Does My Dog Have Fleas or Allergies?

Itching is a common reason why most dog owners bring their pets to go see a veterinarian. Dogs who itch may constantly lick, chew and scratch on themselves, making it hard for your pet. It may also leave your pet dog with marks and cuts because of excessive scratching as well.

Do you see your pet frequently scratching or licking itself?  Then this may either be caused by fleas or allergies. How do you know which one? Both fleas and allergies have very similar symptoms so pet owners may have difficulty determining which of the two is causing the irritation for their pet. Want to know which is the culprit? Take a look at how you can differentiate the two below:

Signs Your Dog Has Allergies

If your dog has allergies, then they will most likely have skin inflammation. These allergies are caused by various factors such as parasites or food. They may also be seasonal.

If you and your pet live in a place where the weather is humid and warm, then your pet will most likely be prone to seasonal allergies. The growing plants and blooming flowers, along with dust, mold, chemicals and other environmental factors contribute to these types of allergies. Your dog may also be allergic to certain types of food like dairy, beef or chicken. Allergies will usually appear on your dog’s feet, groin, legs, eyes or anus. These areas may have pigment changes or thickening of the skin.

Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies are caused by either indoor our outdoor elements such as pollen, trees, dust, cleaning chemicals, wool, mildew, mold, perfumes and other materials. If you feel that your pet is has outdoor allergies, you can limit their time outside. Also make sure that you give your pet a bath regularly as well.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are usually on pork, beef, chicken and wheat. This is a trait that is passed down, and you can find out which food your dog is allergic to by utilizing the process of elimination. Once you narrow down what your dog is allergic to you can look for specially formulated food to prevent future reactions.

Below are other symptoms of allergies on your dog:

  • Red skin
  • Runny eyes
  • Itchy ears and ear infection
  • Sneezing, coughing and sometimes vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Signs Your Dog Has Fleas

Fleas feed on blood, and your pet dog is the perfect host for them. This is because dogs are warm and furry. Fleas are usually flocked together on your dog’s neck, head, or tail base. So if your dog has them, this may be where your dog is frequently scratching. Fleabites are incredibly itchy, and scratching them will only make the itching worse, making your dog have an even harder time. Below are some other symptoms of fleas on your dog:

  • Hair loss on the back, tail or leg region
  • Bites and scabs
  • Red patches on the skin
  • Bumps on the neck area or around the body
  • Skin, yeast and ear infections

If you observe that your dog may be showing any of these symptoms, you can inspect their skin to verify the presence of fleas. The fleas will most likely hide on your pet’s ears, tail, groin, armpits, neck or head. They will flock on the warmest parts of your dog’s body.

If you feel that your dog has fleas, look for a flea and tick treatment option such as a collar or oral supplement, or you can look into natural treatment options too.  Make sure that you check the packaging to ensure it is a treatment and not just a preventive option and to get an idea of the expected treatment timeline. If you do not see improvement you should consult your veterinarian to check for additional problems that may be causing the irritation. Itching can be inconvenient and even irritating, but just remember what your dog is going through.