The reason allergens cause itchy skin in dogs is because they provoke the immune system into producing a protein called IgE. This happens whether the allergen is inhaled, ingested or comes into contact with the dog’s skin.

The causes

The IgE protein attaches itself to the tissue mast cells in the skin, resulting in a release of histamines and other chemicals which causes irritation and itching. In dogs, these reactions only occur at significant levels in the skin. 

Dogs can experience allergic reactions to many things: substances in the environment, fleas/parasites and different foods. Finding the allergic trigger can be a challenge as many pets develop allergies to multiple things. Typical allergic reactions associated with the skin can include itchy skin and/or ear and skin infections. 

Treating your pet

An allergic pet may develop secondary bacterial, fungal or mixed infections due to skin trauma from constant scratching or licking. Diagnosis from a veterinarian is generally recommended, but the tests can take several days to get results.

Conventional treatments usually include steroids and antibiotics, but can cause side effects in many dogs, especially with long term use. There is also a risk of the pet developing resistance. Breaking this antibiotic/steroid cycle, or limiting the use of these drugs, can be done with alternative products formulated for use with allergies. 

There are revolutionary dermatology products, for example, which use enzymes and have no known side effects and may be used concurrently with oral therapeutics in those cases where antibiotics or steroids are warranted. Utilizing these types of products can help manage symptoms as well as support the natural healing process.

For the allergic pet, symptom relief is critical. In many cases, enzymatic formulations used as an alternative to antibiotics can provide relief of itchy, allergic skin. One formulation, known as the LP3 Enzyme System is a patented combination of enzymes: lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin and lysozyme. This enzyme system calms and soothes itchy, irritated skin.