Pet Allergies

Common symptoms are paw licking, face rubbing, ear infections, and “hot spots” (red moist and painful infected skin). The cause is an immune response to allergens resulting in chemicals that are released from cells causing skin inflammation.

Atopy is an intense itching from a skin condition in dogs primarily caused by inhaled allergens, such as pollens, molds, and other inhalant particles. Atopy may also be caused by allergens in foods or contact allergens. Certain dog breeds are more commonly affected such as West Highland White Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Shih Tzus.

Atopy usually first shows symptoms at 1 to 3 years of age. It usually starts out as a seasonal condition occurring in the spring through the fall. As the dog matures, the symptoms usually start earlier in the season, last longer, and become more severe. Eventually, dogs with atopy may have skin problems year round.

The main sign of atopy is itching. The face, feet, and abdomen are common areas affected by licking (in response to the itch). Paw licking and face rubbing are signs of the itching. This is often visible by reddish orange staining of the hair from the iron in a dog’s salvia. Red or raised lesions can be a side effect of allergies, due to bacterial infection of the irritated skin. Another extremely common symptom of atopy is ear infections. Recurring ear infections may sometimes be the only symptom. This is sometimes mistakenly thought to be ear mites.

The mechanism which causes the problem is an abnormal immune response to the inhaled particles. In humans the primary areas affected are the eyes and sinuses. The cells that respond to the allergens in humans are located there. In dogs, these cells are located in the skin. When allergens are taken in, these cells react and release inflammatory chemicals. This is what causes the skin to redden, swell, and make them extremely itchy.

***Please be advised that a combination of treatments will likely be needed to control the symptoms of atopy.

Allergies can be controlled, but unfortunately never cured!

Also, it may require a trial and error process to determine the most effective regime, which can take time to control.***

Identifying the Cause


-Blood test or skin test to determine allergens (Inhaled Allergen Panel)

~Flea allergy

~Food (5% to 10% of all allergies have to do with foods)

~Contact allergy

~Inhaled allergens

-Response to treatment

Available Treatments

Antihistamines (effective in 35% to 50% of cases)

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine Over the Counter)


-12 lb dog dosage = 1 teaspoon of Pediatric (Children’s) Benadryl Elixir

-25 lb dog dosage = 1 25mg tablet

-50 lb dog dosage = 1 50mg tablet

(Can give 2 to 4 times daily, or as needed for allergy symptoms)

Vetadryl (Diphenhydramine Prescription)

Small beefy chewable tablet that comes in a 10mg and 30mg doses for smaller dogs and can be easily split in half.

(Can give 2 to 4 times daily, or as needed for allergy symptoms)

Apoquel Oral Tablet: This is our number one fast acting allergy relief tablet. Apoquel starts to work within 4 hours and works with flea allergies, food allergies, contact allergies, molds, house dust mites, and atopic dermatitis (itchy skin disease associated with environmental allergens). This has short and long term safety without any of the side effects associated with other treatments.

Cytopoint Allery Injection: This is our number one fast acting allergy relief injection.

Cytopoint is an innovative new therapy that targets itch as its source to help relieve the signs of atopic dermatitis in dogs for a month or longer with a single injection. Dr. Kolesar has prescribed Cytopoint to help reduce scratching, chewing, licking, and biting at the skin. When the itch is controlled, the damaged skin can heal, so that you and your dog have a chance to enjoy the fun things in life again.

Cytopoint is safe because it is a biological therapy and not a drug; it is naturally broken down and recycled by the body. It is NOT eliminated from the body via the liver or kidneys like most pharmaceutical drug products. This is one of the reasons Cytopoint can be a safe choice for your dog.

Less commonly used treatment routes.


Recommended for the relief of