Does My Dog Have Food Allergies, or Environmental Allergies?

Itchy Dog ImageAllergy season is here, and you have probably been feeling itchy and sneezy.  Crazy enough, your dog may feel those same allergies too!  Dogs can suffer from both food allergies and environmental allergies just like humans.  There’s also an important distinction between a food allergy and a food sensitivity.  Here’s some ways to help tell the difference, and ways to help alleviate their discomfort.

Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs:

-persistent vomiting

-symptoms that last year-round and present after eating


-difficulty breathing

-anaphylactic shock

Signs of Food Sensitivities in Dogs:


-symptoms that last year-round

-chronic ear infections


-paw infections or yeast infections

Signs of Environmental Allergies in Dogs:

-itchy skin or inflamed skin



-symptoms occur every now and again or specifically with certain seasons or weather changes

-chewing or scratching

While it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between food allergies and environmental allergies, only about 10-20% of dogs suffer from food allergies or sensitivities, which means most likely, the environment is the culprit.

So, how can you help figure out what’s causing your dog’s allergies and alleviate their discomfort?

Change their diet or do a diet trial

Try them on certain limited ingredient foods for a week or two, and see if the signs persist.  Remember to give it time.

Remove the most common allergy-causing ingredients from their diet

These include chicken, wheat, corn, soy, dairy, and eggs.  Try instead a great hypoallergenic protein like Rabbit.

Visit your Veterinarian

After trying different foods and signs have not stopped, there is further testing you can do with your veterinarian or veterinary dermatology and allergy specialist to get to the bottom of what’s causing their allergy signs.

Wipe down your dog after being outside

This may seem silly, but use a wet towel or wash cloth to wipe down your dog, especially their paws and belly.  This can help remove any allergy-causing pollens, dust or grasses.

Oatmeal everything

Oats are naturally anti-inflammatory.  Shampoos with oatmeal can help calm itchy skin, plus a good shampoo massage will feel oh-so-good to your dog.  Oats can also help with internal inflammation, so try adding some rolled oats or oatmeal to your dog’s diet.  Their cholesterol levels, joints, skin, and heart will thank you.

Benadryl and/or Fish Oil

Benadryl is safe for dogs – just be sure to check the dosage amount, and always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any medications.  Fish oil pills can help nourish dry skin and alleviate itching. (Pro tip: to avoid fish-breath, keep the pills in the freezer!)

As always, for any medical condition or concern your dog may have, consult your veterinarian.