Causes of Dog Skin Allergies

Dog skin allergies might be difficult for the owner to notice, since many dogs suffer from chronic forms of rashes and itches. Therefore, a new skin abnormality might not draw particular attention. An allergy can be deadly, and even though it happens very rarely, it is important to watch out for symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Causes of Dog Skin Allergies

Allergies are caused by allergens (the substance which is responsible for the allergic reaction). Dogs react to allergies by developing skin problems, and the irritating substance might be difficult to identify. Among the most common causes for dog skin allergies are:

  • Poor quality food
  • Dust, pollens, molds
  • Microscopic organic substances
  • Parasites (fleas, ticks, mites)
  • Neurological factors
  • Systemic infections and pH imbalance
  • Medication
  • Cleaners and other chemicals

Sometimes dogs develop nutritional dermatitis, and veterinarians consider low quality foods to be the cause of this reaction. Atopic dermatitis is caused by irritants inhaled by your dog, such as dust, pollen, mold, microscopic organisms and chemical substances. Parasites can also cause dermatitis.

Neurological dermatitis is caused by dogs continuously licking, chewing and scratching a particular area. The best known condition of this kind is lick granuloma or acral lick dermatitis. This type of behavior is usually triggered by stress or anxiety. When your dog suffers from a systemic infection, the medication which is administered can cause a pH imbalance which also leads to skin problems. Contact dermatitis is usually caused by getting into direct contact with the irritant, which can be shampoo, housecleaners or other chemicals.

Treatment Options for Dog Skin Allergies

When your dog starts developing a skin allergy, you should go for a check up and start treatment as soon as possible. Treatment consists of treating the symptoms, removing and restricting access to the irritant and even medication in some cases. For contact dermatitis it is recommended to give your dog a bath using dish soap, to remove the substance that causes the irritation. Antihistamines and hydrocortisone also help treat the reaction. Hydrocortisone spray or cream can be bought over the counter.

In case of severe allergies, the veterinarian can prescribe oral medication. Sometimes corticosteroids are also recommended, but you should be careful with their administration since they can have serious side effects. Corticosteroids are only recommended for seasonal allergies.

Dietary changes and supplements might also help with the healing process. There are several vitamins and supplements which help with improving skin and hair condition.

Prevention of Dog Skin Allergies

The best way to prevent most allergies is trying to keep your pet away from substances which might trigger allergic responses. Another solution would be resorting to immunotherapy (allergy shots). The veterinarian can diagnose the substances to which your dog is allergic and then start the immunotherapy sessions. This treatment might take up to a year to show results, but the success rate is high. The allergy shots should be administered regularly and boosters will be needed even if the dog shows fewer skin allergy symptoms.