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Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs

September 5th, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Cody rubs on his yellow lab's neck, which has been itchy lately. Cody suspects allergies in his dog.

Recently, Colin began to notice strange behavior in Maddie, his two-year-old yellow lab…

Maddie seemed a little… distracted.

She was spending a lot of time scratching her face and chewing on her paws — even in the middle of the night.

When Maddie’s symptoms didn’t improve, Colin knew it was time for a vet visit.

After ruling out other causes, our veterinarians determined that Maddie was suffering from allergies.

Is your dog showing symptoms of allergies?

If you suspect your dog has allergies, you’re in good company.

It’s estimated that as many as one in five dogs has allergies.

While allergies can affect any dog, certain breeds tend to be more susceptible — like Golden Retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds.

Symptoms of allergies in dogs: What to watch for at home

It’s important to note that diagnosing allergies can be tricky. Allergies often resemble other conditions.

(Our vets usually start by ruling out other issues first.)

If you notice any of the symptoms below, come on in.

We’ll help you figure out what’s going on and get your pup feeling better.


  • Visible signs (often in both ears): There may be a bad, musty odor coming from your dog’s ears. Your dog’s ear canal area may be red, warm and/or scaly. You may notice discharge or debris (such as yellow pus or blood).
  • Behaviors: Your dog is scratching at her ears. She’s rubbing her head against furniture or on the floor.

Face / muzzle

  • Visible signs: You may see redness, feel scabs, or even see bleeding if your dog has really been scratching.
  • Behaviors: Your dog is scratching at her face. She’s rubbing her face on things.


  • Visible signs: Your dog’s paws may be red. You may see pustules (like pimples).
  • Behaviors: Your dog is licking her paws and/or chewing on her paws.


  • Visible signs: Your dog’s legs may be red. You may notice scabs and/or hair loss.
  • Behaviors: Your dog is licking her legs and/or chewing on her legs.

Belly, chest, rump and/or back

  • Visible signs: You may notice redness, scabs, pustules (like pimples), hot spots (lesions), dandruff and/or hair loss.
  • Behaviors: Your dog is scratching or licking that area.

Other symptoms of allergies (such as gastrointestinal issues)

Food allergies can have more than just skin-related symptoms.

  • Visible signs: Your dog may be vomiting and/or have diarrhea. You may notice that your dog seems lethargic.

Allergy symptoms in dogs often resemble other conditions

Remember, your dog could have something going on other than an allergy.

For example, let’s say your dog has an ear infection.

Your dog may have food allergies… Or, she could have gotten too much moisture in her ears after a recent swim or bath.

If your dog is excessively licking a paw or scratching his ear, she could be allergic to pollen…

Or, she could have picked up a foxtail seed while walking along Plum Creek.

The important thing is to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

That way, you can keep your dog happy, healthy and pain-free.

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Make your dog more comfortable

We’re always here to help you and your furry friend. If you’re noticing symptoms of allergies in your dog, call us at 303-688-3757. Or:

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on symptoms of allergies in dogs. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call: 303-688-3757.)

© 2018, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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