Pet Health And Care >>  Dog Health >>  Dog skin allergies  
Dog skin allergies

Canine Skin Allergies

Dog skin allergies can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

It is essential to determine the cause of the allergy as this is vital in treating the problem. Some dogs suffer from rashes and dry itchy skin on a regular basis while others can show symptoms that appear suddenly. Symptoms of dog skin allergies include dry itchy skin, loss of hair, ear inflammations, chewing oneself, poor coat, stomach upset and chronic hot spots. The five types of dog allergies are food, contact, flea, inhalant and bacterial.

Dogs react to allergens with skin problems unlike humans who react with nasal problems.

In most cases, a dog skin allergy arises out of contact dermatitis. This allergic reaction results from contact with an irritant such as a spray or shampoo that has been used on the dog’s coat or skin. Certain household cleaners, plants, chemicals (laundry detergent/carpet powder), parasites and insects can also cause skin reactions.

Certain foods or ingredients can also give rise to a skin allergy. Medications or underlying conditions like thyroid disease or fungal infections also give rise to symptoms which can be mistaken for an allergy. The itching may be most severe on the armpits, groin, feet and flanks. The skin may become thick and emit a strong odor. Constant chewing and scratching will cause hot spots which lead to infection.

Dog Skin Allergies Treatments

For dog allergies, it is advisable to apply topical relief with antihistamines and/or hydrocortisone medications. Oral medication is an option too. Avoid or limit exposure to the irritant. If the irritant is identified the exposure should be limited entirely. Periods of limited exposure to certain chemicals, foods, plants or any other irritant will help identify the culprit. Cool baths, Epsom salts and medicated shampoos will provide temporary relief. Dietary supplements can also help and help relive itchiness or flakiness. This works if the problem is due to parasites or allergies. Try mixing a few tablespoons of olive oil in the dog’s food. Products containing Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty acids also reduce inflammation that lead to infection but are not as effective in reducing itching. If the above remedies do not work, contact your vet and have an allergic skin test carried out on the dog. Immunotherapy or corticosteroids should be done after consulting a vet.

A good dog skin care routine will not prevent an allergic reaction. Do keep in mind that allergic dogs should not be bred as research has shown that allergies can be inherited.

  Submitted on May 7, 2010  

Explore Pet Categories