How To Tell If A Dog Has Allergies: Food, Skin, Seasonal & More

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This is the most comprehensive guide on how to tell if your dog has allergies and how to treat them.

Dogs can be allergic to hundreds of allergens, and pinpointing the source can be difficult if you don’t know where to look. Because two conditions can cause similar symptoms, many people get allergy symptoms with other illnesses.

For instance, if your dog is itching or licking incessantly or has patches of skin that don’t look normal, your pup could have developed a skin infection from parasites like fleas, ticks, or a non-allergic condition. Similarly, seasonal dog allergies, dog food allergies, and other environmental factors (i.e., pollen and dust) can also cause itching and skin issues in dogs. Confused yet? Don’t be!

Today, we explain all the types of dog allergies and their corresponding symptoms, causes, and treatment so you can easily tell if your dog has an allergic reaction.

We also show you how to help with dog allergies, what to give your dog for allergies, and when you should visit your vet. Let’s get started!

Chapter 1

Ch 2 | Ch 3

Dog allergies 101

What Are Dog Allergies?

Dog allergies are defined as the state of over-reactivity or hypersensitivity caused by the immune system as it responds to a particular substance called ‘allergen.’ An allergen can be any substance (i.e., food, pollen, oils, dust mites, animals, insect bites); this is why it’s hard to tell the source of your dog’s allergies.

When an allergen enters or comes into contact with your dog’s body, it triggers an inflammatory response, alerting your dog’s immune system to start defending against the “intruder.” The symptoms result from your dog’s body working to remove the intrusive allergen. Allergens can be eaten, inhaled, or touched.

Dogs are not born with allergies, but the tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary. However, most dog allergies are developed when exposure to the allergen reoccurs. This process is known as sensitization, and it happens when the immune system misidentifies a harmless substance (allergen) as a threat. Subsequent exposure to the same or related substance causes the immune system to over-react and eventually turn into allergies, says VCA Hospitals.

A weak immune system exposed to allergens also plays a role in developing allergies. Dog allergies can be harmful if left untreated and lead to secondary infections, illness, and even death in severe cases.

Are Dog Allergies Common?

Can dogs have allergies? Yes. Dog allergies are common in the United States and are the main reasons dog parents visit the vet. According to CNN, 10% of all dogs are affected by allergies.1 And, about 1-2% of all dogs have a food allergy, and as many as 25% of dogs with skin problems have a food allergy.

Keep reading to learn about the lifestyle changes and medications that can help treat dog allergies.

Types Of Dog Allergies

What can dogs be allergic to? Allergies are a multi-factorial thing in pets, meaning most dogs are usually allergic to more than one thing.

Here is a breakdown of the most common allergies that could affect your dog.

  1. Food allergies (dog & human food)
  2. Skin allergies (dermatitis)
  3. Seasonal allergies
  4. Environmental allergies (airborne allergens)
  5. Home allergies
  6. Medicine allergies (prescription drugs)
  7. Acute allergic reactions (bad and lethal)
  8. Puppy allergies
  9. Insect bite allergies
  10. Atopic (inherited allergies)

Below we discuss each type of dog allergy in more detail. We explain their causes, differences, specific symptoms to look out for, treatment and prevention so you can tell which type of allergy is afflicting your pup. Click here to jump to this section.

Primary Causes Of Dog Allergies

According to WebMD10 % of all allergy cases in dogs are food allergies. So chances are food is the culprit behind your furry friend’s allergies. Dogs are most commonly allergic to beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish. Rabbit and fish are by far less common food allergens than the others.3

Seasonal allergies, environmental and skin allergies are also primary causes, with insect allergies and acute allergies being less common but more dangerous.

It can be difficult to determine whether your dog is suffering from an allergy or non-allergic condition because symptoms often are very similar.

Like humans, many substances can be allergens, and each dog is allergic to different things. The cause of canine allergies will depend on the type of dog allergy. In the section below, we break down each type to better understand what your dog may be experiencing.

Remember that it’s fairly common for dogs to have allergies and bacterial skin infections simultaneously. So, it’s wise to seek veterinary attention if you suspect a skin infection because treatment can differ depending on the infection type.

Predisposed Breeds

If you own any of the following breeds, you need to monitor your dog more closely.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, dog breeds predisposed to developing allergies include:

  • Chinese Shar-Peis
  • Wirehaired Fox Terriers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Dalmatians
  • Boxers
  • Boston Terriers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Scottish Terriers
  • Shih Tzus
  • West Highland White Terriers

Other breeds also include pugs, Maltese terrier, Pekingese, Bichon Frise, German Shepherd, Pitbulls, Yorkies, Poodles, among others. However, any dog of any breed (or mixed breeds) can be allergic. The age of onset is generally between 6 months and 3 years. Signs are usually seasonal but may be seen all year.4

How To Tell If A Dog Has Allergies?

There are five ways you can tell if your dog has allergies.

Diagnosing Allergies in dogs can be done by looking at the most common symptoms, dog allergy testing, intradermal skin test, blood test and elimination diet.

Symptoms of Dog Allergies

How do you know if your dog has allergies?

Typically, the most common sign of dog allergies is itching and scratching. The most frequently affected areas are a dog’s paws, face, ears, front legs, and abdomen. The itching can be localized (in one area) or generalized (all over the body). If the allergy is not treated, the constant scratching can lead to secondary wounds, scabbing, skin and ear infections, hair loss, atopic dermatitis, and scaling.

The easiest way to determine if your dog has allergies is by looking at dogs’ most common signs of allergic reactions. These include:

  • Sneezing
  • Increased scratching
  • Itchy, red, scaly, moist, oily, or scabby skin
  • Itchy paws
  • Constant licking
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Itchy ears, ear infections, or eye discharge
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rashes
  • Hot spots (skin infections resulting from excessive scratching)
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Red eyes
  • Inflammation
  • Yeast or bacterial infections
  • Anaphylaxis shock (only in more severe cases)

WARNING: If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, do NOT attempt to diagnose your dog without veterinary professional assistance. The symptoms of allergies can be confused with other disorders or concurrently with them. Your vet should do a full evaluation to rule out other health issues causing these symptoms before diagnosing your pup with allergies.

Dog Allergy Testing

The next most convenient way to find out what allergens are causing your pet distress is through at-home dog allergy testing kits.

Dog allergy kits test for the most common types of allergies in dogs, including:

  • Food intolerance and sensitivities
  • Environmental allergies
  • Airborne allergies
  • Household items (cleaners)
  • Supplements
  • Medications
  • Ingredients and preservatives allergies

You should not use allergy testing to diagnose dog allergies but as a helpful tool that you and your veterinarian can use to formulate a specific immunotherapy treatment program that will prevent ingestion or exposure to potential allergens that can cause harm to your dog.

Learn More About At-Home Dog Allergy Testing

Dog Allergy Skin Test (Dog Skin Prick Test)

Another way to know if your dog has allergies is through a dog allergy skin test, also known as a skin prick test or intradermal skin test.

This test is performed by a veterinary dermatologist, who can be expensive. Intradermal skin testing is regarded as the ‘gold standard’ in determining the cause of atopic dermatitis. It requires your dog to be anesthetized and have its hair shaved.

Once your pup is asleep, the dermatologists will inject small amounts of potential allergens under the skin’s surface and monitor the injection sites for any allergic reaction. A positive reaction could happen right away or take 5 to 20 minutes. If there’s no reaction, it’s unlikely your pup is allergic to the substance. A typical reaction looks like a small hive with swelling and redness if the test is positive.

Dog Allergy Blood Test

Blood allergy testing for dogs looks for Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in the blood specific to a certain food or another allergen. The higher the IgE levels, the more likely your pup is allergic to that particular food or allergen. Blood tests can be less accurate than skin tests but are safer since only a single blood sample is taken and submitted to a reference laboratory for analysis. Unlike skin tests, no allergens are injected into your dog, so there are zero risks of triggering an allergic reaction.

Skin and blood tests are generally more expensive and less convenient than at-home dog allergy tests.

Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is used to diagnose or rule out food allergies. It consists of feeding a hypoallergenic, hydrolyzed, or novel diet for 8-12 weeks.

All this means is that you will switch your dog’s food to one that they have never eaten before during this trial period. For instance, if your dog has been eating a chicken-based diet, you would have to use another protein source, such as salmon or lamb.

An elimination diet should only contain 1 novel source of protein and 1 source of carbohydrates. The ideal food elimination diet should be balanced and nutritionally complete and not contain any ingredients that have been fed previously to your dog. Treats should be discontinued as well.

The trial diet should be fed for up to 3 months and see if the itching or other symptoms resolve. During this phase, if symptoms still remain after removing the foods for 12 weeks, food may not be the culprit behind your dog’s allergies, and it’s best to notify your vet.

The next phase is the reintroduction phase, in which you slowly bring the original diet back to confirm a possible food allergy. Gradually reintroduce the old food over 3-5 days and monitor if symptoms (i.e., itching, licking) reappear, which should return within 14 days. If your pup has no symptoms during the reintroduction period, you can assume that his diet is fine and move on to the next food group.

However, if his original food triggers negative symptoms like those mentioned above, you have successfully identified a trigger food and should remove it from your dog’s diet.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Having An Allergic Reaction?

Telling if your dog is suffering from an allergic reaction depends on the type of allergy he is facing.

Dog allergy symptoms can be very similar or vary widely depending on the allergen, so they are often mistaken for other illnesses. Generally, if you notice your dog scratching a lot, or see hives, or redness on his skin, he may have an allergy. It’s essential to recognize all types of dog allergies and treat their symptoms differently when they occur.

Below we break down each dog allergy type to help you assess the best treatment for when your dog has an allergy.

Chapter 2

Ch 1 | Ch 3

How to tell if your dog has food, skin, seasonal or other types of allergies

Dogs can’t tell us what’s bothering them, so it’s up to humans to know what symptoms to watch out for and how to treat them.

This chapter explains each kind of dog allergy, including differences, prevention, treatment, and symptoms.

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Dog Food Allergies

Dog food allergies are estimated to affect 1% to 2% of the dog population and account for 10% of all allergies in dogs. Dogs’ food allergies are predominantly caused by food allergens such as proteins, especially dairy products, beef, lamb, chicken, chicken eggs, soy, or gluten (from wheat). While proteins are the most common source of allergens, virtually any food ingredient can produce an allergy. Substances like additives, colorants, and preservatives can also be responsible.

Meet the Top Dog Food Allergens According to Research.

Dog Food AllergenPercentage of Dogs With Reported Reaction
Beef34%
Dairy Products17%
Chicken15%
Wheat13%
Soy6%
Lamb5%
Corn4%
Egg4%
Pork2%
Fish2%
Rice2%

Source: BMC Veterinary Research

Food allergies can appear at any age. Dogs can even develop an allergy to foods they have eaten for years. When a dog has food allergies, the antibodies react with the antigens each time he eats food containing these substances, and symptoms occur.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Food Allergies?

So, how can you tell if your dog is allergic to food?

The best and most accurate method to diagnose food allergies is the elimination diet. You will need to feed a hypoallergenic diet for eight to twelve weeks in a food trial called the elimination diet. The new food should contain novel ingredients (or ingredients your dog has never eaten before). Treats or other foods should never be fed during the trial period. You can learn more about it here.

Another popular way to tell if your dog is allergic to food is through an at-home food dog allergy test. We recommend 5Strands food allergy test. This particular kit can test for up to 255 ingredients and tell you which ones your pup may be allergic to.

A blood test or skin prick test can also be performed to identify a food allergy.

Dog Food Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms of food allergies in dogs include:

  • Gastrointestinal and digestive issues
  • Skin issues (Itching, hot spots, skin rashes, scaly and/or oily skin & a gamut of skin reactions)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mucus in stool
  • Straining to pass stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swollen face
  • Ear or paw infections

Secondary symptoms can occur, such as hyperactivity, weight loss, lack of energy, and even aggression. One study showed that non-allergic dogs have around 1.5 bowel movements per day, whereas some dogs with food allergies may have 3 or more per day.5 So, if you notice your pup going potty more frequently than normal, it may be a sign of a food allergy.

Another study ranked the parts of the body most often involved in itching related to food allergies as follows:

  • Ears (involved 80% of the time)
  • Paws (61%)
  • Inner thigh/belly (53%)
  • Eye or front leg area (33%).

Other telltale signs of food allergies are when symptoms occur at a very young age. Typically, puppies younger than age one don’t experience environmental or different types of allergies. If your dog has both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms, it’s also a sign.

Treatment

Once you’ve identified the food allergen(s), the only treatment is to avoid the food allergen(s).

In many cases, veterinarians prescribe hypoallergenic, hydrolyzed, or limited ingredient diets that can be fed for the rest of your dog’s life. Your veterinarian can discuss the best choices for your pet based on what ingredients your dog is allergic to.

Sometimes, commercial dog food containing the right ingredients is unavailable, or your dog will not eat them. If this is the case, you may need to carefully prepare a home-cooked diet designed by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.

Here are some of the best dog food for dogs with allergies:

Antihistamines like Benadryl can minimize itching, and they’re relatively safe and vet-approved for use at home. 

Symptoms from food allergies should resolve within weeks to months of starting their hypoallergenic food trial.

Prevention

While there is no sure-proof way to prevent food allergies, anything that creates an unbalance in your dog’s digestive system (gut) can ultimately cause allergy development over time—promoting a healthy mucosal barrier and ensuring adequate nutrition since puppyhood it’s key in keeping food allergies at bay. Dog probiotics can keep a healthy gut, and a fresh homemade diet that avoids preservatives and lets control the ingredients can minimize the risk of food allergies.

Dog Food Intolerance Vs Dog Allergies: What’s The Difference

Dogs can also suffer from food intolerance, which is different from food allergies.

Food allergies in dogs occur when the body’s immune system responds to a substance previously exposed (i.e., proteins or other allergens), and the body has created antibodies. Food intolerance or sensitivity refers to all other non-immunologic adverse responses to food; they are much more common. The symptoms for both can be very similar.


How to Tell If Your Dog Has Skin Allergies

An allergic reaction to the skin refers to allergic dermatitis (aka atopic dermatitis), inflammation, or irritation of the dermis (skin). Possible causes range from parasites (i.e., fleas, ticks), food allergies, inhalant or contact allergy, allergy to the normal bacterial flora and yeast organisms of the skin, to underlying illnesses. 

Around 10% of all dogs suffer from skin allergies. When dogs develop skin allergies, they tend to excessively lick, chew, or scratch the affected area, further damaging and irritating their skin. This compulsive behavior can cause yeast and bacteria to multiply, making skin allergies a condition requiring prompt treatment.

Remember that atopic predisposition may also enable early sensitization to other outdoor allergens.10

How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Skin Allergies?

Skin allergies are a common symptom, if not the most prevalent symptom of all other dog allergies. Telling if a dog has skin allergies requires you to analyze its behavior and look for skin and coat abnormalities. Researchers from the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine revealed that atopic dermatitis’s most common behavioral signs (skin allergies) are scratching, paw licking or chewing, chewing other body areas, and rubbing their face and muzzle.6 This tells us that if your dog displays any of these behaviors, they’re likely to have some form of skin problem.

Physically, you should look for patchy or inconsistent hair loss and reddening and thickening of the skin. The skin itself may be dry and crusty or oily, depending on the dog. Over time, crusting, scabbing, sores, and bleeding may occur. 

If you want to know if your dog is suffering from skin allergies, allergy testing (blood or intradermal skin test) can serve as a diagnostic aid to help identify the offending allergen and to formulate allergen-specific immunotherapy.

You can also find out which foods and environmental factors could be causing your dog’s skin problems by giving him an at-home dog allergy kit. We recommend the EasyDNA dog allergy test. Be sure to consult with your vet to diagnose any skin problems.

Dog Skin Allergy Symptoms

The symptoms associated with atopic dermatitis include:

  • Itching
  • Scratching
  • Hives and other bumps 
  • Rubbing
  • Licking
  • A yeasty smell
  • Greasy skin
  • Hair Loss
  • Visible rashes
  • Redness or tough skin
  • Rubbing against furniture or surfaces
  • Patchy fur
  • Excessive chewing, gnawing at the skin
  • Hardened skin due to scratching
  • Excessive licking, especially at the paws and feet
  • Itchy ears
  • Shaking head back and forth

NOTE: Hypothyroid dogs can also develop itchy skin infections and open sores on their bodies, so make sure a vet diagnoses your dog. Other illnesses can have similar symptoms as skin allergies.

“If left untreated, allergies can change a dog’s personality—the constant itch and frustration can lead dogs to shy away from people or be aggressive when touched.” – PetMD

*Severe skin allergies in dogs may result in anaphylactic shock, but it’s rare.

Dog Skin Allergy Treatment

How to help a dog with skin allergies?

Even though a vet may be necessary to identify the issue, Hydrocortisone products are commonly used to treat minor skin itches.

You can also manage your dog’s skin allergies with Antihistamines such as Diphenhydramine (Generic Benadryl). In conjunction, using essential fatty acids (EFAs), according to the systematic review of clinical trials, can help with the long-term management of CAD (Canine Atop Dermatitis).7 Omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and improve the skin’s general condition. 

However, according to Blue Pearl Veterinary, these products do not work against skin allergies caused by pyodermas (bacterial skin infections or disease that has pus) such as Malassezia infections (yeast infections), otitis externa (ear infections), cutaneous adverse food reactions, or flea allergies. Itching that occurs year-round and that does not respond to cortisone or antihistamines may indicate food allergies or other skin problems. For these pyoderma skin issues, Curaseb Medicated Chlorhexidine Spray can provide relief.

Additionally, it can also benefit your pet to use medicated or prescription-strength shampoo as it may decrease discomfort and speed up the recovery time from skin allergies. Weekly to biweekly baths is recommended but talk to your vet first.

Prevention

The best way to prevent skin allergies in dogs is by recognizing and controlling flare factors and exposure to allergens. Shampoo and other topical treatments can be used as maintenance and preventive therapy to reduce the risk or severity of future skin infections.


How to Tell If Your Dog Has Seasonal Allergies

Can dogs get seasonal allergies?

Yes. Seasonal allergies affect not only people but dogs as well. However, they differ in symptoms. While common signs of allergies in humans include nasal congestion and sneezing, in dogs, seasonal allergies elicit predominantly eczematous lesions (canine atopic dermatitis aka skin problems)8. Nevertheless, classical studies have indicated similar nasal congestion symptoms in humans and dogs, such as ragweed pollen exposure9.

Most seasonal allergens are environmental, including grass, pollen, trees, mold, fungi, dust, mites, weeds and fleas are the most common offenders. Environmental pollutants also can be triggers.

In fact, a University of California-Davis study revealed that summer and fall caused more allergic reactions to mold, trees, and cultivated plants that resulted in the skin and ear infections in dogs. Further, cultivated plants regularly cause otitis external or chronic inflammation of a dog’s external ear canal and foot lesions.

Seasonal allergies are difficult to prevent because it’s hard to keep environmental allergens separated from your dogs, and they happen during certain times, complicating matters even more.

  • Dog spring allergies
  • Dog winter allergies
  • Dog summer allergies
  • Dog fall allergies

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Seasonal Allergies?

Are you wondering how you can tell if a dog has seasonal allergies? Well, it’s not that simple.

Remember that seasonal allergies in dogs mainly manifest as dermatitis (skin problems), which could be a sign, but it could also be a symptom of another allergy type. Historically speaking, if your dog only shows allergy symptoms during certain times of the year, it’s more likely to be seasonal allergies. These allergies occur around the same time each year, so that’s your key indicator.

Seasonal allergies in dogs occur when dogs inhale or come in contact with a surrounding allergen, so you also need to remember.

Dr. Justin Shmalberg, a DVM and Nom Nom’s veterinary nutritionist, says that about a quarter to a third of dogs with a food allergy also has an environmental allergy, which “has similar and at times indistinguishable, symptoms,” says Shmalberg

So, given these similarities, the best way to tell if your dog has seasonal allergies is to take your dog to board-certified veterinary dermatologists and perform either skin testing or blood testing to determine the specific things your dog is allergic to. You can also do an at-home test (this kit tests for 190 environmental allergens) to see what environmental allergens may be triggering these reactions in your pup.

Dog Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Here are some signs that your dog may have seasonal allergies

  • Dermatitis (Irritated, inflamed, or infected skin)
  • Red or itchy ears
  • Scratching and biting
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny noses
  • Excessive shedding
  • Paw licking
  • Scooting or licking the anal region
  • Respiratory issues

Dog Seasonal Allergy Treatment

“My dog has seasonal allergies! How do you treat dog seasonal allergies? Help!”

According to PetMD, treatment includes medications such as Apoquel, Atopica, or Antihistamines11. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Claritin (loratadine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine) have been used for mild seasonal allergies. Frequent bathing is also recommended.

Prescription medication is usually used for those with severe allergies and antibiotics/anti-yeast medication for secondary infections.

If you’ve identified the allergen(s), the best treatment is to avoid the allergen. Other treatment includes immunotherapy (allergy shots), which can make your dog’s immune system less reactive to the allergy-causing substances. Always consult with your veterinarian before trying any medication.

Dog parents report FurroLandia Allergy Relief Immune Supplement and Vet’s Best Seasonal Allergy Relief have worked in relieving allergies in their dogs.

With different seasons come different insects, plants, pollens, and other potential allergens. Because of this, part of seasonal allergy treatments may include a deep house cleaning for any mites or fleas or avoiding outside contact with grass for a few weeks.

Prevention

Here are some ways to prevent canine seasonal allergies. Preventative measures you can take include:

1. Adjust your daily walk time and routes. Pollen levels reach their peak early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Adjust walking time accordingly. Stay away from parking lots or fields with high concentrations of plants, insects, and vegetation. Wipe down your dog’s belly, paws, and claws when you get home from your walk. Pay particular attention to the paws.

2. Clean air and surfaces at home. Air filters should be changed regularly to minimize exposure to airborne allergens and prevent mold growth in your home. Always vacuum at least once a week and dust for mites and pollen on rugs and curtains. 

3. Remove excess allergens (wipes & baths). Contact allergens can get stuck in their fur and irritate the skin days after the initial exposure, so it’s vital to clean your dog after playing or walking outside. You can use hypoallergenic pet wipes to remove excess dirt, pollen, or debris from your pup’s skin and fur. Daily baths are unnecessary, but if your dog gets too dirty or shows clear signs of skin problems, bathing him with lukewarm water and medicated shampoos can wash away pollen, dust, or other substances providing another line of defense against seasonal allergies. Run the air conditioner or dehumidifier to help remove moisture from interior air, making it harder for mold to grow in your home. Don’t let your dog around damp environments, such as basements, bathrooms, or laundry rooms, as these places are more susceptible to mold growth. 

4. Supplement your dog’s diet. A natural dietary supplement such as fish oil or a fatty acid like omega-3 and omega-6 oil can help reduce itchiness and improve overall skin health. Coconut oil has also been shown to suppress allergic reactions while contributing to healthier skin. Ensuring your dog has a strong immune system, and healthy exposure to fresh air is the first line of defense every pet owner should focus on.

Pollen Dog Allergies

Is my dog allergic to pollen? Dogs who come into direct contact with pollen (or inhale pollen floating in the air) may experience an allergic reaction. Generally, dogs react to pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds10. Unlike humans, dogs won’t sneeze or cough excessively, but they usually lick, bite and scratch themselves a lot because pollen falls on their fur, ears, and the pads on their paws. Spring and summer are the worst seasons for pollen dog allergies. Use a HEPA filter. This type of filter helps pull dust and pollen out of the air. Keep Fido well-groomed. This prevents knots of hair that trap dust, grass seeds, or pollen. Tracking the pollen count on a weather app is also very helpful.


How To Tell If Your Dog Has Environmental Allergies

While seasonal dog allergies occur during certain times (i.e., spring), environmental allergies are everything that surrounds your dog when outside. For instance, dust, debris, insects (cockroaches), and smoke.

How to tell if your dog has environmental allergies? Environmental allergies are caused mainly by contact or inhalation of an allergen. Symptoms are usually atopic dermatitis and skin-related, so treat and prevent it like seasonal allergies.


How to Tell If Your Dog Has Home Allergies (Indoor Dog Allergies)

Your pet could be allergic to everything from their beds to your other pets.

Unless washed regularly, your dog’s bed can trigger an allergic reaction. The filling is likely the culprit. Dog beds are usually filled with synthetic or latex memory foam, which can trigger allergies. The outer fabric cover can also contribute to allergies. Synthetic bed fabrics are manufactured with flame retardants and other chemicals known to be allergenic.

“Pillows, bedding, and carpets are frequent sources for dust mites and hard-to-clean areas underneath sofas or beds,” says Dr. Travis Arndt, DVM, assistant medical director at the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America.14

Some of the most common causes of indoor allergies include household cleaning products, indoor flowers, chemicals, perfumes, human foods, and other household items.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Allergic To Household Items?

Figuring out the allergen in your household that could be causing allergies in your dog can be a lengthy process.

You can do an “elimination trial.” This consists of removing anything new in the home, such as a new laundry detergent, carpet mat, air freshener, or cleaning product. If you haven’t added any potential allergens lately, get rid of as many possible allergens or irritants as possible and see if your dog gets better. Then, you could slowly add things back in and monitor.

You can visit a dog allergist to cut through the guessing games with examinations and tests. At-home tests are also a viable option. They can test for everyday household items that may potentially be causing your pet’s allergies.

Dog Indoor Allergy Symptoms

The most common symptoms of indoor allergies are rashes and itchy skin, broken or sore skin, patchy fur loss, scabs, frequent licking or biting in one area, runny eyes, and swelling.

Treatment & Prevention

To treat and prevent home canine allergies, it is recommended to clean thoroughly and wash the bedding often. Basically, every place your dog sits, lays, and hangs out should be cleaned and disinfected with all-natural hypoallergenic materials. Consider switching to pet-friendly household cleaners too.

“Changing furnace filters monthly, avoiding wool blankets in the home, and adding plug-in air purifiers in every room can also be very effective,” says Dr. Ashley Rossman, DVM, CVA, from Glen Oak Dog & Cat Hospital13.

Other tips to prevent indoor allergies in dogs include.

  • Avoid carpet and soft furnishing deodorizers as these can irritate your dog’s skin (we like this one)
  • Avoid wool, down, or feather-based materials in the house (100% cotton is the better option)
  • No scented candles, air fresheners, and essential oils (These could be highly toxic to dogs)
  • Vacuum regularly to reduce dust and mites
  • Feed a good quality food
  • Treat all the pets in your home for fleas every month with a product recommended by your vet.
  • Use a household flea spray to kill any fleas and help control dust mites

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Antibiotics Allergies (Medicine Allergies)

Can dogs be allergic to antibiotics or any medicine? Yes, any drug has the potential for side effects or allergic reactions in dogs. Fortunately, most canines can tolerate medications prescribed by vets.

Antibiotics cause more allergic responses in dogs than any other group of drugs, and many over-the-counter (OTC) medications are NOT safe for dogs15. Antiparasitics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, pain medications, and steroids may also pose adverse effects. Penicillins and sulfonamides have the highest rates of allergic reaction in dogs16.

Common causes of drug allergies in dogs include allergies, double-dosing, drug interaction, drug ingredient allergens, and wrong dosage.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Allergic To Antibiotics, Medicine?

Med allergic reactions can happen immediately after dosing or hours later, so monitor closely after a medication or vaccine has been administered, especially if your pet has a history of other allergies.

You can tell your furry friend has antibiotic allergies because owners notice an unusual response when their dog begins a new medication.

A dog allergist can also perform a skin test and administer a small amount of the suspect allergen.

Symptoms of Medication Allergy In Dogs

Dog antibiotics’ side effects or medication allergy symptoms in dogs can be confused for other conditions. Nonetheless, if any of these symptoms happen after giving Fido medication, it’s probably an adverse or allergic reaction to the meds.

  • Anaphylactic shock (cold feet, collapse, extreme sleepiness, hyperventilation, muscle weakness, respiratory failure, weak pulse)
  • Diarrhea
  • Facial swelling
  • Hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Lethargy
  • Intense scratching
  • Licking and biting fur and skin
  • Red rash anywhere on the body
  • Runny nose
  • Shaking head
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes

According to PetMD, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, altered urinary habits, and abnormal bleeding is also possible14.

Do antibiotics make dogs tired? They can make your dog feel drowsy and lethargic.

Treatment

Treatment involves stopping using the meds. If the reaction was mild, your dog’s symptoms would likely clear up on their own, and no further treatment will be necessary. For more severe symptoms (i.e., Anaphylactic shock), treatment generally involves the injection of steroids and antihistamines to stop the reaction and supportive care as needed (oxygen therapy, fluids, etc.).

The veterinarian may also recommend creams and topical ointments for severe rashes and skin infections that may have developed from the allergies.

The meds (antibiotics) your dog was taking may have also destroyed healthy bacteria in their body. Dogs, like people, have beneficial flora (probiotics) in their bodies, especially in the GI tract, that helps a pet’s digestive system run smoothly. To restore or treat microbiome imbalance, you can give a probiotic supplement specially made for dogs.

Prevention

The first thing you should do before putting your dogs on meds is to read the label and research the ingredients and talk to your vet about the possible side-effect and what to look for in the vent of an allergic reaction.

If your dog has experienced an anaphylactic reaction to meds or other allergies in the past, you can ask your vet for a dog Epipen.

EpiPens is an injection and can be easily deployed within a few seconds to counteract the shock brought on by anaphylaxis. Your local veterinarian can teach you how to deliver the injection in an emergency. It can save your pet’s life in an emergency.

Be sure to inform any new veterinarian of all your dog’s known allergies and corners.


How To Tell If Your Has Eye Allergies

Can dogs get allergies in their eyes? While dog allergies commonly affect the skin or intestinal tract, the eye itself can become inflamed and sensitive due to allergens and cause irritation and other eye problems. The medical term to describe dogs with eye allergies is “allergic conjunctivitis.”17

The most common causes are dust, grasses, plants, mold, smoke, and pollen. Allergens that are more likely to contact your dog’s face are typically the culprit. Nevertheless, dietary components, insect bites, medications, and grooming products can trigger allergic reactions that affect the eye.

You may see your dog rub their eyes frequently, causing more inflammation and secondary infections.

Dogs with skin-based allergy symptoms are more likely to experience allergic conjunctivitis than dogs with no history of allergies.

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Eye Allergies?

A visual inspection can help tell if your dog is experiencing eye allergies.

Your vet will look for a deepened pink swelling of the conjunctivae. Other common signs are pain, squinting, and excessive lacrimation (tears). A colored watery or thick discharge (clear or greenish) may also be present from one or both eyes.

Tests can also be performed as part of a comprehensive diagnosis; these include conjunctival smear, skin scraping around the eye to rule out skin parasites, and conjunctival culture. A histamine reaction test or looking for antibodies in the blood are other ways to identify eye allergies.

Symptoms of Dog Eye Allergies 

Some of the most common symptoms of eye allergies in dogs include:

  • Pink swelling of the conjunctivae
  • Squinting of the affected eye(s)
  • Dog watery eyes allergies
  • Pawing at the face
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye irritation
  • Redness
  • Discharge coming from one or both eyes

These symptoms can be caused by other conditions such as a foreign object in the eye, dry eye, blocked tear ducts, or cherry eye. You need to rule them out before determining eye allergies are the culprit.

Dog Eye Allergy Treatment

What can I give my dog for eye allergies?

In mild cases, simply flushing the eyes with sterile saline for dogs once or twice a day may be enough to remove the allergen and resolve the symptoms.

A pet antimicrobial eyewash can work for severe cases, but your ver may also prescribe eye drops containing steroids, often the treatment of choice for dogs with allergic conjunctivitis. Steroid-based eye drops need to be used only under your vet’s supervision, or they can cause damage. More severe cases may require the use of oral medications in addition to eye drops.

To better help with recovery, humidifying the air can help eye allergy symptoms clear up faster. Furthermore, keeping the area/fur around your dog’s eyes cleaned is key. You can use hypoallergenic dog wipes to remove trapped dust, pollen, or debris from your dog’s face.

Prevention

Limiting exposure to potential allergens is your first line of defense.

To keep your pet’s eyes bright and healthy, you can do the following:

  • Keep irritants like shampoos, soaps, and flea medicine away from the eyes
  • keep long hair out of its eyes

Pay extra attention to brachycephalic breeds’ eye health (flat-faced dogs – Pugs, Pekingese, Boxers, Bulldogs, etc.). These dogs are more likely to develop eye problems. Breeds with more prominent eyes or a lot of facial hair may also be more prone to allergies.

Many supplements are available to support eye health and may reduce allergic problems in dogs. A combination of changes to the environment, food, medications, and natural treatments may be most successful in preventing allergy symptoms in the eye.


How to Tell If Your Dog Has Severe Dog Allergies – Acute Allergic Reactions In Dogs (Anaphylaxis Dog)

Can dog allergy cause anaphylaxis? How severe can dog allergies be?

Pet allergies are not deadly, but an allergic reaction known as an Anaphylactic Shock is the most severe type of dog allergy. It can be fatal.

Anaphylactic shock in dogs is a rare, life-threatening allergic reaction that occurs within seconds to minutes after exposure to the allergen.

An Anaphylactic Shock happens when an over-release of chemicals, due to a massive release of inflammatory mediators by mast cells and basophils, puts the dog into shock. This hypersensitivity reaction in your dog’s body can affect multiple organs, including dermal, gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, and ocular systems.19

Theoretically, any substance can produce an anaphylactic reaction but is most commonly caused by vaccines, drugs, insect and reptile venoms, antimicrobials, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, glucocorticoids, opiates, foods, and physical factors.18

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Bad Allergies, Anaphylaxis Shock?

Here are the telltale signs of telling if your dog has a bad allergic reaction.

An anaphylactic reaction’s first hint may look like typical dog allergy symptoms: itching, red skin swellings, rash, hives, etc. Symptoms typically manifest soon after antigenic exposure (5-30 minutes). However, more severe symptoms appear over minutes to hours. There is usually more than one of these: diarrhea, excessive drooling, vomiting, shock, seizures, coma, and death.

Your dog will have difficulty breathing, be cyanotic (their gums and tongue have a bluish color), and the limbs may feel cold. The heart rate is generally very fast, but the pulse is weak. The liver is the primary organ affected; therefore, gastrointestinal problems are the major signs of anaphylactic shock.

Severe Dog Allergy Symptoms

Alison Allukian, DVM from the MSPCA–Angell, says the signs and symptoms of Anaphylaxis Shock can be divided into four major target organs.

  • Cutaneous
  • Respiratory
  • Cardiovascular
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Neurological and ocular systems can be impacted as well

“Clinical signs of anaphylactic shock can resemble signs from any cause of the severe cardiopulmonary collapse. It is important to rule out other conditions as they can present similarly (i.e., severe asthma, syncope, pheochromocytoma, systemic mastocytosis, septic, and cardiogenic shock, etc.).” – MSPCA-Angell

Severe Dog Allergy Treatment

Anaphylaxis is an extreme emergency so you will need emergency veterinary assistance immediately. Treatment includes giving epinephrine injections (adrenalin) to stop the shock, fluid therapy, and oxygen supplementation through tracheal intubation or tracheostomy. Antihistamines and glucocorticoids may also be administered.

Severe Dog Allergy Prevention

Understanding a dog’s complete allergy profile and avoiding all allergic substances is the only way to prevent bad dog allergies. If your dog has a history of bad allergies, you can ask your doctor for Epipen to keep handy if your dog ever goes into shock from allergies.


How to Tell If Your Dog Has Flea Allergies (Insect Bite Allergies)

Can dogs be allergic to bugs or insect bites? Yes. Many dogs are sensitive to the proteins in the saliva or venom of biting or stinging insects. The most common insect-related allergies in dogs are caused by fleas, bedbugs, ants, spiders, bees, mosquitos, ticks, and mites.

Other insects that sting, such as Yellowjackets, bees, and wasps, can cause allergic reactions that range from mild to life-threatening. Fleas and most insects tend to flourish in warmer, wetter seasons.

Some insects can transmit other diseases or have toxic venom, making them even more dangerous. For instance, a mosquito bite on a dog can cause heartworm disease. If the mosquito carries the heartworm larvae, this dangerous disease may be transmitted to your pet.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Insect Allergies?

Dogs bitten or stung by insects will usually start itching, have visible inflamed skin, and show signs of discomfort. Unlike bites, stings typically cause significantly more pain. You might hear your pup yelp and notice some immediate lameness if he’s stepped on a bee or itching or licking if the wound is elsewhere. Your vet will analyze blood samples looking for the presence of eosinophils, the white blood cell associated with many allergic reactions.

Insect Bite Allergy Symptoms In Dogs

The most common clinical signs associated with an insect bite and stings reaction include:

  • Pain at the sting site
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Lameness
  • Redness at the site of the bite
  • Hives
  • Multiple red, raised swellings
  • Swollen face or muzzle
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Anaphylaxis shock (in more severe cases)

Insect Dog Allergy Treatment & Prevention

If your dog is stung or bitten by an insect, you should NOT administer any medication without contacting your veterinarian.

Treatment typically involves removing the stinger followed by administration of antihistamines and anti-inflammatory agents such as corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) as needed. Topical treatments or supplementation are often prescribed for skin allergies that arise from insect bites.

Dr. Patty Khuly writes in the Miami Herald that if a dog gets stung away from the mouth or face, applying an ice pack is probably all that is needed. To help neutralize some of the acidic venoms, applying a paste mixture of baking soda and water to the sting area using a cotton swab or ball can help. Just be sure to run it by your vet first.

Here are some ways you can prevent insect bite allergies (i) Use a flea and tick dog collar to repel fleas and kill them (ii) whenever your dog goes outside, spray him with a dog bug repellent to keep mosquitos, flies, and other insects that pester pets (iii) for further protection you can use a dog insect shield suit and dog boots.

Chapter 3

Ch 1 | Ch 2

Tips, FAQs & more

What Can I Give My Dog For Allergies?

Are you wondering how to get rid of dog allergies forever?

There are several ways you can treat canine allergies. Below are the best options that bring allergy relief to dogs.

Natural Remedies For Dog Allergies

What natural remedy can I give my dog for allergies? If your dog is suffering from allergies, these natural remedies can help.

Be sure to consult with your vet before adding these foods to your dog’s diet or supplement routine. Rely on your vet’s advice for the correct dosage.

  1. Quercetin
  2. Bromelain & Papain
  3. Oat Baths
  4. Aloe Vera
  5. Thyme
  6. Chickweed
  7. Apple Cider Vinegar
  8. Coconut Oil

These are perfect if your dog is allergic to medications or wants to avoid them. While these may work great for preventive measures and mild allergies, more severe allergies will require medical treatment. Talk to your vet.


Home Remedies For Dog Allergies

Are you looking for dog seasonal allergies home remedies or simple ways to treat dog allergies at home?

Whether your dog has skin allergies, flea allergies, or itching, these home remedies for dog allergies can give your dog some natural relief!

How To Treat Your Dog’s Allergies At Home

Apple cider vinegar sprays for dog allergies. Combine 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water in a spray bottle. Spray on the affected area with the solution. If your dog’s paws are irritated or covered in pollen and other substances, soak your dog’s paws in apple cider vinegar and water solution for up to five minutes21. Have your dog wear boots to prevent them from stepping in irritants.

Homemade dog diet for dog allergies. Swapping traditional dog kibble for freshly homemade dog food can alleviate the symptoms associated with doggy food allergies. Fresh dog food delivery services like Nom Nom and The Farmer’s dog simplify this. They cater to allergies and dietary needs your dogs may have.

Chamomile & herbal tea soak for dog allergies. The American Kennel Club says chamomile, calendula, and green have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties and can relieve allergy symptoms in dogs. Let several tea bags steep for 3 minutes in a tub or sink (use lukewarm water). Remove the bags and let your pup soak for at least five minutes. Steep one or two tea bags for smaller itchy patches and pour cooled tea on the affected area. Let it drip dry.

Oatmeal bath for dog allergies. Grind plain oatmeal into a fine powder to sprinkle in your dog’s warm bath. The warm water will draw out the colloidal. Let Fido soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Oatmeal is non-toxic, so it’s okay if your dog licks it. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties that can ease redness, swelling, and itchiness and cool your dog’s hot, uncomfortable skin. You can also make an oatmeal paste and spread it on the affected skin.

*AVOID oat bath if your dog is itching due to a yeast infection. Oat is a source of carbohydrates, which will only make yeast thrive.

Yogurt for dog allergies. Feeding one or two teaspoons of plain, unsweetened yogurt once a week can aid with digestive-related allergy issues. The probiotic contents of yogurt can help improve gut health and digestion.

Coconut oil for dog allergies. Put coconut oil in an ice tray and freeze it. Once completely solid, use one or two cubes for quick relief to dry skin. Massage the oil into the coat and skin, the affected area. You will notice your dog’s coat improving and their relief from the constant itching.

These dog allergy home remedies are safe for most dogs, but you should always consult your veterinarian before using one of these treatments on your pet.

Shampoo For Dog Allergies

Here is a list of our dog shampoos for allergies to give them some itching relief and combat skin allergies. 

Dog Allergy Shots: Immunotherapy For Dogs

How to cure dog allergies? While there is no way to cure allergies, dog allergy shots, also known as Allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT), are the closest you can get to getting rid of dog allergies.

Veterinary dermatologist Dr. Nicole Eckholm told Rover that “allergy shots are the only effective method to stop the progression of allergies.”

Immunotherapy is a good alternative for dogs who don’t respond well to basic allergy medications or dogs with frequent, severe allergic signs throughout the year. According to Blue Pearl Vet Hospital, Allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) is the only method currently available to help improve the immune system’s health (vs. masking symptoms).21

ASIT consists of a series of injections containing the offending allergens your pet is allergic to and gradually increasing the dose over time. This helps the pet build a tolerance to these allergens. ASIT essentially desensitizes your dog to a particular allergen(s).

Doses can vary per day, but it’s usually every other day initially and then decreased to once or twice weekly. ASIT can last from 6 to one year before effectiveness can be determined. Your dog will take meds during this period to control any allergies resulting from the shots.

If your dog doesn’t like shots, the alternative is sublingual immunotherapy under the tongue (SLIT) for short. SLIT is a pump you squeeze into their mouth.

The success rate of immunotherapy is 60-80%. This is the best long-term approach to allergy control.

Dog Allergy Shots Cost

The cost of dog allergy shots is relatively inexpensive. On average, your veterinarian pays about $5 to $10 for 1 ml of allergen. You will also need to add the cost of syringes and your vet’s fees for administering the shot. Most dogs will require 1 to 3 ml a month, with the average case requiring 2 ml of allergen a month.

Dog Allergy Shots Side Effects

Side effects are rare, but the most commonly reported is itching. Less common side effects include pain at the injection site, urticaria, lethargy, and, very rarely, anaphylaxis22

For dogs that don’t respond well to immunotherapy, the final option is immune-suppressants such as Atopica and Apoquel. These medications suppress the immune system so that it will not react to harmful allergens. There are potential side effects, mainly vomiting and diarrhea, so you need to discuss them with your vet.

Allergy Medicine For Dogs

What can I give my dog for allergies?

These are the most popular medications for dog allergies your doctor might recommend:

  • Over-the-counter Antihistamines
    • Benadryl
    • Claritin
    • Zyrtec 
  • Prescription Medication
    • Apoquel
    • Prednisone
    • Atopica
    • Cyclosporine
    • Prednisolone
    • Temaril-P 
  • Steroids (Dogs can benefit from steroid treatment to reduce itching and the other symptoms)
  • Other Treatments
    • Cytopoint injection

Any drug can cause side effects, so make talk to your vet before giving any medication to your dog. Dog allergy treatment depends on each dog. Every dog will be affected differently, so you need to find the best medicine that best fits your dog’s needs.

Allergy Supplements For Dogs

Meet the most popular, effective dog allergy supplements that can help prevent and bring relief to your pup’s allergies.

Dog Allergies Rash

A dog allergy rash is a noticeable change in the texture or color of their skin. Your pup’s skin may become scaly, bumpy, itchy, or otherwise irritated. Skin, insect, contact, and food allergies are among the most common causes of rashes in dogs. This type of rash occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with an allergen that causes an adverse reaction, leading to a rash.

Puppy Allergies

Like mature dogs, puppies can have allergies to the foods they eat, the things they come in contact with, and the unseen particles they inhale in the home or outdoors.

Puppies are much less likely than older dogs to have many allergies because they haven’t been exposed to some things for enough time to become allergic to them. Seasonal allergies are uncommon in puppies as they haven’t lived through a season or two of high pollen counts. Most types of inhaled allergies are uncommon in 1-year-old or younger puppies.

However, puppies can experience allergies just like any dog. Puppy allergy symptoms include all the typical allergy symptoms we’ve discussed here. You should treat allergies in puppies seriously and treat them accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Allergies To Its Food?

Dogs with food allergies tend to develop atopic dermatitis. Symptoms like itchy skin or digestive disturbances such as vomiting or diarrhea are common signs your dog has food allergies. More subtle changes can also occur, including hyperactivity, weight loss, lack of energy, and even aggression.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Allergies Or A Cold?

While allergies can cause sneezing, blocked noses, runny nose, and congestion in dogs, these symptoms are more commonly associated with a canine cold. The main difference is that colds in dogs are caused by a virus, unlike allergies triggered by allergens, and are less likely to cause nasal symptoms. According to the AKC, there is no specific virus that gets the label “cold virus” in dogs. Instead, several different viruses can cause cold symptoms in dogs. The most common viruses are canine adenovirus type 2, canine respiratory coronavirus, canine parainfluenza virus, and Bordetella Bronchiseptica.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Mange or Allergies?

Mange in dogs is explicitly caused by mites versus allergies which are caused by a variety of allergens, including insect bites.

There are two major forms of Mange: Sarcoptic Mange, typically by the Sarcoptes Scabiei mite, and Demodectic Mange caused by the Demodex Canis mite. Another big difference is where Mange’s symptoms develop and their appearance. Mange typically appears in areas with less hair, such as the earflaps, elbows, hocks, ventral abdomen, chest, and legs. Dogs with Mange have skin covered in sores or thickened, hard, crusty patches.

Often, dogs with Mange with this condition will be misdiagnosed as having allergies. Diagnosis can be challenging because the mites frequently are not found on skin scrapings. Your vet will have to look under a microscope for the presence of eggs, mites, and infestation.

Dogs with severe allergies are more likely to develop Mange.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Fleas or Allergies?

Fleas are a leading cause of allergic reactions in dogs, aka Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). If your dog has fleas, they are likely to develop allergies (allergies are a common symptom of dog fleas). You can expect a dog with fleas to develop itching.

You can tell your dog has fleas because they leave distinctive, unique tiny, red, raised dots on your dog’s skin when they bite. This is known as “Flea dirt” and looks like flecks of pepper scattered over the infested area of your dog’s body. You can also tell fleas have infected your pup is itching, and hair loss occurs from the middle of the back to the tail base and down the rear legs, also known as the flea triangle.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Mites or Allergies?

There are several types of mites that affect dogs, including canine scabies (sarcoptic Mange), ear mites (otodectic Mange), Cheyletiellosis mites (walking dandruff), Demodex Canis mites (Canine Demodicosis), and trombiculosis mange (larval stage of mites). When a dog is infested with mites, it’s known as Mange.

If your dog has mites, he is likely to be affected by allergies. However, because mite symptoms can be caused by other conditions and the different mite species, the best way to tell if your dog has mites is by physical examination, collecting skin scrapings, and possibly a stool sample. Some vets might also use a blood test to diagnose Mange (mites).

Remember that allergies could result from your dog having mites, so be sure to rule out other health problems first.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Environmental Allergies or Food Allergies?

Telling if your dog has environmental allergies or food allergies is rather difficult.

If your dog has never had allergy issues with his diet, and suddenly, he is itching and scratching more than normal after a day out, it’s more likely to be an environmental antigen that Fido is reacting to. On the contrary, if your dog has always been fine when interacting with the outdoors, but you change his diet or eat something new, it’s most likely to be allergy foods.

It gets tricky to diagnose one or the other since both produce similar symptoms. To make matters worse, dogs can have both food and environmental allergies. If that’s the case, you need to do the elimination diet trial and evaluate potential contact allergens your dog may have encountered outdoors or indoors. You should remove the allergens and follow a treatment regimen that may involve medication and hygiene.

You can perform an at-home dog allergy test to discover potential allergens.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Grain Allergies?

Telling if your dog has grain allergies is not simple. Grain allergy symptoms in dogs, such as red, itchy skin, hair loss, constant scratching, chewing, and obsessive licking, are common signs of other food allergens. The best way to determine grain allergies in dogs is by an elimination diet. This means you feed him a diet without grain ingredients for 90 days. Then must reintroduce grains to his diet. If a relapse in allergy symptoms occurs once the grains are reintroduced, you’ve identified the source. 

Grains don’t cause allergies, says the AKC. Some grains are more allergenic than others. Wheat, for instance, is a grain commonly associated with allergies but grains, in general, are not a major cause of allergies.

Intradermal skin testing, at-home food allergy, or blood tests are other options to tell if your dog has developed grain sensitivities.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Allergic To Grass?

While some dogs may be allergic to grass, Dr. Diarra D. Blue, DVM. from Cy-Fair Animal Hospital in Cypress, Texas, and co-star on Animal Planet’s The Vet Life, says that the culprit of the allergies may be pollen in the grass and other plants.

Grass allergy symptoms tend to be localized to one or two spots, with a dog’s head, face, armpits, abdomen, and feet among the most common areas affected. Another way to know if your dog is allergic to grass is if they have watery eyes, noses, and scratchy throats. Canines allergic to grass and flora usually develop dermatitis and itchy patches of skin.

Dog allergies to grass can be considered seasonal allergies since late spring, and early summer is usually the time when grasses release pollen. Dogs allergic to grass may only show symptoms during those times. 

Even if you don’t have grass in your yard, grass pollens can travel miles in the wind and land in your backyard.

Intradermal testing and blood serum testing are the most common tests available, but you can also do an environmental dog allergy test at home.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has An Eye Infection or Allergies?

Typically viral and bacterial are the main causes of eye infection in dogs, the latter being the most common.

Bacterial infection resulting from an injury, like a scratch or ulcer on the eye, can happen by a claw, fur, hair, or other foreign bodies entering the eye or in rough play, generating a wound on the cornea that gets infected. You will notice your dog squinting from the pain, but usually, the wound is hard to identify visually.

Because dogs with allergies could show similar symptoms to an eye infection, it’s important to have your dog undergo a complete ophthalmologic exam. Clear discharge is usually the cause of viral infections or allergies.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has A Chicken Allergy?

According to a study, 15% of dogs are allergic to chicken. Chicken allergies in dogs are classified as food allergies (see the typical symptoms here). To tell if your canine is allergic to chicken, you need to put him on an elimination diet trial.

Does My Dog Have Kennel Cough or Allergies?

Allergies or kennel cough? Kennel’s cough has distinctive symptoms. If your dog is constantly making noises that sound like he is choking on something, he may have a case of kennel cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, says PetMD.

Unlike allergies, Kennel cough is caused by bacteria or viruses. One of the most common causes is a bacterium called Bordetella Bronchiseptica. Generally, dogs do not cough with allergies except for seasonal pollen allergies if they do more of a wheezing, sneezing type of cough. On the other hand, Kennel cough is a persistent, forceful cough. It often sounds like a goose honk.

While dog allergies are not contagious, kennel cough is contracted by close contact with other dogs, such as boarding in a kennel (hence the name) or visiting a dog park or a doggy daycare. It’s a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs.

Dogs with kennel cough show inflammation of the trachea and bronchial tubes.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Allergic To Peanut Butter?

While dogs can safely enjoy peanut butter, some dogs may not tolerate it. The leading cause of peanut butter allergies is the peanuts themselves or other ingredients such as Xylitol, a common artificial sweetener in peanut butter toxic for dogs.

You can tell your dog is allergic to peanut butter if they exhibit symptoms such as skin allergies (red and itchy skin, licking, etc.). Dogs may also experience internal bodily reactions and not show external symptoms. You may notice severe agitation or difficulty breathing if this is the case. Anaphylactic shock may even occur if your dog is severely allergic to peanut butter.

Giving dog-safe peanut butter to our dogs is vital. Peanut butter with the wrong ingredient can be fatal. Learn all about peanut butter and dog allergies here.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Allergic To Bees?

Most bee stings result in an acute allergic reaction in dogs, which is a common veterinary emergency. You can tell your dog is allergic to bees if your dog has developed a swollen or puffy appearance in the area where he got stung. Pain, redness, lumps, and bumps over the skin are common signs. Symptoms occur quickly, usually within 10 to 30 minutes of the sting. Bees are the only insect that leaves stingers behind, so look for them on your dog’s skin. It may still be hanging in there.

Dogs with severe allergies to insect bites (bee venom) may experience an anaphylactic reaction. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and collapsing. It’s important to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible, regardless of its symptoms.

Dogs are usually stung on their face or a paw, but it’s important to note that stings may occur anywhere.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Allergic To Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is generally safe for dogs. Dr. Colleen Smith, DVM, CVA, CVCP of the Chattanooga Holistic Animal Institute says coconut increases energy levels, improves skin and coat, improves digestion, and reduces allergic reactions.

However, there’s always the risk of an allergic reaction when introducing any new food to your dog’s diet. The AKC says dogs allergic to coconut may experience gastrointestinal upset and bloat due to its medium-chain triglycerides contents. Too much of this oil can cause diarrhea and high cholesterol.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Allergies?

Dog allergies can be complicated to diagnose especially because dogs can develop allergies to anything.

We truly hope you found this article valuable and actionable. We want pet parents to be equipped with the tools and resources to keep their dogs happy, healthy, and allergy-free.

If your pet has been diagnosed with allergies, you must follow your veterinarian’s advice to relieve your pet’s discomfort successfully. You shouldn’t take dog allergies lightly. Allergies can wreak havoc on your dog’s health if left untreated. Nobody likes to see their dog suffer.

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Canine Bible authorship represents the unified voice of our entire editorial team and our in-house veterinarians rather than a single author. Each article, blog post, and review published under the Canine Bible name undergoes a rigorous review process, involving all team members to guarantee accuracy and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research. This collaborative effort is an integral part of our editorial process and aligns with our four pillars of content creation. This approach ensures our content is backed by expert knowledge and factual information, offering our readers reliable, actionable, and trustworthy content.


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