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Itchy Dog

How to Identify Allergies in Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

As any devoted dog owner knows, our furry friends are just as susceptible to allergies as we are. Identifying allergies in dogs can be a perplexing task, given the multitude of potential triggers and symptoms. This guide aims to shed light on canine allergies, providing you with the knowledge you need to help your pup live a more comfortable life.

Types of Allergies

Understanding the various kinds of allergies that can affect dogs is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

Food Allergies

These are triggered by certain ingredients in your dog's diet. Common culprits include beef, chicken, and grains like wheat.

Environmental Allergies

Also known as atopic dermatitis, these allergies are caused by environmental factors such as pollen, mold, and dust mites.

Contact Allergies

These occur when your dog's skin comes into direct contact with an allergen, such as certain types of grass, plastic, or even specific fabrics.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

In this case, it’s not the fleas themselves causing the allergy, but their saliva. A single bite can cause severe itching and discomfort.

Comparison Table: Types of Allergies

Type of Allergy

Common Triggers

Typical Symptoms

Food Allergies Beef, Chicken, Wheat Skin irritation, vomiting
Environmental Allergies Pollen, Mould Sneezing, itchy skin
Contact Allergies Grass, Plastic Localised skin redness
Flea Allergy Dermatitis Flea Saliva Severe itching


Common Allergens

Identifying the substances that commonly cause allergic reactions in dogs can help you take preventive measures.

In Food:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Soy

In the Environment:

  • Pollen
  • Dust Mites
  • Mould
  • Human Dander


  • Flea Saliva
  • Cleaning Products
  • Fabrics like wool or nylon

Symptoms to Watch For

Allergic reactions in dogs can manifest in numerous ways. Being aware of these symptoms is crucial for early diagnosis.

Signs of Allergies in Dogs:

  • Itchy, red, or moist skin
  • Frequent scratching or biting
  • Inflamed ears or frequent ear infections
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect your dog is suffering from allergies, it's essential to consult your vet for diagnosis and treatment options.

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Blood Test: To identify specific allergens.
  • Skin Test: For detecting contact and environmental allergies.
  • Elimination Diet: To identify food allergies.

Treatment Options:

  • Antihistamines: Like Benadryl, for immediate relief.
  • Corticosteroids: For severe itching.
  • Dietary Changes: For food allergies.

Prevention Strategies

Effective management of allergies often involves avoiding triggers.

  • Use hypoallergenic shampoos for bathing.
  • Keep your home clean to minimize dust and mold.
  • Use flea prevention products regularly.
  • Be cautious when introducing new foods into your dog's diet.


Q: Can dogs grow out of allergies?
A: Rarely. Most allergies are managed rather than completely cured.

Q: Can allergies cause behavioural changes in dogs?
A: Yes, discomfort from allergies can make dogs more irritable or anxious.

Q: How can I test for food allergies at home?
A: An elimination diet, under the guidance of your vet, can help identify food allergens.


Identifying allergies in dogs can be a complex but vital task for their well-being. By recognising the types of allergies, common allergens, and symptoms, you're well on your way to making your dog's life significantly more comfortable. Always consult your vet for diagnosis and treatment plans tailored to your dog's specific needs.


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