Is your dog constantly scratching, feeling irritable, and experiencing discomfort? These could be signs of a skin allergy. Our veterinarians at Diamond Bar will help you understand how allergic reactions can cause these symptoms and provide guidance on what to do if you notice your dog has red, itchy skin.
Causes of Skin Allergies in Dogs
Skin allergies, known as allergic dermatitis, are prevalent among dogs and often lead to itching. Various irritants can affect your furry companion and trigger constant scratching, making your pup miserable. Moreover, repeated scratching can result in irritated, inflamed skin that becomes susceptible to other infections. Thankfully, your veterinarian can assist if your dog is suffering from skin allergies.
The top three causes of skin allergies in dogs are as follows:
Common Food Allergies
Just like humans, dogs can also have various food allergies or sensitivities. When dogs have food allergies, they may scratch their ears or paws, or experience gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, vomiting, or a combination of both.
It's important to understand the difference between food sensitivities and food allergies. Food sensitivities are a slow reaction to a particular ingredient, such as milk, beef, wheat, or chicken. Symptoms of food sensitivities can include chronic foot or ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness, and more. On the other hand, true food allergies trigger an immune response that can lead to skin conditions like hives and facial swelling.
Environmental Allergens That Can Effect Your Dog
Dust, mold, and pollen can trigger atopic allergic reactions (atopic dermatitis). Seasonal allergies also fall into this category and can be difficult to identify, as your dog may show symptoms only during certain seasons or times of the year. Just like food allergies, check your dog's ears and paws for signs of environmental allergies. You may also notice clues around the eyes, muzzle, underarms, wrists, ankles, and between the toes.
Dog Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Flea saliva can cause dogs' allergies, leading to flea allergy dermatitis. This can make their skin very itchy, especially near the tail. You may see red, scabbed, and inflamed skin. If your dog has fleas, there are several treatments available to help. Make sure to check your dog regularly for flea dirt (feces) and you might even spot these tiny, flightless bugs on their skin.
Signs & Symptoms of Skin Allergies in Dogs
Dog skin allergies can result in a variety of symptoms including:
- Red, irritated or flakey skin
- Scooting or rubbing on surfaces
- Hair loss
- Rubbing of face or ears
- Excessive scratching
- Excessive licking
- Chewing or biting the skin
Severe skin allergies in dogs not only cause discomfort and itching, dogs with severe skin allergies also face the risk of a secondary infection developing. As your dog bites, scratches or licks at his skin in response to the itching, yeast and bacterial infections can invade through sores causing infections to develop.
Dog Skin Allergies Treatment
In dogs, skin allergies can be mild or severe and treated in various ways. Make an appointment with your vet to diagnose the allergy and identify the specific allergen causing your dog's symptoms. Once diagnosed, your vet will create a personalized treatment plan to soothe your dog's skin and promote healing.
The treatment for your dog's skin allergy depends on the cause, the type of allergy, its location on the body, and other factors. Options for treating skin allergies in dogs may include injectable non-steroidal medications, medicated baths, laser treatments, and more.
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.