Dealing With Your Dog’s Allergies

Inhalant & Contact Allergies

Inhalant allergies result from breathing in substances such as pollen from trees, certain plants, house dust, and mould. There seems to be a genetic predisposition to this allergy, but it can occur in any pet at any time of the year.


Contact allergies are caused by a pet’s physical contact with the irritating substance. They can occur both indoors and out. Thin-coated or hair-free areas are usually affected. Among the most common allergens are soaps, insecticides, wool or nylon carpets, paint, wood preservatives, poison ivy, oak, or grass. Some pets may even be allergic to plastic feeding dishes.


Identifying the offending substance is critical to controlling inhalant and contact allergies. Once discovered, every effort should be made to eliminate the allergen from your dog’s environment. Your veterinarian will be able recommend the appropriate treatment for most any allergy symptoms that arise.


Here are some remedies that may help eliminate or ease your dog’s allergies at home:

Baths. Many pet stores carry special oatmeal or tea tree oil shampoos formulated especially for dogs with allergies or sensitive skin. Bathe your dog 3 to 4 times a week. You might also try having him sit in a bathtub filled with warm water.

Brush your dog gently on a regular basis. This will help distribute oils and prevent any matting or tangling that might irritate the skin.

Dust and vacuum your home often. This helps get rid of the dust mites that may be lurking in your carpets or furniture.

Keep your pet indoors while you’re mowing the lawn or when there’s a lot of pollen in the air.

Change furnace and air filters frequently. Also, if possible, run the air conditioner when it’s hot, and use a dehumidifier to prevent the occurrence of allergy-irritating moulds.

Use hypoallergenic soap to wash your dog’s bedding, or anything else that comes in close contact with your dog. Many laundry detergents contain perfumes that can irritate your dog’s skin, so look for ones marked fragrance- and dye-free.

Seasonal Allergies

Come springtime, dogs develop allergies to everything from pollen to grasses, insects (especially fleas), and dust mites. Unlike humans who sneeze, wheeze, and get watery eyes during this itchy, scratchy season, dogs tend to react differently.


Here are some signs and symptoms to look for:

Excessive itching

Chewing at the feet. (Feet may also appear red and inflamed.)

Constant licking, especially of the side or groin areas

Skin may appear dry, flaky, crusty, or reddened

Heavy scratching of sides and/or belly area

Waxy or black discharge from ears

Puffy, tearing and reddened eyes

Inflamed ears and/or constant ear infections.

Food Allergies

Dogs are not born with food allergies. However, they may develop allergies to food products that they’ve eaten for a long time. Such allergies usually appear as skin problems or gastrointestinal upsets, though a variety of diseases have similar signs so make sure to rule out other causes before a pet’s diet is blamed or changed.


The most common food allergens are dietary proteins. In fact, no dietary protein source is completely non-allergenic. To reduce the likelihood of this allergic response, especially in a dog that has displayed food allergies in the past, feed him a diet with ingredients that he’s never eaten before. To be truly hypoallergenic, a diet must contain protein that has been broken down or “modified” sufficiently so that the immune system does not recognize them. Diets containing modified protein sources, such as Purina Veterinary Diets® HA Hypoallergenic® brand Canine Formula, are available through your veterinarian.


Do you have a product for pets with allergies?

Purina produces a full line of veterinary diet formulas that have been formulated as nutritional aids in the dietary management of dogs and cats with certain health conditions

Specifically, Purina Veterinary Diets™ HA Hypoallergenic™ Brand Formula is specially designed for the management of food allergies, available in a formula for dogs or cats.

These diets are authorized for prescription and sale only by veterinarians.

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