Six Things That Cause Allergies in Dogs

If you’ve noticed your dog doing any of these things regularly, they could be a sign of allergy.

  • Chronic scratching or licking
  • Tilting the head or shaking it
  • Ears are hurting or gunky
  • Sneezing, watery eyes or runny nose
  • Losing fur, sometimes in patches

If so, check these most common causes first.


Even one flea bite can cause a body-wide allergic reaction. It’s bath time. You will need to start giving your dog a monthly flea repellent for at least three months until you see a result. This is because of the flea’s life cycle. Treat the yard with diatomaceous earth, a natural substance that dehydrates fleas. Cedar chips have a strong odor that drives away fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. It can be used in landscape bedding as an additional layer of protection. 


The most common food allergies are caused by meat proteins. Your dog may have diarrhea and itchy ears. Work with your vet to pinpoint the cause and prescribe a safer diet. Coldwater fish or omega-3 fatty acids may be added.

Mold, fungus and dust mites form spores and other residue that can be inhaled, causing respiratory problems, plus skin or ear infections. Beware of basements, old carpeting, garden soil, and the fall, when dogs love to play in molding leaves. Frequent baths, and cleaning the house with products that kill mold will help. If you have an older home, you may also want to have your HVAC ducts and carpets professionally cleaned.

If your pup seems to have more health problems in the spring, look for pollen and grass allergies. Symptoms can range from swollen/red paws to runny nose and watery eyes, to upset stomach. Baths with oatmeal shampoo help skin inflammation. Your vet may also prescribe antihistamines, corticosteroids, and medicated shampoos. Allergy testing and allergy tolerance injections are also an option.

Cleaning Agents

Allergies to inhaling chemical cleaner vapors usually show up as respiratory issues or upset stomach. Cleaning agents like  window cleaner, bleach, floor cleaner and laundry detergent have strong vapors that can still irritate the lungs, nose, mouth and eyes. Switching to more natural or odorless products will help. Keep the room well ventilated until these product smells are gone. 

Dog Bed

This could be one of the worst irritants. If your dog rejects a bed, trust that there is a good reason. There are little or no regulations about what goes into a dog bed. Surprisingly, most American international standards are only guidelines. According to a study by the Ecology Center in Michigan, there could be VOCs, PVCs, arsenic, lead, formaldehyde, flame retardant or pesticide residue in the fabric or stuffing. Cover the bed with a towel to keep your dog from having direct contact with it. You may prefer to look for a bed that’s verified organic, or use a folded quilt or comforter that can be washed regularly, instead. 

Regardless of the material, wash the bed frequently, as irritants can hitch a ride on his fur and take up residence in his bed.

Suffering with allergies drains your dog’s natural ability to fight infections, so helping him to live at the peak of health is important. If simple fixes don’t help your pup to feel better, it’s time to seek veterinary help. Of course, if your dog has trouble breathing, get in touch with your vet right away.

We love our dogs and always want what’s best for them. Making their lives cleaner and healthier actually helps to improve the lives of our entire family. 

Heron’s Crossing provides end-of-life care for pets in the Metro Atlanta area. In-home appointments with compassionate vets are available. If you’d prefer a home-like setting away from your home, our Decatur office is also available by appointment.