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Dog Skin Allergies: Treatment & Causes

When your beloved pet is dealing with skin allergies it can't be very irritating and uncomfortable for them. Our Montecito vets discuss the causes of skin allergies in dogs as well as how these allergic reactions are treated.

Skin Allergies in Dogs

Skin allergies are also referred to as allergic dermatitis, and they are the most common types of allergies in dogs. Your pup may be allergic to any number of irritants that are causing him or her to itch, scratch, and become generally uncomfortable. Fortunately, our Montecito vets have some insight and advice on what to do.

The Cause of Skin Allergies in Dogs

There are three types of skin allergies that are typically found in dogs. These skin allergies are:

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

If your dog is bitten by a flea then they more than likely will experience a reaction known as flea allergy dermatitis. This reaction can make your pup's skin, especially that near the tail, extremely itchy. You may find their skin becomes red, inflamed, and scabbed. Other signs of fleas include flea dirt (feces), and you may occasionally see the fleas themselves.

Food Allergies

If your dog is experiencing food allergies or sensitivities then they may experience symptoms such as scratching at their paws or ears, along with potential gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or a combination of both.

It’s important to distinguish between food allergies and food sensitivities (intolerances). Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities are a gradual reaction to a specific ingredient such as chicken, milk, beef or wheat.

Symptoms can range from itchiness and chronic infections in the ear or foot to vomiting and diarrhea. True food allergies trigger an immune response, which can cause skin conditions, such as facial swelling and hives.

Environmental Allergies

Atopic dermatitis or atopic allergic reactions are most commonly caused by environmental factors, including mold, pollen and dust. Seasonal allergies can also be a frustrating issue, as they may only affect your dog during certain seasons or times of the year.

Similar to food allergies, look to your dog’s paws and ears for clues that they may be suffering from environmental allergies. Also do a quick check of the muzzle, around the eyes, wrists, underarms, ankles and between toes.

Dog Skin Allergy Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms that your dog may experience with skin allergies are:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Excessive licking
  • Rubbing of ears or face
  • Biting or chewing the skin
  • Rubbing or scooting on surfaces
  • Red, irritated or flakey skin
  • Sores
  • Hair loss

If your dog is experiencing the effects of skin allergies then they may try to lick, scratch and bite at the area which can cause more damage. As your dog tries to relieve itching, there’s a possibility that yeast and bacterial infection can enter through sores. If this occurs then your dog may have to receive treatment for these.

Dog Skin Allergy Treatments

The best way to find out what’s irritating your dog’s system and causing their skin allergy symptoms is to book an appointment with your Montecito vet. We provide comprehensive dermatological treatment for cats and dogs, including performing a range of allergy tests to determine the root cause of your pet’s skin disorder.

Following diagnosis, we can provide a custom treatment plan to help your dog heal. Treatment will depend on the cause and nature of your dog’s allergy, its location on the body, and other factors.

Treatment may include laser treatments, injectable, non-steroidal allergy medications, medicated baths and other options.

Whether your dog’s skin condition is a result of an allergy, disease or something else, we can find the cause and effective treatment to help your pet feel more comfortable again - and get you back to cuddling.

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. 

Are you concerned that your dog might be suffering from an allergic skin reaction? At Montecito Pet Hospital, our vets will be able to perform the necessary skin tests to diagnose and properly treat your dog.

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