Skin Allergies in Dogs

Skin allergies in a dog may appear due to different environmental factors, stress or food. Skin allergies are more common after the age of 2.

Signs of Canine Skin Allergies

Skin allergies may be easily noticeable when you groom your dog. You will notice redness or dry, scaly skin. In addition, the dog may also display the following symptoms:

  • Itchiness, which is the most common symptom of allergies
  • Scratching
  • Licking
  • Hair loss
  • Bald spots
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Swellings on the surface of the skin, sometimes filled with puss
  • Yeast infections which may accompany the allergic reactions

The coat of the dog will also have an unhealthy aspect. You may notice these symptoms all year long or only for a few months during the year, depending on the presence of the allergen in the dog's environment.

Skin Testing and Diagnostics for Skin Allergies

Skin testing, or intradermal testing, is an analysis used to detect the allergens that cause the negative reactions on the dog's skin. These allergens may include sun, pollens, dust, mites, smoke, household chemicals, perfumes, plastic, fleas or other parasites.

Dogs with a weak immune system or suffering from anxiety and stress are particularly exposed to developing skin allergies.

During the intradermal testing, the vet will inject some of the possible allergens under the dog's skin. The dog will react negatively to the allergy causing factor.

In case the dog is allergic to food, the skin testing is not an accurate test, so you will need to perform a few food trials to identify the problem ingredient.

Blood testing is also available for diagnosing skin allergies.

Contact allergies cannot be diagnosed with skin or blood testing. You will need to eliminate one possible allergen at a time. Typically dogs may be allergic to plastic or different materials such as wool or synthetics.

Skin Allergy Vaccine

Once the allergen is identified, the most efficient method to treat the skin allergies is by administering regular vaccines containing the allergens. In time, the dog becomes immune or less sensitive to that allergen and the skin allergies will be less visible. The vaccines should be effective after 3 to 6 months of treatment. Until the treatment is effective, you must look into other treatment options.

Other Treatment Options

Skin allergies may be avoided if you identify the allergen and eliminate it from the dog's environment. Any food ingredients that are not agreeable with the dog's system must be eliminated.

If the dog is stressed, find the optimal treatment for stress-relief.

The skin negative reactions may be controlled with antihistamines oral steroids and steroid creams.

If the dog presents puss filled bumps, the vet will also prescribe an antibiotic cream to treat the infection.

The vet must establish whether the skin reactions are allergies; other diseases may be the cause for dermatitis in dogs.