Dog Allergies: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

by Nancy

According to the latest veterinary research, up to half of all pet dogs may be affected by allergies. In this article, learn about the most common dog allergies symptoms allergies to give your precious pooch relief.

Causes of Dog Allergies

There are three main causes of allergies in dogs: food allergies, seasonal allergies and environmental allergies.

It is worth noting that some purebred dog breeds seem genetically more predisposed to experiencing allergies than other breeds. Merck Veterinary Manual cites as examples Dalmatians, Chinese Shar-Peis, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and others.

However, any dog, whether purebred or mixed breed, can experience allergies at some time during their life, because all allergy symptoms are fundamentally an immune system response to the detection of a threat.

Food allergies in dogs.

Despite repeatedly capturing news headlines, which often concern pet food recalls, canine food allergies are relatively rare, affecting just 0.2 percent of dogs.

Seasonal allergies in dogs.

Seasonal allergies often show up at specific times of year, just as with seasonal allergies in people. Dogs, like people, can experience allergic reactions to dust, dander, dust mites, pollen, mold and mildew spores, grass and insects such as fleas.

Environmental allergies in dogs.

The fastest-rising cause of canine allergies is environmental.

Exposure to environmental toxins from cleaning supplies, volatile organic compounds, smoke and fossil fuels by-products, off-gassing from home furnishings and craft supplies, secondhand smoke from cigarettes and vaping, medications and other toxins can cause allergic reactions ranging from mild to severe.

Symptoms of Dog Allergies

In dog allergies symptoms allergies show up a bit differently than they do in people.

Skin canine allergy symptoms.

Dogs often experience onset of allergies through the skin.

Skin lesions, rashes, flaking, hair loss, scabs, hot spots, ear and paw infections are all common manifestations of canine allergies.

Behavioral canine allergy symptoms.

Behavioral signs to watch for include excessive itching and scratching, rubbing against walls or carpeting, biting or licking at certain areas on the paws or body, butt-scooting or paw chewing can all indicate an unfolding allergy.

Internal canine allergy symptoms.

Gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite and loss of energy can also point to canine allergies.

Respiratory canine allergy symptoms.

Respiratory symptoms can include wheezing, sneezing, coughing, runny nose and watery eyes.

Treatments for Dog Allergies

There are three main pathways where allergens can enter a dog: inhalant, skin contact or ingested (food).

Treatments for dog allergies will reflect this pathway. Efforts must also be made to limit or remove the allergen.

Inhalant allergy treatment.

Steroid or anti-histamine medicines and special shampoos are the most common treatment for inhalant-based allergies.

Skin contact allergy treatment.

Removing the allergen along with special shampoos is the best way to treat a skin contact allergy.

Ingested allergy treatment.

Following a limited ingredient or elimination diet is the most common method for treating food allergies.