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Does My Dog Have Allergies

Updated on November 15, 2012

Dogs and Allergies

When an allergy happens, it is an extreme and unnecessary reaction to some harmless substance by the immune system. Allergic reactions, primarily to foods and chemicals, have been called a 20th-century phenomenon. We will be taking a look at how this allergy phenomenon displays itself in our dogs today.


Canine Allergies

What Do Allergies Look Like in Dogs

Allergic reactions can appear on a dog's skin, making him itchy; in the lining of the gastrointestinal system, causing dogs to vomit and have diarrhea; or on the lining of the air ways, bringing breathing difficulties.

What Is a Canine Allergy

Whether talking about humans or dogs, the term "allergy" was coined in early 1906, by Baron Clemens von Pirquet—a Viennese pediatrician. Allergies happen when the body's immune system gets in an agitated state and over-responds to a harmless substance as if it were a dangerous substance attacking the body. Any number of canine conditions can be caused by allergies; eczema, diarrhea, colitis, vomiting, dermatitis, and coughing to name a few.

What Can Activate an Allergic Reaction in My Dog

Here is a list naming just a few things that can set your canine's immune system into a state of allergic reaction.

  • Chemicals found in bug bites (like the stuff in flea saliva)
  • Particular foods
  • Particular drugs
  • Particular plants
  • Dust mites
  • Plant pollens
  • Spores from fungus
  • Human dander (skin cells we shed)

What You Think Really Does Matter

Do you think your dog may have allergies?

See results

Are Allergies Increasing in Dogs

A relatively new affliction, hay fever, doesn't get mentioned in medical literature until the 1800s (during a lecture at the Royal Society in London). The condition remained very rare up until 1950. To give you an idea as to just how rare, at that time in Japan, those number of people who suffered from hay fever measured around 1% of the population. Currently, over 12% are dealing with the issue. In Australia, more than 30% of the (human) population have allergies. An increase in allergic populations has also been noticed in our dogs.

Treatments for Allergic Dogs

As expected, staying away from the things that cause an allergic reaction in your dog is the best method of treating (preventing) the condition from reeking havoc. Many veterinarians will conduct history test like blood samples, skin reaction grids, protein reduced diets, elimination diets, and in extreme cases the dog will be removed form the allergy activating environment. This is simply to try to "switch-off" the reaction at the source. Even as several chemicals can get released when mast cells blow-up, only histamine is effectively treatable, using "anti-histamines".

What Does the IgE (immunoglobin E) Antibody Have to do With Allergies

IgE Antibody and My Dog

Viruses, or other pathogens, are usually going to trigger the immune system into making helpful antibodies to fight them off. When allergens are inhaled, swallowed, or make contact with the body, they irritate the immune system mistakenly, causing it to make an antibody known as immunoglobin E, (IgE). When your dog is allergic, the IgE will bind to receptor sites on specifically specialized immune cells known as mast cells—these live in upper air paths, lungs, stomach lining, and skin. The mast cells are like tiny chemical filled grenades waiting to explode. The IgE causes these chemical grenades to let-lose their chemicals, which then spread out inflammatory compounds like histamines. It only takes around eight minutes for the reaction to activate.

Make sure your dog doesn't have allergies before taking him out for a swim!
Make sure your dog doesn't have allergies before taking him out for a swim! | Source

Will Shampooing My Dog Help With Allergies

If a dog has allergies a great deal of the time, shampooing regularly can provide relief. Dogs with a rough coat are more apt to capture allergens, like mold spores, which attack the skin. Vets will also suggests giving an high-dose of essential fatty acid (EFA) supplements. The EFAs have been found to act at the cellular level, reducing the size of the explosions by mast-cells.

Dog Allergy Treatment at Home

Related Allergy Awareness Chart

(click column header to sort results)
Legume (Peanut)
Lentils, peas, beans (other legumes)
Fish (sole)
Salmon, swordfish (other fish)
Shellfish (crab)
Shrimp, lobster (other shellfish)
Tree nut (Brazil)
Walnut, cashew, hazelnut (other tree nuts)
Grain (wheat)
Barley, rye (other grains)
Cow's milk
Mare's milk
Cow's milk
Cow's milk
Goat's milk
Mellon (cantaloupe)
Watermellon, banana, avocado
Pollen (ragweed, birch)
Apple, peach, honeydew
Apple, plum, cherry, pear (other rosaceae)
Fruits (kiwi, banana, avocado)
Latex (gloves or other products)
Kiwi, banana, avocado (fruit)

How to Deal With Canine Allergies

If you think your dog is suffering from allergies, a vet can help determine what is attacking your pet. No matter if the allergy effects skin, breathing, or the digestive system, finding the right treatment is a must! Check with a pet allergy specialist if your dog shows signs of severe reactions. The cause, as well as the remedy for your dog's allergy problem may be as simple as changing his bedding!

Comments for "Do Dogs Have Allergies"

Submit a Comment

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 

    6 years ago from Central Virginia

    As someone who lives with an allergy ridden IG, this is a wonderful hub, packed full of good information. Thanks so much for writing it with such detail.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    akeejaho~ I have a Golden, they are the best dog!! Mine has a severe allergy to flea saliva, (yuck!) and so every summer we have a real battle on our hands. But we have been using a few natural techniques for flea control, as well as chemical. The combo has been successful so far! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Stephhicks68~ What an honor to see you here today! You are so right, unknown substances at any time can cause an allergic reaction, even if they never has before (in dogs and humans)! I sure am grateful for your input ma'am.


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    AJRRT~ You bet! Thanks for leaving your comment!


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Nettlemere~ In some cases the only help for an allergic dog is anti histamines, so I am glad your dog found relief from using them. Sounds like your dog is a lucky dog, having you to watch over her! Thank you for commenting and for being a pet owner.


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Gordon~ I have missed you! So very nice to see you today. I sure appreciate that you shared your thoughts here! Allergies are one of those things pet owners may not consider as having an effect on their dogs. I am here to tell ya, dogs can have somme pretty bad allergic reations!

    Thank you for commenting my friend!


  • akeejaho profile image


    6 years ago from Some where in this beautiful world!

    Great Hub! Lots of great information. I had a Golden Retriever several years ago which developed a food allergy. I had a heck of a time getting her cleared up. Wish this article had been around then!

  • stephhicks68 profile image

    Stephanie Hicks 

    6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

    Super information! You never know when a particular substance will cause an allergic reaction (in humans or in dogs). I once got a spider bite which caused me to break out in hives! Can you imagine if your pet had something similar happen to them? Great hub, and I love your photographs as always. Best, Steph

  • AJRRT profile image


    6 years ago from Sheffield, AL

    Very informative and interesting. Thanks for the great information!!

  • Nettlemere profile image


    6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

    Good hub, with plenty of scientific info. One of my dogs was allergic to rape pollen and used to come up in spots all over her tummy if the farmers planted a lot of rape around where I lived. Anti histamines worked well for it though.

  • Gordon Hamilton profile image

    Gordon Hamilton 

    6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

    Wow, K9!

    I am really ashamed to admit this but I have never before considered the possibility that dogs could have allergies, as well as humans. Maybe up until now I've just been lucky in that no dog I have ever had has displayed "symptoms" of what could be an allergy.

    This is definitely something for all dog lovers to bear in mind and could save a lot of potential "diagnosis" problems.

    Thanks for not only the great info but a genuinely new way of thinking! :)


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