Treatment Options for Dog Skin Disease due to Allergies

Skin diseases in dogs are very common and some of the time they can be treated at home.  If your dog continues to suffer despite your treatment, a visit to your veterinarian will be required.Dog Skin Disease, Allergies and Treatment Options Allergies cause the majority of dog skin disease. Dogs can be allergic to fleas, foods, or the environment.

Dog Skin Diseases due to Flea Allergy

Flea allergy is easily prevented by applying a topical flea control product as directed, usually monthly. There are newer products available by prescription from your vet which can be given orally if owners do not like using the topical products. Both topical and oral flea control products are very effective in a majority of cases. However, don’t expect your dog to stop itching immediately as the flea saliva continues to cause itchiness for weeks after the fleas are gone.

Dog Skin Disease due to Environmental Allergy

Another effective treatment for dog skin disease is frequent bathing. If your dog has environmental allergies, bathing in lukewarm water with a hypoallergenic moisturizing shampoo weekly can help wash allergens off of the skin and decrease itchiness.

Dog Skin Disease due to Food Allergy

Food allergies are a relatively uncommon cause of dog skin disease. They can cause itchiness around the eyes and mouth and chronic ear infections. You can try a hypoallergenic diet if you believe that your dog suffers from food allergies.  Purchase a food with a protein and carbohydrate source that your dog has not eaten in the past. For example, try a duck and potato or fish and sweet potato diet.  Food trials have to be continued for several months before you determine if they are effective or not.  During that time, you cannot cheat by giving your dog other foods, including treats and human foods, unless they contain the exact same ingredients as the diet.

Medications to Treat Dog Skin Disease due to Allergies

Antihistamines can be effective for some pets suffering from allergies which are resulting in skin disease.  The over-the-counter antihistamines available to people can be used in dogs and are safe when used according to your veterinarians suggested dosing.  The most common antihistamines are diphenhydramine (Benadryl), hydroxyzine (Atarax) and chlorphenerimine (Chlor-trimeton).  Try one for two weeks and monitor for side effects and effectiveness. If you find that one medication does not work, try another as each dog responds differently to different antihistamines.  While sedation or drowsiness is a common side effect in people, it does not seem to be as much of a problem in dogs.

Finally, fatty acid supplements are used in the treatment of many dog skin diseases.  Fatty acids help to decrease inflammation thereby quieting the itchiness that your dog may be experiencing.  There are many fatty acid supplements available online or through your veterinarian.  Ask which one your vet recommends.

What if Nothing Works to Treat Your Dog’s Skin Disease due to Allergies?

If none of the above treatments are effective, or if your dog suffers from skin disease that is painful, you will need to have him examined by a veterinarian.  The vet then will prescribe medications which can include antibiotics, antifungals, corticosteroids, and shampoos that will treat the condition and bring your dog back to health.

Not convinced that your dog’s skin disease is due to allergies? Click here to see what other factors may be the culprit!

Click here if you are interested in learning about mange in dogs.

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Dr Jill Christofferson

Jill Christofferson, DVM is an experienced veterinary general practitioner. Her professional interests include ophthalmology, dentistry, and reproduction.

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