Yes, dogs can suffer from the same kinds of allergies that humans do. But while we can present any number of symptoms (skin rashes, bone and joint swelling, digestive issues), dogs pretty much just itch themselves raw.
If your dog has allergies, she won’t get better until you identify and eliminate the source. She may need special food, or some environmental changes. (Read: take her to the vet.)
Here are a few allergy warning signals to watch out for. It’s a good idea to document your pet’s symptoms, along with what she ate and did that day, for at least three days. Just like what you’d do to determine a human allergen.
If you show up at the vet’s office armed with this information, it will be a lot easier for her to determine the cause of your pet’s itching.
Patterns. Is the itching, biting or scratching focused on specific areas of her body? Does it only occur in a particular season, or after spending some time outside?
Skin. Red skin, scratches and other signs of irritation are all symptoms of allergies. If particular spots smell, even after a bath, that’s a vet visit right there.
Feet. You may notice your dog licking her feet and toes excessively. Redness or swelling in these areas could indicate seasonal allergies.
Coat. Frequent licking of the fur where it has been discolored is another game-over / vet-visit situation. You may also start seeing bald spots where excessive licking has occurred, and in extreme situations she might scratch on carpets or furniture.
Ears. Look for any abnormal signs in the ears. Redness and scratching can occur here as well.
Eyes and muzzle. Any scratching or redness here is a huge sign that allergies are affecting your dog.
No matter what, don’t freak out. Canine allergies are way more common than people think, and most are easily treatable.
Just remember— your dog lives to make you happy. It’s likely she’ll mask her discomfort for as long as she can, so she can keep playing and snuggling with you.
That’s why you need to be extra observant, and don’t hesitate to take her to the vet, even if it turns out she was just rubbing in a dead squirrel for too long.
You can always experiment on your own to see if it clears up, but we recommend consulting your vet first. It’ll save you lots of trial and error.