Signs My Dog Has Allergies

Dogs get allergies too, so we’re going to look at a few of the symptoms of allergies in dogs, how to tell if your dog has allergies, and what you can do about it.

Signs and symptoms of allergies in dogs

How can you tell if your dog has allergies?

The immune system, which works to protect the body from infection and disease, recognizes allergens as a threat and tries to fight them off. When this response is ongoing, it can cause discomfort and other symptoms.

Signs of allergies in dogs include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Scratching
  • Redness
  • Hives
  • Skin rashes
  • Hair loss
  • Eye discharge or conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Ear infections
  • Gastrointestinal problems (food allergy)

How can I treat my dog’s allergies?

If your dog has an allergy, you should visit your vet for treatment options. However, there are some steps you can take at home to help with the problem:

1. Antihistamines

Antihistamines are the most commonly used medication for mild allergies in dogs. They work by blocking the action of histamine, which is released by mast cells and basophils during an allergic reaction. Histamine causes many of the symptoms associated with allergies, including itching and nasal discharge.

The most common antihistamines for dogs are diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) and cetirizine (Zyrtec®). Both drugs are available in chewable tablets or liquid form, and they’re sold as over-the-counter medications that you can give to your dog without a prescription.

They’re generally safe when used at recommended doses, although some dogs don’t respond well to these medications and may experience side effects such as drowsiness or vomiting.

2. Ice packs

An ice pack can be used as a soothing remedy for skin irritations caused by allergies. An ice pack will help reduce swelling, pain and itching while cooling the area down so that it doesn’t become inflamed further.

3. Aloe or Oatmeal Shampoo

Many people have had success treating their dogs’ skin allergies by using aloe vera or oatmeal shampoos. These products are available at most grocery stores and pharmacies.

These shampoos contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that will help soothe your dog’s skin and reduce itching. Aloe vera gel is another option for soothing skin irritation and reducing inflammation.

4. Omega-3 supplements

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that may help reduce inflammation in dogs with allergies. If your vet recommends an omega-3 supplement for your dog, look for one that contains DHA and EPA — these are the two most important types of omega-3s and can be found in fish oil supplements.

Some experts recommend giving your dog a fish oil supplement or adding flaxseed oil to his diet. You can buy these supplements at any health food store or online.

You may need to give your dog the supplement for several weeks before noticing an improvement; however, it will be worth it if it means less scratching!

5. Raw meat-based diet

A raw meat-based diet has been shown to help reduce many allergy symptoms in dogs. The diet contains no processed foods, which may contain allergens that cause itching and scratching.

Some people believe that a dog’s immune system needs to be challenged by allergens in order to build up an immunity against them. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this idea.

A raw meat-based diet should only be used under the direction of your veterinarian because it is not nutritionally balanced for all stages of life and could be dangerous for puppies or pregnant dogs who are not eating properly due to malnutrition.

6. Elimination Diet

An elimination diet is a process of removing certain foods from your dog’s diet and then reintroducing them one at a time to determine if they are the cause of your dog’s symptoms.

If your dog develops an allergic reaction after eating any particular food, you’ll know which protein causes the issue. This information will help you determine which foods are safe for him and which ones should be avoided.

7. Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that aid in digestion and immune system health. They can also help reduce inflammation in dogs with allergies by reducing histamine levels and balancing bacteria within the gut. Many veterinarians recommend adding a probiotic supplement to treat allergies in dogs.

Studies have shown that probiotics may help treat diarrhea caused by allergy, as well as some gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

8. Flea medication

The most common cause of allergies in dogs is fleas. Fleas are very small insects that feed on blood from dogs or cats. The saliva from fleas causes itching, which leads to biting and scratching at the skin which results in inflammation and infection of the skin. This is called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD).

Flea medication is the most important treatment for dogs with FAD. Your veterinarian will likely recommend a prescription flea medicine that can be applied to your pet’s skin once a month. This medication helps eliminate fleas and their eggs.

There are many products available for treating fleas on your pet. Some are oral medications while others require monthly applications to the skin. Oral medications usually control flea populations within 24 hours and last up to 3 months before needing re-treatment.

You should also treat all other pets in the household with a topical or oral product as well.

9. Preventive measures

To prevent your dog from being exposed to allergens, you should vacuum your home regularly, wash the bedding often, and keep all areas of your home clean and tidy.

If your dog has allergies or if he is prone to developing them, it’s important to keep him away from certain allergens that could trigger a reaction. For example, if pollen bothers him, stay indoors when pollen counts are high.

You may also want to consider installing air filters or dehumidifiers in your home during allergy season to help reduce dust levels and keep airborne allergens down.

What do vets prescribe for allergies?

There are several prescription medications that can help alleviate the symptoms of allergies. Your veterinarian may prescribe these for your pet, or you may have to get them from your veterinarian:


Antihistamines block the effects of histamines, which are produced by your pet’s body in response to an allergen. Histamines cause most of the symptoms associated with allergies, including itching, and sneezing. Antihistamines usually come in pill or liquid form.

Corticosteroids (steroids)

Corticosteroids suppress the immune system’s inflammatory response to an allergen such as pollen or dust mites, which helps reduce inflammation. Steroids come in pill form, but they’re not suitable for long-term use because they can weaken your pet’s immune system over time and lead to infections or other health problems if used too often or for too long.


Immunotherapy involves injecting small amounts of allergens into the body over time in order to reduce or eliminate allergic reactions to them. This treatment is only effective for some types of allergies and may not work at all for others. In addition, it can take a long time before it begins to work.

What is the best dog food for dogs with allergies?

You may need to try several different types of dog food before finding one that helps resolve the problem.

Raw food

Raw food is rich in enzymes, which can be beneficial for your dog’s digestive system and immune system. There are many different types of raw diets, so you’ll need to research what’s best for your dog based on his needs and lifestyle.

If you’re new to raw feeding, it’s important that you do some research before starting your dog on this diet. You’ll want to make sure that your dog will get enough calories and nutrients without becoming overweight or obese.

Hypoallergenic dog food

If your dog has food allergies, it’s important to find a hypoallergenic dog food that contains only ingredients that don’t trigger his symptoms. You’ll need to do some research before choosing a brand of hypoallergenic dog food because there aren’t any regulations regarding the labeling and advertising of these products.

Here’s a list of the best hypoallergenic dog foods:

  1. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach, High Protein Dry Dog Food
  2. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin
  3. Hill’s Prescription Diet Derm Complete Environmental, Skin & Food Sensitivities Dry Dog Food, Veterinary Diet
  4. Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Dry Dog Food, Veterinary Diet
  5. Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
  6. CANIDAE Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food
  7. Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food
  8. Wild Earth Dog Food for Allergies, Vegan Dry Dog Food, High Protein Plant-Based Kibble
  9. NUTRO Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  10. Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Conclusion of allergies in dogs

There are many causes of allergies in dogs, including flea allergies, food allergies and environmental allergies. The symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary from mild to severe, depending on the type of allergy and the amount of exposure.

If you suspect your dog has an allergy, the first step is to visit your veterinarian. Your vet will do a physical exam and discuss your concerns. He or she may recommend skin tests or blood tests to determine if there is an allergic reaction going on.

If allergies are diagnosed, then treatment options include antihistamines and steroids (to reduce inflammation), antibiotics (if there is a secondary infection), and other medications depending on the specific type of allergy involved. It’s important that you follow up with your vet after starting treatment so that he or she can monitor how well it’s working for your dog!

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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