Allergic Skin Disease in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Disease Health News

Allergic skin disease in dogs:

Allergic skin disease is one of the most common problems in dogs. It is caused due to flea allergy, food allergy, and environmental allergens such as pollens, dust, and molds.

The four major types of allergic skin diseases in dogs are:

  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Some dogs can develop an allergic reaction to fleabites. When a flea bites the dog, it injects saliva into the skin of your pet. Flea saliva can initiate allergic reactions in dogs like severe itching on the skin mostly at the base of the tail, red and inflamed skin, scabs, and skin lesions.
  • Food Allergies: Dogs can have allergies to foods such as dairy, egg, chicken, mutton, fish, and wheat. Food allergies can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive itching and scratching at feet and ears, swelling on the face, and hives.
  • Atopic dermatitis: It is a chronic allergic skin disease caused by environmental allergens such as dust, pollen, and mold. Dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis often have itchy skin and rash on the feet, ears, and face.
  • Contact allergies: Dogs can be allergic to any chemicals used in deodorants, shampoo, insecticides, or cleaning products.

What are the symptoms of allergic skin diseases in dogs:

Dogs usually develop symptoms of allergic reactions between 1-6 years of age. The common symptoms of skin allergies in dogs are listed below:

  • Increased itching
  • Excessive scratching at feet, ears, armpits, or groin
  • Rubbing and licking of face, feet, and ears
  • Red and yellow spots on the skin
  • Biting the skin
  • Sneezing, red and watery eyes
  • Ear infections and discharge
  • Hair loss
  • Musty smell
  • Weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea

Why does a skin infection in dogs smell so bad?

Allergic skin diseases can increase the secretion of oily substances from the glands in the skin. These substances make your dog smell bad. Moreover, allergic diseases result in inflammation and itching, causing your dog to scratch, bite, and lick its skin. All these conditions allow bacteria and yeast to multiply on the skin. Excessive growth of these microbes on your dog’s skin causes a foul smell.

How to treat dog rashes?

Several treatment options are available for dog rashes based on the severity and causes of the condition.

  • Medicated shampoos help remove oily substances, dust, and pollen from the skin/coat and reduce skin redness, itching, and rash.
  • Antiseptic washes such as dilute iodine are used to clean infected skin areas.
  • Antibiotics can be used in some cases to treat skin infections.
  • Medications and collars are very effective in preventing and killing fleas.
  • Oral medications such as Apoquel, Antihistamines, and Prednisolone are used to treat allergic reactions, inflammation, itching, and redness.

Know more about Apoquel uses in dogs:

Apoquel (oclacitinib) is an oral tablet used to treat itching in dogs caused by allergic skin diseases. It is effective against most common allergies including, flea allergy, food allergy, contact allergy, and atopic dermatitis. Apoquel is safe for use in dogs over one year of age and weighing over 3 kg.
Unlike other medications, Apoquel works by inhibiting proteins that cause inflammation such as cytokines. It thereby reduces itching, redness, and swelling of the skin. Apoquel is a fast-acting medication and relieves the symptoms of allergic skin disease within 4 hours.

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Side effects of Apoquel:

Apoquel can cause common side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, lumps, and lethargy. And these side effects go away after some time. Apoquel can also increase the risk of infections such as demodicosis and neoplasia.

Apoquel Dosage and Administration:

Apoquel is a prescription medication available in 3.6 mg, 5.4 mg, and 16 mg tablets. Apoquel tablets are given to dogs orally with or without food twice daily for two weeks. The medication is then given once daily at the same dose to maintain an effective drug concentration. The dosage of the medicine depends on the weight of your dog.

Apoquel Dosing Chart

Weight Dosage
6.6-9.9 lbs ½ of a 3.6 mg tablet two times a day
10-14.9 lbs ½ of a 5.4 mg tablet two times a day
15-19.9 lbs One 3.6 mg tablet two times a day
20-29.9 lbs One 5.4 mg tablet two times a day
30-44.9 lbs ½ of a 16 mg tablet two times a day
45-59.9 lbs Two 5.4 mg tablets two times a day
60-89.9 lbs One 16 mg tablet two times a day
90-129.9 lbs 1½ 16 mg tablets two times a day
130-175.9 lbs Two 16 mg tablets daily


Safety Information :

  • Apoquel is not for use in dogs under one year or with other serious infections.
  • Do not give the medicine to dogs who are allergic to any of the ingredients of Apoquel.
  • Do not give the medication to pregnant, lactating bitches, or breeding dogs.
  • Pet owners should wash their hands after giving Apoquel to their dogs.