Dog Allergies

12 Different Dog Allergies

Dog allergies occur when the dog’s immune system misidentifies a harmless substance (allergen) as a threat and triggers a chain of reactions to attack the substance. 

Dogs are prone to many allergies, including flea allergy dermatitis, contact dermatitis, inhalant allergies, airborne allergies (atopic dermatitis), and food allergies. 

Allergies in dogs manifest in the gastrointestinal, upper respiratory, or skin systems. Dog skin allergies are prevalent, with red and itchy skin being the telltale allergy sign. 

The dog allergy treatment is multimodal and involves several aspects, such as limited allergen exposure, frequent bathing, a special diet, ongoing flea control, and anti-allergy medications or supplements. 

1. Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs 

Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is one of the most common types of dog allergies and is caused by hypersensitivity to flea saliva. 

Flea saliva contains allergenic proteins, which enter the dog’s skin while fleas feed. A flea bite triggers a reaction in a sensitive dog, causing severe itchiness and skin irritation. 

The dog allergy treatment for flea allergy dermatitis in dogs involves flea elimination. Keeping the dog up-to-date on anti-flea products prevents infestations and flea bite allergies. 

2. Contact Dermatitis in Dogs

Allergic contact dermatitis is a localized allergy caused by direct contact with an allergen. Contact dermatitis in dogs is rare and triggered by certain chemicals and grasses.

Allergic contact dermatitis causes a rash at the contact point. Redness, itchiness, and hives are other visible signs of an allergic reaction.  

The dog allergy treatment for contact dermatitis includes removing the allergen through bathing or wiping and using short-term antihistamines or steroids. Avoiding future contact with the allergen prevents subsequent reactions.  

3. Inhalant Allergies in Dogs

An inhalant allergy (known as an atopy) is an allergic reaction triggered by inhaled allergens. Common culprits include pollens from trees, grasses, weeds, mold spores, mildew, and dust. 

Inhalant allergies in dogs manifest through upper respiratory symptoms or itchy, irritated skin. 

Appropriate dog allergy treatment involves limiting allergen exposure and using anti-allergy medications and supplements. 

Inhalant allergies are challenging to prevent since the allergens are ubiquitous in the dog’s environment. 

4. Mites in Dogs

Mites in dogs cause two types of allergies: inhalant if the mites are inhaled or airborne (atopic dermatitis) if the mites enter the dog’s skin pores. 

Dogs sensitive to mites develop red, inflamed, and itchy skin, however, mites trigger upper respiratory tract symptoms in some cases, like sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, and runny eyes. 

The dog allergy treatment for mites in dogs involves using anti-allergy medications. Frequent bathing or wiping helps prevent allergies by removing the mites from the dog’s skin, while regular cleaning eliminates mites from the dog’s environment.  

5. Beef Allergies in Dogs

Beef allergies occur when the dog is sensitive to beef. Beef allergies in dogs are widespread because beef is a commonly used protein in pet food formulas. 

Dog allergies to beef manifest with an upset stomach (vomiting and diarrhea), skin irritation and itchiness, and frequent ear infections. 

The best dog allergy treatment for beef sensitivity is removing beef from the dog’s diet. 

6. Chicken Allergies in Dogs

Chicken allergies occur when the dog is sensitive to chicken. Chicken allergies in dogs are common because chicken is a primary protein source in pet food formulas. 

Dog allergy reactions to chicken include an upset stomach (vomiting and diarrhea), skin irritation and itchiness, and frequent ear infections. 

The correct dog allergy treatment for chicken sensitivity is removing chicken from the dog’s diet. 

7. Milk Allergies in Dogs

Milk allergies occur when the dog is allergic to milk or its primary sugar, lactose. True milk allergies in dogs involve the immune system and are rare compared to lactose intolerance. 

Dog allergies to milk or lactose include digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea, skin irritation and itchiness, and frequent ear infections. 

The dog allergy treatment for milk sensitivity is removing milk and other dairy products from the diet. 

8. Grain Allergies in Dogs

Grain allergies develop when the dog is sensitive to grains. Grain allergies in dogs are uncommon, contrary to popular belief. 

Dog allergies to grain cause itchy, irritated skin, secondary bacterial infections, frequent ear infections, and stomach unrest like vomiting, diarrhea, and gassiness. 

The dog allergy treatment for grain sensitivity is removing grain from the dog’s diet. 

9. Egg Allergies in Dogs

Egg allergies occur when the dog is sensitive to egg whites, egg yolks, or both. Egg allergies in dogs are relatively common, especially chicken egg allergies. 

Dog allergies to whole eggs, egg yolks, and egg whites manifest with an upset stomach, like vomiting and diarrhea, skin irritation and itchiness, and frequent ear infections. 

The dog allergy treatment for egg sensitivity is removing eggs from the dog’s diet. 

10. Soy Allergy in Dogs

Soy allergies develop when the dog is sensitive to soy. Soy allergies in dogs are frequent since many pet food manufacturers use soy as a cheap, plant-based protein source. 

Common dog allergies to soy include itchy skin, stomach upset like vomiting and diarrhea, and frequent ear infections. 

The dog allergy treatment for soy sensitivity is removing soy from the diet and analyzing dog food ingredients to ensure no soy derivatives are in the formula. 

11. Airborne Allergies in Dogs

Airborne allergy (atopic dermatitis) is a type of allergic reaction that occurs when allergens from the air enter the dog’s body through a defective skin barrier. 

Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common dog allergies, affecting 10-15% of the dog population. 

Pollens, molds, and dust particles frequently cause airborne allergies in dogs. Atopic dermatitis is a life-long condition that causes itchy skin. 

The dog allergy treatment for atopic dermatitis is complex and includes fortifying the skin barrier, suppressing the dog’s immune system, and soothing the allergy symptoms. 

12. Lamb Allergy in Dogs

Lamb allergies develop when the dog is sensitive to lamb. Lamb allergies in dogs are uncommon because dogs rarely ingest lamb as part of their diet. Lamb is not a primary protein in dog food. 

Dog allergies to lamb clinically present with skin irritation, itchiness, secondary skin infections, vomiting, diarrhea, and frequent ear infections. 

The correct dog allergy treatment for lamb sensitivity is removing lamb from the dog’s diet. 

What are Allergies in Dogs?

Allergies in dogs are conditions in which the immune system overreacts to otherwise harmless substances like pollen, dander, molds, foods, or medication. 

The immune system’s role is to recognize and attack potential threats. Dog allergies occur when the dog’s immune system misidentifies a harmless substance as a threat and triggers an attack against the substance. 

The substances that trick the immune system into misrecognizing them are classified as allergens. The distribution of allergens varies depending on climate and region, but most dog allergens are found in the house and the pet’s food. 

What Causes Allergies in Dogs?

The causes of allergies in dogs are listed below.

  • Flea Saliva: Flea saliva is a common cause of allergies in dogs. When feeding, fleas inject saliva into the dog’s skin, and a single flea bite is enough to trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive dogs. 
  • Proteins in Dog Food: Dog allergies are often triggered by proteins found in dog food. Some of dogs' most common food allergens include beef, chicken, chicken eggs, dairy, wheat gluten, and soy.  
  • Insects, Spiders, and Mites: Insects and spiders cause local allergic reactions in dogs following bites and stings, while mites trigger the immune system when inhaled or if they gain entrance through the dog’s skin pores. 
  • Environmental Allergens: Environmental allergens cause allergies through inhalation or direct skin contact. Frequent environmental allergens for dogs include pollens, mold spores, dust, and dander from other pets. 

Why do Dogs have Allergies?

Dogs have allergies when an allergen triggers their immune systems. The exact reason why the immune system mistakes harmless substances for threats is unknown. 

Researchers believe dog allergies have a genetic component because certain breeds are more prone to allergic reactions. Popular dog breeds susceptible to allergies include Bulldogs, Boxers, Retrievers, Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, and Bichon Frises. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association claims that the incidence of allergies in dogs is rising. Flea allergies have increased by 12.5% in the past decade, and environmental allergies rose by 30.7% within the same timeframe. 

The increase in greenhouse gasses, profuse pollen production by plants, and more intense pet food processing are potential reasons why dog allergies are trending. 

What are Common Dog Allergy Symptoms?

The common dog allergy symptoms are listed below. 

  • Upset Stomach: An upset stomach in dogs manifests with vomiting and diarrhea, a common symptom of dog allergies. A limited appetite, weight loss, and abdominal pain often accompany long-term vomiting and diarrhea. 
  • Runny Nose and Eyes: Allergies in dogs cause runny nose and eyes in many cases. Sneezing, wheezing, and coughing are frequent visual cues in dogs with runny noses. 
  • Skin Irritation and Itching: Red and irritated skin is a typical allergy symptom. Irritated skin is itchy, making the dog prone to intense scratching, licking, and face rubbing. Secondary skin infections and hair loss follow the prolonged scratching. 

When should you Visit the Vet for Dog Check up?

You should visit the vet for a dog check-up if allergies are suspected. Dog allergies are not life-threatening but affect the dog’s quality of life, requiring prompt veterinary attention. 

Allergies in dogs are challenging to diagnose and treat. Delaying a veterinary consultation prolongs the dog’s suffering and increases the risk of complications, for example, secondary bacterial skin infection due to excess scratching.

What are the Effects of Allergies in Dogs?

The effects of allergies in dogs are listed below. 

  • Frequent Ear Infections: Chronic or recurring ear infections are a common result of dog allergies. The ears become red and itchy, and the dog scratches or paws at the ears and shakes its head or tilts it to one side.  
  • Canine Anxiety: Skin allergies in dogs induce mild to severe itchiness, which, unless promptly handled, culminates in anxiety. Anxious dogs are prone to licking themselves, aggravating the existing skin issues. 
  • Behavioral Problems: Skin allergies influence adverse dog behavior. A recent study by the University of Nottingham found a link between itchiness (the main allergy symptom) and problematic dog behavior (mounting, chewing, hyperactivity, eating feces, attention seeking, excessive grooming). 
  • Reduced Life Quality: Allergies are not life-threatening but diminish the dog’s overall quality of life. Being in constant itchiness is a nuisance for the dog and the owners. 

How to Treat Allergies in Dogs?

To treat allergies in dogs, follow the steps listed below. 

  1. Identify the Allergen: The first step in treating dog allergies is identifying the allergen. The diagnostic procedure depends on the type of suspected allergy and includes food trial or blood, hair, saliva, and intradermal testing. 
  2. Provide a Special Diet: The treatment of choice for dogs with food allergies is using specialized diets free from the offending protein. Many pet food brands offer hypoallergenic dog foods with elemental amino acids and novel or hydrolyzed proteins. 
  3. Use Flea Control Products: Use anti-flea products regularly to prevent infestations and flea allergy dermatitis. The treatment for dogs with already developed flea allergies is eliminating the fleas. 
  4. Limit Allergen Exposure: Limiting allergen exposure is helpful but not always possible. Using air purifiers, keeping the windows closed, and avoiding walks near trees or plants helps reduce allergic reactions in dogs sensitive to pollen. 
  5. Practice Frequent Bathing: Frequent bathing or using pet wipes helps remove allergens from the dog’s skin and is critical in treating atopic dermatitis and contact allergies. 
  6. Use Allergy Medications or Supplements: Oral or injectable meds (antihistamines, steroids, immune-suppressing drugs) and desensitization (allergy shots) are advised for severe dog allergies. Supplements such as fish and CBD oil combined with mainstream medications help manage allergy symptoms. 

How can you Determine if your Dog has allergies to Certain Foods?

You can determine if your dog has allergies to certain foods by conducting a food trial (an elimination diet trial). 

Introduce a new food into the dog’s meals, like hydrolyzed, elemental, novel protein, or homemade diets, to perform a food trial for several weeks to clear allergens from the dog’s body. Strengthen the dog’s immune system when the allergen purge is complete by re-introducing an older food. 

The development of allergy-related signs after the challenge confirms the dog is sensitive to the re-introduced food, while the lack of symptoms indicates the food is safe for future use.   

The Veterinary Journal published a 2018 study entitled “Adverse Food Reactions: Pathogenesis, Clinical Signs, Diagnosis and Alternatives to Elimination Diets.” 

The paper states that food trials are the gold standard for diagnosing food allergies and intolerances, while blood, saliva, hair, and intradermal tests are unreliable for determining dog allergies caused by food. 

How does the Dog's Nose Get Affected by Allergies?

The dog’s nose gets affected by allergies by becoming inflamed. This nasal condition is called allergic rhinitis, and according to the MERCK Manual, it is “one of the most common upper respiratory tract malfunctions in dogs.”

Allergies provoke the dog’s immune system to release histamine. Histamine irritates the inside layer of the nose, causing inflammation and excess mucus production, typically manifesting as a blocked or runny nose. 

How are Dogs' Ears Affected by Allergies?

The dog’s ears are affected by allergies by becoming irritated and inflamed. The immune system releases histamine during an allergic reaction, causing ear inflammation (otitis) and itchiness. 

Veterinary Dermatology published a paper in 2007 entitled “Aetiology of Canine Otitis Externa: A Retrospective Study of 100 Cases.” The authors of the study state that ear infections are a symptom of dog allergies, especially allergic reactions triggered by pollens, molds, dust mites, and dog food animal proteins. 

How do the Dog's Joints Get Affected by Allergies?

The dogs’s joints do not get affected by allergies. There is no established correlation between dog allergies and joint health. 

Some dogs, however, are sensitive to glucosamine, the main active ingredient in joint health supplements. Glucosamine is sourced from shellfish and typically causes digestive issues, rashes, or shortness of breath in severe cases. 

How does the Dog's Reproductive Health Get Affected by Allergies?

The dog’s reproductive health does not get affected by allergies based on existing research. Human studies suggest a correlation between allergic reactions and reduced fertility in women, but there is no information about canine allergies. 

Dog allergies influence behavior and make dogs moody and easily irritable. The mood swings make dogs reluctant to breed in some instances but do not directly affect reproductive ability. 

Can Dogs Die from Allergies?

Yes, dogs can die from allergies. The potentially life-threatening allergy type is medically called anaphylactic reaction or anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis in dogs occurs quickly and takes two forms: localized and systemic. 

Localized anaphylaxis is more common and less dangerous, while systemic anaphylaxis is rare and, in some cases, fatal. All allergens that cause dog allergies have the potential to trigger anaphylaxis, too. 

The indicative signs of systemic anaphylaxis are hives, difficulty breathing, and blue gums. Dogs experiencing anaphylactic reactions require immediate veterinary care. 

Can CBD Oil Help Treat Dog Allergies?

Yes, CBD oil can help treat dog allergies. CBD oil for dog allergies helps on several levels, from immunity modulation to reducing inflammation and controlling itchiness. 

CBD has the ability to modify the dog’s immune system, and the immune system is the primary culprit for allergies. CBD, at the same time, has very potent anti-inflammatory and anti-pruritic properties. 

Reducing inflammation is important for managing allergies because the dog’s body responds to the allergen’s presence by initiating inflammation. Decreasing pruritus (itchiness) is essential for making the dog more comfortable since being itchy is the main allergy symptom. 

Pet CBD products for dogs with allergies are easily available and come in various forms (oils, treats, capsules, powders, topical creams). CBD is an all-natural solution and is safe to combine with mainstream medications for allergy management.