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How to help a Dog With Allergic Dermatitis

How to help a Dog With Allergic Dermatitis

Unlike humans, who sneeze when they have allergies, dogs who develop allergic dermatitis experience severe itchiness. Here, our Groton vets will discuss allergic dermatitis in dogs, its symptoms, and how to treat it.

About Allergic Dermatitis 

Allergic dermatitis, commonly known as atopic dermatitis or "hot spots," is a frequent skin irritation in dogs and cats. When animals experience this condition, their skin barrier becomes damaged, leading to inflammation, redness, dryness, bumps, and itchiness.

Atopic dermatitis is characterized by itchy skin in dogs and cats. It occurs when the animal comes into contact with airborne substances like pollen or house dust, or ingests a substance to which they are sensitive.

As a result of the allergic reaction, the animal may rub, lick, bite, or scratch their skin. Unlike humans, dogs and cats with atopic dermatitis don't often sneeze, but they will experience itching.

Pets with atopic dermatitis are more susceptible to secondary skin infections, ear infections, yeast infections, and may have sensitive skin. In cases where there is an existing skin infection or flea infestation, the allergic condition can worsen, leading to flare-ups.

If this occurs, it is advisable to seek a consultation with your veterinary experts at Companion Animal Hospital. They can provide guidance and appropriate treatment for your pet.


  • Rubbing their body on the ground or against furniture, for example.
  • Licking themselves
  • Chewing/ Biting themselves
  • Scratch at their feet, flanks, ears, armpits, or groin, causing 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. Because the wax-producing glands of the ear overproduce as a response to the allergy, they get bacterial and yeast (Malassezia ) infections of the ear.


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

Medication: Allergic dermatitis caused by food reactions can be cured, while those triggered by airborne substances cannot be cured but can be managed with medication in most cases.

The treatment of atopic dermatitis often involves the use of specific types of steroids, which are highly effective in reducing inflammation and relieving itching. Additionally, antifungal medications are utilized to address yeast infections commonly associated with this condition.

Similar to humans, antihistamines are also prescribed to treat allergic dermatitis in dogs and cats. These medications help alleviate symptoms and provide relief.

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

Flea Control: For dogs or cats with this problem, 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 pet allergic dermatitis, avoiding it altogether is best for your dog or cat.

If you've noticed symptoms of allergic dermatitis in your dog, contact our Groton veterinarians today.

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