How To Stop Dog Allergies? Everything You Need To Know

Dogs, like humans, can suffer from allergies, which occur when their immune systems identify certain everyday substances as dangerous. These substances, known as allergens, can be common things from the dog’s environment, like pollen, dust, or certain foods. The immune system’s reaction to these allergens often causes skin irritation or inflammation, commonly known as allergic dermatitis.

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What Are The Types Of Equipment Used To Treat Allergies?

Several materials and treatments can be used to manage or stop dog allergies, including prescription medications and over-the-counter products. Here are some common examples:

Flea Control Products

For dogs with flea allergies, flea control products like topical treatments, oral tablets, or flea collars can help prevent flea bites and subsequent allergic reactions.

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Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Feeding dogs with food allergies a hypoallergenic diet that doesn’t contain the allergenic ingredient(s) is usually the best approach.

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Antihistamines like Benadryl, Zyrtec, or Claritin can help control itching and other allergy symptoms in some dogs. However, always consult your vet before giving your dog any over-the-counter medication.

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Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can be used to control severe itching and inflammation, although they can have side effects with long-term use.


This treatment involves regular injections or oral drops of a small amount of the allergen, which can help to desensitize your dog’s immune system over time.

Topical Treatments

Various shampoos, creams, and sprays can help soothe itchy skin and reduce inflammation. These products may contain colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, or hydrocortisone.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements

These can be given orally and help support skin health and reduce inflammation.

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Apoquel or Cytopoint

These prescription medications specifically target itch and inflammation in allergic dogs.

Air Purifiers

These devices can help remove allergens like dust and pollen from the air in your home, which may benefit dogs with environmental allergies.

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Allergy-Resistant Bedding

Special bedding materials can help minimize exposure to dust mites, a common dog allergen.

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These are just some of the potential materials and treatments used to manage allergies in dogs. However, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian before starting any new treatment regimen, as they can provide you with the most appropriate and safe options based on your dog’s specific needs.

Common Types of Allergies

Here are some common types of allergies in dogs:

Food Allergies

Some dogs can have allergies to certain food ingredients such as chicken, beef, soy, wheat, or corn. Symptoms can include gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and vomiting, but they often also include symptoms like itching, poor skin and coat, and chronic ear or foot infections.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

This is an allergic reaction to flea saliva and is one of dogs’ most common allergies. Even a flea bite can cause severe itching and skin inflammation in dogs with this allergy.

Atopic Dermatitis

This is a chronic skin disease associated with environmental allergens, like dust mites, pollens, and molds. These allergens can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Symptoms can include itching, redness, and chronic ear infections.

Contact Dermatitis

This is caused by contact with certain substances such as plastic, fabrics, or chemicals. The skin may become red, itchy, bumpy, or swell.

In general, allergic symptoms in dogs are primarily dermatological and include itching, redness, and skin irritation, but they can also cause respiratory or digestive issues. If you notice any signs of allergies in your dog, it is important to consult with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

What are the Causes of Allergies in Dogs?

Allergies in dogs are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to substances (allergens) that are typically harmless to most animals. Different allergens can trigger allergies in susceptible dogs. Here are some common causes:

Environmental Allergens

  • Pollen: From trees, grasses, and weeds.
  • Mold spores: From moldy environments, especially in damp conditions.
  • Dust mites: Tiny creatures found in household dust.
  • Dander: Often from other animals, though some dogs can even be allergic to human dander.
  • Feathers: From birds or feathered bedding products.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Caused by an allergic reaction to flea saliva when a flea bites the dog. Even a single bite can trigger an intense allergic reaction in sensitive dogs.

Food Allergens

  • Proteins: Beef, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit, and fish are common protein sources that some dogs might be allergic to.
  • Grains: Such as wheat, corn, and soy.
  • Dairy: Some dogs are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk proteins.
  • Eggs: Particularly the proteins found in them.
  • Artificial additives: Colors, flavors, or preservatives can sometimes cause allergic reactions.
  • It’s worth noting that a genuine food allergy differs from food intolerance, which doesn’t involve the immune system.

Contact Allergens

  • Rubber and Plastic: Some dogs can develop allergies to their food or water bowls if made from certain materials.
  • Shampoos, Soaps, and Other Topical Products: Especially those with harsh chemicals or fragrances.
  • Fabrics: Such as wool or synthetic fibers.
  • Flea Collars or Medications: Some dogs can be allergic to ingredients in flea treatments.
  • Household Cleaning Products: Such as floor cleaners or detergents.

Other Causes

  • Medications: Just like humans, dogs can have allergic reactions to certain drugs.
  • Insect bites or stings: Besides fleas, bites from other insects like mosquitoes or stings from bees or wasps can trigger allergic reactions in some dogs.

Allergies can be challenging to diagnose because many symptoms overlap with other conditions. If you suspect your dog has an allergy, a veterinarian will help pinpoint the cause, often using elimination techniques, blood tests, skin tests, or dietary trials.

Is Allergy a Complicated Issue in Dogs?

Allergies in dogs can be complex to diagnose, manage, and treat, making them a potentially complicated issue for both veterinarians and pet owners. Here’s why allergies in dogs are considered complex:

Overlap of Symptoms

Allergic reactions in dogs often manifest as skin problems. The itching, redness, and inflammation seen with allergies can also be present with other skin conditions, making it challenging to determine the root cause.

Multiple Allergens

Dogs can be allergic to multiple substances simultaneously, and distinguishing between them can be lengthy. For example, a dog with food and environmental allergies might require extensive testing and trial periods to pinpoint each allergen.

Changing Allergies

Just because a dog hasn’t shown allergies in the past doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. Dogs can develop new allergies as they age, which can be confusing for pet owners.


While some allergies can be managed by simply avoiding the allergen, it’s not always feasible, especially with environmental allergens like pollen. Long-term management might involve dietary changes, medications, topical treatments, and environmental modifications.

Secondary Infections

The itching associated with allergies can lead to excessive scratching or licking, which can cause secondary bacterial or fungal skin infections. These infections can complicate treatment and often require additional medications.

Side Effects of Treatment

Some common allergy treatments, like corticosteroids, can have side effects, especially when used long-term. Finding a balance between managing the allergy and minimizing side effects can be challenging.


Diagnosing and managing allergies can be expensive. Testing, special diets, medications, and frequent veterinary visits can increase.

Quality of Life

Chronic allergies can significantly impact a dog’s quality of life. Continuous itching and discomfort can lead to restlessness, behavioral changes, and sleep disturbances.

Emotional Strain for Owners

Watching a beloved pet suffering from chronic itching and discomfort can be emotionally taxing for pet owners, especially when solutions aren’t immediately evident.

Many dogs with allergies can lead comfortable and happy lives with the right diagnosis, treatment, and management. It requires collaboration between the pet owner and the veterinarian to determine the best strategies for each dog.

Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs

Symptoms of allergies in dogs include:

  • Itching (pruritus)
  • Red or inflamed skin
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Scratching, licking, or chewing at certain areas
  • Hair loss (alopecia)
  • Runny eyes or nose
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea (typically with food allergies)
  • Secondary skin infections (bacterial or fungal)

A Step-by-step Guide To Stop Dog Allergies

Managing or stopping allergies in dogs usually involves avoiding the allergen, managing symptoms, and supporting your dog’s overall health. Here are some general strategies:

Identify the Allergen

If possible, identify what is causing the allergy. This might require an elimination diet, skin testing, or blood testing under the supervision of a vet.


Once you know what’s causing the allergy, avoiding the allergen is the best way to stop the allergic reactions. For food allergies, this means feeding a diet that does not contain the allergenic ingredient. For contact allergies, this means avoiding the material that causes the reaction.

Flea Control

If your dog is allergic to flea bites, use a comprehensive program to keep fleas off your dog and eliminate them from your home.


Many medications can help control allergy symptoms in dogs. These include antihistamines, corticosteroids, cyclosporine, and newer treatments like Apoquel and Cytopoint.


If your dog is allergic to something that can’t be avoided, like pollen, your vet might recommend immunotherapy. This usually involves regular injections or oral drops of the allergen to help desensitize your dog’s immune system.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Supplements with omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and support skin health. They’re often used as part of the treatment plan for allergies.

Maintain Skin Health

Use hypoallergenic shampoos and conditioners to keep your dog’s skin in good condition and help it recover from any allergy-related damage.

Regular Cleaning

Clean your dog’s bedding and other areas where allergens can accumulate.

Remember, treating allergies can be a long-term process, and it often requires ongoing management. What works for one dog may not work for another, so finding the right treatment plan might take some trial and error. Always consult with a vet if you think your dog has allergies.

Diagnostic Test to Detect Allergies in Dogs 

Dogs with allergies can lead comfortable and happy lives with the right diagnosis, treatment, and management. It requires collaboration between the pet owner and the veterinarian to determine the best strategies for each dog.

Clinical History and Physical Examination

A detailed clinical history is crucial. The veterinarian will want to know when symptoms first appeared, any seasonal variations, the dog’s diet, any recent changes in environment or lifestyle, and any treatments already tried. The physical examination will check the skin for redness, inflammation, or infection patterns.

Intradermal Skin Testing

  • Also known as patch testing or prick testing.
  • Small amounts of standardized allergens are injected into the superficial layers of the skin using fine needles.
  • The veterinarian observes the reaction, typically looking for wheals (raised bumps) to form within a certain time frame.
  • This test is particularly used for detecting environmental allergies.

Serological (Blood) Testing

  • Measures the amount of allergen-specific antibodies (IgE) in the dog’s blood.
  • While this test can identify potential allergens, it may not be as sensitive or specific as skin testing.

Elimination Diet Trials

  • Used to diagnose food allergies.
  • The dog is placed on a strict diet consisting of protein and carbohydrate sources it has never been exposed to before.
  • After several weeks, if symptoms improve, the original foods are reintroduced individually to pinpoint the allergen.
  • It’s essential to ensure the dog doesn’t consume anything other than the prescribed diet, including treats, during this period.


  • Involves examining skin swabs or scrapings under a microscope.
  • Used to identify secondary bacterial or fungal infections commonly seen with allergic skin reactions.

Fecal Exam

Sometimes used to rule out parasitic causes of skin irritation, which can mimic allergies.

Response to Treatment

In some cases, if a veterinarian has a strong suspicion of a specific allergen, they might treat the dog and observe the response. For example, an effective flea treatment may be administered if flea allergy dermatitis is suspected.

Patch Testing

  • Less common than intradermal skin testing.
  • Small patches with potential allergens are applied to the skin, and reactions are observed after a set period.

It’s worth noting that no single test is 100% accurate in determining allergies in all dogs. A combination of tests, clinical history, and response to treatments or dietary changes will often be used to arrive at a definitive diagnosis. The process can be time-consuming, but it’s essential for understanding the underlying cause of a dog’s allergic symptoms and providing the most effective treatment.

How Long Does It Take To Treat Dog Allergies?

The length of time it takes to treat allergies in dogs depends on several factors, including the type of allergy, the severity of the symptoms, the specific treatment plan, and the individual dog’s response to treatment. Here are some general timelines:

Food Allergies

Identifying and treating food allergies can take weeks to months. This usually involves putting the dog on an elimination diet to identify the offending food, which can take 8-12 weeks, followed by a challenge phase to confirm the allergen. Once the allergen is identified and removed from the diet, symptoms usually improve within a few weeks.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

If the allergy is due to fleas, the symptoms can improve within a few days to weeks once effective flea control is implemented. However, it may take longer for the skin to heal fully, especially if it has been significantly irritated or the dog has been scratching or biting the area.

Atopic Dermatitis

This is a chronic condition, and managing it may require lifelong treatment. The response to treatment varies between dogs. Some dogs may show improvement within a few days to weeks, while others may take longer.

Contact Dermatitis

Once the allergen causing the contact allergy is identified and removed, symptoms often improve within a few days. However, the skin may take a couple of weeks to heal fully.

While the above timelines provide a general idea, it’s important to note that every dog is unique, and the length of treatment can vary widely. Allergy treatments often involve a combination of avoiding the allergen, medications to control symptoms, and sometimes immunotherapy. Always consult your vet for a more accurate timeline based on your dog’s condition and treatment plan.

How to Prevent Dog Allergies?

Allergies in dogs can be challenging, but with the right approach, they can be effectively managed. Here are some tips that can help:

Identify the Allergen

Work with your vet to identify what’s causing your dog’s allergies. It could be food, fleas, dust mites, mold, or other potential allergens.

Eliminate the Allergen

If possible, eliminate the allergen from your dog’s environment. This might mean switching to different dog food, keeping your dog inside during high pollen times, or using a flea preventative regularly.

Use Medication

Various medications can help control your dog’s allergy symptoms. Antihistamines, corticosteroids, and newer medications like Apoquel and Cytopoint can be effective. Consult with your vet to determine what’s best for your dog.

Try Immunotherapy

If your dog’s allergies are due to something that can’t be eliminated from their environment, your vet might recommend immunotherapy. This involves exposing your dog to small amounts of the allergen over time to help its immune system become less reactive.

Maintain Skin Health

Regular baths with hypoallergenic shampoo can help soothe your dog’s skin and remove allergens from its coat. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements can also help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Regular Cleaning

Regularly clean your dog’s bedding and other areas they frequently spend time in to help minimize their exposure to allergens.

Use Allergen-Reducing Products

Consider using air purifiers and allergen-reducing bedding to help minimize the presence of allergens in your home.

Limit Outdoor Time During Peak Allergy Season

If your dog is allergic to pollen or molds, limit their outdoor time during high pollen times or when molds are prevalent.

Remember, treating allergies can be a long-term process, and it often requires ongoing management. What works for one dog may not work for another, so finding the right treatment plan might take some trial and error. Always consult with a vet if you think your dog has allergies.

What To Do If These Measures Do Not Work?

If the steps you’ve taken to manage your dog’s allergies are not working, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary dermatologist. They may need to reassess your dog’s condition and conduct more tests to understand better what is causing the allergies. Here’s what you might consider:


It might be possible that the initial diagnosis was not accurate or complete. A reevaluation might lead to new findings that help better manage your dog’s allergies.

Second Opinion

If your dog’s allergies are not improving despite treatment, getting a second opinion from another vet or specialist might be beneficial. Veterinary dermatologists have specialized training in diagnosing and treating skin conditions in animals.

Allergy Testing

If this hasn’t been done already, allergy testing could help identify what your dog is allergic to. This could include a blood test or intradermal skin testing.

New Treatments

New treatments are always being developed for managing allergies in pets. Your vet might suggest trying a new medication or treatment approach.

Dietary Changes

If your dog’s allergies are suspected to be food-related, a diet trial with a hypoallergenic or limited ingredient diet can be useful. This process can take several weeks to months and requires strict adherence to the diet to identify if a food allergy is present accurately.


If the allergen cannot be avoided, allergen-specific immunotherapy, which involves the administration of the allergen in gradually increasing amounts to help your dog develop tolerance to it, might be a viable option.

Remember, managing allergies can be long and often requires patience and persistence. Always keep your vet involved and informed about your dog’s condition and response to the treatment.

Home Remedies to Treat Allergies in Dogs

If your dog is exhibiting signs of allergies, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. However, some home remedies can help soothe allergic symptoms in dogs. Here are several suggestions:

Oatmeal Bath

  • Oatmeal has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe itchy and irritated skin.
  • Grind plain oatmeal into a fine powder and mix it with water to create a paste. Add this to a warm bath and let your dog soak for 10-15 minutes.
  • Alternatively, you can purchase colloidal oatmeal shampoos and conditioners formulated specifically for dogs.

Coconut Oil

  • Contains lauric acid, which can help decrease yeast production and soothe skin.
  • You can apply coconut oil directly to the dog’s skin or add it to their food. However, introduce it slowly and in moderation, as too much can cause diarrhea.

Aloe Vera

  • Has anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
  • Use pure aloe vera gel (without alcohol or added ingredients) and apply it to the affected areas.

Apple Cider Vinegar

  • It can help relieve itchy skin and repel fleas.
  • Apply apple cider vinegar and water to your dog’s skin in a spray bottle. Avoid spraying it on open sores or wounds, as it can sting.
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Epsom Salt Baths

  • Useful for soothing skin and reducing inflammation.
  • Add Epsom salt to a warm bath and let your dog soak. Ensure your dog doesn’t drink the water, as Epsom salt can have a laxative effect when ingested.
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Fish Oil Supplements

  • Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help reduce inflammation and improve skin health.
  • You can add fish oil capsules or liquid supplements to your dog’s food. Always consult with your vet about the appropriate dosage.

Local Honey

Some believe feeding dogs a small amount of local honey can help desensitize them to pollen allergies, as the honey contains trace amounts of local pollen. However, the evidence is anecdotal, and honey should be given in moderation.

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Chamomile and Green Tea Soaks

  • Both chamomile and green tea have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Brew the tea, let it cool, and then use it as a rinse or soak for your dog’s paws or irritated skin.
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Quercetin Supplements

  • Quercetin is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
  • Before giving your dog any supplements, including quercetin, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian to ensure the correct dosage and to avoid potential interactions with other medications.

While these home remedies can provide some relief, they might not address the root cause of the allergy. Regular veterinary check-ups and a comprehensive treatment plan are essential for managing allergies effectively. If your dog’s symptoms worsen or don’t improve, seek veterinary advice promptly.

Are Some Breeds of Dogs More Prone to Allergies? 

Yes, some breeds of dogs are more prone to developing allergies than others. Allergies in dogs can manifest in various ways, including skin issues (such as itching, redness, and hot spots), respiratory symptoms, and gastrointestinal problems. The most common allergens for dogs include pollen, mold, dust mites, other environmental factors, and certain foods and fleas.

The following dog breeds are known to be more susceptible to allergies:

  • West Highland White Terrier(Westie): Often shows signs of skin allergies.
  • Bulldog: Prone to various health issues, including skin and food allergies.
  • Boxer: Commonly exhibits food and environmental allergies.
  • Golden Retriever: Susceptible to skin conditions, including allergic reactions.
  • Labrador Retriever: Like golden retrievers, they can also have skin allergies.
  • Dalmatian: Prone to skin and food allergies.
  • French Bulldog: Their facial wrinkles can harbor moisture and debris, leading to skin infections or aggravating existing allergies.
  • Boston Terrier: These dogs often have allergic reactions, leading to respiratory issues due to their short snouts.
  • Shar-Pei: Their unique skin folds can make them susceptible to skin issues, including allergies.
  • German Shepherd: This breed often develops food allergies.
  • Cocker Spaniel: They frequently deal with ear infections, which can be due to allergies.
  • Irish Setter: Known to develop food allergies.
  • Pug: They can have both food and environmental allergies.
  • Bichon Frise: Their curly coat can be sometimes trap allergens, leading to skin allergies.
  • Shih Tzu: This breed often deals with allergic dermatitis.

However, it’s essential to remember that any dog, regardless of breed, can develop allergies. 

Genetics, environment, diet, and other factors play a role. If you suspect your dog has allergies, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and find an appropriate treatment.

Moreover, proactively managing your dog’s environment can help reduce exposure to potential allergens. Regularly cleaning the living space, using air purifiers, giving frequent baths, and providing a balanced diet are some steps owners can take to help their allergic dogs.


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