What Does Dog Allergy Look Like – Signs Of An Allergic Reaction In Dogs And Puppies

By Michael Tarran

May 27, 2021

allergies in dogs, allergy, dog allergies, dog allergy
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  • What Does Dog Allergy Look Like – Signs Of An Allergic Reaction In Dogs And Puppies

Does your dog or puppy scratch, itch, chew, and lick themselves excessively and often? If they do, that only means one thing, they may have allergies.

Unfortunately, allergies are very common in dogs and one of the top reasons for vet visits. Dog allergy symptoms typically affect the skin and ears. The bad news is that allergies in dogs tend to worsen with time as they grow older.

This means that when you notice any of the symptoms, you should react asap and find out what's causing them. So what does dog allergy look like? Here I will talk about the signs and what you can do to relieve their discomfort, so read on.

Most Common Types Of Allergies In Dogs

Seasonal and environmental allergies - This type of allergy is also known as atopy. These seasonal or environmental allergies are caused by substances that exist in your home or anywhere else where your dog spends time.

Those allergens can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Common allergens are mold, dust mites, pollens, and animal fibers.

Allergies are familiar to everyone; they are immune responses to allergens such as pollen, dust, food, and many more that cause great discomfort. Over time, exposure to allergens can sensitize the pet's immune system and cause a harmful overreaction.

What Does Dog Allergy Look Like

Some of the most common triggers for dog allergic reaction:

  • Tree and grass pollens
  • Mold spores
  • Dust
  • House dust mites
  • Dander 
  • Food ingredients like corn, wheat, soy, or specific animal proteins
  • Flea saliva 
  • Prescription drugs
  • Cleaning products, shampoo, and certain fabrics and plastic

Flea allergies - An allergy to fleas and their saliva is the most common dog skin allergy seen in dogs. Just one or two flea bites per week are enough to make a dog itch. The most common symptom of flea allergy is itchy skin and irritation at the base of the tail.

Seasonal and environmental allergies - This type of allergy is also known as atopy. These seasonal or environmental allergies are caused by substances that exist in your home or anywhere else where your dog spends time. Those allergens can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Common allergens are mold, dust mites, pollens, and animal fibers.

If you are searching for a good and affordable home kit allergy test for environmental allergens, I recommend you take A.T. My Pet Allergy Test into consideration. This test offers you the possibility to test your dog on the 150 most common allergens that may affect your dog's health.

Most common symptoms of allergic reaction are dry skin, dog allergy rash, licking paws, and face rubbing. Affected dogs experience red skin, fur loss, and skin or ear infections. Affected areas are around the dog's paws and lower legs, face, ears, armpits, and belly.

Food allergies - Dogs can develop an allergy to a particular food ingredient at any point in their life, no matter if they have eaten these foods in the past. The most common food allergens are proteins and grains. The symptoms of food allergies are itchy skin, face rubbing, licking paws, diarrhea, vomiting, and an increased number of bowel movements per day.

Staphylococcus hypersensitivity - This hypersensitivity occurs when a dog's immune system overreacts to the regular Staphylococcus bacteria that every dog has on its skin. It appears that bacterial hypersensitivity more likely occurs if other conditions are present such as hypothyroidism, inhalant allergy, and flea allergy. Bacterial hypersensitivity is diagnosed through examination of a biopsy sample.

The type and severity of symptoms depend partly on the type of allergy your dog has.

Some other allergy symptoms include:

Itchy ears - they aren't usually a sign of anything life-threatening, but if your pet is increasingly uncomfortable and starts to have any trouble walking or he tilts his head to one side, visit the vet for treatment as soon as possible.

Sneezing and runny nose - if sneezing and runny nose are accompanied by fever, they require vet treatment right away since this might be a sign of seasonal allergies.

Runny eyes - this symptom should be checked out by a vet since many upper respiratory infections in early stages are presented with runny eyes.  

Swollen face -  dog face swollen is a sign of an acute allergy usually related to an insect bite or a sting. It also can be a sign that your dog has breathed in an allergen, for example, a large amount of pollen. If you see a swollen face or snout, this is a sign that your dog may be headed into anaphylactic shock! Take your dog to the vet if you notice any swelling to avoid complications such as trouble breathing if there is enough swelling.

Keep in mind that pets must be exposed to the allergen for some time before the allergy even develops. If you are not sure what your furry best friend has an allergic reaction to, then I recommend you purchase a 5that includes four different types of tests for food intolerance, environmental intolerance, nutrition test, and metal and mineral intolerance test.

Allergy Testings For Dogs

Allergies aren't curable, but luckily they are at least manageable. But before you start working on handling the problem, you must find out what exactly causes this reaction.

Allergy testing in dogs is the most accurate for seasonal and environmental allergies, while testing on food allergies is not so accurate in dogs as it is in humans. 

Allergy testing should not be used to confirm that your pet has allergies but to determine the specific things to which your dog is allergic.

In some cases, hair or saliva testing for allergies does not give an accurate result; that is when you should visit your vet and do the skin and blood testing as well.

dog allergy testing

However, you can always first try to test your pooch for allergies with at-home allergy testing kits. These kits are used for testing for sensitivity or intolerance ingredients or environmental factors that develop with time, rather than for testing on IgE (Immunoglobulin E) allergies, which are caused by the body's immune system.

When a dog is allergic to something, his body is reacting to certain allergens that may come from trees, grass, pollens, fabrics such as wool or nylon, rubber and plastic materials, foods and food additives such as individual meats, grains, milk products, house dust and dust mites, and flea bites.

All these allergens cause itchy skin because when allergens are inhaled or ingested, or they come in contact with a dog's body, they cause the immune system to produce a protein referred to as IgE. 

This protein then fixes itself to tissue mast cells that are located in the skin, and it causes the release of various irritating chemicals such as histamine. These chemical reactions and cell types occur in appreciable amounts only within the skin of the dog.

Keep in mind that pets must be exposed to the allergen for some time before the allergy even develops. If you are not sure what your furry best friend has an allergic reaction to, then I recommend you purchase a 5Strands Pet Deluxe Package that includes four different types of tests for food intolerance, environmental intolerance, nutrition test, and metal and mineral intolerance test.  

Exceptions are only to allergies that occur after insect bites which may develop after only a few exposures. 

Your pet's body must learn to react to the allergen, and this phenomenon of the immune system is genetically programmed and passed from generation to generation in several breeds that are more prone to allergies, such as:

  • Scottish and West Highland White
  • Cairn
  • Wire Haired Fox
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • English and Irish Setter 
  • Retrievers
  • Dalmatian
  • Pug
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • English Bulldog

In dogs, allergies usually start to develop between one and three years of age, but they may start as late as age 6 or 8 as well. 

IgE allergies occur within minutes of ingestion or exposure to a specific allergen, and they can only be diagnosed through a blood test or skin prick test done by veterinarians. Home allergy test kits should not replace a consultation with your vet in case you suspect your dog has intolerances or sensitivities to something.

Keep in mind that your dog cannot actively take allergy medication for at least two weeks before conducting an allergy test. 

What Does Dog Allergy Look Like - Conclusion

Despite these allergic reactions, dogs are more likely to handle these allergic reactions very well; in most cases, they do not cause any significant health problems, and your pup will experience slight discomfort from time to time. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you are doubting that something is bothering your pup, test him on time and prevent any serious problems before the allergy fully develops. 

While dog allergies are not common, the effects can be distressing, and it is important that you take care of their health and consult with your vet.

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Michael Tarran

About Me

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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