Skin allergies in dogs can make for itchy, uncomfortable, and irritable pups. Our Rock Hill vets provide insight into how allergic reactions can manifest - and what to do if you notice itching, redness, or other symptoms. 

Skin Allergies in Dogs

Skin allergies, also known as allergic dermatitis, are the most common type of allergy in dogs. Your dog could be allergic to a variety of irritants, causing him or her to itch, scratch, and be generally uncomfortable. Our Rock Hill vets, fortunately, have some insight and advice on what to do.

What causes skin allergies in dogs?

These are the three most common causes of skin allergies in dogs:

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

A flea’s saliva will trigger an allergic reaction in some dogs. This can result in flea allergy dermatitis, which can make your pooch’s skin extremely itchy - especially at the base of the tail. You may find their skin becomes red, inflamed, and scabbed. Other signs of fleas include flea dirt (feces), and you may occasionally see the fleas themselves.

Food Allergies

Itchy skin in your pet could be a sign of food allergies or sensitivities. Keep an eye out for scratching at their paws or ears, as well as potential gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or a combination of the two.

It is critical to differentiate between food allergies and food sensitivities (intolerances). Food sensitivities, as opposed to food allergies, are a gradual reaction to a specific ingredient such as chicken, milk, beef, or wheat.

Symptoms can range from itchiness and chronic infections in the ear or foot to vomiting and diarrhea. True food allergies trigger an immune response, which can cause skin conditions, such as facial swelling and hives.

Environmental Allergens

Environmental allergens, such as mold, pollen, and dust, can cause atopic dermatitis or allergic reactions. Seasonal allergies can also be a source of frustration because they may only affect your dog at certain times of the year.

Look for signs of environmental allergies in your dog's paws and ears, just like you would for food allergies. Check the muzzle, around the eyes, wrists, underarms, ankles, and between the toes as well.

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
  • Sores
  • 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 Rock Hill 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.

Laser treatments, injectables, non-steroidal allergy medications, medicated baths, and other options may be used in treatment.

Whether your dog's skin condition is caused by an allergy, disease, or something else, we can identify the source and provide effective treatment to help your pet feel more at ease - 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. 

Do you suspect your dog has a skin allergy? Contact Catawba Animal Clinic. We provide ear and skin treatment to address conditions of the skin, coat, ears, and nails in cats and dogs in Rock Hill.