Dogs react to allergens with skin problems, unlike humans who react with nasal symptoms. Skin problems range from poor coat, itching and chewing to hot spots and self mutilation.
Inhalant Allergies Inhalants are the most common allergy. Allergens can be pollens, dust mites and moulds. Symptoms are scratching, biting, chewing at feet and constant licking. Your dog may shake his head and rub his muzzle or ears. Itching is most severe on feet, flanks, groin and armpits. Hot spots may result from the constant chewing and scratching. Pollen allergies are seasonal. Treatment is by use of corticosteroids and antihistamines.
Flea Allergies Some dogs are extremely sensitive to flea salvia causing severe itching and the risk of secondary bacterial infection. All fleas must be removed to provide relief.
Food Allergies Food allergies can also cause skin problems and can develop over a lengthy period of time. The allergen can be a protein such as beef, chicken or pork or a carbohydrate such as rice or wheat. Diagnosing a food allergy takes great patience and involves eliminating all possible allergens.
Bacterial Allergies Staph bacteria present in the environment can cause an allergic reaction. Poor immune system function allows bacteria to invade the deeper layers of skin causing pyoderma, lesions and flakiness.
Contact Allergies Contact allergies occasionally occur from reaction to a chemical such as a disinfectant or cleaner.