There are five types of canine allergies: Bacterial, contact, flea, inhalant, and food. The least common are bacterial and contact. Bacterial allergies result in skin disease and require antibiotic treatment. Contact allergies are reactions to substances in the dog’s environment, such as wool or cleaners, and often disappear when the irritant is removed. Flea allergies are very common—treatment entails medication and strict flea control. Inhalant allergies are also common and are similar to those humans suffer from. Instead of sneezing and runny noses, though, dogs most often get skin problems. Treatment ranges from antihistamines to shampoo therapy. Finally, food allergies are becoming widespread. They call for exclusion diets and, if nothing else works, steroid treatments.
Look for scratching, coughing, wheezing, eye or nose discharge, vomiting, or diarrhea: All should prompt a trip to the vet.