Itchy Skin and Allergies in Dogs

Itchy skin can happen for a number of reasons in dogs ranging from flea bites, to allergies, to infections. As the skin’s normal reaction to most causes of itchy skin is to become pink/red, with or without a rash, it makes diagnosing the exact cause at home particularly difficult. We understand that seeing your dog constantly itching, scratching, and chewing at their skin is incredibly difficult for both of you. The following information on this page is intended to educate pet owners on the different types of diagnostic tests available to investigate why your dog is itchy. Tap on the links below to read further about:


Unfortunately for most dogs with allergies, there is no quick-fix or easy cure, and they will require lifelong management plans, unique to their particular diagnosis and allergic triggers.


Diagnostic Testing for Dogs with Itchy Skin & Allergies

The following are commonly performed tests to help diagnose the reason behind your dog’s itchy skin. Your veterinarian will select which tests are appropriate for your pet based on their clinical history and examination. As there are many potential causes, multiple tests are often needed to try and include or exclude possible causes of your dog’s allergies.

1) Flea comb 

 Flea dirt

2) Skin scrapes

Demodex mite

3) Skin cytology ­­


4) Elimination Diets & Food Trials 

(a) Hydrolysed diets – containing proteins that have been broken down to prevent the immune system from mounting an allergic response
(b) Novel protein/carbohydrate diets – made from ingredients that your dog has never been exposed to before


5) Intradermal skin testing

intradermal skin testing

Does your dog have itchy skin?

The above information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional veterinary medical advice, diagnosis or treatment; and should not be relied on solely as veterinary advice. 

If you are concerned that your dog has a skin condition, please phone us on (06) 3588675 to book them in with our team of veterinarians for a check over. It is helpful to bring along the flea medications, any pet shampoos and oral medication that your pet is on. It will also be very helpful if you could bring along the brand and flavour of your dog's food and treats to the consultation - take a photo of the dog food packets/cans if this is easier. 


Published by Cahill Animal Hospital on 27 June 2021
The team at Cahill Animal Hospital is here to provide you and your pet with the best possible medical, surgical and supportive care. Our motto "We care as much as you do" is a very important part of our day to day work. We are committed to providing you and your pet with the best options for care.

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