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Dogs and Allergies
March 15, 2024

It’s interesting to note that a significant number of our furry friends, specifically dogs, may experience allergies. These statistics are quite similar to the prevalence of allergies in humans. Approximately 25% of the population is affected by allergies. Simply put, in the United States, this equates to approximately one hundred million people. In this article, a veterinarian in the Bellevue, WA area shares valuable insights on allergies in dogs.

What’s the Most Common Allergy That Dogs Experience?

Skin problems are quite common among our furry friends. Often, these issues can be attributed to parasites, like fleas. Did you know that dogs can also experience contact dermatitis? It’s a type of skin allergy that can cause them discomfort. As the name suggests, it seems that Fido has encountered some kind of irritant. It’s also not unusual for our furry friends to experience food allergies.

How Can I Identify if My Dog Has Allergies?

Recognizing your pet’s allergies can sometimes be a challenge. The signs can vary quite a bit from dog to dog. It really depends on the specific trigger and the severity of Fido’s reaction.

Here are a few things you should keep an eye out for:

  • Licking paws
  • Sneezing
  • Licking
  • Coughing
  • Food allergies
  • Swelling
  • Face rubbing
  • Skin Problems: redness, flaking, inflammation
  • Itchy ears
  • Runny eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Dander
  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Stubborn Ear Infections
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms can be caused by various factors, not limited to allergies. It is crucial to take your pet to your Bellevue, WA veterinarian for a thorough diagnosis.

What Triggers Dog Allergies?

Dogs and humans have similar reactions when it comes to allergies. As time goes on, Fido’s immune system may develop a sensitivity to something in particular. This is typically a type of protein. There are various types of protein that tend to cause reactions, including insect protein, plant protein, animal protein, and food protein.

When your furry friend’s immune system becomes sensitive to a substance, it will react by triggering an immune response and producing antibodies. This sets off a series of events that leads to the release of histamines. These reactions can cause a lot of discomfort for your furry friend, including itching and swelling.

It seems like the immune system is just a little too eager to defend the body against foreign substances.

In a nutshell, the details surrounding allergens and the immune system’s responses to them can be quite complex. Feel free to reach out to a veterinarian for further details.

What Types of Allergies Can Dogs Develop?

Similar to allergies in humans, allergies in dogs can be categorized into several groups. They can also be organized in various ways.

Allergies in the Environment

An environmental allergy occurs when the body reacts to substances found in the surroundings. There are several possible causes for your symptoms, such as pollen, dust, mold, grass, leaves, cigarette smoke, or perfume.

Allergies That Occur Seasonally

Seasonal allergies are essentially environmental allergies, but they can become more active during specific times of the year. Various types of tree pollen, plants, grasses, leaves, and flowers could all cause an allergic reaction. Remember that your furry friend can collect pollen on their paws and belly while having a great time running and playing in the yard!

Food Allergies

Dogs often experience food allergies, which are quite common. Sometimes, Fido may have allergies to certain types of food brands. Sometimes, it’s just one ingredient, like an additive or preservative. Some dogs may have allergies to certain types of meat, such as beef, chicken, or pork. Some individuals may have reactions to corn or grains. Some vegetables and root crops may not sit well with our furry companions. Each pet is unique and, therefore, so are their allergies.

Allergies to Insects

It’s important to remember that Fido’s fur may not always provide complete protection against insect bites. A wide variety of insects might trigger his reaction, including mosquitoes, ants, wasps, bees, hornets, deer flies, black flies, and horseflies. It’s worth noting that dogs can also have reactions to arachnids such as spiders and ticks.

Allergies After Contact

There are a wide range of substances that can cause contact allergies. These can include various materials like the fabric of your carpet or sofa, the ingredients in your dog’s shampoo, floor waxes, and mulch. It’s important to consider that Fido may have allergies, even to dander or your cat.


This type of allergy can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening. This looks like an extremely exaggerated response from the immune system that can result in the body going into shock. These issues can arise from factors such as bee stings, severe food allergies, or reactions to vaccines. Such responses are potentially lethal. Fortunately, they are not very common.

How Can I Properly Care for a Dog That Has Allergies?

Before doing anything else, it is important to get Fido checked out by a veterinarian. That way, you can establish a good routine for your canine friend right from the start.

There are also a few things you can do on your own. Regularly changing your air filters, vacuuming, and dusting can greatly help in eliminating dust, fur, dander, pollen, and other irritants from your carpets and furniture. It is a good idea to regularly wash your pet’s bedding as well. If possible, it is recommended to use hot water and unscented detergent for washing, and then tumble dry according to the label instructions.

Are you considering redecorating? If you’re in the market for a new sofa, consider choosing one with a covering that is suitable for those with allergies, like leather. Using washable throw covers can help make it more comfortable. Choosing window treatments that are easy to clean and maintain is also something to keep in mind.

It might be helpful for you to consider keeping track of pollen counts. It’s important to be mindful of your pet’s outdoor time when levels are high. It’s also a good idea to give your furry friend a quick wipe down on their paws and belly before bringing them in.

Lastly, make sure to stay on top of Fido’s parasite control and grooming requirements. Feel free to reach out to a veterinarian for further details should you need clarification or have any questions.

What Should I Do if My Dog Is Experiencing Food Allergies?

Dealing with food allergies can sometimes be a bit challenging. It may take some time to determine the exact cause of your pet’s reaction. Your vet may suggest putting your furry friend on a limited diet for a period of time until symptoms improve. After the symptoms subside, you can gradually reintroduce different items to identify the cause of the reaction.

How Are Allergies Typically Treated?

There are ways to help keep your furry friend comfortable, even though allergies cannot be cured. First things first, make an appointment with your veterinarian so that you can figure out what is causing your dog to respond in such a distressing manner. By then, you and your veterinarian can discuss the various treatment options available.

These options may include prescribed medication and lifestyle changes. There are several choices available, including anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids or antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, or topical medication. Desensitization could be a helpful approach for Fido as well. Switching shampoos can sometimes be a solution. Regardless, if your pet is allergic to certain foods, your vet may suggest a special diet.

At What Point Do Dogs Develop Allergies?

It’s important to be aware that Fido can develop allergies to a wide range of substances. Allergies can develop at any stage of your pet’s life. However, it’s quite rare for dogs to develop allergies before they reach the age of six months. Typically, the pup is at least a year or two old. There is a rationale behind this matter: it takes Fido’s immune system some time to determine that it does not like something.

Are you aware or have a hunch that your furry friend might be dealing with allergies? Get in touch with us, the Cat and Dog Clinic of Bellevue in Bellevue, WA, today. We’re here to assist you!