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The Ultimate Guide to Dog Allergies and How You Can Help

Beagle suffering from seasonal dog allergies in tall grass

Did you know that dogs can suffer from allergy symptoms, just like humans? From hay fever to food allergies, skin sensitivities and environmental causes, your canine companion may be susceptible to a wide variety of allergies.

Keep reading to discover which allergies can affect dogs, how to spot common symptoms and how to treat your precious pal in their time of need.

What are dog allergies?

As with humans, dog allergies come in a variety of shapes and forms. Unfortunately, your dog won’t be able to tell you when they’re suffering. You’ll need to keep an eye out for some common triggers and key symptoms. Dog allergies range from mild to severe, and even fatal, so it’s very important to be aware of your dog’s reaction to any new environmental, dietary or dermatological changes.

Seasonal dog allergies

Chihuahua about to sneeze while laying in the lawn

Dogs can get hay fever too! In fact, as many as 10% of dogs suffer from hay fever symptoms at some point in their lives. Hay fever occurs when the immune system is triggered by pollen, dander or dust to produce antibodies, which in turn result in a series of unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Sneezing, particularly outdoors or when windows and doors are open
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes (your dog may rub its face on furniture to fight the itch)
  • Rash

You may notice your dog’s hay fever symptoms appear during the spring and summer months, as this is when the air is most full of pollen. Although all dogs can be affected by hay fever, the condition is particularly prevalent amongst the following breeds:

  • Dalmatian
  • Boston Terrier
  • Poodle
  • Schnauzer
  • West Highland Terrier
  • Irish Setter
  • Cairn Terrier

Although it can not be cured, the symptoms of hay fever can be managed in a number of ways. Consult your vet about administering Benadryl to your pup, as this can work well to treat the symptoms of hay fever in dogs. If you’re looking for a more natural treatment, CBD oil is proven to tackle a variety of conditions, including allergies in dogs. Derived from the hemp plant, CBD oil contains no psycho-active ingredient (THC) and therefore is safe for your dog. CBD boasts some amazing medicinal benefits, particularly when it comes to treating allergies in dogs.



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There are also some practical things you can do to ensure your dog’s suffering is kept to a minimum. If your dog is long haired, consider keeping it short if skin irritation is a problem. You should also brush and clean your dog’s fur regularly, as the pollen particles may be clinging to their hair and skin.

Skin allergies in dogs

Chow standing next to a tree with a bow on

We’ve already covered the effects hay fever can have on a dog’s skin, but that’s not the only source of skin allergy in dogs. Your dog can be allergic to any number of things, from mold to household dust and even other dog breeds!

Although your dog can have an allergic reaction on any part of its skin, there are some areas which are more commonly affected than others, these include:

  • Ears
  • Muzzle
  • Wrists
  • Groin
  • Ears
  • Between their toes

Your dog’s irritation may cause them to scratch or rub themselves on furniture in the house. This will only irritate the areas more. If your dog is suffering from skin allergies, we recommend visiting the vet and asking about treatment. You may also need a recovery collar for the duration of the treatment if your dog simply can’t leave their itchy parts alone!

Your vet is best to advise on treatment for your dog’s skin allergies. Depending on the placement and severity of your dog’s rash, they may recommend one of the following:

  • A topical ointment to soothe the area
  • An antihistamine, such as Benadryl

In some severe cases, your vet might give your pup injections of the allergens to which it’s sensitive. This hyposensitization therapy works to encourage your dog’s immune system to accept the trigger and minimize the reaction causing the rash.

Food allergies in dogs

Pug eating the plants in the garden

You may have learned the hard way that your dog has a food allergy. The most common symptom of food allergy in dogs is an upset stomach, including vomiting and diarrhea. However, food allergies sometimes appear as a rash or skin irritation too.

As with hay fever, there are some dogs that are more likely to develop food allergies than others, these include:

  • West Highland Terriers
  • Irish Setters
  • Cocker Spaniels

The most common food allergies for dogs are beef, dairy, and wheat. You’ll often see “grain-free” dog food as many owners find their pups are sensitive, or even allergic, to the gluten in wheat. The long-term effects of exposure to any food allergens can be very serious, even fatal. So, it’s very important to recognize any changes to your dog’s digestion or dietary habits and consult your vet immediately.

Black Poodle with a bow standing next to the flower garden

Common food allergy symptoms in dogs include:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • Sore/inflamed skin and/or rash
  • Itching and hair loss
  • Trouble breathing

Due to the non-specific nature of these symptoms, it is paramount that you take your dog to the vet if they are experiencing any of the above. The symptoms for food allergies in dogs are the same as those of several more serious conditions.

Treating your dog’s food allergy is as simple as avoiding the trigger foods. However, it’s not always easy to identify what those are at first. We recommend trying an elimination diet from the common allergens and work from there. You may discover your dog has a sensitivity to more than one allergen, or even to a less common allergen we’ve not already mentioned.

If you’re in doubt, consult your vet immediately as they will support you in finding a suitable food alternative for your canine companion.

Treating your dog’s allergies

Pomeranian standing in a grouping of white flowers

If you are concerned that your dog is displaying allergy symptoms, visit your vet and they will help to diagnose the exact cause of their condition. They may prescribe antihistamines or other medicine to tackle symptoms. They will also recommend circumstantial changes for your dog, so they are less exposed to the allergen.

Since your dog’s allergy cannot be cured, simply managed, it’s important to understand what agitates their condition and what soothes it. Many dog owners find success in herbal treatment for their dog’s allergy symptoms, including the CBD oil we have already discussed. Hemp isn’t the only natural ingredient to bring relief from allergy symptoms, quercetin boasts anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties. The flavonoid is found in fruits and vegetables and can be purchased as a supplement.

Aloe vera is another wonderful product. This anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory leaf are ideal for easing skin irritation and rashes. Apply the plant in gel form twice a day. You can even keep it in the fridge to maximize the soothing benefits.

Thyme also contains flavonoids. This herb is more than just a tasty addition to a Sunday roast. It can be used to treat skin infections and allergic reactions in dogs. Blend the fresh herb into a paste or create a warm water infusion and bathe your pup’s sore areas in the liquid. It’ll offer relief with the added TLC they need when they’re feeling a bit ruff!

Coconut Oil can also be an amazing supplement to add to your dogs diet during allergy heavy times. Not only can it be used topically as an ointment but can be digested for an extra boost in omega 3s and added anti inflammatory properties.




Depending on your dog’s allergy symptoms, there is an abundance of ways to ease your canine companion’s suffering. Although we cannot cure the dog allergies, we can make our pup’s lives a little easier with medicinal, environmental and herbal remedies – not to mention a few snuggles! Your beloved will be back to their old self in no time.

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Ultimate guide To Dog Allergies By Ellen Forster

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