Itching Dog!? How To Tell If Your Pooch Has an Allergy

An itching dog is a miserable dog. Itching in dogs is a fairly common problem yet many dog owners know little about it. All too often, the problem is an allergy. And an allergy is always unpleasant whether in a human or in a dog. An allergenic reaction can be mild or severe, depending on the cause and the degree of sensitivity. A common reaction to canine allergies is swelling and itchy skin. If untreated, itchy skin that is constantly scratched will become infected. The infection will have to be treated.

Dog Itchy Skin

At first glance, an allergy in a dog can be mistaken as a flea infestation. After all, this is often the case with a dog itch. All dog owners have something to control dog fleas. So the first thought when seeing a dog itch is to reach for the handy flea power, or whatever you might use. But, is the problem really fleas? Fleas are very small, but they can be seen with a magnifying glass. So, first, look for fleas. If you don't see fleas, then perhaps the dog itch is an allergy. The reaction of a dog with fleas is not necessarily the same as a dog's reaction to an allergy. Flea itching tends to be shorter bursts of itching, while itching from an allergy tends to be more continuous. Mind you, this is a broad over-generalization and may not hold true to your dog. Another factor is that itching is sometimes present with other symptoms.

The following symptoms are the most common. They include:

  • Constant scratching

  • Licking and chewing, especially the paws

  • Discharges from the eyes and nose

  • Rubbing the face or ears

  • Swelling

  • Unusual hair loss

  • Red armpits and abdomen

  • Coughing and wheezing

  • Vomiting

  • Increased number of daily bowel movements (say three instead of one)

  • Diarrhea, and

  • New behavior or negative temperament changes

You must keep in mind that while these are symptoms associated with allergies, dog itchy skin can be a symptom for a variety of other more dangerous diseases. These other diseases must be ruled out before attempting to determine a food allergen. So, if they occur it may be time to visit the vet.
Also be aware that chronic dog itching that is untreated over a length of time will develop into a skin infection.