Does your dog have itchy, red paws or skin? Your dog may have allergies.

There is a wide variety of allergies that dogs can suffer from, including food or environmental. In humans allergy symptoms are usually runny eyes, runny nose, or sneezing. In most dogs, allergy symptoms include itchy skin or ear infections.

All skin allergies pose a risk of secondary infection. When your dog bites, scratches or chews at his skin, the skin breaks down allowing for bacteria or yeast to create an infection.

The following symptoms could be a sign of an allergic reaction:



-Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps

-Red, inflamed skin

-Itchy ears

-Chronic ear infections

-Constant licking

-Itchy, runny eyes

All of these symptoms should be mentioned to your veterinarian.


There are numerous different foods, medications and supplements that can help alleviate the symptoms of allergies. Just like people, dogs and cats can take antihistamines. Please ask your veterinarian for the correct dosage since sometimes our pets have to take more, or less, medication than a person would. A lot of pets benefit from the addition of fatty acids to their diet, such as an omega 3 supplement. This supplement typically needs to be taken in a larger quantity than a human dosage, so it is best to purchase a dog or cat specific supplement.

There has been advancements in the science of understanding why dogs feel itchy due to allergies.  With this new knowledge there are now medications and a prescription food that are very effective at resolving the allergy symptoms without negative side effects.

In the past a lot of our pets suffering from allergies would be prescribed a steroid, which typically would improve the symptoms, but came with a lot of negative side-effects. Now, we have a larger selection of medications without all the negative side-effects. Read below to learn about treatment options to help with your dog’s allergy symptoms.

  • Apoquel is an oral tablet that starts working within 4 hours and controls your pets itch within 24 hours. Unlike steroids Apoquel can be used with other common medications your pet may already be receiving, such as NSAIDS, immunotherapy, and anti-fungals. Apoquel can be a good choice for pets needing long-term therapy. Because Apoquel is an immunosuppressant, it is not recommended to be used in pets that have cancerous conditions.
  • Cytopoint injectable stops the itch signal from reaching the pets brain. It begins working within one day and offers 3-8 weeks of relief with a single in hospital injection.
  • Derm Defense is a prescription food that helps to improve the natural skin barrier preventing the allergens from absorbing into the skin.  This prevents the cascade of allergy reactions that signal the body to feel itchy.
With these improved treatment options dogs are less likely to develop skin infections.
If your dog continues to have allergy symptoms year round then food allergies should be considered.