Itchy Pets? Pets Can Get Allergies Too

May 09 2017

Cleveland, TN pet owners - Does your pet itch all the time? Does your dog scratch certain areas or lick paws obsessively? Notice a foul smell on their skin or from ears, balding spots or skin/hair discoloration?

Occasional pet itching is common – especially for dogs. Frequent and recurring itching may be a sign of skin disease or allergies and can cause hair loss or skin damage. Additionally, it can be an annoyance to you, even keeping you up at night! If pet allergies are not addressed at onset, your pets may have a harder time battling this issue and it can be harder to treat and control.  Let Appalachian Animal Clinic help you ditch the itch!

Common Pet Allergies & Pet Skin Diseases:

  • Flea allergy
  • Food allergy
  • Contact allergy or contact dermatitis
  • Atopic dermatitis (a chronic itchy skin disease associated with environmental allergens)

Our Cleveland veterinarians will examine your pet to make a skin diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.


Flea bite hypersensitivity causes severe pet itching. One flea bite can cause pruritis (itchy skin) with the pet's hind end affected most often. Fleas (and flea feces) that contain your pet’s blood are not always visible to your eye. Appalachian Animal Clinic recommends year-round flea prevention and, if needed, medicated flea baths to limit fleas on your pet and stop their itch.

Food Allergy in Pets

A food trial might be recommended to determine if your pet has food allergies. A referral to a veterinary dermatologist might be recommended. Pets will be fed a diet with one protein and one carbohydrate for at least 8 weeks. No other foods or treats are allowed. If symptoms disappear, food allergies are likely to blame.

Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is rare but occurs when a pet’s skin overreacts to molecules in the environment such as nickel, rubber, wool, dyes and chemicals.

Atopic Dermatitis

A common diagnosis is atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disorder brought on by environmental allergens such as grass, mold, pollen or cigarette smoke.

Talk to your veterinarian about skin and blood tests for dermatitis.  A referral to a veterinary dermatologist might be recommended. In a skin test, a small level of allergens is injected under your pet’s skin to test for reactions. In a blood test, your pet’s blood will be analyzed for which allergens specific to your pet’s environment could be causing the reaction.


Pet Allergy & Itch Relief and Treatment

Once the pet allergens have been identified, our veterinarians can develop a program to eliminate the source of the allergy in your pet’s environment and treat the skin.

Common relief for pet allergies and itching can include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-itch shampoo and conditioners 
  • Anti-fungal shampoo 
  • Cyclosporine therapy
  • Essential fatty acids with Omega 3 such as Welactin
  • Hypoallergenic diets such as Royal Canin Hydrolized Protein (HP) or Ultamino
  • Immunotherapy
  • Oral steroids in low doses to treat sporadic outbreaks
  • Prescriptions such as Apoquel
  • Topical steroid sprays

*** May Only – FREE food or water bowl with Royal Canin dermatological diet food.  10 pets will be selected to receive a FREE bag of Royal Canin Ultamino food for a pet allergy food trial.

Contact Appalachian Animal Clinic today to discuss your pet’s allergy and itch issues and how we can provide relief.

Want to take a quick 6-question quiz to learn more about your dog’s itching AND help military, police and service dogs?

Each time the quiz is taken, Zoetis will make a donation to K-9 Courage™ Program.  K-9 Courage provides healthcare assistance to retired military and active police dogs as well as active service dogs that assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Once admitted into the program, each dog receives a $300 credit every year for the rest of its life to help cover veterinary expenses like wellness and emergency visits, vaccines, prescription medications, food and treats.

Take the Itch Instinct Quiz