4 Common Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in dogs

Dogs, like people, can suffer from allergies. Allergies develop due to a disorder of the immune system, causing an inflammatory reaction to environmental, food or parasitic allergens.



Dogs suffering from allergic skin disease may develop symptoms such as itchy, dry and/or inflamed skin. They can also develop skin infections secondary to the underlying allergy.


4 Common Allergies

The four most common allergic skin diseases that we see in dogs are flea allergy dermatitis, canine atopic dermatitis, contact allergy and food allergy.


Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Flea allergy dermatitis results from an allergy to the proteins in the flea saliva, your pet is exposed to this protein when they are bitten by a flea. Dogs suffering from flea allergy dermatitis often have a low flea burden but are severely itchy, whereas dogs without an allergy may have a large flea burden with minimal symptoms. The areas of the body most commonly affected are the rump, thighs and tail base. Management involves a combination of regular flea prevention for all pets in the household, cleaning of carpets and bedding and addressing any secondary infections.


Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Canine atopic dermatitis is an allergy to environmental allergens, such as pollens. The symptoms usually first develop in younger dogs, under 3 years of age, and are usually seasonal at first but may progress to become year round. Diagnosis and management of this condition can be challenging as there is no “one size fits all” approach. A management plan can be made by your veterinarian which will be tailored to your specific pet.


Contact Allergy

Allergic contact dermatitis is a type of contact allergy which involves an immune response after direct contact with an allergen, such as a plant. This condition requires previous sensitisation, meaning the dog would have encountered the allergen previously. The areas of the body that are most commonly affected are sparsely haired areas of skin which are in contact with the allergen. Once the causative allergen has been identified, an attempt should be made to remove it from the pet’s environment. If removal is not possible, shampoo therapy and anti-inflammatory medications may be required to manage the symptoms.


Food Allergy

Food allergies are most commonly caused by proteins in the diet. It is often not related to a recent diet change; the offending protein is usually something that has been in the diet for a while. In addition to skin symptoms, your pet may also suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence or inappetence. Management involves consulting with your veterinarian to find a novel or hydrolysed protein diet which is well tolerated by your pet.


What to do if you think your pet suffers from allergies

If you think your pet is suffering from allergies consult with your veterinarian to help identify the underlying cause and formulate a management plan. Dermcare’s product range is specifically formulated for dermatological conditions, including allergies. Our range contains both medicated and non-medicated shampoos and conditioners. Our medicated range (Pyohex® Medicated Shampoo and Conditioner and Malaseb® Medicated Shampoo) are indicated for the management of secondary skin infections, while our non-medicated range (Natural Shampoo and Aloveen® Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner) can help remove allergens and pollens from the coat. Talk to your veterinarian about which products would be most appropriate for your pet.


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