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  • Writer's pictureRobin Aoki

Managing Atopy: Allergy Problems with Dogs! Does Your Dog Have Issues with Itching or Itchy Skin?

Updated: Sep 11, 2023


Atopy, atopic dermatitis, or itchy skin in dogs is a prevalent seasonal or airborne allergy affecting up to 10-15% of dogs. Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options available to help your furry companion find relief at Eastside Animal Hospital.

Treating itchy skin and allergy in dog
Dr. Ashley Treating Dog at Eastside Animal Hospital

Key Points

  • Symptoms of atopy or itchy skin in dogs

  • Diagnosing atopic dermatitis in dogs

  • Effective treatments for atopy in dogs

Understanding Atopy or Itchy Skin in Dogs

Atopy, a type of dog allergy, is characterized by excessive itching due to seasonal or airborne allergens. Unlike humans, dogs exhibit skin-related reactions instead of sneezing or sniffling. The allergens penetrate the skin barrier, leading to inflammation and itching.

Diagnosing Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

To diagnose dog allergy problems, atopic dermatitis, or itching dog problems, we look for specific signs and factors. Some key indicators include:

  1. Young Age: Atopy or itching dog problems, usually develops within the first 1 to 3 years of a dog's life.

  2. Outdoor/Indoor Lifestyle: Indoor environments can harbor concentrated airborne allergens that can show up as itching in dogs.

  3. Chronic Yeast Infections: Allergies contribute to recurring yeast infections on the skin and in the ears.

  4. Front Feet and Ears Involvement: Dogs with atopy often chew or lick their front feet and experience ear-related issues.

  5. Seasonality: Seasonal itching is a significant clue in diagnosing some allergy problems or atopic dermatitis.

Atopy is clinically diagnosed based on the observed symptoms since there are no specific tests available.

Managing Atopy in Dogs: Treatment Options

To help your itchy dog find relief from atopy, we offer several effective treatment options:

  1. Healing Secondary Infections: Addressing any bacterial or yeast infections in the affected areas is crucial.

  2. Steroids: Short-term use of cortisone-type medications provides relief, although long-term use may have side effects.

  3. Apoquel (Oclacitinib): This medication offers fast and efficient itch relief by blocking itch symptoms.

  4. Cytopoint Injections: Using vaccine technology, these injections eliminate a key mediator of itch sensation, providing long-lasting relief.

  5. Bathing: Regular bathing helps remove allergens from the fur, reducing exposure.

  6. Avoidance of Triggers: Minimize dust mite exposure by avoiding stuffed toys, washing bedding regularly, and keeping pets away during vacuuming or dusting.

  7. Air Filter Maintenance: Changing air filters frequently helps lower the overall allergen burden at home.

  8. Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplements: These supplements disrupt the inflammatory process in the skin, usually taking 4-6 weeks to show noticeable relief.


Eastside Animal Hospital understands the challenges of managing atopy in dogs. Our knowledgeable team offers a range of effective treatments to help your itchy dog find comfort. Contact us today for guidance on treatment options or a referral to a veterinary dermatologist if needed. Let us alleviate your pet's seasonal itch and provide the relief they deserve!

Reach out to us for all your pet care needs at (513) 472-5038.


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