Pet Wellness Guides > How to Treat Skin Allergies in Dogs - Pet Insurance Review

How to Treat Skin Allergies in Dogs

Posted: 03/11/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories:

You’re yanked from a sound sleep because the entire bed is shaking? is it an Earthquake? You live in Ohio, so probably not. Now a bit more awake, you realize the shaking is caused by your dog aggressively scratching. Ugh, it’s his allergies again. If this scenario sounds familiar, keep reading to learn how to treat skin allergies in dogs.

Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs

There are a variety of symptoms that can lead one to believe their dog has skin allergies. The following are some of the most common symptoms;

  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy ears
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Constant licking

It’s important to mention that some of these symptoms can be associated with other medical conditions. If your pup is exhibiting any of the above, be sure to make an appointment with your vet and get them checked out.

Types of Allergic Reactions in Dogs

How to treat skin allergies in dogs essentially comes down to the type of allergy you’re dealing with. The following are the most common allergic reactions in dogs:

Allergic Dermatitis in Dogs

Skin allergies in dogs are commonly referred to as allergic dermatitis. This is by far the most common type of allergic reaction vets see in their canine patients. 

Skin allergies are typically a result of one of three things:

Flea Bite Allergy

Fleas biting a dog can cause them to severely itch. Imagine something crawling on you all day, biting and feasting on your blood! Some poor pups are then allergic to the flea bite, and this causes an even MORE severe allergic reaction.

Luckily, this is easily treated with a monthly topical flea and tick medication to kill the fleas. Those pups who suffer from an allergic reaction on top of the initial biting may also need some steroids to help calm the inflammation. 

how to treat skin allergies in dogs

Food Allergies

Just like people can be allergic to certain foods, so can our pups. When they eat certain ingredients, it can cause itchy skin. Dogs with food allergies usually have itchy paws and ears. They may also sometimes have GI symptoms such as diarrhea or nausea. A food allergy may also result in hives and facial swelling. In order to determine if your pup has food allergies, your vet will need to draw blood and send it off to a lab to be checked. 

Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies to things like dust, pollen, fungus and mold can also cause an allergic skin reaction in dogs. These allergic reactions are typically seasonal and tend to affect certain areas like paws and ears, but also sometimes groin, wrists, muzzle and around the eyes.

It should be mentioned that all skin allergies pose the risk of a secondary skin infection. When left untreated, an allergic reaction can cause a dog to itch and lick and bite so much that they open up his skin, allowing harmful bacteria to take hold. A secondary skin infection is usually treated by an antibiotic. 

And if you notice your dog having any severe reaction, get them to the vet or nearest emergency clinic ASAP!

Treating Skin Allergies in Dogs

The very best way to treat skin allergies in dogs is to remove the allergen from the home/diet. This means getting your dog on a monthly flea and tick product and/or testing them to see what food ingredients they may be allergic to. 

Having said this, it’s not always easy to determine an environmental allergen or remove all dust or mold from the home. Similarly, it may not be in everyone’s budget to buy special foods that have limited ingredients and novel proteins, as those tend to be quite a bit more expensive. 

In these cases, a vet will prescribe different things to treat the allergic reaction. For instance, medicated shampoos and/or antihistamines can help soothe an itchy reaction. Your vet may also prescribe an allergy relief medication to help control the itching. 

Final Thoughts

If you’ve wondered how to treat skin allergies in dogs, you’ll first need to determine what your pup is allergic to. The most common allergens for dogs are flea bites, food and environmental allergies. If you notice incessant scratching, biting or licking, or any of the other symptoms we listed, take your dog in for an exam and follow your vet’s guidance. Your pup will feel better and you’ll get a better night’s sleep!

Here’s Another Way to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

We love our fur babies, but boy can they cost a LOT of money to take care of! If high vet bills and wondering how you’ll pay them has ever cost you sleep, we have a solution.

A pet insurance plan can reimburse you for up to 90% of the vet bill, giving you peace of mind and the ability to get your pup the medical help they need when they need it most.

Here are the top pet insurance providers – in order – based on over 150,000 authentic reviews from pet parents just like you:


Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,498
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.5Pets Best7,216
4.3Pet Assure12





The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

Get a quote today

Leave a review