Allergy in a dog – how to recognize an allergy and how to treat it?

Casandra Greer
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Nowadays, humans are not the only ones who are prone to allergic reactions. Quadrupeds can suffer from as many as four types of allergies. What symptoms can your dog have, how to prevent them and how to treat them?

Allergy symptoms

Allergies in a pet are a worry for many owners, who may not even notice what is happening to their pet.

The most common case is food allergy, which is just as often a health concern for many people. Allergies in a dog can start at any age, but usually appear within the first four years of a pet’s life.

An abnormal reaction of the body, which is an allergy, can manifest itself in many different ways. It occurs when certain allergens come into contact with the allergist. Mostly, it can be noticed in your pet when itching, dandruff, pimples or even hair loss occurs. These are not the only symptoms, as respiratory problems are equally common allergic reactions. Typically, your pet’s behavior will also change, and he may become restless, scratch excessively, or lose his appetite, for example.

The most common dog allergies

  1. Inhalant allergy – it is allergy to mites, fungi and pollen. It may manifest itself through breathing problems and nasal discharge, as well as changes on the skin.
  2. Contact allergy – this type manifests itself when allergens come into direct contact with the animal’s skin. It is usually limited to a reaction in one area that came in contact with the allergen.
  3. Allergic flea dermatitis is an allergic reaction to contact with proteins contained in fleas’ saliva and droppings. Often all it takes is one bite, causing the dog to scratch and bite the area over and over again. Dogs in contact with cats are most at risk, as cat fleas cause the most allergy in dogs.
  4. Food allergy – usually the symptoms are limited to skin symptoms, however, there may also be an excess of ear wax which causes an unpleasant smell from your pet’s ears. We wrote more about food allergy here.

Allergy in your pet – how to diagnose?

Veterinarians are divided on the effectiveness of allergy tests. Some of them believe that allergy testing in a dog only shows the animal’s reaction to a specific allergen, and does not define an accurate picture of the entire allergy. Allergy tests are performed from blood and skin. Your pet’s blood is drawn for the test, and the skin reaction to a small amount of allergen given through an injection is checked. If a skin lesion such as a blister appears, this indicates an allergy to that particular substance.

The hardest to check is food allergy, the symptoms of which can only be alleviated by removing the substance causing the allergic reaction from your pet’s diet. It manifests itself mainly through problems with hair, which falls out not during the moulting period of the animal

Unfortunately, complete elimination of the allergen is almost impossible, so more and more owners try to give their pets self-prepared food. This way, you know what was used in the food and it is much easier to determine what is causing the allergy.

How do I treat an allergy in my dog?

Regardless of the type of allergy that occurs, it is incurable and will be present in your pet’s life until the very end. There are a number of ways that you can make your dog’s life more comfortable by prolonging symptom-free periods.

This time is called the remission period, during which the dog’s allergy does not show itself and the animal appears healthy. This can further alleviate subsequent severe allergic reactions. However, it is important to remember that you should not give your dog any medication on your own, so as not to accidentally harm him.

It’s worth removing allergens from your dog’s environment, as it’s the contact with them that causes unpleasant side effects in your pet. Of course, you should contact a veterinarian who will prescribe the appropriate treatment to help prolong the remission period. This will positively affect the comfort and life expectancy of your pet

It is important to use a specific diet, or change the current one to one in which there is no allergen that affects the dog badly. Immunotherapy is often used, which gradually accustoms the body to higher doses of allergen.

Main photo: Jamie Street/

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