April 25, 2024
Learn more about the various dog allergies, their symptoms, treatment options - including natural remedies and lifestyle changes - and what to avoid to keep your dog allergy-free.

What Can You Give a Dog for Allergies?

If you have a furry friend, you know how much joy and happiness they bring to your life. However, dogs, just like humans, can experience allergies that hinder their quality of life. To ensure the well-being of your furry friend, it’s crucial to understand different types of allergies, their causes and how to treat them. In this article, we’ll go over common symptoms of dog allergies, types of allergies, medication options, natural remedies, changes in dog diet, home remedies, allergy tests, and lifestyle changes to ease allergies and improve your dog’s situation.

What Are Dog Allergies?

Dog allergies can occur when their immune system overreacts to something in their environment, such as dust, pollen, food ingredients or flea bites. These allergies can cause significant discomfort and irritation for dogs and negatively affect their life.

Common Symptoms of Dog Allergies

Symptoms of dog allergies manifest differently depending on the type of allergy your dog may be experiencing. Some common symptoms of dog allergies include:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Runny nose/watery eyes
  • Itchy skin and ears
  • Hives
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

Overview of Different Types of Allergies

There are different types of allergies that can affect dogs, including:

  • Flea Allergies: If your dog has symptoms based on flea saliva, it may be a Flea Allergic Dermatitis (FAD) allergy.
  • Food Allergies: About 10% of canine allergies are related to food, causing itching and swelling on the face, paws, ears, and anal region. Redness of the skin and ear infections are also symptoms of food allergies.
  • Environmental Allergies: Those types of allergies are commonly seasonal and present symptoms – such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and itchiness on the skin – due to reaction to airborne allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust mites.
  • Contact Allergies: Some dogs may be allergic to general cleaning agents or other chemicals used in and around their environment.
  • Bacterial Allergies: Symptoms of bacterial allergies in dogs include itching, hair loss, and skin infections.

Medications for Dog Allergies

Several medication options are available to help reduce dog allergy symptoms, including:

Use of Antihistamines

Antihistamines are among the most widely used medications for treating dog allergies. They work by blocking the action of histamines, thereby reducing symptoms such as itchiness and swelling. Common antihistamines that are safe for dogs include Benadryl and Chlorpheniramine maleate. However, veterinary consultation is always recommended before choosing and administering any medication to your dog.

Use of Corticosteroids

For severe allergy cases, corticosteroids, which decrease inflammation, are a treatment option prescribed by veterinarians. This type of medication can provide quick relief of itchiness and inflammation. Corticosteroids are available in both injectable and pill form, with different strengths and types.

Immunotherapy and Other Prescription Medications

Veterinarians may prescribe immunotherapy for dogs with allergies. Also known as allergy shots, immunotherapy exposes the dog’s immune system with allergens gradually. In time, this treatment regimen can help the dog develop immunity and reduce allergy symptoms.

Allergy medication such as Apoquel and Cytopoint is also available options, which target a specific molecule linked to itchiness without affecting other important biological responses.

Suggestions for Mild Cases and Over-The-Counter Options

For dogs with less severe allergic reactions, veterinarians may suggest over-the-counter and mild options, such as medicated shampoos, ear cleaners or other natural remedies.

Natural Remedies for Dog Allergies

As an alternative to medication, natural remedies for dog allergies are available to soothe your dog’s symptoms. They include:

Essential Oils

Essential oils provide a host of benefits for your furry friend. Oils such as peppermint, frankincense, and lavender can be used to lessen inflammation and itching. However, it is crucial to be careful and informed about how to use it properly, avoiding any accidental harm or discomfort to your pet.

Herbal Supplements

Herbs such as nettle and licorice root can have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects on the dog’s body, reducing allergy symptoms. Some natural supplements can be used similarly to other medications and can be prescribed or recommended by veterinarians.

Other Natural Remedies for Irritation and Itching

For dogs that are excessively itching or have inflamed skin, soaking in a bath with epsom salts and oatmeal can provide immense relief to soothe their discomfort. Additionally, other natural remedies such as coconut oil, apple cider vinegar or aloe vera can also help alleviate allergies symptoms and moisturize dry skin.

Changes in Dog Diet

Changing your dog’s diet can be another way to alleviate allergy symptoms. Some common allergens in dog food include beef, chicken, pork, corn and soy – and are replaced with more allergy-friendly options, such as fish-based protein or grain-free recipes.

Common Food Allergens That Can Trigger Allergic Reactions

It is essential to be aware of allergens in your dog’s food, which may prompt an allergic reaction. Beef, chicken, lamb, corn, soy, and wheat are some of the most common allergens in dog food. Foods containing these allergens should be avoided, and an alternative protein should be considered instead.

Alternative Types of Food and Dietary Changes

For dogs with food allergies, alternative protein such as fish-based protein, can be introduced into their diet. Using specially formulated dog food may also help in managing food allergies.

Home Remedies for Dog Allergies

Below are some home remedies for dog allergies:

Suggestions for Washing Paws, Keeping Home Clean, and Humidifying the Air

Taking measures to reduce your dog’s exposure to allergens is crucial. Implementing air purifiers and filters can help reduce airborne allergens. Similarly, washing your dog’s paws after outdoor walks, keeping furniture and bedding clean, and maintaining a humidity balance in your home can reduce allergic reactions.

Other Helpful Home Remedies

Besides taking active measures to control exposure to allergens, there are several other helpful home remedies – such as giving a regular bath to your dog and using a hypoallergenic shampoo – to manage dog allergies and soothe their symptoms.

Allergy Tests for Dogs

If your furry friend is suffering from allergies, it is crucial to determine what’s causing the reaction. Dog allergy tests, which are available through both skin tests and blood work, are the most reliable tests to determine the primary allergen triggering an allergic reaction. Testing provides crucial information on how to develop and target a more effective treatment plan.

Different Types of Tests Available, Like Skin Tests or Blood Work

Different testing methods are available. Skin tests are the most commonly used, as they identify the specific allergen that triggers the allergic reaction. Blood work tests are also available, although they are less reliable and accurate

Significance of Allergy Tests

Allergy tests are significant for several reasons, mainly because they allow for the identification of specific allergens unique to your dog. Knowing what your dog is sensitive to and allows for tailored and more personalized treatment and better allergy management.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Dog Allergies

Below are some lifestyle changes you can implement to improve your dog’s allergy situation:

Managing Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies can be tough to avoid for your dog. Being attentive to allergen levels and making lifestyle changes such as implementing a cleaning regimen or investing in air purifiers can make your dog more comfortable.

Grooming and Bathing Your Dog Regularly to Reduce Exposure

Grooming your dog-regular brushing, cleaning, and bathing – can help remove dirt and limit the production of unwanted and reactive oil on their skin. This limits the number of allergens that can cause an allergic reaction, ultimately reducing their symptoms.

Reducing Exposure to Allergens by Keeping Them Away from Certain Flowers or Having a Specialized Coat

Specialized products that help your dog avoid environmental allergens, such as wearing protective clothing or protective boots, can help reduce their exposure. For seasonal allergies, walking your dog early in the morning or late at night can help limit exposure to plant pollen and other irritants.


Symptoms of allergies can significantly impact a dog’s health and happiness. However, with the right management tools, dog allergies can be eased, allowing your furry friend to live a more comfortable and fulfilling life. Implementing natural remedies, changing diets, administering medication, working with your veterinarian, and making helpful home adjustments can make a world of difference in your dog’s life.

The information presented in this article is intended to provide general guidance and information. Please be sure to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for your dog’s allergy needs.

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