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How to Help a Dog With Allergic Dermatitis

How to Help a Dog With Allergic Dermatitis

You aren't the only one that can get allergies. Your dog can develop allergic dermatitis. Our McAllen vets will discuss allergic dermatitis, its symptoms, and how to treat it.

What is Allergic Dermatitis?

One of the most common skin irritations in dogs is allergic dermatitis. When a dog has “hot spots”, or allergic dermatitis, also known as atopic (atopy) dermatitis there is damage to the skin barrier. This causes their skin to become inflamed, red, dry, bumpy, and itchy similar to breaking out in hives for humans.

Atopic dermatitis is an itchy skin disease in dogs. In this condition, an allergic reaction occurs when an animal inhales airborne substances (pollen, house dust) or ingests a substance they are sensitive to. The allergic reaction causes the animal to rub, lick, bite or scratch. 

Dogs with atopic dermatitis are prone to secondary skin infections, ear infections, and yeast infections and may have sensitive skin.

Any skin infection or fleas can aggravate the allergic condition and may cause flare-ups in controlled cases. If this occurs, please contact your Nolana Animal Hospital vets.


  • Rubbing their body on the ground or against furniture, excessively.
  • Licking themselves
  • Chewing/ Biting themselves
  • Scratching that causes patchy or inconsistent hair loss and reddening and thickening of the skin.
  • The skin itself may be dry and crusty or oily depending upon the dog.
  • Dogs may also rub their face on the carpet; ear flaps may become red and hot.
  • Bacterial and yeast (Malassezia) infections of the ear.


There are a few different options available for the treatment of allergic dermatitis.

Medication: Allergic (Atopic) dermatitis due to food reactions can be cured by avoidance, but airborne substances are much more difficult. The reaction can be controlled with medication in most cases. Some types of steroids are used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. They are very effective anti-inflammatory, anti-itch medications. Antifungal medications are also used to treat this because they help with yeast infections. Antihistamines are another medication used to treat allergic dermatitis just like they are used for humans.

Medicated Baths: Medicated shampoos have compounds in them that are aimed at soothing injured skin and calming inflammation.

Flea Control: For dogs a flea control regime must be maintained.

Supplements: The Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acid supplements work by improving the overall health of the skin. These fatty acids are a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative agents.

Environmental Control: If you know what is causing your pets allergic dermatitis, avoiding it altogether is best for your dog.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing symptoms of allergic dermatitis? Call our experienced vets at Nolana Animal Hospital to book an examination!

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Looking for a vet in McAllen? Nolana Animal Hospital is now accepting new patients! Our welcoming vets are passionate about pets and will provide your cat or dog with the care they need. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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