Itching in Dogs and Cats

Allergies in Pets

Did you know that ear infections in puppyhood is a positive predictor of developing allergies as an adult?

Allergies are an annoying, but manageable condition. Your pet’s Itching can be caused by a number of things:


A combination of changes in pollen, humidity, rainfall and temperature can all come together to cause complex skin problems in pets.

Dog itching, also known as ‘pruritis’, is often the first presenting sign for a variety of skin diseases. As the problem gets worse, other conditions like ‘alopecia’ -hair loss, crusting and dandruff can occur.

While hundreds of things can cause itchy skin disease, the most common causes are:

Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)

In both cats and dogs, flea saliva is a potent allergen. Some dogs and cats are especially sensitive to the secretion and only one bite from a flea may be necessary to provoke a huge skin reaction.


Demodex and sarcoptes mites cause a disease we’ve all heard before – mange. Diagnosis is made by your vet conducting a skin scrape using a scalpel blade. Treatment is often long-term but successful.


Just like in people, especially when moist conditions are about, fungal infections can bloom. These infections tend to be very itchy and can cause skin swelling and redness.


Pollens, along with other many other naturally occurring allergens, can cause allergy irritations in our furry friends. These may present as dog itchiness, or cat scratching and result in redness anywhere on your pet’s body, but especially their bellies and feet.

Environmental allergies in pets

A very common cause of itchiness in pets who have no skin infection or if the infection has been cleared up is a disease known as ‘atopic dermatitis’. The treatment of this is involved and may require referral to a dermatologist.

Our approach to skin problems

Skin disease can be frustrating to diagnose and treat. It requires patience as it may take a few visits to your vet to find out the best combination of medication for your pet, but once treated, your pet will be much more comfortable and can enjoy life itch-free

Most cases of itching respond to drugs, and if the pet responds than this is diagnostic for allergies.

For difficult cases or those not responding properly to medicine, we have a thorough plan of workup

A lot of clients ask us: can you allergy test my pet? Just like in human medicine, we offer comprehensive skin allergy testing at our clinics. The results of Heska’s ALLERCEPT® small blood test show up chemicals called IgE, that guide our clinicians into exactly what your pet is reacting to.

Dr Sam’s own corgi, Clara is being desensitised for allergies currently. You can watch the video below to see how painless the treatment is:

Armed with this information, we can order special vaccines, such as Heska’s ALLERCEPT® Therapy Shots that contain an extract of just what they are allergic to, to teach their body that they don’t need to react to the allergen. These vaccines are given by owners at a particular time course (normally every 3 weeks) and over the course of a year, the allergies should dissipate dramatically. So, if your dog won’t stop scratching, you really should come and see us to receive the finest veterinary care.

Contact us today, or book online today to make an appointment for a dog allergy discussion or allergy tests with your nearest vet.