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How to Help a Dog With Allergic Dermatitis

When dogs have allergies, they develop allergic dermatitis and become very itchy. Today, our Franklin vets will discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of allergic dermatitis in dogs.

About Allergic Dermatitis in Dogs

One of dogs' and cats' most common skin irritations is allergic dermatitis, also known as atopic (atopy) dermatitis. When pets have "hot spots" or allergic dermatitis, it causes damage to their skin barrier, leading to inflammation, redness, dryness, bumps, and itching.

Atopic dermatitis is an itchy skin disease in dogs and cats that occurs when they have an allergic reaction to inhaling airborne substances (such as pollen and house dust) or ingesting a substance they are sensitive to. Although pets won't sneeze like humans, they will often itch, lick, bite, or scratch as a reaction.

Dogs with atopic dermatitis are more likely to develop secondary skin infections, ear infections, and yeast infections because of their sensitive skin. Any skin infection or fleas can worsen the allergic condition, leading to flare-ups even in controlled cases.

Signs of Allergic Dermatitis

  • Rubbing their body on the ground or against furniture, for example.
  • Licking themselves
  • Chewing/ Biting themselves
  • Scratch at their feet, flanks, ears, armpits, or groin, causing patchy or inconsistent hair loss, reddening, and skin thickening.
  • The skin may be dry, crusty, or oily depending on the dog. 
  • Dogs may rub their face on the carpet when they have an allergic reaction. This can cause their ear flaps to become red and hot. Due to the overproduction of wax-producing glands in response to the allergy, bacterial and yeast (Malassezia) infections can occur in their ears.

Treating Allergic Dermatitis in Dogs

There are a few different options available for the treatment of allergic dermatitis. 

Medication: Atopic dermatitis caused by food reactions can be cured, while those caused by airborne substances are usually not curable but can be controlled with medication. Steroids are commonly used to treat atopic dermatitis because they are highly effective anti-inflammatory and anti-itch medications. Antifungal medications are also used to treat this condition because they help with yeast infections. Antihistamines, which are used to treat allergies in humans, are also used to treat allergic dermatitis.

Medicated Baths: Medicated shampoos have compounds in them that are aimed at soothing injured skin and calming inflammation

Flea Control: For dogs with this problem, a flea control regime must be maintained.

Supplements: The Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acid supplements improve skin health by acting as natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents.

Environmental Control: If you know what is causing your pet's allergic dermatitis, avoiding it altogether is best for your dog or cat.

Is your dog showing signs of allergic dermatitis? Contact our Franklin vets to have your pup diagnosed and treated.

New Patients Always Welcome

Pet Vet Battlewood is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Franklin's companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (615) 794-3838