Skin allergies can make dogs very irritable, itchy, and uncomfortable. In this post, our Vancouver vets talk about the causes of skin allergies in dogs and how you can help alleviate your pup's symptoms.
Dogs & Skin Allergies
Skin allergies can also be called allergic dermatitis, and they are the most common type of allergies seen in dogs. Your pup could be allergic to any number of irritants that are making them itch, scratch, and generally uncomfortable. Here, our Vancouver vets provide you with some insight and advice on what to do.
The Causes of Skin Allergies in Dogs
Below are the three most common skin allergies in dogs:
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
A flea’s saliva can trigger an allergic reaction in some dogs, causing flea allergy dermatitis. This can make your pup’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.
Your dog's itchy skin could be a symptom of a food allergy or sensitivity. Watch to see if your dog scratches at their paws or ears, and monitor for potential gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or a combination of both.
It’s important to distinguish the differences between food allergies and food sensitivities (intolerances). Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities 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.
Atopic dermatitis or atopic allergic reactions can stem from environmental allergens, including mold, pollen, and dust. Seasonal allergies can also be a frustrating issue, as they may only affect your dog during certain seasons or times of the year.
Similar to food allergies, check your dog’s paws and ears for clues that they may be suffering from environmental allergies. Also do a quick check of the muzzle, around the eyes, wrists, underarms, ankles, and between their toes.
Signs & Symptoms of Dog Skin Allergies
As stated earlier, skin allergies can cause a range of symptoms, which can include:
- Rubbing of ears or face
- Excessive scratching
- Red, irritated or flakey skin
- Excessive licking
- Rubbing or scooting on surfaces
- Biting or chewing the skin
- Hair loss
With severe skin allergies in dogs, you’re not only dealing with the discomfort and itching of the allergic reaction but also the risk of secondary infection. As your dog scratches, licks, and bites at their skin in response to the itching, there’s a possibility that yeast and bacterial infections can enter through the sores, which may require treatment.
Treating Dogs With Skin Allergies
The best way to find out what’s irritating your dog’s system and causing their symptoms is to arrange a visit with your vet. At Columbia River Veterinary Specialists we offer comprehensive dermatological treatments 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 could help find the cause and offer effective treatments to help your pup feel more comfortable again.
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.