order yours online now, and start managing allergic reactions in your furry friend.