dog sneezingIt is estimated that between fifteen and thirty percent of the population are allergic to cats, dogs or both. Depending on how sensitive a person’s immune system is, the reaction can range from mild to extremely severe. While most people are aware of the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to their canine family members, many dog owners are not aware that pets can have allergies to their environment and the foods they eat, too.

Types of Canine Allergies

Dogs are allergic to airborne allergens like mold and pollen and chemical substances like perfume and dyes in cleaning agents and shampoos. Some dogs develop sensitivity and allergies to their food.

Other triggers include:

  • Insecticides
  • Plastic/latex
  • Medication
  • Feathers
  • Dust/dust mites

Symptoms of Allergic Reaction

Watch for new or excessive scratching. The first sign that your pet is experiencing an allergic reaction could be redness, swelling and irritation in or around the ears. Inflammation from an allergic reaction and ear infections are both uncomfortable for dogs; scratching is your pet’s way of trying to cope with the discomfort or pain.

Some additional symptoms and their possible causes are listed below.

Red, scaly, or oozing skin patches

These symptoms may develop from flea, tick or other parasitic bites, grass and pollen irritation or as a reaction to certain fabrics or upholstery in your home.

Coughing and/or sneezing

Allergies to inhaled substances like cigarette smoke, perfumes and airborne particles can produce a raspy canine cough. Sneezing is present when particles irritate the nasal passages.

Constant scratching and chewing

Many dog allergies produce excessive chewing (especially on the lower back or tail). Look for fleas or bite marks.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are harder to pinpoint. Food sensitivities can develop shortly after the first or second ingestion while others may develop several months or even years later. Veterinarians recommend limiting the number of ingredients in your dog’s diet for a period from three to six months before reintroducing various foods one at a time to discover which ingredients are producing reactions. Consult your vet to develop a nutritionally sound challenge diet.


Carly is a writer for AllergicPet.com. Allergic Pet specializes in providing safe and natural solutions to your pet health problems.