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Identifying Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in dogs have both common and unique symptoms. The most common dog allergy symptom is excessive itching. Since excessive itching is so common, it is important to determine other unique symptoms and diagnose the allergy.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it could mean your dog has an allergy. It is important to monitor your dog carefully to see if the symptoms are recurring or not. Track your dog’s behavior and make sure to take detailed notes. Is your dog experiencing symptoms after a walk? After he eats? Also write down anything that seems to bring on these symptoms. Food, environment, anything you may notice.

Along with excessive itching, there are other common dog allergies symptoms that you should be aware of and monitor your dog for.

Common Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs

Ear infections – Otisis Externa, or dog ear infections, can occur from your dog’s allergy. 90% of ear infections happen in the outer ear of your dog. Some dog allergies symptoms of an ear infection are constant head shaking, yellow to brown colored discharge in your dog’s ears, redness and swelling, and unpleasant odor.

Biting and chewing the fur and skin – If your dog is constantly biting or chewing on his fur or skin, he may have an allergy. Dog allergies usually affect the skin first. Chewing on the skin can cause sores and hair loss.

Irritated skin and rashes – Skin rashes on your dog can be difficult to diagnose because of a dog’s thick fur coat. If you notice your dog is scratching constantly in one area, be sure to check the area for a rash. The area is usually flakey, red and slightly swollen. Often times the rash can pop up within the first few hours in contact with his allergy.

Shedding and flakey skin – This is common in bacterial and contact allergies. These allergies deal primarily with your dog’s skin. If your dog has allergy symptoms, he will likely be itching or biting on his fur excessively. This can cause rashes or flakey skin, much like dandruff. If you notice flakes of skin among your dog’s fur, along with other symptoms such as itching or sores on his skin, he may have an allergy.

Excessive watery eyes – Watery eyes can be a symptom of dog allergies. Watery eyes are very common in dogs, so it is important to note if your dog has any other symptoms along with watery eyes. Eye discharge or mucus overflow can become inflamed and infected, adding to the dog’s discomfort. Runny nose is also a common symptom along with watery eyes.

Bumps or sores – Sores on the skin are also known as “hot spots”. A hot spot is a localized area of skin inflammation and infection. The infection can be on the surface of the skin or it can deep. These lesions are caused by biting, licking or scratching of the skin. Hot spots are easily detected. Redness, oozing, itching and hair loss are all common signs of a hot spot. Common areas for hot spots or bumps in the skin are on the paws or right above the tail.

Vomiting and upset stomach – Upset stomach is most common in food allergies, because the allergen is being ingested. Vomiting and diarrhea are dog allergies symptoms of an upset stomach, much the same as in humans.

For more information about allergies in dogs, causes, types and treatment options, visit

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