Flea Allergy Dermatitis Symptoms in Dogs

The fleas are well known parasites that can cause allergies in pets. Pets are allergic to the flea saliva and this can cause flea allergy dermatitis and several other symptoms. If you detect any of the flea allergy dermatitis symptoms, you will have to get a flea treatment as well as a treatment for the dog’s skin.

Presence of Fleas

The most obvious symptom of flea allergy dermatitis is the presence of fleas, which can be observed on the dog’s coat and skin. You may also notice a few flea eggs, which look like dog dander, but are sticky to the touch.

Fervent Scratching

The fleas will cause irritation and you will see your pet scratching fervently, especially his belly, facial area and back side. The itchiness will also be due to the fact that the skin is irritated by the flea saliva.

Alternatively, the dog can lick and chew his paws or press against cold surfaces that will calm the itchiness.

Swollen Flea Bites

If you take a closer look at the dog’s skin, you will be able to observe a few flea bites, which will be red. If the dog is allergic to the bites, these will be swollen and the skin around the bites will also be red and inflamed. This is the main allergic reaction to the flea saliva.

Skin Irritation

Flea allergy dermatitis may also manifest through red skin rashes.

The skin irritation will persist even after the fleas are eliminated. It may take up to 2 weeks for the skin to heal.

Dry Skin

The skin will be seriously affected by the allergies and if the fleas are not eliminated in due time, the dog may have dry skin. The skin can be flaky or crusty and may harden.

Secondary Skin Infections

The dog that develops flea allergy dermatitis will have a weakened immunity and the allergen will also put additional pressure on the immune system.

The skin can be exposed to secondary skin infections, which can be brought by:

  • The dog licking the skin and the bacteria found in the dog’s saliva
  • The open wounds caused by scratching, which can be a place for bacteria to develop
  • The other pets or surfaces the dog comes in contact with, which can contain the infectious agents and the dog’s immune system is not able to fight these agents

Anaphylactic Shock

If the dog is very allergic to the flea bites and the flea saliva, he may develop anaphylactic shock. This is a condition that starts with skin dermatitis, followed by the swelling of face and limbs and the respiratory tract. The allergic reaction will occur within a few seconds after the saliva is released under the dog’s skin and enters the dog’s system. The dog needs help within 7 minutes of the bite; otherwise the bite can be fatal.

The anaphylactic shock is rare in dogs, but you need to be aware of it.