If you’ve noticed your dog doing an unusual amount of itching, licking, or scratching, allergies may be to blame. Many vets report skin allergies as a top reason they see dogs. Allergies can affect dogs of all breeds and sizes and they can be hereditary or appear suddenly.
Inflamed, itchy, red, or scaly skin can be a sign of an allergic reaction. Abnormalities in a dog’s coat or skin should be a cause for concern, as they can indicate discomfort or an underlying health problem. Your vet will perform a full examination to determine if allergies are affecting your pup’s wellness.
Here are the 8 most common causes of dog skin allergies:
1. Seasonal Allergies
Common allergens like pollen, dust, grass, trees, mold, and weeds that affect humans seasonally can also affect dogs and their skin. Sensitivity to grass pollens (often misidentified as a grass allergy) is surprisingly common among dogs. Regular cleaning of paws, baths, and air purifiers can help lower incidences of seasonal allergies.
2. Food Allergies
Food allergies or intolerance have unfortunately become very common in dogs. They can manifest suddenly, affecting your dog’s skin and digestion. Beef, soy, dairy, and wheat are common allergens. Exclusively feeding your dog a hypoallergenic food for several weeks can help unmask a food allergy.
If your dog has a history of sensitive skin, consider switching to a hypoallergenic soap or shampoo as a proactive measure. A dog’s skin may react to insecticides or anti-flea chemicals in specialty shampoos. Also, never use your own hair products to groom a dog and only use products intended specifically for dogs.
Saliva from even one or two flea bites can trigger an allergic reaction on your dog’s skin. Flea allergy dermatitis causes red, bumpy lesions that can be very uncomfortable for the dog and require medical intervention.
5. Chemical Contact
Things like household cleaning products and detergents can occasionally cause allergic reactions when they come into contact with a dog’s skin. Harsh carpet cleaners are one of the more common causes of a contact allergy indoors. Be cautious when applying chemicals anywhere your dog might step on or rub against.
Antibiotics and vaccinations can sometimes cause a skin reaction in the form of hives. The hives often disappear within 24 hours of exposure to an allergen or medication, but if they do not, contact your vet.
Your dog’s bed could be contributing to a skin allergy. Fabrics like wool can cause itchy reactions for dogs. Choose hypoallergenic fabrics and keep bedding clean to avoid any triggers. Also remember to check labels because fillings like feathers can be allergens, too.
8. Bacterial hypersensitivity
An underlying condition like hypothyroidism can make your dog’s skin overly sensitive to a regular amount of staph on their body.
If allergies are behind your dog’s discomfort, your vet will help you determine a management and treatment plan. It may include environmental control, immunotherapy, regular bathing and foot washing, antihistamines, or a new diet. With some extra care, your dog’s skin and coat can be healthy and bright once more.
More on Skin Health
Dandruff And Flaky Skin In Dogs And Cats
Common Dog Skin Issues
4 Reasons Your Dog May Need Glucosamine And Chondroitin