Dog Allergies: Signs of Pet Allergies

Common problems that arise from pet allergies includes skin redness, rashes, irritation, mild fever and sometimes swelling. Along with that pets may sneeze or will have increased bowel movements. Major signs of pet allergies are cutaneous (related to skin); while other signs may involve the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Discharges from the nose and eyes may also be signs of allergy in pets. The most common forms of pet allergies are those caused by pollens, pollutants, food components, insect and flea bites. Also any hypersensitive reactions to any drugs, leaves a pet with a spectrum of signs. Pets may experience mild to severe immuno pathological reactions; which are more severe in genetically hypersensitive pets. Treating allergies requires elimination of allergens or any underlying causes. Treatments that address the symptoms may also be practiced in severe cases to prevent further complications.

General Signs:

Pets may show different signs depending upon the cause of allergy:

Inhalant allergies; which are caused due to pollens, dust, pollution, grasses etc., are characterized by signs of erythema (skin redness), mild to severe itching (pruritus) and edema (swelling). Secondary symptoms also appear which means because of an allergic symptom, it causes a pet to injure itself, such as through itching.  In turning, itching can cause alopecia (hair loss) in the itchy area.  Seconary pet allergy complications include skin scaling, hemorrhagic (bloody) crusts  and bacterial complications associated with pyoderma (puss containing skin infection). Rhinitis (inflamed nose lining) and asthma are common complications with inhalant allergies in pets.

Foods components such as beef, chicken, milk, wheat etc. can cause severe allergic reactions in some pets. This type of food allergy is due to a hypersensitive immune response of pets towards proteins found in food. Irritation on the skin, rashes and reddening of the skin surface. Bowel movements may increase in some pets, depending upon the protein type and amount ingested.  Food intolerance can sometimes be mistaken for food allergy.  Intolerance is a problem digesting food vs. allergy which is the immune system of the pet mistakenly attacking a component of the food.

Insect bites can cause an immediate response on the skin. Swelling, redness, pain and itching are the most common signs. This is an immediate inflammatory response of the immune system, towards injected allergens into the body, commonly termed toxins. Fleabite pet allergy is another form caused by a histamine like substance in the saliva of a flea. It causes severe irritation and hyper pigmentation. Secondary complications such as alopecia (hair loss), lesions and bacterial invasions are correlated with allergies caused by flea bites.

Drugs and Medications:  the Immune systems of various pets are more sensitive towards some drugs. The reaction might not be termed as a true allergy, but is an acute immune response of pets towards drugs; which represents a form of hypersensitivity. Pets may be sensitive to some antibiotics, pain killers, anti inflammatory drugs and some steroids. Dogs may show mild signs of fever, problems in breathing, vomiting, skin rashes, abdominal pain, shock and even sudden death.


While treating pet allergies, the cause of the allergy and all of the signs associated with it must be addressed. It is recommended that while purchasing or selecting a pet, a detailed history should be reviewed and a genetic history of the breed must be claimed from breeder.

Along with use of anti allergic drugs and some required procedures, a symptomatic treatment is required in almost all kinds of allergies in order to improve the well being of the pet.

Most allergies cause skin problems in pets such as Itching, swelling, redness and rashes.  These may be treated with regular bathes with quality shampoos and by the application of natural remedies. If these signs are not treated properly, secondary complications can occur.

One natural remedy worth considering is a manufactured to help reduce pet skin allergy,  itch in dogs and cats.  The product, Allergy Itch Ease , contains ingredients such asArum triph (helpful for seasonal issues),  Viola tri (for itch that is in one or multiple locations), Comocladia (skin redness) and the well known Chamomilla (soothes the skin).

Other home remedies for skin conditions associated wtih signs of pet allergies include giving a pet a cold bath to reduce it, or a bath that contains an Aveeno colloidal oatmeal bath.  For dogs, epsom salts may help with itchy paws.  Another common approach to improve skin condition is to provide an Omega-3 fish oil supplement such as Omega-3 Pet Formula.

Respiratory signs associated with pet allergies such as sneezing, rhinitis etc. may be treated by using inhalers, and non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs.   Salicyclic acids are considered to be most effective.

Anti–emetic drugs and restriction of potentially allergenic foods are required during a food allergy. Detailed trial food therapies and then replacements are a must in such cases.

Pets must be tested for any sensitivity towards drugs, especially towards antibiotics and pain killers.