How to Tell If Your Dog Has Allergies

Woman with tissues in bed

If you notice some odd behavior from your dog it's a good idea to take a look for an allergic reaction. If you notice them excessively biting or chewing at a particular area, or even if you notice they have a runny nose and are sneezing a lot, it's a good idea to take a minute and determine if there are any new allergens they may have been introduced to. There are a wide variety of things that your dog might be having a reaction to. Take a look at the article below to get an idea of how to tell if your dog has allergies and what might be causing them. 

How to Determine The Cause Of The Allergic Reaction

Dogs Often Have Allergic Reactions to the Same Things Humans Do

There are a myriad of different things that your dog might be allergic to. Take a look at the list below to find out the most common causes of dog allergies and what you can do about them.


One of the most common places your dog can have an allergic reaction is to their food or treats. With one in ten allergic reactions in dogs being caused by a food allergen. The same way some humans are allergic to nuts or seafood, dogs can be allergic to their food as well. This is a great place to check if your dog is having an allergic reaction and you have recently changed their food or the treats you give them. The new product might have an ingredient that your dog is allergic to.

However, sometimes a food allergen can happen without a recent change in diet. In cases like this you’ll want to take your dog to the vet and they can prescribe food that is designed to contain fewer potential allergens than other sources of dog food that you might get at the local supermarket. This can help both you and the veterinarian narrow down the cause of the allergic reaction.

woman giving dig a bowl
One of the most common places for a dog to be exposed to an allergen is in their food.


The same way human beings have seasonal allergic reactions the same is true for dogs. However, the most common form of allergic reactions that dogs will have to seasonal changes are dry itchy skin and ear infections. But you might notice other symptoms like the ones humans have when they get hay fever. These include red swollen eyes, a runny nose, and fits of sneezing.

If your dog has an ear infection it's a good idea to speak with your veterinarian as they can prescribe some drops that will help alleviate the ear infection. If your dog doesn’t have an ear infection but has dry itchy skin, it's a good idea to keep some conditioning/protecting spray on hand. If you leave a dog's skin dry and itchy they might bite and chew at it until it becomes inflamed and swollen. This can lead to further medical issues down the line so it's best to just avoid letting your dog be so itchy and scratchy that they hurt themselves. 

Grooming Products

Another place you might notice an allergic reaction on your dog is from any new grooming or cleaning products. The same way that people can have allergic reactions to soaps and shampoos is true for your dog. If you have recently changed the shampoo or soap you use when washing them this is a likely culprit if you have noticed dry, itchy, swollen skin or hives anywhere on your dog. 

dog paws next to grooming products
Another common place for a dog to be exposed to in allergen is in their bathing or grooming products. This is especially true if you have changed their grooming products recently.

Insects and Parasites

One of the most irritating things that can happen to your dog is for them to be bitten by fleas or insects. And if the itching and scratching wasn’t enough for your dog, it's also possible for your dog to have a more severe allergic reaction to their bites. This might be something simple like your dog's skin becoming red and swollen around the bites, but it can also be something more serious such as difficulty breathing or vomiting

Anytime your dog is having an allergic reaction it's a good idea to talk to your vet, but this is especially true if the reaction is to a bug or insect. Not only can the reaction be serious enough to be life threatening, it can also be extremely uncomfortable for the dog even when it isn’t as serious. If a dog has an allergic reaction to each tiny flea bite all over their body than this can cause them an enormous amount of pain and discomfort 

dog with allergic reaction
Some more serious allergic reactions your dog can have include a swollen face, trouble breathing, and vomiting. Photo Courtesy of The Spruce Pets

If you keep in mind that usually an allergic reaction is caused by the introduction of an allergen you can quickly narrow down the reasons that your dog might be having an allergic reaction. Keep an eye out for anything new that you may have introduced into their life such as a new flavor of treat or a brand new kind of dog shampoo that you used last time you bathed them. And of course remember to look out for seasonal allergies. The same way people are allergic to molds and pollen is true of dogs as well. Whatever the reason is for your dogs allergic reaction though, it is always a good idea to speak with your veterinarian to make sure a mild allergic reaction doesn’t have the opportunity to turn into something more serious

Questions? Email us >

You Might Also Like

Enjoy this article? We've covered more topics like this one on the Fauna Care pet care blog!