Allergies in pets

Skin problems are really common in pets – in fact, it’s the most common reason that pets need to see a vet.

There are lots of reasons your pet might be suffering from itchy skin but, luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to help them. If you think your pet is suffering from allergies, we always recommend speaking to your vet.

Signs your pet has an allergy

  • Itchy skin
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Broken/sore skin
  • Patchy fur loss
  • Scabs
  • Frequent licking or biting in one area.
  • Itchy/runny eyes
  • Swelling.

Common causes of allergies in pets

  • Fleas/insect bites
  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Grass
  • Certain foods
  • Household cleaning products.


Treatment for pets with allergies

First, visit your vet so they can investigate your pet's allergies and offer advice tailored to your pet.

If you find the cause of the allergies, you can help your pet avoid this trigger in the future – e.g. if your dog is allergic to grass pollen, avoid walking them through fields when the pollen count is high. When they return from a walk, brush any dust or grasses off their coat or rinse them off.

Sometimes allergies need to be treated to keep your pet comfortable. Depending on their allergy, your pet might need medical treatment for the rest of their life, along with regular check-ups from the vet. But there are lots of different treatment options depending on their allergy, so you’d need to discuss these with your vet.

Some websites recommend giving your pet human antihistamines – we would always recommend speaking to your vet before giving them any medication. Some chemicals in our antihistamines can be fatal to our pets, so it’s not worth the risk!


Pets with food allergies

If you think your pet is allergic to something in their food, your vet will advise you on the best way to work out what the allergen might be. Once it’s been identified then you can manage the allergy much better.

You can read more advice on food allergies in dogs and food allergies in cats on our website.


Simple steps to improve your pet’s skin health

Here are some simple things you can do at home to help improve your pet’s skin health and stop them from suffering from common allergies:

  • Keep your pets well groomed, to prevent knotting of the hair and trapping of dust, grass seeds or pollen.
  • Feed a good quality pet food.
  • Treat all the pets in your home for fleas every month with a product recommended by your vet.
  • Use a household flea spray – it will kill any fleas and help control dust mites too.
  • Hoover regularly to reduce dust and mites.
  • Use non-biological washing powder to wash your pet’s bedding and rinse well to prevent your pet from reacting to any of the washing products.
  • Consider changing the household cleaning products that you use. Carpet and soft furnishing deodorisers can irritate your pet’s skin.
  • Limit the use of scented candles or air fresheners.


Specific advice for pets with allergies

If you'd like more information on specific allergies in pets, visit our PetWise Pet Health Hub for:


PDSA Vet Care products for dogs with itchy skin

PDSA Vet Care is selected using our veterinary expertise and offers a range of effective, easy-to-use pet care products. You can shop the range in our Pet Hospitals or on our online Pet Store

If your dog has dry, flaky skin, try our Skin Supplement for Dogs. It’s an easy-to-use supplement to add to your dog’s food and contains four moisturising oils and vitamin E to soothe your dog’s skin from the inside out.

If your pup likes to get mucky, our 3-in-1 Dog Shampoo gets them clean and protects their skin. It combines antifungal and antibacterial agents with coat conditioners, to cleanse, soothe and prevent the development of some skin diseases.