Dog allergies are very common. The 2018 survey from Banfield Pet Hospital looked at the data from 2.5 million dogs. It showed that 0.2% of dogs have food allergies. Flea allergy affects 12.5% of dogs, and environmental allergy affects 30.7%. Some dogs also have seasonal allergies.

An allergy usually develops because something in the food or environment is not suitable for your dog. We can manage allergies in dogs but can’t cure them. The initial step is to diagnose an allergy. After that, try to avoid things that are causing allergies in your pet, which can be a certain chemical, food, bug, etc.

Allergies are a response of the immune system in dogs that are sensitive to allergens like pollen, food, dust, and fur. If a dog comes in contact with these allergens, its immune system reacts to fight them. The dog feels discomfort and itchiness on various parts of its body.

Most common allergens that affect dogs include:

  1. Mold spores
  2. Food like wheat, corn, soy, or animal proteins
  3. Pollens of tree, grass, and weed
  4. Dust in house
  5. Fur
  6. Flea saliva
  7. Medicines
  8. Chemicals
  9. Perfumes, shampoo, plastic, fabric, and cleaning products

13 Common Signs of Allergies in Dogs

In addition to appearance, allergies can affect your dog’s behavior too. You might be seeing signs of allergies in a dog regularly but don’t know what’s causing them. The following are the most commonly spotted signs of allergies in dogs you must know.

1. Itching

The most common sign of allergy in a dog is itching. Your pooch starts itching much too often. Most of the time, it starts when you are outside. Dogs that have less fur are more sensitive to allergens in the environment.

2. Irritation

Dogs can also have rashes on their skin. Rashes cause irritation. You can see a sudden change in their behavior because of irritation. Irritation usually occurs in the belly, feet, and toe regions. These parts are more sensitive to allergens because they come in contact with pollen or grass easily.

3. Redness

Redness of ears, paws, and belly are signs of allergy. Redness occurs because extra blood rushes to that affected part of the skin to fight irritants. You can check your dog’s skin to see the effects of allergies.

In some cases, dogs also have redness on chin and mouth. If they are continuously exposed to the allergens, then they can have redness on their anus too.

4. Sneezing

Your dog continuously sneezes if they are allergic. If your dog is sneezing very often, then take it for the checkup to an animal doctor.

5. Licking

If your dog is licking its body continuously, it may be because of allergy, especially if your dog is licking its foot and belly region. When you see your dog do that, be sure that there is bothering it.

6. Rubbing Body

Dogs rub their skin because of excessive itching on their bodies. They rub their skin on carpet, pillows, and couches. If you take them outside, they rub their skin against trees and walls. This helps them to reduce itching on their bodies.

7. Hair Loss

If your dog’s hair suddenly starts falling excessively, it can be a sign of an allergy. If you don’t treat your dog and it keeps getting exposed to allergens, then it can suffer from extreme hair loss.

8. Red spots

Red spots or hot spots are large spots on the body of your dog. The skin is so inflamed that it creates big red spots and starts bleeding eventually. It usually occurs when the dog's skin is continuously exposed to allergens. It also causes hair loss in the areas of hot spots.

9. Unpleasant Smell

Unpleasant smell from the ears of your dog can be a disastrous situation. You should see if the dog has allergies by confirming the presence of redness and stinky smell. The smell from the ears of your dog can be so irritating that is bothers not only you but your dog as well.

10. Shaking Head

Too much shaking of the head can also point to the presence of allergy. You might think the shaking of the head is due to an insect, but that’s not always the case. Your dogs will feel irritated even when you touch them when they have allergies in the ears.

11. Red Eyes

Dogs with allergies can also have puffy and red eyes. This condition can cause a change in the behavior of your dog. It is easy to catch this sign.

12. Vomiting

Some dogs that are overly sensitive to allergens start vomiting. This sign usually occurs because of food allergens.

13. Diarrhea

Allergies from food ingredients can cause loose stools. If your dog has this issue multiple times in a week, then it might be because of allergy.

Signs of Allergies in Dog’s Behaviors

The change in behavior is common in dogs with allergies because they are dealing with  pain, discomfort and irritation. Behavioral symptoms start usually emerging after the changes in the dog's body.

The behavior symptoms can be as follows:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritation
  • Biting on foot and tail
  • Scratching the furniture
  • Refuses to eat and even play
  • Does not listen to your orders

Rare Signs of Allergies in Dogs

The following signs of allergies are very rare but they can still occur in some dogs:

  • Breathing issue
  • Urine infections
  • Weight loss
  • Nasal discharge
  • Seizures


Signs of allergies in dogs increase as your pet ages. With time, dealing with your dog's allergies gets more difficult.

There is no cure for dog allergies, but you can find out the causes of allergy in your dog and manage accordingly. For example, if your dog is allergic to pollen, then clean your dog’s face, ears, and feet after coming from outside. If your dog is allergic to a certain food ingredient, then stop putting that in your dog’s food.

If you are unable to treat it at home, take your dog to a vet. Your dog’s comfort is your responsibility. You can easily determine the causes of allergy in your dog with the signs stated above.

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Rachael is a writer living in Los Angeles and an alum of UNC Chapel Hill. She has been a pet owner since the age of three and began dog-walking in 2015. Her nine-year-old Pug and best pal, Ellie, is the queen of sassy faces, marathon naps, and begging.