Tips for Calming Atopy and Dog Skin Allergies in Dogs

Jack Russell terrier (Canis lupus familiaris) scratching

Working with your veterinarian if you believe your pet has inhalant allergies is critical, as these allergies may be lifelong in dogs and potentially lead to serious infections and pain. Allergies are incurable, and the only approach to manage symptoms is to avoid the cause of the allergy. To make matters worse, various allergies make pinpointing the source of the problem extremely difficult. Only a veterinarian can correctly identify a pet's allergies.

What Is Atopy in Dogs?

Environmental allergies in dogs are also known as atopy in dogs. Allergens in your pet can be breathed, comparable to hay fever, or absorbed through the if your pet has atopy. Though atopy is a major cause of itch in dogs, flea bite hypersensitivity is the most common kind of allergy. Atopy, or environmental allergies in dogs, is the second most frequent allergy in dogs, with ten to fifteen percent of the population suffering from it.

Signs of Inhalant Allergies


  • Itchiness
  • Rubbing of the face, chest, armpits, and feet
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Yeast or bacterial infections

People are allergic to pollen, mildew, fungus, and even the home dust mite, but atopic dogs are more likely to scratch themselves. Their face, chest, armpit area, and feet are chewed, bit, licked, and rubbed. Allergens can be absorbed via the webbing between the dog's toes, causing the entire body to itch. Chronic are also frequent in atopic dogs. They can have secondary yeast or bacterium infections, which are highly unpleasant, and they can even traumatize their skin by licking or scratching.

Other allergies in dogs, such as contact or food allergies, can cause itchy skin all year. Atopy can be seasonal or year-round, similar to flea allergy.

Causes of Atopy

Atopy may affect any dog, but there is a hereditary component to it. Small terriers, such as the West Highland White Terrier, are usually afflicted, as are Boxers, Dalmatians, Golden Retrievers, English Bulldogs, Irish Setters, Lhasa Apsos, and Miniature Schnauzers. The majority of symptoms appear between the ages of two and six.

Dogs are frequently allergic to several things, and allergies are typically cumulative. For example, if a dog is allergic to both fleas and pollen, either of them may not create difficulties on its own, but the two together increase the dog's allergy threshold to the point where itching begins. Every allergic dog has a "itch" threshold, which is the quantity of allergen required to cause illness symptoms.

Diagnosing Atopy

To get rid of the allergy, you must first figure out what's causing the condition, which might be difficult. Blood tests are available, although they are not generally regarded as trustworthy. Intradermal skin testing instead aids in the diagnosis of atopy. The shaved skin of the anesthetized dog is injected with suspected allergens. Positive reactions grow bloated, red, and raised in five to 15 minutes, whereas negative reactions go away.

Dogs can be allergic to a single or numerous allergens, but even if you know your dog is allergic to home dust, it's practically difficult to avoid exposure since the fur collects and traps allergens in the surroundings.


It is essential to visit the veterinarian at the first indication of irritation, as dogs with atopy and allergies are prone to highly unpleasant illnesses that require treatment. Your veterinarian may do a cytology to determine the kind of infection and the proper therapy and anti-itch medicines. They will work with you to develop a strategy for your pet that will either treat the underlying cause with immunotherapy or manage the itch and infections.

Certain dogs may benefit from hyposensitization, also known as immunotherapy. The procedure involves progressively building the dog's resistance to allergies by exposing him to increasing levels of the chemicals. This is frequently done in conjunction with a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. After skin testing reveal the allergens, the dog is given allergy injections with trace levels of the allergens in the hopes of building resistance to them and reducing the dog's sensitivity and symptoms. Because takes time to work, allergy injections are routinely given for at least a year. Injections may be necessary for the rest of your life.

Even if reducing exposure is impractical, several therapies may help reduce your dog's discomfort. Some dogs benefit from antihistamines recommended by their veterinarians, and cortisone-containing medicines can help alleviate itching.

Managing Atopy in Dogs

Working with your veterinarian to eliminate your pet's exposure to environmental allergens at home can also be beneficial, but working with your veterinarian is the most critical step. With dogs that are primarily indoor/outdoor pets, completely avoiding exposure to environmental allergens is impossible. After all, a homeowner cannot vacuum or filter the air. Indoor exposure may be reduced, and hygiene is essential. Try the following approaches to get started:

  • Reservoirs that attract and capture allergenic substances should be reduced or eliminated. Trade rough surfaces like and upholstery for linoleum or wooden floors and smooth fabrics that are easier to keep clean.
  • Water filters on a vacuum help scrub particles from the air. Avoid sweeping, which tends to float allergens rather than capture them.
  • High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter systems can be helpful, too.
  • Some dogs benefit from dietary supplements of the essential fatty acids that help promote healthy skin and fur. The proper combination of these compounds appears to reduce the inflammatory skin response that results from atopy. Omega 3 fatty acids are very important to skin health and also have anti-itching properties. Because they're derived from fish oil, pets often relish them like a . Ask your veterinarian if they recommend this for your pet.
  • Regular rinsing reduces a pet's exposure and their scratching. A colloidal (oatmeal) shampoo will naturally soothe itchy skin, but will not take away the itch or infection if present.
  • Rinse off your dog's feet or wipe them with hypoallergenic baby wipes between trips outside to reduce paw pad exposure to grass and outdoor allergens.

Reducing your dog's exposure to environmental allergens at home can help, but more often than not, your pet will require assistance and a plan devised by your veterinarian to help manage the itch.

Although it may be hard to completely eliminate all allergies, merely minimizing the amount of exposure can help a dog's symptoms. In other words, getting rid of fleas by using a veterinary-recommended flea control product may help a dog cope better with home dust exposure.