Dogs with severe skin allergies not only itch constantly, but are at increased risk of secondary infections due to constant scratching and biting at itchy areas. Your pet could bite into these sores and cause further infection due to his constant grooming sessions or his incessant need to lick.
Allergies can be diagnosed by watching how your pet reacts to injections or blood tests to check for antibodies. Once diagnosed, your vet can then design an immunotherapy plan specifically tailored for your dog based on these test results.
Pets suffering from flea allergies often resort to scratching, leading them into secondary skin infections like ringworm and yeast infections. To break this cycle, veterinarians often recommend year-round flea preventative treatments which eliminate adult fleas while simultaneously stopping new ones from laying eggs in your dog’s fur.
Your veterinarian can perform a physical exam of your pup’s skin and coat to identify what’s causing its itching, using either blood tests or intradermal skin testing (similar to allergy shots) to pinpoint specific allergens triggering your itchy reaction.
Your vet can also treat the source of an allergy. This might involve providing your dog with special diet or medications tailored specifically to his/her allergy triggers; biologic immunosuppressant drugs like Lupusib (Cytopoint) and Oclacitinib (Apoquel) could be prescribed to block enzymes that activate itching-causing chemicals that contribute to itchy skin irritation; antihistamines might also help alleviate some symptoms associated with an allergy attack.
Whenever a dog comes in contact with an allergen or irritant, its skin reacts. Most often this results in mild cases of dermatitis with only reddening and itching occurring; in more serious cases a dog could bite and scratch so much at their wounds that yeast and bacteria enter and cause infections.
Environmental allergies can be diagnosed through serologic or intradermal skin testing. With the latter method, a small section of skin is shaved before injecting an allergen that caused irritation into it; its reaction can then be evaluated to identify which allergen caused dermatitis symptoms.
Once allergy triggers have been identified, an elimination process should be used to remove them from the environment. This may involve diet, bathing and cleaning routine changes as well as antihistamines and steroid creams being prescribed. Lokivetmab (Cytopoint), an injectable monoclonal antibody treatment can be given every 4-8 weeks to help control itching from atopic dermatitis.
Food allergies in dogs can also lead to itchy skin symptoms. While flea allergy dermatitis typically appears on the face and ears of dogs, food allergies typically manifest themselves across multiple body areas including faces, ears, paws and stomach. They often accompany other digestive symptoms like drooling, bloating, constipation and diarrhea (2).
Allergy testing in your dog may include intradermal skin tests or blood tests to identify specific allergens that he/she is sensitive to. Once identified, hyposensitization or desensitization therapy can be utilized by administering weekly injections containing trace amounts of allergen to help reduce immune system overreaction and relieve any associated itchiness.
Antihistamines, corticosteroids and medicated shampoos may help ease itching in pets. Colloidal oatmeal is an excellent non-toxic skin treatment to provide soothing relief while also reducing inflammation and irritation. You could also apply 100% aloe vera gel directly onto affected areas for soothing relief; making sure their diet doesn’t include allergens which aggravate their reactions is also highly advised.
Due to constant licking and biting, dogs with allergies often develop skin or ear infections from constant itchy areas that break the surface skin layer and provide the ideal environment for yeast or bacteria invasion of their pores. Antibiotics may be necessary in these instances.
If your dog is licking and biting at their itchy skin, make an appointment with their veterinarian immediately. They will be able to identify an allergy and prescribe treatment or medication that can soothe their discomfort while healing any broken areas on his/her skin.
Your veterinarian may use blood tests or intradermal skin testing (where allergens are injected under the skin) to isolate the specific allergens causing your dog’s symptoms. They may also suggest immunosuppressant drugs, either daily pills (Apoquel) or injections every 4-10 weeks (Cytopoint), designed to relax immune systems and decrease allergic reactions.