Is your dog itching but no fleas are to be found? If you’ve already ruled out mange in dogs, then the next logical step in the diagnosis is allergies. Allergies in dogs, like with humans, are difficult because there are so many things that can cause an allergic reaction.
Aside from fleas, the second most common reason for dog itching and licking is allergies. It is also the hardest problem to pinpoint, because just like people, dogs can be allergic to anything.
Dog Allergies Symptoms
Common allergens for dogs are food, inhalant (atopy), and flea bites. Listed below are some of the more common symptoms of dog allergies:
- excessive itching and scratching
- hot spots
- bald spots
- recurring ear infections
- nasal and eye discharge
- continuous sneezing
- odors (gas and stool)
- obsessive licking
- excessive shedding
- dull coat
Dog Allergies Treatment
These dog allergies treatments are for unpleasant dog allergy symptoms – not life-threatening.
If your dog has serious or life threatening allergies, then you need to take your dog to your vet, who will know what is best for your situation.
Dog Food Allergies/Intolerance
Although much is said about food allergies in dogs, true dog food allergies are the least common allergy among dogs. And unfortunately, food allergies in dogs cannot always be accurately determined with blood tests. More often than not, your dog develops a food intolerance, not a true allergy – and this is GOOD news because a healthier dog food might be all your dog needs.
Dog Food Allergies Treatment
The only way to reliably tell if your dog is allergic/intolerant to a food is by using the elimination diet. This is where you provide one new protein source and one new carb source for your dog to eat, and only eat this, for 8 to 12 weeks. There should be no treats or table scraps while on the elimination diet.
CAUTION: If you have a special needs dog, a puppy, or a pregnant or lactating dog, the elimination diet may not be advisable, as your dog may not be getting all the necessary nutrients during this time period. Consult with your vet before any change of diet.
If your dog food allergy symptoms disappear (this will not happen for a couple of weeks), then it may be a food allergy. To confirm this, after the 12 week elimination diet is completed, you can either go back to the old diet or try introducing foods one at a time and watch for reactions. The most common foods to provoke allergies in dogs are wheat, corn, chicken, dairy, and soy – although anything can be the culprit.
If you don’t want to, or don’t feel comfortable feeding your dog as described above, then the best food for dog food allergies would be a quality hypoallergenic dog food, which is packed full of nutrients your dog needs. Lack of quality nutrients can actually frazzle an immune system, causing it to always be on the attack and mimic allergies.
A hypoallergenic dog food has a limited number of ingredients which helps to reduce the possible allergens your dog is exposed to. Some of these foods will also use ingredients your dog has probably never had, such as duck, venison, barley, and sweet potatoes, and thus have no adverse reactions to. Many people see a great improvements in their dogs allergies just by switching to a hypoallergenic dog food. While not the most common reason for an allergy, dog food is by far the easiest to control for testing. Two of the best hypoallergenic dog foods are Wellness Simple Solutions and Natural Balance LID.
Inhalant Dog Allergies
Inhalant and atopy (absorbed through the skin) dog allergies can also cause skin allergies in dogs. Inhalants can include pollen from trees, grasses, and flowers. Atopy allergies to rubber and plastics are also common, as well as different fabrics, like wool and nylon. Another culprit are chemicals that are used on carpets and chairs. Remember, your dog is constantly on the ground and therefore constantly breathing and rubbing on the toxins of these chemically treated items, much more so than humans, and are a common cause of dog skin allergies. With dog allergies itching is one of the most common symptoms of allergies in dogs and trying to determine the cause can become very frustrating for the pet owner.
Dog Allergies Treatment for Inhalents/Atopy
If the dog skin allergy symptoms are seasonal, then pollen is a good bet. Unless your dog is tearing up his skin with all the scratching, most people just tend to let it play out, as it usually only lasts for a few weeks. If the scratching is too much, try a colloidal oatmeal dog shampoo and/or a spot-on itch relief treatment.
For other types of allergens, such as chemical or fabric, finding the source may be more difficult. Watch where your dog goes in the house and try to isolate what may be causing the problem. If you just started using a new cleaner, try changing to a new one. A new dog bed? Take it away. If nothing new has been introduced, then you will have to test with the trial-and-error method. Remember, an allergy can pop up anytime and to just about anything, even something that the dog has been accustomed to for years (I know – not very helpful!).
Something which also may help is to boost your dog’s immune system with Omega-3 and biotin supplements. These have been reported to help alleviate some allergy symptoms and could make your dog more comfortable during pollen season.
When dealing with any type of pet allergy symptoms, improving nutrition is always a great place to start. Your dog can never be too healthy and all the symptoms from dog allergies (scratching, ear infections, and digestive issues) creates a lot of stress on your dog’s body. Boosting the immune system and adding extra essential fatty acids can only help your dog cope as you figure out the problem.
Dog Allergies From Flea Bites
Flea bites are a common cause for your dog’s itchy skin. It is the saliva of the flea that gets under the skin when bitten that causes the itching sensation. If your dog has an allergic reaction to the bite, flea allergy dermatitis can be the result. The itching and scratching will be intense and can last for days after the actual flea bite. There will be actual bite(s), but depending on your dog’s coat, they may be very difficult to see. Your best bet for a dog flea allergy is flea control.
Dog Allergies Treatment for Fleas
The main thing to remember about flea bite allergies is that your dog does not have to be infested with fleas. If your dog is has a severe allergy to flea bites, one bite can cause a major allergic reaction.With their skin already sensitive and irritated, learn how to get rid of fleas naturally. Try using an all-natural dog flea treatment for both your dog and your house to keep fleas at bay.
Dog Allergy Treatment Summary
The type of allergy treatment will depend on the allergen, but most average allergies can be controlled naturally, with a little extra effort on our part. Whether it be feeding a different food or reducing the amount of outside time, we can considerably help our dog’s situation without the need to medicate with anti-histamines or steroids.
Adding dog supplements to your dog’s food is a great place to start, regardless of the reason for the allergies. Most dogs do not get enough of the nutrients and enzymes that they need to be able to fight off these allergens naturally. By boosting the immune system, you may be able to alleviate a lot of your dog’s allergy symptoms.
Immediate Relief From Itching Due To Dog Allergies
While you are trying to find the cause for your dog allergies, you still need to address the immediate problem of all your dog’s itching and scratching. It is more than just annoying, it is also hurting and inflaming their skin. Try some natural dog itching remedies to provide that immediate relief to your dog allergies.