A skin allergy can make your pup uncomfortable, itchy and irritable. Today, our San Jose vets share the facts about how allergic reactions can be triggered - and what to do if you notice itching, redness or other symptoms.
Skin Allergies in Dogs
Also called allergic dermatitis, skin allergies are the most common types of allergies in dogs. Your pooch may be allergic to numerous irritants that are causing him or her to engage in an uncomfortable (and harmful) itch/scratch cycle. Fortunately, our San Jose vets can offer some advice and insights from our own experience that may help.
What causes skin allergies in dogs?
These are the three most common causes of skin allergies in dogs:
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Some dogs will have an allergic reaction to a flea's saliva, which can trigger flea allergy dermatitis and cause your pup's skin to become extremely itchy - especially at the base of the tail. You might notice red, inflamed, and/or scabbed areas developing on the skin. Other signs of flea infections include flea dirt (feces). You may occasionally see fleas themselves.
Food allergies or sensitivities may be causing your pet's itchy skin. Watch for scratching at their ears or paws, along with potential gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea or both.
Food sensitivities (intolerances) and food allergies are different, and it's important to distinguish between the two. Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities cause gradual reactions to specific ingredients such as wheat, milk, beef or chicken.
Symptoms can range from itchiness and chronic infections in the foot or ear to diarrhea and vomiting. True food allergies trigger an autoimmune response that may cause skin conditions such as hives and swelling.
These types of allergens - including dust, mold and pollen - can cause atopic allergic reactions or atopic dermatitis. It can also be frustrating to deal with seasonal allergies, as your dog may only be affected during certain seasons or times of the year.
Similar to food allergies, examine your dog's earss and paws for clues as to whether they might be suffering from environmental allergies. Also quickly check around the eyes, underarms, ankles, wrists, muzzle and between the toes.
Symptoms of Skin Allergies in Dogs
As mentioned above, skin allergies can cause a range of symptoms. These can include:
- Excessive scratching
- Excessive licking
- Rubbing of ears or face
- Biting or chewing the skin
- Rubbing or scooting on surfaces
- Red, irritated or flakey skin
- Hair loss
With severe skin allergies in dogs, you’re not only dealing with the discomfort and itching of the allergic reaction, but the risk of secondary infection. As your dog scratches, licks and bites at his skin in reaction to the itching, there’s a possibility that yeast and bacterial infection can enter through sores. These may require treatment.
How to Treat Skin Allergies in Dogs
The best way to find out what’s irritating your dog’s system and causing her symptoms is to book an appointment with your Clemmons vet. We provide comprehensive dermatological treatment for cats and dogs, including performing a range of allergy tests to determine the root cause of your pet’s skin disorder.
Following diagnosis, we can provide a custom treatment plan to help your dog heal. Treatment will depend on the cause and nature of your dog’s allergy, its location on the body, and other factors.
Treatment may include laser treatments, injectable, non-steroidal allergy medications, medicated baths and other options.
Whether your dog’s skin condition is a result of an allergy, disease or something else, we can find the cause and an effective treatment to help your pet feel more comfortable again - and get you back to cuddling.
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.